Oregon Spring Break Brainstorming

I’m always behind all the other families with planning. I don’t like to set my schedule six months in advance. Unfortunately, to do some of the cool awesome things out there with kids, you need to be more on top of things than I am.

I like the idea of being more spontaneous, of doing things that are consistent with the weather, and the kids’ interests at the time, rather than trying to guess what we might like in the future.

As the kids get older, their interests will be more solidified, and less fleeting.

view from inside a tent looking out over a campsite

But here we are….at the end of February in Oregon, and I’m thinking about what to do for Spring Break.

This is a sort of stream of consciousness post….reasoning out my planning while I am writing.

Let’s see. What are the facts here.

I have the kids for the first half of spring break, and their dad has them for the second. He is is the circus parent, the fun parent, constantly taking them to do this and that so that there is no longer such a thing as a special occasion.

They are a bit numb to awesomeness, because they’ve been getting a lot of it in the past years since the divorce. I’m not sure if their dad is trying to compete or if he just really wants to do all of this stuff each and every weekend, stuff that I probably would have saved for birthdays and rewards (weekends to the coast, mountains, snow, going to splatterbox to throw paint, to the trampoline park, to the gymnastics open gym, on and on).

I am also in a place where I don’t want to afford hundreds of dollars on my weekends to take kids to do stuff. I am a person who thinks kids should be kids and they should be playing, rather than being entertained by adults.

But for spring break in Oregon, this year, I’d like to do something with them that makes good memories. For them, and for me.

Without spending a ton of money, and without having to buy something six months ago (like plane tickets).

woman walking a dog on a leaf covered path in a forest

There is also the lingering (and building) fears about coronavirus. Frankly, in the next month, who knows what people will be doing.

Maybe we’ll all be in quarantine and no one will get to go anywhere.

I was looking at the articles that come up in the google search, and many of the activities that popped up as activity ideas for Oregon involve being around crowds of people (OMSI, Portland Zoo, swim parks, museums, restaurants, art classes).

I’m thinking of heading to the Oregon coast…..not surprisingly. I want the kids to be outside, and I want to avoid crowds. Partially because I don’t want to worry or get sucked into the pandemonium about corona, but also because I just don’t like spending my free time in closed spaces with tons of other people.

So here’s one of my initial ideas.

  • We could try and do the coast from state line to state line, stopping at every park, pull out, and ice cream shop we can find. It would take several days…but in that case, we’d be in luck! Because we have several days! Highlights we could see include Cape Perpetua, the Dunes, Cape Arago, Cape Blanco, Pacific City, Astoria, Seaside, Ecola State Park and Cannon Beach, Cape Meares, Bandon, and more)
  • On the way, we could stop at the Oregon Coast Scenic Railway in Garibaldi is on my list right now, though the tickets are somewhat spendy. ($18 for kids, $22 for adults, $72 if you want your child to ride in the locomotive).
  • Sea Lion Caves (meh)
  • Tillamook Cheese Factory (also kind of meh)

There are some yurts and camping available, though I doubt that it is going to be that warm next month and most of the yurts are probably reserved (I am thinking of the ones at Honeyman near Florence right now though there are more at some of the other state parks.

man and woman watching boats on a body of water

Hmm….maybe camping? Without driving from state line to state line? This does sound like a cool accomplishment to be able to announce (we went from California to Washington!!!) but it also sounds like an awful lot of driving and time spent in the car.

I doubt that there are a ton of people who want to go camping on spring break, because it is likely to be cold, windy, wet. But then again….it could actually be a lot of fun if the weather wasn’t just terrible.

Maybe we could try a night of camping….and then see how it goes? I am looking at the various reservations available at so many different campgrounds. Not much reserved so far…it probably wouldn’t be too hard to get a walk-up site, as most people probably won’t be thinking of camping over spring break in Oregon. (for very good reasons)

But still, I’m wondering if this might be a good option for a memorable couple of days. We LOVE the Oregon coast (it’s beautiful) and the kids LOVE camping.

Although, we’ve only camped for the most part during the summer, when it wasn’t freezing at night time, or super wet or super cold.

It could be a good experience though, to be able to spend hours at the beach and then not worry about having to drive home.

If it weren’t spring break, I would maybe try out camping with the back up plan of being able to retreat to a hotel with a pool, if the weather was bad or it was just too cold. But with spring break….not really an option, I don’t think, because most things will be completely booked up.

I was just looking at some hotels on Priceline….it’s possible to book rooms night now in the $100-$200 range…..but this does go against my goals of avoiding spending a lot of money over spring break.

My motto….you don’t need to spend money to make memories!!!

Maybe the overnight thing is pushing it too far then? Maybe I should plan a day trip to the coast and then do other things on other days of spring break?

Or maybe we just try camping for one night and if it is a total bust we come home?

man and woman walking, holding hands the hands of a small child

After all, a failed camping trip is still a good experience, though it does require a lot of packing and shopping to make it happen. Luckily, I just happen to already have a lot of the stuff required for camping (tents, sleeping bags, camping kitchen, chairs, etc).

I am starting to lean toward camping. That would keep us away from the crowds, would keep me from spending hundreds of dollars (though I always spend too much money on food), and we could always come home if it was terrible and do other things.

And to be honest, I am not terribly worried (yet) about coronavirus. There are more people dying from the flu every year in the United States (and around the world) than there are of corona. People know the flu is bad, yet they don’t bother to do anything in most cases to avoid it (vaccine, hand washing, basic hygiene).

But still it will and would be nice to have some time with the kids without any of these concerns (check my post about the disastrous Great Wold Lodge trip).

Still thinking here…..we could try camping close to the Garibaldi train excursion and then go on the train?

Hmm, I am going to keep thinking about this.

I do love the south Oregon coast….Bandon is just SO beautiful. I wonder if I should check to see if the hotels with pools down in that direction are as packed already as they are on the north coast (all the Portlanders fleeing the city).

I should look at campgrounds on the south coast too….maybe we could do two nights in one spot and another two nights elsewhere?

Or two nights camping and two nights at a hotel with a pool?

Hmm….how many hours of driving would it really be to do a state line to state line trip? Google maps says that it is about 8 hours of driving to drive between Brookings and Astoria.

I’ve got five days to play with here.

So if we hauled a** to get to Brookings on the first day (going down I-5, stopping to do things on the way), we could get up on Day 2 and start our way up the coast.

woman walking on the beach, leaving footprints in the sand

Day One: Get to Brookings (maybe stop at Wildlife Safari)

Day Two: Brookings to Coos Bay?

Day Three: Coos Bay to Lincoln City?

Day Four: Lincoln City to Astoria?

Day Five: Astoria to home (stopping to play in Portland on the way?

Google maps says that the loop (without traffic) is about 15 total hours of driving and close to 800 miles.

That’s two full tanks of gas, and since I drive a big car, two full tanks of gas are close to the price of a hotel room for a night.

Hmmm….maybe just the south coast loop then instead? That cuts the trip in about half as far as drive time and mileage. That could look like:

Day one: Haul a** to get to Brookings down the interstate, play on the way

Day Two: Brookings to Coos Bay

Day Three: Coos Bay to Florence

Day Four: Florence to Newport

Day Five: Back home, play on the way?

Alright, I’ve talked myself into a circle. I keep going back and forth between the idea of doing this road trip, versus camping someplace closer to home on the coast.

Do I really want to drive several hundred miles with the kids in the car, though it wouldn’t be quite so bad broken up over a couple of days?

Or maybe it could be a combination of the two ideas?

Obviously I’m going to have to think about this some more.

I’ll get back to you on this one (and you’ll definitely see how it plays out because I’ll blog about the trip when it happens!!)

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