Road Trip 2023: Oregon Coast + Redwood National Park

We kicked off summer vacation this year with a big camping road trip down the Oregon Coast to Redwood National Park. The trip was filled with making memories, s’mores every day, chilly weather, exploring, a tremendous amount of work and planning, as well as the gorgeous surroundings one would expect.

The first day of our road trip we made it all the way down to the central part of the Oregon Coast. We stayed at South Beach State Park in Newport, Oregon. The drive down the coast was really fun – we stopped for the best iced Americano we’ve ever had in Astoria, conveniently located 1 block from The Goonies and Kindergarten Cop houses.

Tillamook, Oregon is home to Tillamook Creamery, so naturally we stopped there for ice cream, cheese curds, mac & cheese and the little amazing cheese square snacks they make.

Our first two nights of camping were overall really great. I had an incredible night sleep the first night {then it went slowly downhill from there} and the kids absolutely love camping, so it was fun to see them experience it again. Of course there are challenges when you combine children and camping, but they were outweighed by the fun we had.

We loved exploring the beach, which was adjacent to the campground! It was not at all warm but it sure was beautiful.

The biggest highlight of the trip took place on our drive down to Redwood National Park. We stopped at the Oregon Sand Dunes {specifically the John Dellenbeck trailhead} and it turned out to be one of the most unique, FUN and incredible experiences I think any of us has ever had. It was an absolute blast!

The sand dunes went on seemingly forever! It was like nothing we’d ever seen before.

Our southmost destination was Redwood National Park – we stayed in the northern portion of the park at Del Norte Coast campground. It was completely opposite from our campground in Oregon – we were surrounded by massive trees and our campsite was private, teeny tiny and tucked up into some bushes.

We spent a full day exploring the park. We drove through Howland Hill Road and ended up doing most of the Boy Scout Tree trail. Our day ended the day at Endert Beach, which was another highlight of the trip.

After our day in the Redwoods we opted to cut our trip a little short. We were all tired of being perpetually cold {it was 55 and windy the whole time} and were all ready to get home. So, we decided to high tail it home, bypass our Hood River campground and do the whole drive in one really long stretch.

Our drive home was just fine – we stopped at In ‘N Out Burger, a fantastic park in Portland, a donut shop in Portland and then made a beeline for our house, which we made it to just before the sun set. It was so good to be home.

All in all, it was a really lovely trip. We had some wonderful family time, made a boatload of memories, had new experiences and explored new places. We learned a lot about travel and what we want and don’t want {hint: we’d like a beach vacation where it is actually WARM!}. We’re happy to be home for the rest of the summer now.