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Oregon Family Magazine

Exploring Oregon…

05/02/2017 10:05 ● By Sandy Kauten
Kids love to play in the sand, so why not take them to biggest sandbox on the west coast?! The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (ODNRA) is a playground for kids and adults and it’s right here in Lane County. Stretching from Florence south to Reedsport, the ODNRA is a diverse ecosystem that provides open sand for the rearing of endangered Snowy Plovers, quiet nature trails for viewing flora and fauna, fishing and sand activities like sand-boarding, professionally guided dune buggy rides and areas for off-highway vehicle riding. Ever heard of sand-boarding? Think snowboarding, except on sand instead of snow… and a great place to experience it is the World’s First Sand Board Park!  SandMaster Park provides 40 acres of private dunes and an additional 200 acres of public dunes. Providing lessons for first-timers, rentals for those with experience and many other activities to create a special vacation memory. Sandland Adventures offers giant dune buggies that seat 10 people, and provide exhilarating dune experiences.  Or, for those who prefer a more relaxing tour, they have buggies that seat up 27 people and go at a more relaxed pace. Join your friends, experience the dunes, and then return to have fun in the bumper boats, play miniature golf, and more!

The Eugene, Cascades & Coast region is also home to some amazing waterfalls. As you pass through Mapleton on your way back from Florence, head south on Sweet Creek Road for 11 miles. Three and one half miles of easy to moderate trails and a dozen beautiful waterfalls are accessible from four trail heads. Spring and early summer are good viewing times because Sweet Creek flows diminish during drier months. Our waterfalls page connects you to Seven Waterfall Wonders. Several of these hikes are family-friendly and accessible for people with mobility challenges.

In 2016, Travel Lane County worked with Google to introduce Google Trekker. This exciting product is the trail view version of Google’s popular street view. See how our staff trekked more than fifty trails, paths, and rivers and then take a virtual tour of these trails. We continue to work with Google to post more of the trails we trekked, so check back and see what’s new in the coming year.

Travel Lane County’s Kids’ Adventure Club is free and provides families an opportunity to stay abreast of the many engaging outdoor activities, fairs and festivals, arts and cultural activities that take place throughout the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Our monthly e-newsletter highlights upcoming opportunities and our quarterly free family day events feature hands-on activities introducing elementary-aged kids to the region’s wonders. We also highlight family-friendly deals and our family event calendar. 

Before you go, visit the Eugene, Cascades & Coast Adventure Center (3312 Gateway Street) in Springfield. Our adventure specialists will help plan itineraries, sell you necessary permits, and provide handy maps. You can even select gifts from our locally-sourced Oregon products.

Have an enchanting Eugene, Cascades& Coast summer!

 by Andy Vobora