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Poss. Itinerary for Aug. Portland to San Fran family vacay - TIPS PLEASE

Poss. Itinerary for Aug. Portland to San Fran family vacay - TIPS PLEASE

Jul 7th, 2014, 10:51 AM
  #1  
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Poss. Itinerary for Aug. Portland to San Fran family vacay - TIPS PLEASE

Our family (2 parents and 2 kids, ages 11 & 8) have 2 weeks in August to travel from Portland to San Francisco. We are experienced campers and hikers and want to see as much as possible while not seeing it all from the car. We need to swim everyday (It's what we do in August in our family.) Here is our proposed itinerary and I'd love your feedback and suggestions on feasibility, swim and camp spots, or best routes, etc.

Day 1 (Sunday) - arrive Portland, see Saturday market & Powell's Books, stay in hotel

Day 2 (Mon) - tour Portland, visit Beverly Cleary statues in Grant Park (We LOVE Ramona!), other suggestions welcome, stay in hotel

Day 3 (Tues) - pick up rental car - drive Columbia River Gorge, stop at Multnomah Falls, on to Hood River, stop for a swim (Waterfront Park has a designated swim area, correct?), then on to Mt. Hood. Stay at Trillium Lake Campground. 3 Hours Total Driving

Day 4 (Wed) - visit Timberline Lodge, drive to Bend & visit the Museum of the High Desert, stay near Bend (campground suggestions?) 3 Hours Total Driving

Day 5 (Thu) - Drive to Newberry Caldera, hike on obsidian flow, look for a hot spring dip along the way, stay at Mazama (Crater Lake) or Broken Arrow (Diamond Lake) Campground. 3 Hours Total Driving

Day 6 (Fri) - Crater Lake, including a swim! - Stay at same campground

Day 7 (Sat) - drive via Reedsport (elk!) to Florence, stay at Umpqua Light House State Park or Rock Creek Campground (any advice on which to choose?) 4 Hours Total Driving

Day 8 (Sun) - BEACH day in Florence - Devil's Elbow beach, other suggestions? Stay at same campground

Day 9 (Mon) - Drive the coast to Crescent City, CA, stay at Jedediah Smith Redwood Park, 4 Hours Total Driving

Day 10 (Tues) - Redwoods, stay at Humboldt Redwoods State Park, 3 Hours Total Driving

Day 11 (Wed) - Drive the Coast via Point Reyes National Seashore to San Francisco, drop off rental car. This date is fixed, as we must be in SF by Wed evening. 5 Hours Total Driving

Days 12-14 (Thu-Sat) - All things San Francisco, fly out on red-eye Sat. night

Thanks so much!!

-Ann
soxfanann is offline  
Jul 7th, 2014, 08:05 PM
  #2  
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
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You should get lots of good advice from our Oregon fodorites.

The "swim everyday" piece, I assume, will take the form of rivers and lake inland Oregon? (I used to spend summers with family north of Seattle and that's what we did - cold water but awesome, yes).

Actually, once you get over to the coast, it's likely to feel a lot chillier, since the air temps will be much lower. Not to say you shouldn't swim (we did). Overall, I envision you finding respite in some pools at times.

We're headed that way in September. Maybe we will hear back from you by then. Enjoy!
sludick is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 08:59 AM
  #3  
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Thanks! Yes, we swim every day in August as a family "challenge," so we'll use pools at the hotels in Portland and SF, but otherwise will use lakes (Crater Lake!) and rivers inland and the cold Pacific on the coast. We're curious to see if it's colder than the Gulf of St. Lawrence in Quebec, last year's coldest swim at 4 degrees C. I just found an "Oregon swimming holes" app that will be put to good use, I'm sure.
soxfanann is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 09:16 AM
  #4  
mms
 
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You might like Elk Lake outside of Bend for camping. There are 2 campgrounds there, one at the "resort" and the other a national forest one, so more primitive. There are LOTS of other good campgrounds in the area, but I think this one might fit you well.

You can also swim in the river right in downtown Bend. Lots of people on rafts and inner tubes as it is a very popular thing on the warm days there.

If you want super cold water, head to Clear Lake, just outside of Sisters. Another place near there that is a real swimming hole is Scout Lake, across the road from Suttle Lake.
mms is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 09:36 AM
  #5  
 
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Agree Elk Lake is great and a nice place to swim for the kids. You can rent kayaks or canoes there too and a nice little restaurant with views of the lake.

Diamond Lake also has a designated swim area.

Hot springs- well most people go naked in the hot springs so be prepared if you go. There is a commercial hot springs on the McKenzie Hwy - Belknap Hot Springs- they do have camp sites and it is a beautiful spot- the springs are piped into pools and general public can use for a fee- and everyone has a bathing suit on-

Beaches around Florence- Devils Elbow is my favorite but there are lots of them-

I have stayed in the yurts at Umqua lighthouse state park- there is a small lake there but not sure if people swim in it- walking up to the lighthouse at night is fun .

Had no idea there was an app for Oregon swimming holes

Enoy
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 10:27 AM
  #6  
 
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There are a couple campgrounds in the Newberry Caldera area.
There is a moderately warm spring on the south bank of East Lake.http://soakoregon.com/paulina-lake-hot-springs/
Go directly from the High Desert Museum to the Newberry Caldera. While you are there drive up to the top of Paulina Peak. I think it is the highest point you can drive to in a 2WD car (almost 8000').
There is a smaller campground down the Pinnacles road in Crater Lake if Mazama is not available.
If your tent should get wet, remember that several of the Oregon State parks have yurts or cabins.
There are a couple cabins at Paulina Lake.
tomfuller is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 10:38 AM
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There are a couple campgrounds in the Newberry Caldera area.
There is a moderately warm spring on the south bank of East Lake.http://soakoregon.com/paulina-lake-hot-springs/
Go directly from the High Desert Museum to the Newberry Caldera. While you are there drive up to the top of Paulina Peak. I think it is the highest point you can drive to in a 2WD car (almost 8000').
There is a smaller campground down the Pinnacles road in Crater Lake if Mazama is not available.
If your tent should get wet, remember that several of the Oregon State parks have yurts or cabins.
There are a couple cabins at Paulina Lake.
tomfuller is offline  
Jul 8th, 2014, 02:35 PM
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Make sure you can actually camp at Jedediah Smith. It's very popular and can be totally booked.
Shanti is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 06:32 AM
  #9  
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You guys are awesome!!

There's some discussion among the family now about trying to see the Painted Hills. Is that crazy, time-wise or worth the extra miles? Is there something we could/should skip to do that instead? One idea was to skip Bend/Museum of the High Desert....
soxfanann is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 07:02 AM
  #10  
mms
 
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We just went through the Painted Hills a few days ago, lol. They are cool, but I would not give up time in Bend for those.
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Jul 9th, 2014, 07:45 AM
  #11  
 
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Re ocean swimming....an eleven-year-old girl drowned last week at Long Beach, WA, because she got caught in a rip tide...her brother survived. Ocean swimming in Washington and Oregon is not to be taken lightly.
Bobmrg is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 08:24 AM
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I agree with mms( I always agree with mms). The Painted Hills are beautiful and the whole John Day Fossil Bed area is interesting but to do it justice you would need a couple of days, and I really don't think the kids would love it. The Paleontology Center is fascinating but I would not miss out on time in the Bend area to visit this area.

I would stay in Bend a couple of days- go on a raft trip- The Big Eddy is a good one- you can book through Sun Country tours. Take the kids to Smith Rock ( close to Redmond) and watch the world class rock climbers and hike along the Crooked River. Go to Sun River Resort and ride bikes on all the trails there or do a trail ride. Walk through the Lava Tube. Do the Paulina Plunge where you can ride bikes down a hill and swim in the waterfalls.
I think the High Desert Museum is interesting but not what I would do on a nice summer day.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 08:27 AM
  #13  
mms
 
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I think sunbum and I need to travel together
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Jul 9th, 2014, 11:30 AM
  #14  
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Thanks for the tips on what makes Bend worth the trip.

Also, Mt. Hood is a "must see," right? One of our crew is skeptical about spending time going to see "just a mountain." I thought the swim in Trillium lake would sweeten the deal, but they're not quite sold yet.

Bobmrg - thanks for the heads up. We are very cautious with ocean swimming and I am a lifeguard as well. We'll be sure to check in at each beach regarding riptides and can just submerge and get out if actual "swimming" isn't prudent.
soxfanann is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 11:53 AM
  #15  
 
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Link to the Big Eddy raft trip - you will probably have a chance to swim in the river

http://www.suncountrytours.com/river...Eddy_Thriller/

Wish I was there today.

While you are in the Bend area you can check out Mt Bachelor- you can take a gondola to the top There is usually snow at the top - not sure this year.

If you decide to visit Sun River, you can rent bikes in the Village- bike trails start there so easy to do. I like the trail that takes you to the marina and horse stables as it goes along the river.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 11:56 AM
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Link to Pauline Plunge- have not done it, looks fun - kind of spendy though

http://paulinaplunge.com/home.php/about/
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jul 9th, 2014, 02:19 PM
  #17  
 
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Swim in Paulina or East Lake. Camp in the Newberry Caldera instead of near Bend. There is a nice campground on the east side of East Lake.
There is also a campground along Paulina Creek at McKay Crossing.
tomfuller is offline  
Jul 13th, 2014, 04:10 PM
  #18  
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We've got our campsites set for Trillium Lake and Jedediah Smith in CA (Thanks for the tip, Shanti, we got the LAST spot available!), but are still undecided about where to camp in the Bend/Newberry Caldera area and how many nights to spend at Mazama Campground in Crater Lake.
All your suggestions are amazing, so we're sorting through the Elk Lake, East Lake, or Paulina Lake options and trying to decide if we spend 2 nights at one of those spots and cut the Crater Lake stay to one night. Car time is a consideration and we're essentially trying to get from Mt. Hood to Crater Lake while maximizing our car time to scenic/cool stops ratio. Thoughts?
It's coming together - thanks everyone!
-Ann
soxfanann is offline  
Jul 13th, 2014, 04:18 PM
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I am only familiar with Elk Lake campground. The nice thing about Elk Lake is that there is a swimming beach, kayak and canoe rentals, and a restaurant - in the evening they have music sometimes- so things to keep you all entertained.
sunbum1944 is offline  
Jul 13th, 2014, 05:07 PM
  #20  
 
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If you do go by way of the Cascade Lakes Highway, the other lake with a campground and kayaks is Cultus Lake. There are also resorts at Crane Prairie reservoir and Twin Lakes (south Twin).
tomfuller is offline  

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