It has been a hot minute since I have blogged, but I am planning to change that in this season of life! As I enter a phase of life where my kiddos and family are needing me more, I find myself able to share here a bit more about our adventures!
Like most of you, COVID has forced us to slow down, reevaluate, and restructure. With schools closed, and our kiddos home doing distanced learning, it’s our goal as a family to do at least one trip a month. Not only for the sake of seeing new things, but to get ourselves out of the house, and to learn about new places!
Most of you may know, in July we bought a new to us, 2009 travel trailer. She’s old and needs some love but we are so excited for all the adventures we will take in her and all the fun we will have to remodel her! Our goal is to renovate her and make her an AirBnB to finance our next one! I will do a whole series of posts on that, but for now, let’s talk about our first big trip in the trailer: our 10-day trip through California and Oregon with little-to-no plan, 4 adults, 3 kids, and 2 dogs!
START – Fresno, California
For these who don’t know, we live in Fresno, CA so we started here!
With all of us, we had to take 2 cars. Our family was in one, and my brother, his wife, and their pup were in theirs!
STOP #1 Lake Siskiyou, California (392.3 miles from Fresno, approximately 7 hours of driving)
When driving with kids and towing a trailer, always add extra time to what maps tells you. Finding places to stay with the trailer last-minute was not easy! Oh yeah, did I mention we “planned” this entire trip one week before we left?! We knew we wanted to stay a few days in Siskiyou to visit some epic falls and have a lake day, but finding a campsite for three consecutive days last-minute wasn’t happening. We ended up finding a few single night spots. Because we were last-minute, we had to move sites each night, but it was okay, because we had to do that the rest of the trip anyways! After the first night we were pros at packing up the site in a jiffy!
Campsite we stayed at: Lake Siskiyou Camp Resort: All three nights we had full hook-ups.
Hikes/ places we visited: Burney Falls: This was about an hour drive from our campsite and was so beautiful! Pro tips: cannot bring dogs to base of falls, $10 entrance fee, hike is very mild and kid-friendly to the bottom. McCloud Falls: On our way back to our campsite from Burney Falls we stopped at McCloud Falls. We are so glad we did! This waterfall was a mild two-ish mile hike down to the lower falls, and what we found was the most magical little pools. There were people diving off the top, we could jump in and swim to the base of the falls and it wasn’t too cold unlike Burney Falls which was Freezing!
Lake Siskiyou Pro Tips: In July, the weather is warm, there were no mosquitos which was so nice!
We rented kayaks one day and kayaked across the lake to a sweet little bridge and cove where people were bridge jumping. It was truly the best day!
STOP # 2: Crater Lake, Oregon (136 Miles, 3 hour drive)
Campsite we stayed at: Mazama Campground: We stayed here for two nights, which we could also not find consecutive reservations for. However, when we checked in we asked if we could stay in our spots and they let us! We did not have full hook-up sites.
Hikes/ places we visited: Toketee Falls, 39.8 miles from Mazama approximately 1 hour drive. The hike is about a .8 of a mile, beautiful, along a river, easy enough for kids and dogs, however it doesn’t lead you to the base of the falls, it leads you to a viewing deck. The hike to the base of the falls is too strenuous for children and considered strenuous for adults. From Crater Lake, we had no more reservations or plans so we decided to drive west to the northern coast line and make our way down the coast back to Fresno.
STOP #3: Eureka, California
I would not recommend making Eureka one of your stops if you’re looking for a coastal experience. I mainly wanted to go to Eureka to visit my favorite Brewery, Lost Coast but due to COVID-19, they were closed, of course. Eureka was nothing we expected and there was nothing for our family to do there. Luckily, We ended up finding an RV park that took later check-ins, had full hook-ups, a laundry room, and a play structure, so we stayed there for the night and continued down the coastline.
STOP #4: Mendocino, California (254.1 Miles, 6 hour drive)
We absolutely LOVED Mendocino! We didn’t have a place to stay, but luckily found a beachside overnight parking lot, across the street from Van Damme State Park. We originally planned on only staying one night here but we loved it so much we stayed two! Technically they only allow one night stay, however they let us stay two! It was a $40 nightly fee! We were able to have a bonfire on the beach each night and right up the hill was the Big River where the river and ocean meet. This area was so perfect for our family! We packed up the trailer, drove over there for the day, played all day, and then drove back to the parking lot to sleep. Next time we go back we definitely want to make reservations for Van Damme but this worked out perfect!
STOP #5: Tomales Bay, California (128 Miles, 4 hour drive)
Our original destination was Bodega Bay, however, we had no luck finding a turnout to boondock at. We ending up driving through Tomales bay and found the perfect little spot overlooking the bay!
Some people aren’t as comfortable boondocking because you’re quite literally on the side of the road, but we loved it. Can’t beat free!
STOP #6: HOME! (245 miles, 5.5 hour drive)
By the end of the trip, we had no clean clothes, we were super dirty from a few days of no hook-ups, but WOW were our hearts so full after so much time spent together. Most of the locations didn’t have service so we spent a lot of great, quality time together.
If you’re like I was, and have traveling-with-kids anxiety, need a perfect plan, and need to have everything mapped out hour to hour—I highly recommend giving up your anxiety, releasing your desire for control, and hitting the open road! There is so much beauty in this world and it’s out there waiting for us to explore it!
Alexandra Register is the Owner and CEO of KLSD in Fresno. View the full blog post for links, travel map, and pictures from each stop!