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.
Novel approach to setting up and breaking camp each day as we frequently do. I have enjoyed the times when we can stay put for more than one night and check out what the locale has to offer for exploration.
I just saw a friend’s pictures of her experience “digging for thundereggs in the Oregon hills” and guessed you must have been on the east side of the Cascades in Oregon by the reference to tubing the Deschutes. That area is on our list, coming up soon and I may need to check out those “thunder eggs.”
We actually stay in one place, as far as sleeping is concerned, for several days. We just venture far and wide from our home base to explore!
We are not campers yet it looks like you had a great time. Making memories by traveling is important no matter how you do it.
Sounds like a lot of fun – I agree that finding great places to eat is part of the adventure! Less work too.
Oregon is on my list of states that I would like to visit for the nature aspect. I enjoyed your pictures! The scenic corridor looks beautiful.
The Oregon coast is one of our most favorite places! We’ve been up and down the coast countless times.
Sounds like the best way to camp! 🙂
You had me at foodie! I’m not a huge camper, but you seem to have a good way to go about it!
If you’re going to camp, you have to have good food!
Wow! How interesting!
It’s good to change up the camping routine and I’d be all about checking out the local foodie places.
That is an interesting way of camping. I never really thought to use a campground as basically a sleeping destination. Maybe I would enjoy camping more if it involved fun adventures in the area. Thanks for sharing!
I don’t necessarily like the camping so much, but Oregon is an amazing place camp. Showers are hot and private and campgrounds are quiet. I can keep it up for a few more years.
Looks like you know how to camp and have fun!
Love the sound of Craggy bluffs. The the 2 restaurants look yummy
We enjoy tent camping. Love living the adventure.
We don’t hang around the campground much either. There are mountains to hike and rivers to swim in!
Oh, we have so many hiking and swimming adventures. Let me know if you need any suggestions for Oregon!
Wow what a great spot to go.
Makes me miss camping. And I cannot wait to explore the Northwest!
I really don’t love the camping so much, but I think the way we operate makes it all ok in the long run.
Sounds like a fun adventure! I like to explore.
Where do you like to go? Close to home? Far away? We like a little of both. Stat tuned for more adventures!
Such a beautiful area! I need to get to Oregon. You got my attention with the chicken and waffles. It looks so good!
Oregon is awesome. Love visiting and finding new places each visit.
You got to visit us in our super duper camper, our home away from home, this summer. We like to venture out as well and often eat somewhere other than our campsite. People laugh at us for hitting the nearest restaurants for our meals, but we love it, and the pups are fine if we leave them for short time periods. We call it “glamping” rather than camping.
This year was going to be the first year I cooked using one of grandpa Rich’s griddles over an open fire, but we ran out of wood and nothing open had any. Duh! Won’t happen again.
I’ll let you cook for me next time I’m there!
This is awesome! We have the “glamper” ( splurge after both kids left for college), but this gives me a new perspective! I am just so scared of the bears and moose in Montana!