Here’s another entry in the Things to Do in Oregon With Kids category (previously: Crescent Lake), if I actually had blog categories, which I totally don’t because the last time I tried to mess with my WordPress theme everything blew up and I vowed to never ever ever touch it again. PHP WHUT?

The Rogue River has a special place in my heart. It’s so gorgeous and wonderful and I’ll always remember hiking the trail in 2010 and writing afterwards, “What if home were closer to all of this? Thinking, planning, plotting. How to get from here to there.” We’ve camped in the area four years in a row now, and this past weekend was the second time we stayed at the Indian Mary campground with the boys.

Where to go: Just past Merlin in southern Oregon, about 140 miles from Eugene.

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Why to go: The Rogue River is a must-see part of Oregon. Summers are hot and sunny and the scenery is unreal and you’ll never want to leave.

What to do: If your ideal family vacation includes shopping and spa visits, this probably isn’t the place for you. But if you like outdoorsy stuff, the options are limitless: hiking, boating, whitewater rafting, fishing, camping, etc. You can bring (or rent) a raft and do a brief leisurely float, or you can hire a guide and spend several days on the wild section of the river. (I did this once with JB years ago and it was absolutely amazing. I wouldn’t do it with the kids yet, though, because I’d be too nervous about their safety.) Next time we go I want to do a jetboat ride again, because those are crazy fun. You can hike a short section of the the Rogue River trail or walk the whole damn thing. You can park your ass in a chair in the sun and watch your kids throw rocks in the water for like 15 hours.

Where to stay: I can’t recommend the Indian Mary campground enough for families. It’s got great bathrooms, showers, a big playground, a disc-golf course, a basketball court, RV hookups, and so on. There’s a tent-only section that gets a little crowded, so here’s a tip: the very best spots are 54, 56, and 58. The camp is right on the river, and just a couple miles from the awesome Galice Resort where you can buy stuff at the little store or have lunch on their deck.

What might suck: Nothing will suck, except coming home and dealing with the giant pile of camp laundry.














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30 Responses to “Things to do in Oregon with kids: camping on the Rogue River”

  1. shel on June 18th, 2013 11:48 am

    How do you go camping and have your hair look that amazing?!

  2. Pete on June 18th, 2013 11:48 am

    Car camping can be such a blast!

  3. Daisy on June 18th, 2013 11:49 am

    Rafting the Rogue River was my high school graduation gift from my Dad- he took me and my brother before I left for college. Best trip ever. Worth keeping in mind that a good portion of the river requires a permit to raft/float and you’ll need to enter the lottery and hope you get a permit. Such a gorgeous part of the country- jealous you are so close (in comparison to me)!

  4. Nicole on June 18th, 2013 12:08 pm

    God that’s gorgeous. You all in the land of real green and water are so lucky. We in the land of brown and brush fires (Southern California) covet your green… and your water. Our little family loves to camp, and last year we bought a 1975 Apache hard-sided tent trailer. It’s old and fragile (like most things from the 70’s – Including me) and a total pain in the ass to put together (also like me) but we absolutely love it. I paid $1,000 for it and restored it myself for about another $1,000 – Proud of that. Anyway, we’ve taken it to Santa Barbara several times and Malibu. I would so love to take it to Oregon this summer, but man is it a long drive from LA. Thinking, planning, plotting, indeed.

  5. IsaNM on June 18th, 2013 12:20 pm

    I can not tell you how “homesick” these pictures make me. I lived in southern Oregon for several years, and used to go rafting on the Rogue.

    So beautiful, so green. One of the most gorgeous places I know.

  6. Sara on June 18th, 2013 12:53 pm

    What tent do you have? It’s huge!

  7. Christine on June 18th, 2013 12:53 pm

    It’s all very lovely; but may I say that your hair is staggeringly amazing? Just wanted to put things in perspective.

  8. Emily on June 18th, 2013 2:10 pm

    That looks amazing! I wish we didn’t live 3000 miles away or I would bring my kids there in a heartbeat! Wonder if any commenters are from the northeast an know of a similarly great spot out here???

  9. Leah on June 18th, 2013 5:08 pm

    I too was wondering about that amazing hair! The tent is nice too!

  10. JB on June 18th, 2013 5:17 pm

    I’d just like to add to the admiration of your camping hair.

    Mine is always scraped back into a fuzzy nasty ponytail when we camp and I hate the photo’s.

  11. Crystal on June 18th, 2013 6:18 pm

    Seriously, ‘fess up about the hair. Do you have a fairy (hair-y?) godmother?

  12. Kris on June 18th, 2013 7:34 pm

    Good Lord, is there room in Oregon for my little family of 3???

    I’ve been reading you forever, and I swear, this is the happiest & most content you’ve ever looked. I want that.

  13. Philip on June 19th, 2013 12:19 am

    “Where to go: Just past Merlin in southern Oregon”

    Oh, so that’s where he is these days!

  14. Adrienne on June 19th, 2013 5:54 am

    Where did you get that lovely top? Also, your hair looks fabulous.

  15. Tia on June 19th, 2013 6:16 am

    I love the picture of all the Sharp men. And the picture with you and the boys looks great!

  16. LizP on June 19th, 2013 10:01 am

    You said my two favourite words … great bathrooms! And it’s only two hours from the EUG!

  17. Elaine on June 19th, 2013 10:48 am

    If you want another version of a jet boat ride, go to Gold Beach on the coast and ride Jerry’s Jets up the Rogue. It’s amazing. (My dad upholstered the seats in the jet boats – he had an upholstery shop in Gold Beach for many years.)

  18. Jennifer on June 19th, 2013 11:43 am

    The photo of you in the lawn chair IN the river, sunhat, book-reading, feet in the water. Ahhh. I want to transport myself into that scene.

  19. Sarah on June 20th, 2013 8:40 am

    You look so happy. Yay, yay, yay!
    Also jealous of your camping hair! It looks magical!

  20. Jill on June 23rd, 2013 6:46 pm

    Ahhh, Galice. I was a waitress he was a river guide. the rest is history. Loved this post. Hope you had some Dutch Bros while you were here. Have to ask where you got the awesome red, white and blue top

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