Willamette Valley, Oregon: Schwarz Campground

We stumbled upon this Oregon Campground when we were on our way to Baker Bay but got discouraged by the crowds. It offered everything we needed and then some.

Campgrounds, dispersed camping, rivers, lakes, and parks fill the Willamette Valley. There are so many options that it may not be easy to find the campground that is the best fit in Oregon. Schwarz Campground is currently top of the list for our last minute, mid-week, get-a-ways.

Here are 5 reason why!

Open Space!

I will even say this again- Open Space! This campground is full of space. There is at least a hundred yards of open grass for any one to use. It was just calling for a pick up football game or a practice round with my pitching wedge.

In addition to open space, this campground closed approximately every other site to allow for better social distancing. Double sites are limited to one at this time (summer 2020), sites closest to the public river access are closed, and a good percentage of the regular sites are closed.

Row River Trail

The Row River Trail is a paved 14 mile rails to trail route. Grab your bikes and hop on just outside the park entrance!

I chose to drive to Dorena Reservoir, drop off CD and the kids and drive back down to the main road in order to ride back towards them. Dropping the car this way was overkill for sure as the trail was easy riding, fast, and fun. Next time we will just leave from the campground and ride as far as we like, then turn around and go back. Either way, this trail was a win!

River Access

The campground is located below Dorena Lake, downstream from the dam. Only two sites offer high quality private river access but there is a well stationed common access. Even in these times of social distancing, there was room to spread out along the river bank.
Note that the dam is several hundred yards up stream but there is a sign indicating that water levels may fluxuate without warning. I took note of the sign as I sent the kids out in their kayaks and I think it is worth paying attention but we were far enough from the dam that I wasn’t too concerned.
We kayaked, explored a nearby island, watched and heard a beaver chewing on a stick, fished for hours, went swimming (it is cold!), and found lost treasures on the river bottom. There was never a dull moment.

Campground. Site access to river.
Oregon Campground: common river access

Huge campsites at this Oregon Campground!

Again, there is plenty of space here, even in non-COVID times. Each side has a large picnic table, fire ring, parking area, and tent site. There are just enough big trees to enjoy but not so many that you are cold and attached by bugs.

Oregon Campground

Hiking Trails, Horse Shoes, A Playground, and Wildlife

There are plenty of wild turkeys, lizards, and ducks. There is a huge open space, horse shoe pits, a playground (closed currently), and hiking trails. You can walk from the campground, through the woods, and to the overlook on the dam. From there you can view Dorena Lake and its recreational boaters. There is a public boat launch several miles up the road and several campers were obviously headed that way.

Oregon Campground

Which park amenities did we use? Well, this is it and it was awesome!

HELPFUL TIPS:

My Sprint cell service was sufficient to download texts but not emails. After driving 4 miles to town, I had enough bars for a zoom conference.

There is poison oak along the trail.

Bring water shoes if you plan to get wet!

Keep an eye out for the alligator lizard. Seriously, we saw it and it was weird!

Please follow our blog for more adventures!

https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/06/24/sprinter-camper-10-upgrades-that-i-love/ https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/06/12/5-tips-for-starting-your-sprinter-camper-make-over/
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Oregon’s Coast, Manzanita: A Hidden Gem.

It is well known that the Oregon coast if full of breathtaking scenery and widespread ocean access. Hidden among the 362 miles of Oregon’s coastline is the town of Manzanita.

Manzanita is in Tillamook county, north of Lincoln City and south of Astoria. It is home to seven miles of coastline and beaches. With a population only in the triple digits, the effects of tourism are obvious. The benefits to those that vacation there are great.

The Main Street

Lenada Avenue is the heart of downtown. Restaurants, coffee houses, and shops have names like Left Coast Siesta, Neahkanie Bistro, Bread and Ocean Bakery, and MacGregor’s: A Whiskey Bar.

The Beach, Oregon’s Coast

From town, the beach is steps away. Our Meredith Lodging rental house was across from Hallensted Park, 6 blocks from the main street and two blocks from the beach.

This sign says it all!
Great beaches!
The main road from town ends where the other people are standing. Oregon’s Coast.

NeahKahnie Mountain

Don’t miss this hike! Oswald State Park offers a 8 mile long mountain loop trail or a 2.8 mile shorter version. The trail is well taken care of and inviting.

The trees are welcoming also

It is a steady but not impossible climb with plenty of chances to slow down and explore. We used our favorite kids carrier a few times, more so for fun than out of necessity.

If you haven’t already, check out the Piggyback Rider Standing Kids Carrier.

Walking is good but a standing child carrier is great

For our hike, we opted for the shorter version. Once at the summit, we agreed that the effort to reward ratio of this hike was great! A short scramble at the top leads to some of my best views of Oregon’s coast.

Oregon Coast, looking south and beyond that as well.

Please follow our blog for more good times!

https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/02/17/cape-perpetua-and-a-sunny-oregon-day/ https://ramblingfootsteps.travel.blog/2020/05/25/leavenworth-washington-in-an-afternoon/
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Cape Perpetua, Oregon Coast Day-Trip.

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The Oregon coast offers views and endless access to the ocean. There are so many options that it is hard to decide where to go next. The coast is one of our favorite winter day-trips.

What to pack for a winter day-trip to the Oregon Coast?

Hats, gloves, rain pants, spare socks, spare clothes, winter jackets, sunglasses, and rain jackets.

Our van stays stocked with food and kitchen supplies but I usually make sure that I have plenty of hot cocoa and a fast way to boil water!

You will also need your Interagency Pass and your National Parks Passport book if you have one.

What does Cape Perpetua and the Oregon Coast have to offer?

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area includes 2700 arces of Oregon’s coast. There are views from 800 feet above the shore.

There is a trail system, visitor’s center, ranger programs, and amazing views. Bring your inter-agency pass and settle in for the day.

Visitor’s Center view. Sprinter DIY.

A paved trail, with a tunnel under 101, leads from the visitor’s center to places with names like Devil’s churn and Thor’s well.

The approach down to the Devil’s Churn.

Are There Tide Pools?

There are tide pools. It is worth noting that these are not nearly as robust as the ones a few miles north at Yaquina Head, but none the less, the kids enjoy them.

Where Should We Eat Lunch?

As usual, we are always on the look out for places to park our van and enjoy a good meal. Cape Perpetua does not disappoint!

Head approximately one mile south to Neptune South. It is sure not to disappoint!

The kids love checking out the beach, running through water, splashing in puddles, discovering beach creatures, skipping stones, making dams, and they will continue this all day if I let them!

The pics do not do it justice!

rocks
beach and stones
Neptune South
sun and views
This is crazy sand.
Coast with a view, wind, waves, sun

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