Do you ever miss the simple days of playing in the sandbox at the park around the corner? Well here’s the adult version – the Oregon Dune National Recreation Area. The dunes are so vast and vary in riding styles from the beach to open dunes to trails in the trees. A week gives one plenty of time to explore, while keeping them entertained.
When we go to play in the sandbox we normally stay at the Oregon Dunes KOA, but decided to try out a county park this year, Riley Ranch. The KOA has a lot of glamping perks such as full hookups, wifi, laundry room, and a small convenience store. However, I vote for Riley Ranch. They only have water and electric hookups, but with two restroom pavilions that’s not a big deal. What really won me over was the wooded setting that made it feel more like camping rather than a glorified gravel parking lot. Plus, those wooded areas and the playgrounds help keep the kids entertained.
For each visit there are two must stop eateries. Yeong’s Place for a milkshake and burger; the blackberry shake is made with real berries and the helpings are more than generous! Fisherman’s Seafood Market for clam chowder and fish and chips. This restaurant and market is on a floating barge giving you confidence the seafood is fresh from the ocean, especially when they bring in today’s catch to weigh on the scale.
An exciting addition to this year’s trip was Aspen’s first visit to the ocean. I was eager to see her reaction to this new environment and I was not disappointed! She was not thrilled by the waves, but she was crazy for the beach tearing around like a mad woman! Plus she is a natural at wave chasing; those paws were not getting wet more than once. We made the short drive to Horsefall Beach, which is leash optional for controlled dogs. Bring $5 for the day-use fee, but it’s worth it – just like the long haul to the Oregon coast.
Don’t forget your shovel and bucket!