We head out on so many awesome little weekend trips these days I wanted to start keeping better track of where we went and what we did. If you’re in the market for Oregon-based family vacation inspiration, maybe this stuff will be useful to you, too. Although I realize the chances of that are pretty small. In fact, you should probably skip up this boring little writeup altogether and check out this awesome video of 25 movie scenes that were at least partially unscripted.
Where to go: Crescent Lake in Central Oregon, east of the Cascade Mountain Range. About 80 miles from Eugene.
Why to go: Ridicugorgeous scenery, tons of stuff to do. The lake has glorious sandy beaches, stunning blue-green water, and great fishing. All kinds of hiking, camping, biking, etc in the surrounding Deschutes National Forest.
What to do: Here’s what I recommend, because it’s what we did and we had a great time. Go to the Crescent Lake Resort and rent a 14-foot fishing boat for an hour for $30 (they provide life jackets). Noodle around the lake for a while catching absolutely nothing despite the monster kokanee salmon and rainbow/brown trout lurking below the surface who are presumably laughing at your incompetence, and just enjoy the view. Afterwards, drive around the lake to a deserted spot on the shore for more fishing, rock-throwing, and sand-wallowing. Later, go for a hike in the lodgepole pine/mountain hemlock-scented woods until everyone builds up enough appetite for a pulled pork sandwich and fries at the When Pigs Fly BBQ joint.
Where to stay: Lots of camping and cabins in the area, and we really liked the (well-reviewed) Willamette Pass Inn. Great staff and super comfortable rustic rooms that all have kitchenettes and fireplaces (we paid $135 for their “extra large” room, which was quite a bit more expensive than our usual roadside motel stopover, but a worth-it splurge to have the space). They have a huge video library onsite for the groovy old-school VHS players in each room, which the kids loved. (I loved how it shut them up for two hours. I did not, however, love the repeat viewing of The Phantom Menace. My GOD, Lucas. MEESA HATE YOU SO MUCH FOR JAR JAR BINKS.)
What might suck: It’s still early in the season, and I suspect that in full-on summer the mosquitos are pretty gnarly. In fact, from this site: “Camping is best in the early season while some snow is still on the ground or later after the heat of the summer has killed off the mosquito population.” So if you head there in July/August, be prepared with plenty of bug spray or repellant gadgets or however you keep skeeters at bay (me, I coat myself in 100% DEET, and then I still get eaten alive).
(The boys are smelling an elk bed here. Next they’ll be tasting scat for freshness.)