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.

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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).

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(The boys are smelling an elk bed here. Next they’ll be tasting scat for freshness.)

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Comments

15 Responses to “Things to do in Oregon with kids: Crescent Lake”

  1. Junni on May 26th, 2013 5:22 pm

    Love this. Reminds me of my Oregon childhood. :)

  2. Kim on May 26th, 2013 5:31 pm

    I’m loving your hair! Unrelated to Oregan. :)

  3. Donna on May 26th, 2013 6:12 pm

    JD looks at home no matter where he is….and those boys! Time for some snipe hunting, they are at the right age to bs them into almost anything!
    I have GOT to get up that way.

  4. Kelly on May 26th, 2013 7:43 pm

    Looks beautiful, we’ll definitely put it on our list for a longer weekend.

    We stayed in the cabins at Silver Falls State Park this weekend. Further north for you guys but it was awesome.

  5. Aneets on May 26th, 2013 8:25 pm

    OK all the way on the other side of the world in Sydney (so sadly not likely to hit Oregan any time soon) but thanks so much for the youtube link! Fascinating stuff!

    I second the hair comment too, am loving it longer on you. It is giving me strength to hang in there & keep growing my own. Ugh, it is painful waiting for it to get longer.

  6. Honeybecke on May 26th, 2013 8:39 pm

    What’s really the worst about JarJar binks is that my boys somehow GET JarJar on some level we adults are (thankfully) not privy too and NOW they’re walking around like complete idiots talking like the mutherfucker. Kill me nowwww.

    Your adventure really looks the best. So glad you guys had fun!

  7. Tammy Soong on May 27th, 2013 12:57 am

    I get eaten by mosquitos no matter what, too. The good thing for the family is that I’m kind of like mosquito repellant for the rest of them because I pull all the bugs my way…

  8. pdxhadey on May 28th, 2013 8:39 am

    This looks amazing! I would love for you to start a regular(ish) series of the weekend trips your family takes. I need ideas for this summer!

  9. Cara on May 28th, 2013 9:49 am

    When did your boys both start wearing real, non-kiddy jeans?! Their legs look so… long and… person-like all of a sudden!

    What I really wanted to say though is exactly what someone else already said, and that is that your hair looks really great.

  10. tonya on May 29th, 2013 7:49 am

    Seconding pdxhadey’s thoughts – love seeing the behind the scenes of the weekend trips. Gives me ideas of what to do with my kids at the Minnesota lakes this summer! (besides swimming and dodging mosquitoes)

  11. .303Bookworm on May 29th, 2013 6:53 pm

    Do you Geo-cache? I suspect you’d love it – it’s like adventures/hiking with a treasure hunt combined. Totally awesome (not to mention they’re in all sorts of locations so a good way to explore new towns / countryside or a local park.

    Just a thought :o)

  12. Cara on May 30th, 2013 5:10 pm

    I actually really really appreciate all the OR info you throw out. As moving to OR from Austin is part of our master 3-5 year plan, not only do you continually remind me of our goal and WHY it is that we want to move, but you give me great ideas of what to do when we get there. We spent 9 days last August making the loop from PDX to Hood River to Bend to Euguene up the coast to Cannon Beach and back to PDX and I did NOT want to leave. I really want to bring the kids up with us next time. I know they would love it as much as the hubs and I did!

  13. Judie Ashford on May 30th, 2013 11:28 pm

    Spent eight months in Eugene in 2005-06 and loved it. Didn’t know about Crescent Lake though. Is there a regular campground anywhere near there?

    We went to a Crescent Lake in Washington, when we were staying in Sequim. Hope to return this summer. Port Angeles is on the agenda, too.

  14. Laura thomas on August 2nd, 2013 1:23 pm

    Im trying to look you up in cardsApp and can’t find you. What’s your CBN?

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