Roadtrip to the Oregon Coast with Four Dogs

Pie and I are no strangers to having a pack of dogs under our care. We have volunteered for many petsitting gigs for close friends over the past decade and even taken our extra furry friends along for camping and hiking adventures [see examples 1-15 below].

When it came time to decide how we would take our “big” annual vacay this summer with our new Sausage Squad, we both felt up for the challenge of doing a roadtrip to a fun destination. This was also pretty much our only option since we couldn’t board neither our young puppies OR senior pups (nor did we want to leave them behind anyway).

We knew immediately that the destination we wanted to reach was the Oregon coast. During the pandemmy in 2020, we spontaneously decided to do a roadtrip to the California coast between the Christmas and New Year holidays and we made such great memories camping along the way and treating our senior weens to their first ever visit to the beach. The puppies would be lucky because they only had to wait four months for their first beach visit and the senior weens had to wait 14/15 years!

We booked Airbnbs in Bend, Oregon, and our final destination, Waldport, Oregon, but the rest of the journey would be all camping, since it would be unreasonable and expensive to keep trying to find lodging along the way that allowed four wiener dogs. We chose Waldport as our final destination based solely on the fact that it was one of the only beach Airbnbs we could find on the Oregon coast that was available for our time frame and allowed more than two pups.

Although the trip turned out to be much more work than we’d like a vacation to be, we ended up with some great memories doing a roadtrip filled with what we do best, spontaneity and adventure!

Day 1 >> Colorado to Utah

Bright and early on the first day of our trip, we packed our Jeep to. the. brim!!! It’s impossible to pack light for an 11-day trip with four dogs! Pie and I are not Spring Chickens and we knew we were not going to bounce back easily from endless nights camping on a cold, hard ground, so we spared no room packing for extra comfort.

While we had already had quite a few camping trips under our belts with the Sausage Squad, we usually had more room in the vehicle during our quick weekend trips. For our Oregon coast roadtrip, we ended up purchasing a small dog bed that could sit on the middle console up front between Pie and I, that way both the shot-gun pup and person riding passenger would be comfortable. The other three pups had to share a Snoozer booster dog bed in the back.

We dealt with blinding sunshine almost the entire eight hours to our first campsite in Strawberry Reservoir outside Salt Lake City, Utah, but as luck would have it, in the final stretch before arriving to our destination, the weather didn’t just turn cloudy, but was also rainy! This felt like a punishing and disappointing start to our trip because arriving to a soggy campsite after the dogs had been locked up in a vehicle for over eight hours straight was not ideal.

Our view overlooking a large lake was gorgeous, so we had no choice but to forgive the weather for its bad timing. Henceforth, we hoped the rest of our trip would be dry though!! (Spoiler alert, it was!)

The puppies nearly gave me a heart attack when they disappeared briefly behind some boulders and reappeared with a stick that very much looked like a snake at first glance.

Day 2 >> Utah to Idaho

On the second day of our trip, we realized that hubby was likely going to be stuck doing the driving for the entire trip. With the pups all being in a new environment, they were very restless throughout the first night, which resulted in many staggered and uncoordinated potty breaks. Since hubby could sleep through a nuclear explosion, I was stuck chauffeuring the pups out of the tent for every break and hardly slept a wink! I woke up feeling like an actual zombie the morning of our second day and that was not a good sign of things to come.

It was also on the second day of our trip that I realized we are really spoiled with the scenery in Colorado. Hubby and I don’t venture outside of Colorado often, except for a few trips here and there to Moab, Utah, so I was looking forward to seeing what the other states on our roadtrip would look like, especially Idaho. I hadn’t seen photos of Idaho, but just expected it to be mountainous and stunning. Granted, we ended up only seeing a small nook of the state — Ketchum in particular — but the scenery was not as grand as I was expecting… but all the more reason to appreciate the state we live in!

After much searching and patience from hubby, we ended up lucking out by finding a nice campsite tucked back in the trees by a small stream where the pups could run around without worry of traffic.

Day 3 >> Idaho to Oregon

I thought we would finally see some pretty scenery once we reached Oregon on the third day, but in hindsight, if I had simply looked at Google Maps, I would have seen that eastern Oregon is in fact really dry and not the deciduous and lush image I had in my mind. Nonetheless, by the end of the day, we managed to find a lush campsite by a stream in the Warm Springs Campground outside Prairie City.

Days 4 and 5 >> Bend, Oregon

On the fourth day, we not only reached the piney landscape that I imagined Oregon would have, but we reached Bend, where we could take our first shower of the trip and relax for two nights in a comfy bed at our Airbnb. Bend was a surprisingly cute little town that we could totally picture ourselves moving to one day!

Our first order of business in Bend was to grab margaritas on the patio of a restaurant a couple of blocks down from our Airbnb. We ordered a margarita pitcher that ended up being the biggest margarita pitcher we’ve ever seen in our lives! Thankfully we had traveled by foot!

It was also a nice surprise that we found out the restaurant was pet friendly, so I demanded hubby go back to the Airbnb and snatch up our two little weenies so we could have some fun companions on the patio while we finished our giant pitcher. It was a win-win and an awesome end to a long day of driving!

On our next, full day in Bend, we did a hike on Misery Ridge Trail in Smith Rock State Park and happily took the teeny weens along in their sausage slings. We followed-up the hike with another quick hike to Tumalo Falls outside of town, and then, lastly a visit to a brewery, with the teeny weens tagging along yet again for another pet-friendly restaurant outing.

Days 6 and 7 >> Waldport, Oregon

On the seventh day of our trip, we were so sad to leave Bend, but sooooo excited because we would finally reach our intended destination, the Oregon coast!!! On the way out of town, we made a stop to visit a waterfall with a dreamy blue river and insanely gorgeous, lush foliage all around. Although the hike to the waterfall was very short, it was quite steep and sketchy, especially while hauling four dogs!

After over 22 hours of driving, we were so thrilled to see the Oregon coast! The section of Oregon coast we visited by Waldport didn’t have dramatic seaside cliffs we witnessed on our pandemmy roadtrip to Big Sur, California on the iconic Highway 1, but the beachside Airbnb we stayed at more than made up for it! The Airbnb was so cutely decorated and it was quite the treat to listen to the ocean waves lapping day and night. The hot tub with the view of the ocean was the icing on the cake!

We ended up not doing any grand activity while we stayed in Waldport for two nights and that was just fine by us. When we do our mini vacays in Colorado, we feel like we always have to be “go go go” and exploring, so it was a refreshing change of pace to be at the beach and just relaxing!

While we were making the most of our beachside Airbnb and relaxing, our pup Panini was doing the exact opposite! The home next door to the Airbnb was watching a sweet dog for a family member and this was Panini’s first close encounter with another big dog and she made sure to tell that dog every ten minutes that he needed to get out of town, which was followed by me profusely apologizing to the neighbor for our new and untamed puppies. Luckily, the neighbor was super sweet and understanding, but Panini never warmed up to Gizmo, the neighbor pup, even after three days of seeing he wasn’t a threat.

We took several trips down to the beach with the pups and not only did hubby painstakingly blow up a huge inflatable balloon dog float, but he hauled it to the beach for a few photo sessions. The pups thoroughly enjoyed the beach, and in particular, the puppies really enjoyed gnawing on crab leg shells that seemed to be strangely in high concentration near our section of the beach by the Airbnb. I had just assumed that seagulls were bringing them in from the ocean to that particular and unfortunate spot by our home.

It wasn’t until we were leaving on our third day and saying goodbye to the neighbor that I found out the “mystery” of the crab shells. The neighbor expressed sorrow that we were leaving so soon because her husband makes a weekly trip to town to get Dungeness crab and they usually have plenty of extra to share. It was then that it occurred to me that the neighbors were likely chucking the crab shells over their fence and onto the beach for the birds (and unintentionally, the dogs) to enjoy. Ha!

Day 8 >> Headed back home

We could not have been more sad to leave our beach Airbnb after only spending two nights there, but with the journey being so long to get to and from the Oregon Coast, we really didn’t have much time to set aside for the beach. On the bright side though, we both looked forward to being home soon, not spending all our time in a vehicle all day, and back in our comfy beds.

On the eighth day of our trip, we didn’t make it out of the state of Oregon, but after tons of extra driving/searching and even coming across a campsite that appeared to be a crime scene, we found a really interesting mossy campsite outside Klamath Falls. This campsite should have been so fun and magical, but something about it still gave me weird vibes after encountering the “crime scene campsite” earlier in our search. This night, I ended up experiencing several really bad nightmares and could not wait to be back in our own bed soon!

Day 9 >> Oregon to Nevada

Our ninth day might have been one of the longest days of our trip. We made a stop for a case of wine before leaving Oregon, which is probably something we should have thought to do earlier in the trip, rather than on a day we were trying to find a campsite before sunset.

It also didn’t help that between our previous night in Klamath Falls and northern Nevada, there really wasn’t much forest service or BLM land that had wild camping without going too far out of the way. We ended up reaching Wells, Nevada and set our sights on some BLM land just outside of town just as the sun was setting.

Unfortunately, every pocket of land we encountered that was camp-worthy seemed to have cow patties galore, which was bad news for the teeny weens, who we found out earlier in the trip apparently loved to indulge in.

We ended up conceding this night and getting a hotel room in Wells and snuck in two of our four weens. Although we hated that we could no longer brag that we camped all the way to and from Oregon, we could not have been more glad for the comfy bed (that we didn’t have to set up ourselves in the dark), a warm shower, and non-campsite food that night!

Day 10 >> Nevada to Utah

On our tenth day of our roadtrip, we finally reached familiar territory, Utah! Hubby had anxiously been waiting for this part of the trip because he is more familiar with and loves the Jeeping trails outside Moab. He picked White Rim Road as the area we would find a campsite and we thought this would be our easiest day of our trip finding a campsite, since Moab is beautiful all over, but shockingly, after arriving in the canyon where we attempted to camp, we kept running into campsites that were oddly flooded or had mud puddles nearby. This wouldn’t work at all for the pups!

We eventually found a section of higher ground on rock that had an awesome spire in the background. Later, we found out that Moab had just experienced a deluge of rain just a few days prior that they deemed a 100-year flood!

Camping in August in Utah is no joke! This was probably one of the hottest and most uncomfortable nights we’ve EVER spent camping, especially for this girl that likes to turn the thermostat down to Arctic levels at home and snuggle under a thick, weighted blanket. But we survived somehow and it made reaching our comfy home and bed the next day such a bittersweet and welcome sight!

Day 11 >> Back in Colorado

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