Posts Tagged With: oregon coast

Two Forts in Astoria, Oregon

We spent a total of 10 amazing weeks in my new favorite state of Oregon this summer, and we saved the best state park for last. Fort Stevens State Park is in the northwest corner of Oregon near the beautiful city of Astoria. This was my favorite state park we stayed at in Oregon. It was huge and so many of the sites have some trees and privacy. But the best part of the park was the miles of paved bike trails and historical places to visit.


Awesome paved bike trails!


Roadschooling one day consisted of touring the fort and a shipwreck on the beach. Fort Stevens was in service from the Civil War to World War II and guarded the mouth of the Columbia River.







The Peter Iredale ship ran ashore in 1906 and the wreckage is now a tourist attraction on the beach at Fort Stevens. The boys loved climbing on this shipwreck.



Peter Iredale shipwreck

The northern tip of the state park has beautiful views of the Pacific and the mouth of the Columbia River. You can also see the state of Washington across the river as well as the city of Astoria.


One of the lookout points at Fort Stevens

Early in our Oregon travels we met a family back in Chiloquin that we have met up with at a couple of different places since then, one of them was Fort Stevens. We had a great time with them touring another fort (Fort Clatsop) and Astoria.


The Lewis and Clark Expedition camped at Fort Clatsop during the winter of 1805-1806.



The boys earned new Junior Ranger badges with their friends.


After touring Fort Clatsop we explored the beautiful city of Astoria and had lunch at Mo’s. How is it we did not eat at Mo’s until the day before we left Oregon? There are several of them along the Oregon coast and they have the best clam chowder. Next time we’re in Oregon we’ll have to go there again.






We climbed the 164 steps to the top of the Astoria Column where we were rewarded with gorgeous view of the Columbia River and the Astoria-Megler Bridge that goes to Washington.


Astoria Column




The kids enjoyed running and rolling down the hill outside of the column.


It was a bittersweet day knowing it was our last day on the Oregon Coast. I thoroughly enjoyed our time exploring that part of this amazing country. I really hope to return again someday.

Categories: National Parks, Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 3 Comments

Cannon Beach and Nehalem Bay

If you are old enough to remember any movies from the 1980s you may remember the Goonies movie. Some scenes from that movie were filmed at Haystock Rock in Cannon Beach. This is an enormous rock surrounded by beautiful tide pools at low tide.



The first time we went there the tide was coming back in so we didn’t get to see many tide pools, so we went back again to try to time the tide right and ended up being able to see a beautiful starfish and some sea anemones.



It was foggy the second time we went, giving Haystack Rock an even more mysterious appearance.



Just a few miles down the road from Haystack Rock is Hug Point, another really cool place to visit on the Oregon coast with caves and tide pools to explore.






And yet another beautiful spot to visit in Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park. Amazing views from this park! There is no shortage of beautiful places to visit along the Oregon coast.



We stayed at Nehalem Bay State Park while in this area. This was a really nice park that included a paved bike trail which I loved. The park is in between the bay and the ocean. The beach side was usually very cold and windy, but beautiful to see. We didn’t spend a lot of time on the beach side because it was freezing!



The bay side was much warmer and during low tide there was plenty of room for Chris & Jesse to play baseball.



We were there during the week of the big solar eclipse. This park was at 98.8% totality which I mistakenly thought was close enough. I was wrong! Although what we saw was cool, it wasn’t nearly as awesome as what my friends in totality saw. Note to self: next time get to totality!

One other thing we did in this area was at the suggestion of my always thoughtful husband. He suggested I take the kids for a train ride on the Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad between Rockaway Beach and Garibaldi. This was such a treat!






I am so thankful to God for these amazing experiences with my family. Making memories, that’s what it’s all about.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 4 Comments

Two Capes and a Cheese Factory

I am starting to get very behind on this blog and hope to catch up over the next few weeks. We have been really busy the past 2 weeks with my parents visiting us in Washington state, but before I can post about that I want to finish writing about the rest of the places we visited in Oregon.

After leaving Newport, OR we headed up to Tillamook — home to the famous Tillamook Cheese Factory. I was excited to take this factory tour as I have seen other Fulltime Families post about visiting this place. Unfortunately the factory tours were not available while we were there because they are in the process of building a new visitor center. In the meantime they have a temporary visitor center set up where you can still go and sample cheese and view the few displays that are set up. It’s still not the same as touring the actual factory so I hope to return to the area someday and try again.




Sampling cheese


Yummy ice cream!

While in the Tillamook area we stayed at Cape Lookout State Park. This park is right on the ocean and we watched some spectacular sunsets from there. It wasn’t a very big rig friendly park though, we barely fit in the site. We also felt a little uncomfortable being surrounded by tents and smaller RVs. People kept walking by our site and commenting about how big our RV is and wondering out loud why we would need something that big for camping. Meanwhile we were inside working or doing school hearing these conversations right outside the window, wishing we had a big sign up to let people know we are not camping, this is our house that we happen to take with us everywhere we go. I also heard people wondering out loud why we would take a cat camping. Yes, we felt like quite the spectacle at this place and were happy to leave there and move on to somewhere else where we fit in a little better.


This is a picture of our site. The pathway right next to us goes to the restroom so people had to walk by us often. Also, notice the sink waste disposal in our “yard”? That is where all the tent campers had to come to wash their dishes. It was awkward for them and us because they felt uncomfortable having to walk right into our site to wash their dishes. I made the best of it though while I was sitting outside and struck up conversations with everyone that was willing to talk to me. I actually met some very nice people that way!

It was during our stay there that Chris & I started considering that maybe we should downsize. We thought downsizing from a 2000 sq ft house to a 400 sq ft RV was good, but we could fit better at state parks if we were even smaller. Of course as soon as our kids heard us discussing this they immediately objected by letting us know how much they love their big bedroom. 😉 They love our home on wheels and to be honest, so do I.

Anyway, other than feeling like circus clowns at this park, we really loved the beach which was a short walk from our site where we enjoyed some gorgeous sunsets!







And while we were at Cape Lookout we drove a few miles over to Cape Meares to check out another beautiful area along the Oregon coast.




Octopus Tree


Cape Meares Lighthouse



Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

Yaquina and Heceta Head Lighthouses

Oregon Coast lighthouses are incredible! Just before we came to Oregon I heard from the Road Trip Teacher about a lapbook/notebook study she has available about the Oregon Coast lighthouses. My kids did the entire study on all of the lighthouses in Oregon. We learned so much about the history of these lighthouses before even visiting them which made our visits that much more interesting.

This post covers 2 of the lighthouses we visited while in the Newport area.

Yaquina Head Lighthouse was our favorite and it is also the tallest lighthouse in Oregon. We were able to tour the inside which made it even better.


The tours are free, but if you go on a weekend (or possibly even a weekday in the summer) it’s not likely you’ll get a spot. We reserved a tour ahead of time online and when we showed up on a Saturday they did not have any spots left for anyone that had not reserved online. It costs $1.50/person to reserve online and I thought that was reasonable since we were planning to visit on a Saturday in the summer and it was nice to know we had a spot.

Anyway, the lighthouse tour was great! The tour guide explained the history of the lighthouse and its keepers. She explained about the oil they used and how much they needed at various times of the year depending on how much daylight there was at that time of the year. We were able to walk up to the top of the lighthouse and see the light going on and off.



It was incredible!

Outside of the lighthouse the views were gorgeous!



Just outside the lighthouse was a fabulous place for tide pools during low tide!




Yaquina Head is part of the National Park service so the kids were able to earn another Junior Ranger badge there.


After the lighthouse we drove up the coast a little further to Otter Crest Loop in Depoe Bay. We saw whales in Depoe Bay, but unfortunately no pictures of them.


Otter Crest


Dungeness crab trying to survive in the tide pool until the tide comes back in.


Otter Crest


Depoe Bay, Oregon

At Otter Crest we checked out the devil’s punchbowl which is a large rock hole that water from the Pacific fills in at high tide and goes out at low tide. It was really cool! We were there at low tide when it was nearly empty, but went back again on a different day at high tide.


Devil’s Punchbowl at low tide.

I was expecting to see it full at high tide, but it was not much higher than what we saw at low tide.


Devil’s Punchbowl at high tide.

We went to visit Heceta Head lighthouse on a different weekend. Like all Oregon lighthouses it was quite beautiful also.



These are some pictures of the surrounding ocean views from the lighthouse.



Oh my goodness, I could never get enough of the beauty of the Oregon coast! We visited some other lighthouses along the way, so stay tuned.


Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , | 6 Comments

Bandon, Oregon

After leaving the Redwoods we traveled up the 101 to the cute little town of Bandon, Oregon. This stretch of Hwy 101 has to be one of the most scenic drives ever. I kept wanting Chris to pull over and stop so I could take pictures. I cannot get over how beautiful the Oregon coast is!



After several stops along the way we made it to our campground at Bullards Beach State Park. It was so nice to get back to a state park! From what I saw, we couldn’t stay at any state parks in California… every one I looked into had a size limit of 35 feet and we are 41 feet. Anyway, that meant that while we were in CA we had to stay in RV parks. The places we stayed were all nice, but we missed state parks. Oregon has a very impressive selection of state parks and I look forward to staying at as many as possible.

There was a trail behind our site to the beach and every time we walked there we had the whole beach to ourselves.




Nature trail on the way to the beach

The Coquille River lighthouse is at the state park so we went to check that out one day. It was so cold and windy while we were there so we didn’t stay very long. Actually it was cold and windy for most of the week that we were at this park even though it was June. I guess that’s normal for the coast.


Coquille River Lighthouse

After getting settled into our site I posted on Facebook where we were and then heard from my good friend Kelli from back home in Florida that she was also in Oregon that week for work. She just so happened to be staying 20 miles north of us! What are the chances? She drove down to see us one evening. It was so nice to see her! I love traveling but I sure miss my friends and family from home so her visit was a real treat.


There is a lot to do in Bandon! I took the kids on a field trip one day to the West Coast Game Park Safari where you can pet animals that roam throughout the park, and you can also pet baby bears and tigers and other typically dangerous animals during exhibits throughout the day.

We purchased food for the animals as we went in and the deer swarmed us the minute we walked through the gate.



I loved this donkey, he followed us around the park for awhile.




The alpacas were really fun to see. They have such a funny look on their faces!




Jesse and the alpaca making faces at each other.

There were lots of big horn sheep hanging around.



We got to pet a tiger, bobcat, lynx, fox and bear. They were all so cute! Especially the bear.




We were even able to hold some of the animals.




After the Safari Park we headed over to the scenic Face Rock Viewpoint. I’m telling you, the Oregon coast is breathtaking!




We finished it off with cheese samples and ice cream at the Face Rock Creamery.


Historic Old Town Bandon is also very cute, but unfortunately I only took one picture. Not sure why I didn’t think to take more!


We loved our first stop in Oregon and there is so much more to see. I’m so thankful that we will be spending a couple of months in this state. Stay tuned for more incredible scenes from this beautiful part of the country.

Categories: Oregon | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , | 2 Comments

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