Oregon: Roadtripping, sea stacks, dinos, and Bailey's first gondola ride

Crescent City, CA

With roads to Crater Lake closed because of forest fires, we scrapped plans to travel east and headed down to the southern coast of Oregon and into California.

While living in California last year, we saw a lot of redwoods and sequoias in Yosemite and The Sequoia National Forest, so we spent most of our time on this trip at the picturesque beaches and tacky attractions along the way; a road trip without a serious destination. Here were the highlights....

Bandon: I'm no expert on sea stacks, but I'd never seen anything quite like this in person. The huge rocks at Bandon Beach tower above the sand in different shapes. One stack, Face Rock, looks like a giant head emerging face first from the ocean as if through cellophane. 

Bandon's small downtown and waterfront was a comfortable place to grab a coffee and walk along the pier before heading on down the road.

Bandon Beach

Port Orford: This beach town lacked the same sea stacks as Bandon, but has great views of its own. Port Orford is often compared to California's Big Sur because of the way the highway runs right next to the ocean (less common in Oregon). We stopped here in at Battle Rock Park to read about the area's violent history and watch the boats getting hauled onto the dock at one of the world's few "dolly dock" ports.

Port Orford

The Prehistoric Gardens: Tacky. But full-sized dinosaur sculptures built along a trail in a rainforest? Dogs allowed? Couldn't resist.

The Prehistoric Gardens

Trees of Mystery: This place is neat. Trees of Mystery is home to a 50 ft interactive Paul Bunyan statue, trees featured in the old Ripley's Believe it or Not books, and a gondola ride through the trees. With dogs banned from most National Park trails, this was a great place to visit without having to drop her at a kennel or leave her in the car.

Bailey in the Gondola through the trees

Crescent City: Another gorgeous beach town. Probably my favorite of the trip. We spent our time here walking on the jetty, watching sea otters, and admiring the lighthouse at sunset.

After living in Anchorage for three months and seeing all the damage and old photos from the 1964 earthquake, it was interesting to read how the same quake also caused a tsunami that devastated Crescent City.

Battery Point Light in Crescent City

Like Route 1 in California or the Seward Highway in Alaska, this scenic drive has too many great pullouts and and attractions to mention-- old bridges, Oregon's largest island, puffins, whales, cafes.

We're looking forward to visiting Oregon's north (Goonies!) and middle coastal areas later in the month.