Date of Stay: November, 2007
Devils Lake is tucked along Highway 101 in the middle of Lincoln City. In November it is a wet campground, with A loop nearly always closed by now - but if you can get a spot, and they are hard to come by, do visit. Part of the world class Oregon Park system, Devil's Lake is no exception. The park features a lakefront dock, a connecting boardwalk through nearby wetlands connecting to a rustic kayak and small boat launch. Walk a bit further to oft visited D River state park at the Pacific ocean. Our stay was puctuated by high winds, making the ocean a spectacular show. The park provided cable and full hook-ups were very welcome due to the heavy rains - and the sheltered nature of this park becomes very apparent when the ocean winds reach gale force. This is a great park from a people standpoint this time of year, as most are shopping or enjoying a show at the nearby tribal facility. Tehy only come in at night, and are quiet after dark. For small children the smaller loops, lake and ocean walking access, and the interesting plants all make for a memorable and non-commercial time. We come back to this park again and again, and make new memories every time. The restrooms are older, and the showers are limited to B-loop - so you will be treking if you need that facility. Everything is Oregon State Parks clean and quiet, with enthusiastic Rangers and volunteer hosts. You can't beat an Oregon State Park.
Date of Stay: September, 2007
This is the one for kids! With a sheltered bay, small camp loops, a FANTASTIC interpretive program with a center and evening programs, included free admission to Shore Acres and Cape Arago, this is a hidden gem in the world class Oregon Parks system. Sunset Bay attracts the best volunteers, and the Interpretive and other Rangers are top flight. Because the park is very much loved, the sites tend to be "hogged out" by summers end, so don't expect manicured grass - expect no grass. But do expect clean everything, friendly people, and if you have any kind of right attitude, you WILL leave smiling. I prefer the perimeter spots, but even a center tent spot is passable with a self contained RV. The only real challenge to Sunset Bay if you are unlucky and don't get a full hook site - you have to travel several miles up the road to a county site to empty your tanks. It's easier to get into Sunset Bay weekdays - and you can easily spend a week just taking in all this park has to offer. This year Labor Day was bad for Sunset Bay, with a death and more than one serious fall, and yet staff handled things with amazing professionalism under challenging circumstances.
Date of Stay: June, 2007
Part of the world class Oregon State Parks, Fort Stevens is probably as good as it gets for combining recreation and camping. There are miles of bike trails, miles of ocean access, acres of nature, a lake, fishing, ancient archeological sites. Amazing. Even though this park is as big as it gets in Oregon, you will still be camping. Don't expect to find paved everything, and do expect to find trees that will probably block that satellite TV, though regular TV works in most if not all of the park. The new showers/restrooms are wonderful, but the old cinderblock jobs are always cleaned many times a day. Camp hosts clean every site when you leave, so the sites are always tidy. And there is a host in every loop, so things never get too out of hand. Those who make a racket can expect a Ranger visit during quiet times. We had a group of teens who got the boot during our stay. No fooling around here! The mosquitos are in fact merciless - but some good spray will deal them a blow. Choose sites that have wind and sun, like we do, and they go away. Fort Stevens is a social event, so if you don't like people, you may not like it here. Expect kids, dogs, cool retro RV's (they are all the rage in Portland) Expect to meet some folks, and get your RV checked out by bikers, walkers, and the occasional squirrel. Bring your bike! If you don't have one, you are missing out on a big part of what this Park has to offer. The KOA up the road rents them - but we haven't tried them. Ride the trolley: There is is trolley in nearby Astoria that is an absolute hoot to ride. Your kid or kid inside will LOVE it. Park at one of several public lots along this waterfront line and ride the whole route. Tons of fun. I suggest parking at the Maritime Museum. Take that in, then go for a ride. Eat lunch at any of the trolley stops. Safeway has good sandwiches for about $4.99 as a suggestion. (We like them.) Children can be a challenge to contain. There are so many kids in the park that yours will want to check out the neighbors, and play play play. This park has bigger loops, and a wide center spline, thus some drivers go too fast. Keep an eye on your little ones as they enjoy their playing - and seniors should be more aware of this hazard. We can go three days with our set-up, so we seldom do a full hook site, as they are harder to get into, and are more "well loved". With electric and water sites there is much less wear. Of note - don't believe the prices quoted on some of the reviews here - there are only two for RV camping: $18 off peak and $22 during peak. Check the OPRD website for details.
Date of Stay: April, 2007
Located adjacent to the town of Tumalo, this state park has much to offer. Tucked in a quiet bowl, the campground shuts down to one loop for much of what Oregon State Parks calls discovery season (October to April), due to the very cold nights in this central Oregon location. The sites that remain are quite nice, but are limited in number, so unless you can go without hookups be sure to make reservations - especially on the weekends. The campground has attractive sites with tables, paved pads, and small brush and trees that outline the spots. Unlike most Oregon State Parks, this on offers little privacy. It does, however offer a very western feel. With cedar service buildings, plenty of juniper, and interesting rock formations, the look of the campground is inviting. There is a small playground for children to enjoy, and the park roadways are inviting for light bike riding. During discovey season there is no Interpretive program, so bring things for your little ones to do. Across the busy local road from the camping area, this park has an expansive and interesting riverfront area with shaded play and picnic spaces. I'm told the fishing can be very good here - the water was too high from runoff during our visit. A note about safety - the water is very fast here, guard yourself and your children and stay well back of the water. During our stay, only a Camp Host was available for assistance with identifying which spaces where available for use - as we didn't have the reccomended reservations on a weekend. This is an older campground, so the tent spaces aren't meticulously leveled. The tent spaces are also difficult to get a trailer into, as they aren't angled for ease of backing - but a talented driver can get a vehicle parked. Your over-air TV should work, ours did. Good water pressure, good electric service, and the showers were hot enough - though the solars get cooler with lots of use, so either take a late afternoon shower or get there first in the AM. I have a few worthy sight seeing stops while staying at Tumalo: Visit the Oregon State Park at Pilot Butte while in Bend, then visit the also famous Pilot Butte Drive-In - a favorite among the locals. I like the Blue Cheese Burger, but it's not for everyone. The shakes are old fashioned, as is much of the way this restaurant works. You'll be glad you went. There is a delightful lakefront park in downtown Bend - on the North side of the lake there is a wonderful playground with a mock tugboat for children of all ages. Worth a walk about. Finally, be sure to visit the amazing Peterson's Rock Gardens. It's an old fasioned, and some times rundown tourist attraction with miniatures of dozens of buildings made from rocks and minerals from all over. It dates back to a simpler time. The plaque at the entrance implores: "Enjoy yourself: It's later than you think" It's inexpensive and fun for all ages - though it is not especially handicap friendly. The location is 7930 SW 77th St. Redmond, OR Phone 503-382-5574. Google it up - there's are several well done web sites about it. Enjoy Tumalo. We do.