Unplug the Family Road Trip

March 14, 2013 (Updated July 30, 2014)

Remember the old-fashioned family road trip before the iPhone, Kindle and Facebook when you just fought over the radio dial? In celebration of simpler times, we suggest an unplugged spring vacation. Here are some ideas to get you planning (and you can fight for the front seat later).

Estuary Exploring: Visit the South Slough National Estuarine Research Reserve, a 5,000-acre natural area located near Charleston on the South Coast. On the reserve’s mix of open water channels, tidal and freshwater wetlands, riparian areas and forested uplands, you’ll learn about the environmental significance of estuaries and coastal watersheds. Hike or paddle on your own, or join in on one of the reserves many programs.

Rock Hounding: Central Oregon’s Prineville is a rock hound’s paradise. Explore the geologic history of the area while looking for agate, quartz, Jasper and other stones that followed volcanic activity 40 million years ago. Contact the Prineville Chamber of Commerce for tips and maps.

Nature Quest: Go exploring with Nearby Nature in Eugene, a nonprofit organization that leads two-hour hikes and adventures — including  nature walks, day camps, adult workshops and restoration projects — to introduce kids to the natural world. Consider forming your own Family Nature Club to keep exploring.

Hands-on History: The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City brings back its Wagons Ho! exhibit now through June 4. Get your hands on the pioneer experience with this interactive exhibit, which includes a full-scale replica of a wagon, pioneer clothes to try on and various trail activities.

About The

Eileen Garvin
Eileen Garvin lives and writes in Hood River. When she’s not hunched over her keyboard or digging in the garden, you can find her mountain biking, kiteboarding, hiking, skiing or camping somewhere in Oregon.