Last August my family and I drove down to Florence, Oregon. It’s a small town across the river from part of the Oregon Sand Dunes. It is also right next to the ocean, but it is really windy there so I don’t recommend swimming. If you do go I would bring a jacket, though you can still wear shorts.
Some fun activities to do on the sand dunes are going dune bugging, sand boarding, and hiking. Riding a dune buggy is really fun. You go up and down the dunes and when you are at the top of the tallest ones you can see all the dunes around you and the little tree and lake spots between some of the dunes. I would recommend taking the guided tours, where you are in one dune buggy with someone trained to drive them. I didn’t ride the ATVs (all terrain vehicles) but I was told that if you ride them you are constantly getting stuck and trying to get unstuck. Also if you take a dune buggy ride don’t forget to wear jeans and maybe a long sleeve shirt because the sand is always buffeting you because it’s really windy up there. The sand gets everywhere.
Sand boarding is kind of like snow boarding but down a sand dune on a skateboard-like thing with no wheels. There are places that you can rent the boards along the roads near the sand boarding sites. They give you lefty and righty boards as well as a block of wax. A note to everyone who is going to try this: you don’t go ANYWHERE unless you wax your board. You put your bare feet into the straps on the board and then ride down the side of the dune just like if you were snowboarding. The downside of this is much like the least fun part of sledding, climbing back up the dune. All in all it is worth it and an experience you will never forget.
Hiking isn’t really big in the sand dunes but if you visit the beaches there are paths that you can take that go over some sand dunes. One mistake that my family and I made was to try to lie on the beach. Don’t try that because the sand is buffeting you the whole time and it is really uncomfortable. The only place that is good for lying on the beach is in the middle of four sand dunes. Also the wind makes it very cold and the weather is much like Seattle’s except slightly clearer and less rainy.
Oregon has a lot to offer. Here are some books to help you decide where to go this summer.
Simone, Teen Advisor