Last week was a quiet one here on the blog as we were enjoying family time at the Oregon Coast! The majority of our time was spent camping at South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon. We went to the aquarium, played on the beach, and ate fresh crab!
This road trip, the journey was just as much of a focus as the destination. We took our time driving and split it into two days each way, with a stop in Bend going and La Pine coming home (where we woke up to 30 degree weather!) Spreading out the drive made road tripping much more enjoyable with a toddler, and we got to experience camping in more destinations and environments!
Stay: Tumalo State Park, South Beach State Park, La Pine State Park
***All the campgrounds we stayed in were very nice and clean (hello flush toilets and hot showers!)
Eat: Old St. Francis School (Bend), Brewer’s on the Bay (Newport), Mo’s Seafood & Chowder (Newport)
Do: explore Downtown Bend,Newport Aquarium, crabbing (the boys went out and caught us a crab dinner!), explore the Historic Bayfront in Newport (we got to see a bunch of seals here, which Lucy thought was intriguing!)
There is nothing better than camping in the summer. All the effort of prepping and packing the car up is made worth it while you’re cuddled into your sleeping bag in the morning with the brisk air surrounding you. But with kids… That effort is tripled it seems! We had grand plans of camping at least four or five times this season, but this last weekend marked our second trip! Our first trip, which I blogged about here was so fun but we had the help of three other adults to watch Lou- without that we thought camping would be impossible! But we braved the unknown and joined some friends of ours for a night of nature. I was amazed at how much easier this trip was, with Lucy not even 2 months older! She was happy to explore close by on her own and didn’t stick everything into her mouth.
A few weeks ago, we went up to Sagehen Reservoir for some camping, kayaking, and fishing. The main reason I love Sagehen besides the beautiful setting is that it is so easily accessible! The reservoir is only 2 hours from our house in Meridian, which is pretty great for a weekend getaway. This was our first “real” camping trip with Lucy- we were there for 4 nights and she did really great. It’s amazing how great being out in nature is for kids; I felt like her mind just blossomed while we were there. She learned that the campfire was “hot” and then she proceeded to connect that with coffee cups, hot food, etc. Amazing!
As for the campground, Sagehen Campground is one of three campgrounds on Sagehen Reservoir. At first glance, campsite number 9 seems to be the best spot in the whole place with it’s own beach access and beautiful lake views. It is perfect if you have kayaks but not the best if you have little kiddos who have NO FEAR of water. We were right across from 9 in capsite number 8 and it was perfect for us in our situation. There was enough distance between us and the water that I wasn’t constantly worried of Lucy drowning, but we still had great views. But keep in mind campsite number 8 has terraces- it made for a really neat looking campsite but Lucy was just starting to get confident in her walking so it was a constant challenge to keep her from face planting while she ran down the steps and hillside. But this spot would be perfect for toddlers who are more steady on their feet because they would have alot of fun on the different levels. For activities, there is a 4 mile hiking trail around the lake, plenty of fishing opportunites, berry picking, and many ATV trails. We also found a great beach right off the trail that connects Sagehen and Antelope campgrounds that was perfect for swimming.
Camping with a toddler was very busy, I must admit. But Lucy loved being outside and watching her so happy made it all worth it! We learned a few tips and tricks while we were up there, and here are some items that helped the trip:
- Backpack Carrier: Riding along for hikes lulled Lucy into quite a trance- nap time was close to follow! Find similar backpack here.
- Inflatable Pool Toy: She loved being in the inflatable airplane her grandpa bought her, whether it was in the lake or with bath water inside of it for bath time. It made the perfect portable tub! Fun inflatable options here, here, and here.
- Bubbles: The most portable toy that captured Lucy’s attention for longer than the usual 2.5 seconds.
- Keens: The tot’s walking is still a little wobbly, so having good solid shoes was important! It also helped for when she wanted to walk into the water at the beach.
- Pack-able Highchair: This would have been extremely helpful if our girl didn’t have an aversion to sitting and eating at the moment. The design was great though, and it would have made meal time much more pleasant.