How do you camp? Do you carry your entire campsite on your back, stand in line for permits to the backcountry? Or do you have a fancy RV that you drive to the campground and set up a home away from home where you can just chill for a week? Do you ever find yourself back home longing for more? Next time, add some adventure.
Every summer my family sets out on a camping trip. If we can call using our campsite solely as a place to rest our heads at night camping. Sure we sometimes light a fire to roast marshmallows. And we do cook the occasional meal on the Coleman stove, but most of our “camping” time is spent doing anything but.
For Us, Camping=Adventure
For my family and group of friends, camping means getting out and exploring an area far from home. We might travel as far as two hours from camp to explore an ice cave or hike to a remote lake claiming to be the bluest in the nation. Destinations have included an observatory to view solar flares through a telescope pointed at the sun, digging for thundereggs in the Oregon hills, and tubing down the frigid waters of the Deschutes River.
I never thought our way of “camping” was common, but I have begun to think we might just be unique. Why? Read on…
Harris Beach State Park
This year, our first destination was Harris Beach State Park in Brookings, Oregon, one of the last state parks on the Oregon Coast before California.
If you know anything about camping in Oregon, you’ll know you need to book campsites when they become available – nine months before your planned travel dates. The campground was full every night of our stay.
Right outside the campground, there’s a small sign pointing the way up a trail to an overlook, a perfect place to catch the sun sinking into the Pacific.
About an hour before sunset on our first night, we left our campsite to make the .2-mile walk up the hill in order to get a good spot, thinking everyone in the park would have the same idea.
But reaching the top after our 10-minute walk, we found ourselves alone. Maybe we were early? Nope. Every night we had an unobstructed view of the setting sun.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
Just north of Harris Beach lies 12 miles of craggy bluffs, secluded beaches, and offshore rock formations.
From Highway 101 you can access one turnoff after another, each with picnic areas, viewpoints, and trailheads anywhere from .2 to 2 miles long (some of which are part of the Oregon Coast Trail).
We spent a day hiking several of the trails and stopping at viewpoints and while there were a few folks about, again we were often the only ones enjoying the beauty of the coast.
If you get out this way don’t miss Indian Sands Trail.
Let’s not forget about the food
Screw hotdogs, chips, and canned beans. We’re all a little bit foodie and we like to find what the locals have cooked up! Two places in Brookings that you can miss are Oxenfrē Public House which my son claims has the best chicken and waffles he’s ever tasted, and Fat Irish Pub which serves amazing an Irish Stew, Shepherds Pie, and Classic Reuben sandwich. Yes, we tried them all!
Next time you set out on a camping trip, don’t forget to include some adventure. Trust me, it’s just as much fun as sitting around a campfire drinking warm beer.