Right now, you are planning your summer vacation and here is a link to Travel Oregon. They start off with a question; Can you swim in Crater Lake? The answer is yes, and they will give you advice on where to swim for beauty and safety. There is a whole section on visiting the Oregon coast and reaffirmation of a pet-friendly policy. Visit: Traveloregon.com You might be able to cross off an item or two on your bucket list.
One camping trip that is a perfect family site, with showers, is MacKerricher State Park. Well under three hours from home, it is nearly in our back yard. The park is bike friendly; the ocean is less so. Right now is pupping season for the local seals. Years ago, we watched a baby harbor seal take its first breath on the near shore washed rocks. Today there are access friendly wooden walkways that lead right out to the point, wheelchairs, canes, and walkers can manage the trek. The park is one of four State Parks on the Mendocino Coast. Just three miles north of Fort Bragg it is easy to shoot into town and back to resupply your s’mores and weenies for the fireside roast. There are many lodging opportunities along the coastal towns if you are not a camper. A visit south to the quaint Victorian village of Mendocino is a wonderful day trip. Work out your reservations now, visit: MacKerricher State Park for maps, reservations, and the very fun Junior Ranger programs. Coats are a requirement when you are close to the icy Pacific Ocean, even in summer. The site has links to an outstanding line-up of camping opportunities all over California.
If going rustic is your thing check out the offerings on the Federal Bureau of Land Management (BLM) web site. A vast array of public use land is available to you. Some sites have improvements, and some are hot sand and vast deserts.
If you are new to camping consider the KOA camping facilities, the one closest to home is the Petaluma KOA. You will have all day to figure out how to set up the tent you bought at Costco last year. There is a riot of kid-friendly things to do. Search their web site for details. A local private campground is the Cassini Ranch on the Russian River in Duncans Mills. Feeding ducks, swimming in the river, ball games and eating an ice cream on the front porch are all available. Search by the name and make reservations for a great summer outing close to home. Casini Ranch is well under an hour’s drive.
Bill Hanson is a Sonoma County native and a lifelong sportsman. He is the former president of the Sonoma County Mycological Association. Look for his column in The Community Voice each week.
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