Renters on the Road: Jamie and Richie Staggs rented the van called Tilly Jane for a six night adventure in May. They covered the beach, sand dunes, forest, hot springs, waterfalls, hikes, high desert, mountain lakes, and an iconic lodge in an 800 mile sprint around the state. Luckily for you, Jamie shares highlights, and great photos, from their trip below.
DAY ONE: Portland, Stumptown Coffee, Cannon Beach, Nehalem Bay State Park
We flew into PDX the evening before and stayed at an AirBnB. The next morning we headed to Stumptown Coffee Roasters, where the coffee was as good as I'd hoped it would be. From there we picked up our camper van, loaded up with groceries and headed to our first stop, Cannon Beach.
Cannon Beach represented the first time I have ever seen the Pacific Ocean and our campground, Nehalem Bay State Park, blew my mind! I cannot emphasize enough how STUNNING this campground is. I had read lots of good reviews on it, but it even exceeded those. The sunset there was just breathtaking and I'd stay there a million times again. The campground was full but didn't feel full. The bathrooms and grounds were clean, but the real gem is #thatbeach. The combination of grasses and dunes and mountains in the background.... #15starsona5starscale.
DAY TWO: Depoe Bay, Seal Rock, Newport, Beachside State Park, Yachats
We headed down the coast and stopped at Depoe Bay, Seal Rock, and ultimately Newport, where we saw sea lions (which were the best things ever). We ate lunch at Newport Diner, which was good (and inexpensive which was a plus) then stopped at the Heceta Head Lighthouse and Devils Punchbowl.
We camped at Beachside State Park, which was quiet, pretty and had hookups. After setting up camp (which with a campervan is easy), we decided to go to Yachats. First off, it’s pronounced ya-hots. Secondly, oh my wow. So pretty; this is a must stop destination for sunset.
DAY THREE: ATVs in Winchester Bay, Susan Creek Campground
Day three brought the event Richie had been looking forward to the most: ATVs in the dunes. We picked Ridin Dirty ATVs in Winchester Bay and highly recommend them. You pick out your ATV, then the sweetest lady ever hauls them to the dunes, drops you off and picks you up when you are done. These dunes were way bigger than I thought they'd be! This was definitely a highlight of the trip and another must do if you are in the area!
After the ATV experience we stocked back up on groceries in Reedsport and headed east towards Umpqua National Forest. Our campground choice for that night was a gem of a place: Susan Creek. This gorgeous campground has a catch though. While there are a few sites you can access without a reservation, the prime spots must be reserved at least three days in advance. Reservation or no, we gave this place the best rating for showers! There is lots of hot water and each shower is in its own "room" so it isn’t the typical "stall shower" concept. Again, highly recommend: no hookups, but you get a spa-like shower experience and a killer view out the back of your campsite.
DAY FOUR: Umpqua National Forest, Toketee Falls, Umpqua Hot Springs, Diamond Lake Viewpoint
We headed into the Umpqua National Forest and our first stop was Toketee Falls. It’s a short hike to the falls (after parking in a well-marked parking lot, just look for the gigantic pipe). While the falls were gorgeous from the viewing platform, we decided to rock climb to the bottom with the assistance of ropes already there (very helpful!). Once at the bottom of the falls it was so pretty!
Next stop: the Umpqua Hot Springs. While en route it is not well marked, once you do find it, the parking lot is very well marked! We made a mistake and tried to make our environment "fit" the directions and we ended up on a nice, but long, hike down the North Umpqua Trail. After three miles in we turned around and hiked back. This threw off our schedule for the day, and gave me a blister, but Richie agreed to keep looking for the springs and we found them!
After leaving the hot springs, we stopped at the Diamond Lake Viewpoint on the way to Crater Lake and saw some gorgeous mountains and some super cute chipmunks. Then long story short, the North Entrance was closed to Crater Lake and we didn't have time to get to the South Entrance and back again to get to Bend by 8pm so we made the sad decision to skip Crater Lake. We headed on to Bend to see my aunt and uncle and had a great night sleep at their house (and got to wash all our stuff and have nice showers!).
DAY FIVE: Bend
We went to Tumalo Falls, then to Sisters for lunch, then we got to do a tour of Deschutes Brewery (maker of Richie's favorite beer!), then had dinner at a food truck area in Bend. Bend is a gorgeous city!
DAY SIX: Smith Rock State Park, Trillium Lake Campground, Timberline Lodge
After a delicious breakfast at Nancy P's Bakery in Bend, we headed north to Smith Rock State Park. There we hiked the four mile long hike, Misery Ridge Trail, which was described as "very difficult.” We had the most gorgeous views during this hike and even saw a rattlesnake! Hikes are my favorite and this one did not disappoint. Like most things on our trip, I highly recommend this stop.
After hiking at Smith Rock, we continued north towards Mount Hood, stopping in Madras where we found a taco food truck that was delicious. Going through Warm Springs we saw wild horses, running as if they got the memo we would be driving by them at that time! Just north of Warm Springs the landscape changed a lot, going from plains to forest almost instantly. We had a reservation at Trillium Lake Campground, just open for the season. Our campsite was so pretty and the lake was gorgeous, but sadly it was cloudy, cold, and we could only see the very bottom of Mount Hood. However, we got to see several bald eagles at the lake, so that was really cool! After dinner we decided to go to iconic Timberline Lodge for some warmth.
DAY SEVEN: Back to Portland
After a cold night, we packed up to head to Portland and decided to stop back by Timberline Lodge. This visit was way different than the evening before. It was warm, sunny, and packed with snowboarders! We LOVED Oregon! It’s a state full of varied landscapes, ever-changing weather, and the nicest people.
Editor's Note: And speaking of nice people, meet the Staggs. Jamie and Richie were traveling in Oregon with their daughter Brittany and her boyfriend Luke. They covered approximately 800 miles in Tilly Jane, a Eurovan Camper, staying at a different place every night. Back home the Staggs are the duo behind Jagg Photography. All of these great photos are theirs.