The Oregon Coast should be on every camper’s To Do list. Being 350 miles long, there are plenty of things to do on that list so you may want to break it into 2 or 3 different trips. While doing the north, we opted to camp at Nehalem Bay State Park because:
National Geographic Traveler calls Washington State’s Cascades Loop: “One of America’s grandest, most spectacular drives.” The inland portion of the Loop runs 400 miles from Everett over the Cascade Mountains (the “south loop”), up the east side of Lake Chelan, and back to Interstate 5 at Burlington (the “north loop.”). At some point, you should take a week to camp it all.
In 2010, we stayed at Snake River KOA as part of our trip from the Oregon Coast to Yellowstone National Park. There are not a lot of campgrounds in the area and the ones that were available were expensive. We decided on Snake River KOA because we wanted to go river rafting and this park has excursions that leave right from the campground. We could also swim in the river to cool down. It is only a 15 min drive to Jackson Hole so its close enough for a day trip and a dinner out.
I doubt Arco, Idaho is a big tourist destination, although it has an interesting claim to fame: in 1955 it became the first city in the world to be lit by atomic power. Not coincidentally, it is also where the world’s first deadly nuclear reactor meltdown occurred: 3 people died in 1961. We also read it was where TV was invented, but I don’t see any reference to that on the internet anymore. Don’t laugh but we chose this town to stay at, in part, because of its history. Mostly though we stayed because its has a nice looking campground within 20 miles of Craters of the Moon National Monument. We visited that monument on a 2010 family vacation that took us from the Oregon Coast to Yellowstone. Read about our Craters visit further down in this blog.
Lake Pend Oreille photo from Wikipedia
Farragut State Park is located on the southern tip of beautiful Lake Pend Oreille in the Coeur d’ Alene Mountains of northern Idaho. It has dry hot summers, making it a great location for campers. The lake is America’s 5th deepest but has a swimming area at Beaver Bay Beach . This horseshoe shaped sand beach is one of the few places on the lake where the water gets warm enough in the summer for a swim. If you travel with pets make note that they are not allowed on any part of the swimming beach.
The first time we explored the Oregon Coast we were in a tent trailer and had two young children. Changing camp grounds did not sound appealing to us and most ocean-front campground reviews suggested you pack warm clothes because of the cool ocean breeze. We live on the west coast so we get plenty of the cool ocean breeze; what we wanted was the warm southern sun and a home base to explore all the area has to offer. For those reason we decided on Jessie M. Honeyman State Park. It was far enough south that we could expect warmer weather, and it’s sand dunes buffered us from the cool ocean breeze while allowing us to experience these unique sand dunes for the first time. This park is a great location for a base camp because of its easy drive to all the great southern Oregon Coast attractions.