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Large Family Vacation {Oregon Coast Camping}

Camping and road tripping with our large family.

Road tripping and camping with a large family is nothing but hours (and hours) non-stop fun.

Are you laughing yet?

But really, I love the family togetherness and sense of adventure. This year our camping trip came the day after I got home from BlogHer ’16 (a massive blogging conference).  Yep, I was home from LA less than 12 hours before we left for Oregon. The best part? I didn’t have to do any of the camping prep! The worse? Sleeping in a tent in the pouring rain is not quite the JW Marriott Hotel

It was a shock to the system, but really? I enjoyed the tent more.

My children displayed an all-new super power on this trip. They somehow managed to fight with siblings they were sitting two full rows away from. Now that takes talent.

You know who really has talent in our family though? Apollo. He spent the entire last hour and a half asking “how long until we get there?every. five. minutes. 

I kid you not.

Crossing the Astoria bridge into Oregon.

This is the famous Astoria-Megler Bridge. You  might remember it from last year when we drove all the way from Oregon back to Washington to pee.  

But this time we were driving to Oregon.

To camp.

The drive or Oregon is a long one (since we live right up by the Canadian border). When we drove through Seattle (a city Apollo is intimately acquainted with) he asked:

“Is this Texas?” 

“No, it’s Seattle” I answered. “See, there’s the Space Needle.”

“Oh. I thought the Space Needle was in Texas.”

No, son, your cardiothoracic surgeon is in Texas, not the Space Needle.

Clearly his kindergarten teacher was slacking on the geography lessons

We had a chance to visit the shipwrecked Peter Iredale while on the Oregon Coast.

It rained a whole lot on our trip, something I will share about more later. But for now, enjoy this picture of the blue sky that lasted for a full thirty-seven minutes. That’s longer than a pair of jeans lasts on my boys before they have holes in the knees. 

Just enjoy this view…

We had a chance to visit the shipwrecked Peter Iredale while on the Oregon Coast.

…because most of the time my hearty Pacific Northwest-raised children were huddled up together in damp towels.

Healthy snacks on vacation are easy if you plan ahead!

Eating snacks to keep up their strength. 

I look that this image and imagine this must very much what the crew of the Peter Iredale looked like after their ship (seen in the background) had run aground. Unfortunately, they didn’t have CLIF Kid ZbarĀ® (made with organic ingredients) to snack on. Instead I imagine they were breaking their teeth on hardtack and sipping coffee with no cream.

Healthy snacks on vacation are easy if you plan ahead!

Poor sailors. Or seamen. Or whatever the proper term is…imagine if they had  CLIF Kid ZbarĀ®s, fresh veggies and hummus and raw nuts (some of my kids favorite healthy snacks) to sustain them. Instead they were rescued after they sent up rockets and flares. My kids would be so jealous.

We had a chance to visit the shipwrecked Peter Iredale while on the Oregon Coast.

Tucker, my kid with boundless energy.

It was so great to let the kids spend the afternoon on the beach, running, jumping, digging and exploring. Just like kids were meant to do. Unstructured, active play is so important for growing kids! Did you know that 70% of moms played outside when they were kids but only 31% of their kids play outside today? Crazy. I think part of it is because we are all afraid someone will call CPS if we leave our children unsupervised for 47 seconds while we pee pamper ourselves with “me time”.


We had a chance to visit the shipwrecked Peter Iredale while on the Oregon Coast.

Last year while we camped in Oregon Enoch was in Tanzania with Teen Missions. It was so much fun to have him with us this year!

We had a chance to visit the shipwrecked Peter Iredale while on the Oregon Coast.

We had a chance to visit the shipwrecked Peter Iredale while on the Oregon Coast.

I have so many pictures from our trip. How many do you want to see? 5? 10? 1,458? Sorry, I think I only took 600.Sandy toes on an Oregon Beach.

Mordecai is a sensory-seeking kid and he loves burying himself in sand. 

Mordecai buries himself in the sand on the Oregon Coast.

And occasionally transforming himself into a mermaid merman.

Ah, so many fun memories (and more photos and stories to come this week).

For now, stick dinner in your Instant Pot, check out this cool video about the importance of play and enjoy your Monday!


I was selected for this opportunity as a member of Clever Girls and the content and opinions expressed here are all my own.



  1. Sarah

    Hi Renee,

    I live in Vancouver Wa. We camp over in Astoria quite a bit. I would highly recommend the KOA over there for a night or two. The price per night is high for a camp site, BUT they hire a kids program director for the summer and have amazingly fun activities for the kids. They have a huge barn for rainy days with things to do, an in door and out door pool, mini golf, a large jumping thing (like a fun house) free breakfast, ice cream social, and a lot more I’m forgetting. we do one weekend a year over there for the kids program. oh, they did a murder mystery and you had to talk to the staff dressed up in character, a giant obstical course with a bubble machine….. lots of things

    • Renee

      We saw that KOA every day as we left the campground. I kept checking to see if they had a pool or not. As long as there is water to swim in, my kids are happy!

  2. Lou de B

    Here’s a trick I once had work on my partner’s kid (though he was 10 or so). I gave him ten tickets (printed a funny pic of a kid whining and wrote “how much longer?” on them.) he was told he could ask but would only be answered if he gave up a ticket. So he could only ask ten times. Instead of asking 300 times (2.5 hour trip) he asked just three or four times! Because he wanted to save tickets. Soooooo worth the time making the tickets.

  3. Emily

    Oh I love this! I “only” have six kids but I totally relate to EVERYTHING in this post! It’s great to know that there are others put there going through the same thing.

  4. Lisa

    Hi, Renee! We tried the ticket thing, too – didn’t work for us and the children just became furious when they had no tickets. Our pastor showed us a trick he used with his kids growing up: Use the rear view mirror as a “timeline” The beginning of the trip is the left side, and the end is the right side. Instead of “Are we there yet?” or “How long?” (cause kids don’t have a great sense of time anyway at that age)…they ask, “Where are we on the mirror?” I put with my finger about where we are …so if we’re halfway, I touch middle of the mirror. It seemed to work MUCH better, with much less questioning.

    • Lou de Beuzeville

      I love this! I work with deaf kids, many with little or no language (no sign till they come to us and no success with spoken language). We do a lot of timeline type stuff to make concrete terms like tomorrow or next week. This is goooooood. I will use this in the van when we go places!! They aren’t too bad as are usually excited to be out and about and never travel more than an hour or so or we wouldn’t get back for the end of the school day. I still love it though!

    • Renee

      Denise, I’m not sure if you are a regular reader or not, but my six year old has major feeding issues, so I, too, am always on the lookout. Chuck and I eat CLIF bars on a regular basis and I love that they have a kid version now. So glad this was helpful!

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