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After more than 6 months on the road and about 2500 miles, we have a few favorites to share. Here are our top west coast travel destinations, in no particular order. The links within are to posts with more details about our visit to each place.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #1: Portland, Oregon
You knew this was coming, right? Portland has a very nice RV park outside of Portland proper on Hayden Island, which gives you access to everything in Portland without having to stay in the hustle and bustle of the city. It’s also reasonably priced, even in the summer.
Portland itself is friendly for all modes of transportation. They have a very good public transportation system, and bicycle lanes and paths abound. They even signs around town saying how many minutes by bicycle until this or that landmark.
Portland is an excellent place to go if you’re a foodie. They have all kinds of food for every taste, but they are a top spot for vegan food. There are so many vegan restaurants, and within them many gluten-free options. So neither of us had any problem finding things to eat.
Portland is also beautiful. It sits on the Willamette River and is filled with trees and vegetation. Mountains surround you and the ocean is only a few hours away.
The only unfortunate things about Portland were the summer heat and how little time we were able to spend there.
Needless to say, we will definitely be going back and hopefully will stay longer next time.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #2: The Trees of Mystery in Klamath, California
The Trees of Mystery is in the Redwoods National Park on Highway 101. They have RV parking, a museum, restaurant and gift shop.
The trail is self-guided through a forest with some ancient trees. They also have a gondola called Sky Trail that travels 1500 feet up the mountainside that gives you a treetop view. You can then either take the gondola back down or walk down.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #3: Safari Game Park in Bandon, Oregon
No surprise the Safari Game Park is on the list, either. This park has over 75 animal species in one place. Several types of animals roam free throughout the park, while you can pet and/or hold many other baby animals including possums, bears, bobcats, tigers, leopards and more. The baby animals are hand-raised and some of the handlers have worked there for decades. Besides being cute and fun, a visit to the park is an excellent educational experience. They also have room for RVs to park in their spacious parking lot.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #4: Sacramento River Trail in Redding, California
You may remember Redding as our first stop along our full-time journey. While it was insanely hot when we visited, we still were able to take a nice, long bike ride along the Sacramento River walk/bike path. Along this path you can find the Sundial Bridge, an arboretum, and the Keswick Dam. There are also several other connecting bike trails to take you even further.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #5: High Life Adventures Zip Lines in Warrenton, Oregon
Zip lines are neat because you can feel the exhilaration of a physical activity without the need for any athletic ability. As long as you can follow instructions and allow yourself to be strapped into the equipment, off you go! And there is an expert at High Life to send you off and catch you at the end, too.
The guides are friendly, and the walk between each zip line is very short. You travel through beautiful trees and over ponds and grassy meadows. We had a great time.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #6: Downtown Seaside, Oregon
The cute coastal town of Seaside has all the tourist attractions you would expect, from restaurants and shops to boutique hotels and a public beach. My two favorite spots are the Promenade, which is a walk/bike trail right along the beach, and Yellow Curry Cozy Thai, which had the BEST yellow curry I’d had in quite a while. I think Ryan’s two favorite things were the Funland Seaside Arcade, (where he spent several hours one day while I worked) and Sharky’s, home of the Shark Ride.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #7: Oregon Coast Aquarium and Aquarium Village in Newport, Oregon
Several of our favorite places are all from one weekend! We made a lot of stops over 4th of July weekend, and it was a great time. The Oregon Coast Aquarium has both indoor and outdoor exhibits with all the favorites: sea lions, sea otters, penguins, sharks, and jellyfish. They are also home to an octopus, eels, rays, and much more.
Within walking distance of the aquarium’s parking lot is Aquarium Village, a cluster of colorful shops and restaurants. The aquarium has an oversized vehicle lot with plenty of room for several RVs.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #8: Calico Ghost Town in Yermo, California
This ghost town is open during the day, which has an advantage because all the shops are more exhibits are open as well. But we had a great time taking the night tour of the town and mine. As with most ghost towns, it has a very interesting history and the tour guides did an excellent job of relating stories of the town and people who lived in it.
The town is part of the San Bernardino County Parks system and has its own campground. There is also RV parking on site for those stopping by for just the day.
Top West Coast Travel Destination #9: Kernville, California
Especially the Kern River Valley Museum. The docents there put it over the top with their knowledge and passion about the area’s history. But really, everyone in Kernville was so friendly and welcoming, and the whole town is so darn cute.
That’s our round-up for our favorites as we near month 7 of travel. But really, just about every place we’ve seen has something good going for it. Even when we were trapped on the side of the highway with no brakes for a weekend, there were some awesome views.
Nothing is ever perfect. But I know that traveling has changed me for the better. An increased optimism has come with it, and greater appreciation for everything around me.
Along with this post I am adding a list of our favorite RV parks to our resource library (which you can get access to below), along with websites and contact information. That way they will all be in one place and nobody has to go hunting through all the posts for recommendations.
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