RV trippin... 7 States in the NorthWest

This summer we explored 7 States in our RV in 20 days.  This is our longest RV trip so far and we loved the relaxed life on the road.  
We started in Arizona and stopped in Utah, Wyoming, Montana, Idaho, Washington, Oregon and California. We pre-booked most of our RV parks before we left but kept a few nights open so we had some flexibility. We left on June 14th and lucked out with great weather.  We didn't need any of the shorts I packed and coming from Arizona we were ok with that! 😏

The first day was our longest driving day.  We drove all the way to Utah and spent the night in the Walmart parking lot in Heber.  Some Walmarts will let you stay for free but not all of them so you need to check in advance. Day 2...  Our first stop was the UTV Utah Summer Jamboree ride in Daniels Summit outside of Heber, Utah.  It was fun to ride with a bunch of other off-road enthusiast.  One of the highlights was finding snow and coming from Arizona we were happy with the cooler temps.  After our ride Greg was interviewed by the TV show At Your Leisure... Sharing why he loves riding off-road.

Day 3-4.  Grand Teton National Park- There is something so magical about the Tetons!  They are so beautiful and photogenic. The only time we weren't soaking up the views was when we were watching the wildlife.  We spent two nights at the Gros Ventre camp ground.  They have around 300 sites but it's first come first serve. We loved the location... it's the closest campground to the town of Jackson. Click here to see our itinerary for Jackson Hole, Grand Teton and Yellowstone on a previous trip.

Our last evening was spent on a scenic float on the Snake River.  Being able to see the Tetons up close while the sun was setting was magnificent!  We took the 7:00 p.m. scenic float.

Day 5-7. Since we arrived early to Yellowstone we were able to find parking for our trailer at West Thumb. By the time we left (10:30) the parking lot was full.  After our visit we drove straight through Yellowstone to our RV Park and didn't return till about 4 in the afternoon (mostly because there was no parking big enough).  In the summer it's best to arrive to Yellowstone early or come later in the afternoon when people start to leave for dinner.  We stayed till it was dark and about had the place to ourselves. πŸ˜†

Don't miss these Yellowstone highlights:
Old Faithful Geyser
Grand Canyon of Yellowstone
Hayden Valley
Mammoth Hot Springs
Yellowstone Lake
Norris Geyser Basin
Lamar Valley
West Thumb Geyser Basin
Grand Prismatic Spring
*I took a tour of Old Faithful Inn and really enjoyed it.

If you plan on staying in one of Yellowstone's lodges or campgrounds you need to make  reservations months in advance. Since all of the RV campgrounds near Yellowstone were full we ended up staying at Beaver Creek Campground a 1/2 hour drive from West Yellowstone.  It's near Earthquake Lake... Literally became a lake after an earthquake in 1959.  It was a beautiful drive so we didn't mind the distance.  Our next stop was Idaho.  Google maps had us going this direction when we left so it all worked out.

Visit Lamar Valley in the morning or dusk for wolf sightings.  We just missed a pack of wolves right before we arrived to Lamar Valley.  Such a great place to get awesome pictures as the sun is setting.  
On day 7 we drove to Coeur d'Alene, Idaho.  It was such a pretty drive!  We did have a tire fiasco so it made our day a little longer.  What's an RV trip without a little hiccup. On the same day while driving though a town in Montana we came across a low railroad underpass that we weren't sure we were going to clear.  It was a close one! 😱😳 Probably good to know your clearance in advance.  Now we know! 

We spent three nights at the Wolf Lodge RV campground.  One of the highlights is taking kayaks on the creek that surrounds the park.  If your motivated you can kayak all the way to Lake Coeur d'Alene.  

Route of the Hiawatha
Day 8. We biked the historic 15 mile rail trail on the Montana/Idaho border.  We biked over 7 trestles, through 9 tunnels, rain and a lot of mud.  One of the old rail road tunnels was 1.7 miles long.  It was pitch black with only our bike lights to lead the way.  I can't imagine how amazing this trip must have  been from the lounge of the Olympian Hiawatha train that operated this route years ago... worthy of adding to your bucket list.  You can rent bikes and buy tickets through Lookout Pass.

Coeur d'Alene, Idaho
We had a picnic at City Park and then walked along Lake Coeur d'Alene. They are right next to each other so it's easy to explore both.  I loved all the quaint homes surrounding the park.

We had dinner in Spokane and walked around Riverfront Park.  Spokane is one of my favorite layovers.  I'm a sucker for a town with a river running through it.  Spokane has so many family friendly activities... bike Centennial Trail, take the Skyride over Spokane River, visit the Manito Park and Botanical Gardens.   One of our favorites was the Aerial Park Tour at Mica Moon.

Columbia River Gorge, Oregon
Day 10.  We drove from Coeur 'd Laine to the Cascade Locks KOA in Oregon.  We loved our time here and wished we could have spent another day on the Columbia River.  The views are stunning!  There are stops along the way where you can view the river, waterfalls and beautiful scenery.

We stopped at the Bonneville Dam and Fish Hatchery then went to the nearby Multnomah Falls.

Bridge of the Gods

Day 11. We drove down the Oregon Coast and stopped a few times before arriving at Coos Bay.  Click here to see our Oregon Coast Itinerary on a previous trip. We stayed at the Box Car Hill Campground for a week for the UTV Takeover at the Oregon Dunes.  Greg worked while the girls played. 😏

Day 13.  We were so excited to tour the Umpqua River Lighthouse again.  Cicily was 2 when we were here last.  It's one of the few lighthouses you can go in and it still works.  The red glass inside is so pretty! After our tour we went to the nearby Lake Marie and walked around while it poured on us.  πŸ’¦ Don't miss a walk along this lake it's so dreamy!

Oregon has the biggest area of coastal sand dunes in North America and they are breathtaking!  We drove through coastal shrubs, trees, and our favorite was finding our way to the beach.  If your visiting the area you can take a tour through the dunes or rent your own quad, RZR or side by side.  We usually go to the Imperial Sand Dunes in California but it's too hot in the summer so it was fun to ride during our summer vacation in Oregon!

Video from UTV Takeover at the Oregon Dunes.

My girls enjoyed the Oregon Coast Historical Railway.  It's free and had some cool old trains.  Next we went to Mingas Park to check out the Japanese Garden.  We loved the playground and hiking trails along the pond.  They have a disc golf course, tennis courts and a community pool that my girls enjoyed!

Sunset Bay State Park- We loved Sunset Bay!  We came twice and spent several hours here.  This beach is very shallow so great for kids. My girls spent hours digging in the sand for clams and were fascinated with the tide pools.  Great Bay for watching the sunset.

Just down the street from Sunset Bay is Shore Acres State Park.  This was the home of a lumber magnate.  They have a garden full of plants and flowers from all over the world. After visiting the garden we took the path to Simpson Beach.  Really beautiful... don't miss if your in the area.  
And a little further down the road from the garden is Cape Arago State Park.  The endless views and waves at Cape Arago are some of the best attractions in Coos Bay. We saw sea lions and harbor seals...  Really spectacular views along the walking paths.

Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint

Day 17.  We left Oregon but made one last stop to the West Coast Game Park Safari.  It was a hit! We got to feed the free roaming deer, goats, sheep, llamas and donkeys.  The highlight was petting a Siberian baby bear, lynx, skunk and raccoon.

Gold Beach

Day 17. This evening we stayed at the Klamath River RV Park.  It was right on the river and so peaceful!  I felt like I was in a postcard.  So many beautiful hikes nearby I only wish we could have spent more time here... We'll be back!

Day 18. We took the 31-mile Redwood Drive called Avenue of the Giants in our RV 😬.  Happy our RV survived the giants!  We were surrounded by some of the oldest and largest trees in the world.  It was an unforgettable experience driving through the Avenues with my little sloths. πŸ™ŠπŸ™Š

Day 19-20
We spent our last night in a Walmart parking lot in Los Banos, California.  The rest of the drive home to Arizona is a blur after driving through LA traffic... We were stuck in it for several hours!  I was hangry and had to pee!⇧πŸ˜‚ Not a good combination.  But we arrived home safely! 

Taking this RV trip was an investment into our family... Lot's of quality time in nature! And traveling in an RV with kids is such an easy way to travel!  πŸ™Œ Experiencing this kind of freedom showed us how simple life can be!