We camped at a central location (Sunset Bay State Park) and did day trips. We've found that when hauling the pop-up camper it is often easier to set up once and then make longer day drives than it is to have to set up camp multiple times. Sunset Bay was a lovely campground with probably the nicest facilities of the entire trip. However, the weather was terrible - we were basically inside a big cloud for the week.
One of our favorite days was our trip to Sea Lion Caves and the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Sea Lion Caves is a natural sea cave where you can see wild seals and sea lions up close. They are noisy! At the aquarium we learned a lot about Western Coastal waters - we especially enjoyed the otters. Watching them roll and play was a highlight of the day.
Just a short drive away from Sunset Bay was Shore Acres State Park and Shell Cove (site of a former mansion). I took a drive there by myself one drizzly afternoon and enjoyed spending a lot of time looking at all of the beautiful and unusual flowers and plants.
The view from Shell Cove was also amazing, and it was a good place to watch for whales. We saw quite a few on our trip - all of them very close to the shore. They're hard to get a picture of though!
|That little spurt of water is the whale.|
We spent part of a day at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. The kids had a great time sliding and rolling on the dunes. We enjoyed learning how the dunes change and progress.
Of course, we had to stop and see Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach - I don't think you're allowed to visit the Oregon Coast and not go there.
Our final side trip was Fort Clatsop - Lewis and Clark's winter fort before they returned to St. Louis. We were especially excited about this stop because we had promised to collect information and photos for Lily's history teacher. We travel because it creates great bonding between us and because we enjoy seeing new things and being on the road. However, one of the best reasons to travel is because we learn about so much first hand. I don't think that my kids will ever find U.S. History to be boring and hard to remember because they've been to so many important spots.
We look at summer as a time to enrich their brains and broaden their horizons. It's our favorite semester.