Silver Falls State Park

We started camping again! Silver Falls State Park had been on our list for quite a while, so when we got the chance to stay in one of the cabins there, we snapped it up.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

You can’t stay here and not do the Trail of Ten Falls. So we did. It’s about 8 miles round trip, and you walk past, around, under and/or behind at least ten scenic waterfalls along the way. This was Lucy’s longest hike ever, and she loved it, even though it rained on us the entire way.

The next day, we stopped in at the Gardner House B&B for some afternoon tea (one of our favorite traditions) and some great stories from the proprietor, whose father was an astronaut!

This is a truly lovely park, with some nice little towns ready to explore in the surrounding area. It’s definitely worth a stop, we loved it.

Fort Yamhill State Park

We had just spent a few days in Lincoln City, and on the way back there’s a place called Fort Yamhill.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

It’s a pretty interesting walk through history. This is where a garrison of soldiers, isolated from the rest of the U.S. Army during the Civil War, spent a couple of hard winters keeping the peace between white settlers and native Americans.

As we walked the trails and looked at the foundations of ruined buildings, it was easy to imagine being stationed here, nearly going crazy from boredom and hunger. Refreshingly, the story was told from all sides, warts and all; there were accounts from soldiers, settlers, and natives. Well worth a stop if you’ve got an hour to spend.

Twin Rocks State Park

Okay, so this one doesn’t show up on the official state park list, but we’re putting it on ours. It has the sign, it shows up on Google Maps, it’s nice, we’re counting it.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

Twin Rocks is tucked a little off the main drag just south of Rockaway Beach, and it’s a pretty good beach.

If we were camping nearby, we’d definitely come out here. Even if it isn’t on the official list.

Manhattan Beach State Park

On our way home from Newport, we took a look at the map and spied this little gem of a state park just north of Rockaway Beach.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

Manhattan Beach isn’t large, but it is lovely. We went for a walk on its smooth sandy shores, drew some pictures in the sand, and thought deeply about our lives.

That’s what beaches are for, right?

Arcadia Beach State Park

On our way home from Bay City, we stopped by Arcadia Beach, a lovely little out-of-the-way spot. It’s just south of Cannon Beach, but well worth a stop if you’re in the area or passing by.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

This park has a small parking lot (so the crowds are self-limiting), a picnic area, a great beach, a few rocks to climb, and lots of tide pools! We must have spent 20 minutes just watching all the little critters live out their low-tide time in these little tiny oceans.

Like I said, well worth the stop. We liked this place a lot.

Munson Creek Falls State Park

Munson Creek Falls is a little park tucked away just south of Tillamook. We’re always on the lookout for state parks we haven’t visited whenever we’re in a new area, and while we were staying in Bay City, we spotted this one.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

It’s a short ¼-mile hike to the foot of the falls – or, as we discovered, to the place where the trail is closed because of a deadfall. It’s scenic, though, and usually uncrowded.

Interestingly enough, Becky had taken Will here in 2013! He’s so little in these photos! Also, it looks like the end of the trail was closed then, too!

It’s a nice little hike if you’re passing through and need to stretch your legs. There are no restrooms, though, so be warned.

H.B. Van Duzer Forest State Scenic Corridor

We were headed back home from Newport, and decided to finally stop at this little rest area that we’ve passed at least a hundred times.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

It’s a perfect place for a picnic lunch, especially if you’re headed toward the Portland area from the central coast. Oh, and if the weather’s nice. And if you have food with you. And if you like that sort of thing. Anyways, we liked it.

Agate Beach State Park

We were in Newport for Lucy’s spring break this year, and what do you know — there’s a state park there!

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

Agate Beach State Recreation Area is kind of tucked away on the north side of Newport, and it’s a pretty comfy place to go visit. There’s a tunnel connecting the parking lot to the beach area.

We didn’t find any agates, though Lucy had her eyes all over that beach. Turns out there aren’t any; the interpretive center at that lighthouse in the distance said it’s been cleaned out. We also had fun drawing pictures with sticks, which was my most favorite thing to do as a kid on the beach.

If you’re in Newport and aren’t already staying on or near the beach, this is a great place to go and get your fill.

Bob Straub State Park

One early September weekend found all three of us at the house in Neskowin, and wanting some adventure. It turns out Bob Straub State Park is just up the road in Pacific City, and the weather was perfect for a long walk.

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

Bob Straub (no relation, by the way – I’m related to the Pennsylvania Straubs) is a day-use park, with a parking lot and an extensive set of trails through the estuary. They’re horse trails on sand, which means they’re kind of tough hiking if you’re on foot, but we managed. We even found three geocaches!

The return path was on the beach, and Becky was worn out due to her hip injury. She suggested that I go and get the Jeep, and drive it on the beach to pick her and Lucy up (Pacific City is one of the rare Oregon beaches where it’s legal to drive). I was nervous because I’d gotten stuck in the sand before, but I was willing to give it a try with our Jeep’s fancy 4×4 system, with its “sand” setting.

Things didn’t turn out so well. It took us about two hours to get off the beach, and we needed help three separate times. We owe a debt of gratitude to those ten strangers. In the end we did escape, and I’ve learned never to try that again.

Devil’s Lake State Park

This is part of our Oregon State Park challenge! Check out our progress here.

While Becky and Lucy were in Washougal, being around her family for some big news, Will and I headed to the coast to check off a state park. Since we knew Will was headed to New Mexico, we had already discussed a change to this challenge’s rules: instead of requiring all four of us to be present, we now require only that at least two of us be there for the visit.

We picked up a fishing rod for him on the way out, so he could practice the skills he’s been picking up in Trackers, and headed to the park, which is right in the middle of Lincoln City.

We spent two full days fishing, reading, boating, geocaching, and just hanging out. It was a nice respite from our somewhat hectic life at home, and left us refreshed and ready for more.