My last article detailed the first part of our holiday camping trip. With Thanksgiving behind us, we continued our trip enjoying time as our family of four in Oregon. We last left off in Seaside. To catch up, check out part one of this article.

From Seaside, we drove on to Cannon Beach’s RV Resort. It was my first time staying in an actual RV resort, and a first for our family of four too. I was so surprised there were gas pumps and propane refills on site! I had no idea RV resorts could be popular enough to support their own mini gas stations. Who knew?! I’m guessing most of you reading this… Regardless of the luxury of easy fuel and propane fill ups, my main excitement was the pool and hot tub access!

After a good night’s sleep (as good as it can be with a 5-month old) we got up, got breakfast and hit the pool! We always love getting to go swimming as a family, but we were especially looking forward to it since it would be our 5-month old daughter Molly’s first-time swimming. She looked so cute in her little pink swimsuit! Nolan, our fast growing 2 ½ year old, seemed much more comfortable in the pool than the last time we’d been out. Usually he wants to be held constantly, but this time he had fun bobbing around a bit, with Daddy close by. We so welcomed this pool experience as it gave us a great chance to be wild and active, while still being indoors and sheltered from the cold.

After taking advantage of water hook ups with showers and baths for us all, we made a brief stop to enjoy the beach and view Haystack Rock. The weather was surprisingly warm and sunny. Had we known how nice it would be that day we would’ve planned a longer stay. We had fun walking on the beach and playing in the sand. While it was hard to leave so quickly, we had other fun plans to fit in the day.

We then made tracks to Tillamook, Oregon to check out the Tillamook Creamery, aka the cheese factory. This has been a favorite past time for my husband since he was young. Then on our honeymoon trip along the Oregon coast, we both enjoyed it. And 10 years later it was so fun to be back there again with our growing family.

Never having gone with kids before, I was surprised how much Nolan was interested in the tour. He had fun pretending to feed a bottle to a cow statue, watching the short video clips, and mostly, watching the machines along the assembly line. He would narrate what it was doing as the arms of the machine pushed the blocks of cheese this way and that.

After taking the self-guided tour came the part I didn’t doubt Nolan would love- eating. He loved using “grabbers” aka tongs, to pick up cheese samples. And after getting samples, he thoroughly enjoyed eating his first ice cream cone all to himself. So cute… and yet so messy. Poor Molly would have to wait until the next time to try any food, but the rest of us happily enjoyed our cones.

From there we traveled to our campsite, set up camp and got dinner ready while two sleepy heads took turns dozing off in the truck. After a meal and some play time in the trailer, we got the kids down for the night and spent a little time out by the first (and only) campfire of our trip. Now it felt like camping. We enjoyed talking as well as quietly savoring the peace found in watching the flickering flames.

Before it got too cold outside, we went back in the trailer. With Nolan sleeping on the lower bunk at the back of the trailer, and Molly sleeping on her portable cradle in the “master bedroom” at the front, we were left to lounge in the middle of the trailer ourselves. We sat on the couch enjoying continued peace and quiet while I read a book and my husband played a game on his phone. While we were thankful to make some memories on our first longer trip with two kids, we were also thankful for this time “off the clock” while they slept.

The next morning we got ready as quick as we were able and headed somewhere that may sound surprising during a week of “camping”: downtown Portland, Oregon. No backwoods camping this time. Today we parked our truck and trailer in a large parking lot in town and boarded the train towards the Portland Children’s Museum. We knew when we planned our trip that we wanted some indoor activities that would let Nolan enjoy some laid-back play time, and we were so excited for this.

The train ride in was also a super fun experience for our little guy who loves all things vehicles. He loved watching us pass cars, trucks and trailers on the freeway. And he of course loved when we got to go through tunnels. The walk from the train to the museum, was quick, easy and enjoyable. We had some unexpected fun as we got to explore an old train parked along our route.

When we got inside the Children’s museum it didn’t take Nolan long to branch out on his own playing and exploring to his heart’s content. There was a play grocery store, construction site, veterinary office, and performance stage. But Nolan’s favorite had to be the giant train table and race car ramp. We were glad we planned the whole day around this so we could let him linger and just have fun.

After a break for lunch in the museum’s dining area, and a quick stop to the gift shop, we went back to enjoy the rest of the museum. Nolan loved revisiting the train table and another favorite area- the lighted pegboard. Think giant Lite-Brite! He spent so much time moving those pegs around. He just loved it. Then we stopped at the water play zone and had fun playing in the water current with a rubber ducky, and scooping water.

After our last stop through the outdoor garden maze, we headed back on the train and back to our truck and trailer. After regrouping, diaper changes and unloading our gear for the day, we braved through the Portland traffic and made it to our campsite for the night at Rufus Landing in Rufus, Oregon. It was just a large gravel area open to RVs, but the view was beautiful overlooking the Columbia river.

The next day we finished up our trip by clocking miles back towards home and taking a break for the kids to nap in the trailer so we could run some errands. #costco It was nice to get some business done while we were already out and about. After stocking up and resting up, we drove the remaining miles back home.

While things were exhausting at times traveling with our two little ones, we were so thankful God gave us this opportunity. Memories were made that Nolan is still talking about with such excitement over a month later. And the moments we captured in photos and videos have been cherished time and time again already. By bringing our trailer, we were able to see sites in Oregon that would have made it too hard to get to without our travel sleeping quarters for our little ones.

Though the cold season may change up your camping routine, have fun turning your trip in to a fun and unique experience. Plan some indoor activities and stretch out the camping season just a bit longer. Bundle up and enjoy the ride. Happy camping!

Emily Helgeson
Author: Emily HelgesonEmail: This email address is being protected from spambots. You need JavaScript enabled to view it.
Emily Helgeson lives with her husband and two children in Eastern Washington. They enjoy adventuring together and are learning how to use their RV to continue this lifestyle with their growing family.

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