Vacation spot help - N Cal or S Oregon

Discussion in 'The Watering Hole' started by tkbslc, Mar 7, 2016.

  1. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I'm not too familiar with the Oregon/CA border area and was hoping maybe someone could help me with some recommendations. I have this idea for a family vacation where I want to rent a house near the ocean. I kind of have these requirements in mind:
    1. Picturesque Ocean views
    2. Coastal Cliffs
    3. Beaches for kids to explore (I know the water will be too cold for swimming)
    4. Proximity to Redwood forests and easily accessible hikes
    5. Not in a densely populated area, but still access to restaurants and services.
    6. Not crazy expensive
    7. Nice temps in summer.
    Any ideas of cities/towns to look at?
  2. gr6825

    gr6825 Mu-43 Veteran

    Oct 10, 2012
    Beautiful country! Obviously Redwoods. There are lots of state parks in addition to the national park. Fern Canyon hike is a popular spot, and I think worth it. Jedidiah Smith state park should be great. In terms of places to stay, look at Eureka/Arcata. Crescent City is right on the spot, but maybe fewer options? You'll have a great time :)  I think you will want wide angle or fisheye for some cool redwood shots.
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  3. PacNWMike

    PacNWMike Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Dec 5, 2014
    Salish Sea
    I'm kinda partial to the central...southern OR coast. The farther from Portland the better it gets. Expect cool temps and fog all along the coast after June or so. If it is foggy just go inland a few miles.
    • Like Like x 1
  4. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    I live in Bandon, which is a prime spot for that sort of stay on the Oregon Coast. Not a lot of redwoods around here, they're further south. If you want to be smack in the redwoods, Crescent City CA is right by Jedediah Smith state park and some great redwoods. The southern coastal tip of Oregon is close by too, with towns like Brookings, and, further up, Gold Beach (where you can take a jet boat ride up the Rogue River that is actually really worth doing for the wildlife you can see: bald eagles, black bears, river otters, etc). Keep in mind it rains a ton here -- when I was a teenager my family took a 2 week camping trip in the redwoods where all but 2 days were solid rain -- but late spring on is pretty great.

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  5. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    I was thinking maybe August time frame. I gotta work around school schedules, sadly. Is it rainy then? It's gotta be more bearable than Salt Lake, which is typically 95-105F without a drop of rain for weeks at a time during Summer.
  6. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Weather is typically pretty great around here in August, though keep in mind the beaches here are windy and on the chilly side at the best of times. Rain shouldn't be much of an issue in August.

    There is a ton of tourist traffic on the roads in the summer though, so it slows things down when the highways and makes it harder to find hotels or campgrounds during that season. If you're into planning a lot in advance it's a good idea to get those bookings out of the way ASAP.

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  7. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Yeah, common just about anywhere good in summer, sadly! That's why I am looking now. I have 3-4 weeks of paid vacation to burn this year or I lose it. I also have to convince my wife and kids the 14 hr drive is worth it. :) 

    P.S. You have a double gear sig now and the larger text one shows up in any quotes (I removed it when replying). Strange.
  8. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    I don't know how old your kids are, but if you want to break up the drive from SLC to the OR coast, Crater Lake would be a great place to stop on the way.

    We did a really nice loop a few years ago where we went from Crater Lake to the coast following the course of the Umpqua River (couple of nice hikes with great water falls along the way) and then up to Florence along the coast, spent a couple of days in Florence and then drove down to Gold Beach and spent 3 days there before going to Ashland and then heading back down to the bay area. This was in late July/early August and the weather was great. Beaches are going to be a challenge, though. Any beach north of Monterey on the CA/OR coast can be windy and cold in the summer. In fact, do pack good jackets for the coast :) 

    If you are planning to stay in one place, then Bandon/Gold Beach would make a good spot from which you can drive out and do a bunch of stuff.

    If you do go to Florence, the Oregon Dunes are magnificent and you can try sandboarding if you guys are into snowboarding. There are also nice tidal pools and lighthouses and all that stuff along the coast. Also second the idea of the Rogue River jet boat. Definitely worth a do.
    Last edited: Mar 8, 2016
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  9. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2013
    Good suggestions all round, the trip Sameer suggests sounds real nice!

    We've been to the Redwoods a few times over the last years and loved it every time. Our preferred stay was in Crescent City. The city itself isn't really pretty or picturesque, but it has a really nice coast (and a fair choice of restaurants and a Safeway supermarket :)  ).
    Not sure if you'll be able to rent a house with ocean-views right there, you may have to look in the general area for that. (We always only booked a motel to sleep and were out hiking all day).
    From there it's worth exploring the coast - both north and south. There's nice stretches of coast all over - and the Redwood State Parks in that area are great too.

    In my opinion it's definitely worth the long drive. Here's some impressions I posted over at photographerslounge over the years. (But you probably already know that the Redwoods are great :)  )

    a weekend in the Redwoods

    Redwood Coast in late December

    Redwoods - For a few days more...

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  10. Abfahrt

    Abfahrt Mu-43 Rookie Subscribing Member

    Nov 2, 2015
    Squaw Valley, California
    Pete Bansen
    You could start at San Francisco and work your way north, enjoying the variation along the coast, the rugged cliffs, redwood groves, cute little towns and great food. In terms of finding one spot that sort of has it all, I think you'll have the most luck and the greatest variety of available rental houses if you're somewhere near Fort Bragg, Eureka or one of the larger towns in Oregon. There are wonderful redwoods close to Fort Bragg and pretty much everything else you list within an easy drive. Oregon is better suited for beaches. The Oregon Dunes are great and Crater Lake is a must, even if you have to drive some to get there.
  11. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Thanks, I'm using the new app and I think the signature is doubling up. I disabled the app Sig.
  12. agentlossing

    agentlossing Mu-43 Hall of Famer Subscribing Member

    Jun 26, 2013
    Andrew Lossing
    Crater lake is truly beautiful but it's a long ways from the coast. I recommend staying in Medford or Jacksonville (worth visiting in its own right, it's a former wild west town and has great shops and restaurants) between the coast and crater lake.
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  13. slmoore

    slmoore Mu-43 Regular

    Feb 15, 2014
  14. Wisertime

    Wisertime Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Aug 6, 2013
    I've always loved N. Calif/SF/Yosemite, but went to Oregon/WA two summers ago and just loved every bit of it. That said, you can't go wrong with either.
    Similar to SVquant we did a loop after staying in Seattle for a weekend (cheaper flight, place to stay w/relative and never been). We drove up the Columbia river, which is a wonder in itself and full of great waterfalls, through Hood River and up to Mt. Hood for a few days. Then through Bend on the way to Crater lake. That was a long drive, but it's all beautiful and ever changing scenery, so no complaints. Crater lake is one of a kind, but you need to spend at least one night, if not two to relax, get a boat ride, get photos and take it all in.

    The Oregon coast was amazing. The drive along Umpqua river was nice and drove from Reedsport to Astoria, spending a night in Newport area by the lighthouse at Agate beach. I regret not having more time to explore the coast. I'd love to go back and spend more time. Being from the East coast, I've never seen a beach with a tide that goes so far out and the dense fog makes for some interesting photos. Lots of mountain views and scenic stops on the coastal highway. I liked Agate beach. Our hotel was semi secluded...the beach was awesome and not crowded (August/early Sept)..with big dunes, plenty of restaurants at the hotel or town nearby, but not overcrowded or to busy feeling. Some cliffs and lighthouse to explore, state parks not far away. Great sunsets too.

    Tillamook had some really cool massive dune/hill (see below). I can't wait to return to OR. I'd move there in a heartbeat. p563985838-4.

    View from moderately priced hotel on Agate beach.
    Hard to believe, but not too far behind the hotel was a Walmart, but you'd never know it was there, as it's separated by woods/terrain.
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  15. tkbslc

    tkbslc Mu-43 Legend

    Awesome guys, thanks! I'm getting excited to go if I can find a good week open.
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  16. Tilman Paulin

    Tilman Paulin Mu-43 Veteran

    Jun 10, 2013
    This dune is in Pacific City though. Tillamook has the cheese factory :) 
    Either way, your trip sounds great. Truly hard to go wrong out here!
  17. Clicka

    Clicka Mu-43 Veteran

    Jan 28, 2014
    Peter Campbell
    You've got many great shots & memories there. I enjoyed looking through them. Your Fiery wave is very cool.
    • Appreciate Appreciate x 1
  18. SVQuant

    SVQuant Mu-43 Hall of Famer

    Sep 20, 2015
    SF Bay Area, California, USA
    Just wanted to add that trip I mentioned above was in 2008 when my older two were 6 and 3 respectively. We have been up and down the Pacific Coast from Santa Barbara to Portland pretty much every year since and the kids love it (including the youngest who is now 5). It is hard to go wrong as long as you remember those jackets :) 

    Hope you make the trip. And post photos.

    Here is a photo take from the balcony of the Best Western (I think) we stayed in Florence.
    Sony DSC-W50 as I was still primarily shooting film in those days.
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  19. 211Oakland

    211Oakland Mu-43 Regular

    Apr 16, 2014
    Love the Oregon coast. I agree Bandon would be a nice place to stay. Or Port Orford. Or lots of other places. It is crowded in summer, but so what? If you need to get a bit away, just inland are lots of areas with hardly anyone. Go stay up the Rogue River a ways for example. Good way to beat the weather if it's foggy/windy at the beach.

    I'd highly recommend Sullivan's guide book for hiking there. Lots of good info besides the hikes.

    And maybe camping is an option. You could do the RV rental (some charge mileage, so maybe cheaper to drive out and pick up in NorCal or Portland or wherever). But another option is trailer delivery to a campground. They drive it there and set it up; you just show up and move in. OR's coast has some very excellent state campgrounds (much better than CA's). Honeyman, Bullard Beach near Bandon, Sunset, etc. They have hookups and all the amenities, and aren't far from daily drives to nice locations.
  20. Schwert

    Schwert Mu-43 Regular

    Mar 2, 2016
    Pacific NW
    Ashland OR...the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is something we have enjoyed many times when we are in Southern Oregon.

    Oregon Shakespeare Festival

    Crater Lake is a not to miss place, but the rim road is usually not plowed open all the way around until around June or later. Check road conditions here:

    Current Conditions - Crater Lake National Park (U.S. National Park Service)

    Access to the lake is great around the lodge but getting all the way around is grand.

    The Oregon Coast is beautiful and access all along 101 is easy and the sights varied.

    Have a great time.
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