Alysha Spencer

Spencer Family Adventures | Oregon + California Part 1

Updated: Mar 27, 2020

I can’t believe it has been a whole year since our epic 18 day road trip from Vancouver, down the Oregon Coast and all the way in to California! Not a day goes by that I don’t think about this trip, all the stunning locations and amazing memories we made as a family. We had SOOO much fun and I am excited to finally share all about it!!

This trip took over a year to plan so it only makes sense that it took a year to blog right? Haha and honestly I don’t even know where to start. There is so much I want to share but how to pack it in to one blog post? The short answer… I can’t! Lol. So get ready for a multi part blog series filled with all the ups, downs and everything in between when you are on the road for 18 long days towing a trailer with 2 toddlers and a husband lol. Feel free to shoot me a message if there are any questions you have about making this trek!

We pretty much bought our trailer with the intentions of planning this trip! Once we bought our trailer we instantly started making plans. First, we had to figure out when. We decided fall would be a great time for us. Not too hot, sure some rain, but no snow and a hopefully a slower time with back to school. This gave us just over a year to plan and execute our trip. Well, fast forward a few months and we caught wind that our good friends were surprising their kids with a trip to Disneyland and you know what… their dates almost perfectly lined up with ours. Disneyland here we come!! Neither Brian or myself had ever been to Disneyland before so it didn’t take much convincing to get him on board. I had been to California once before and fell in love so I was SOOO excited that I was getting the chance to go again. I started to think about all the amazing places I had always dreamed of seeing and I quickly became more and more excited about the California part of our trip (Big thank you to The Hills and The OC for some of our trip inspiration lol).

I scoured blog posts, asked a ton of people for input and slowly started to put together a list of our must see spots! So what were they?

Seaside, OR

Cannon Beach

The Redwood Forrest

Santa Monica (which we later settled on Santa Cruz and we were so happy we did)

Big Sur


Laguna Beach

Once we started mapping out the details of our trip, we realized there was so much to cram into our itinerary so we decided to start our trip a few days earlier than originally planned. This would give us just under a week in Oregon before we landed in California. We planned on staying in each spot for at least a few nights before moving on to the next location. I made sure to leave room in our itinerary to make lots of stops along the way and let me tell you, I am so happy we took the time to stop and see all the sights. Normally we try to make little stops on our road trips to just get to our destination but I really have to give Brian credit for all the unplanned pit stops, even if it meant taking a lot longer to get to some of our final destinations.

So where did we stay along our road trip? I will get into more details in my next blog post but here is a run down of our trip itinerary.

1st Campsite: Seaside

2nd Campsite: South Beach

Get to California (see all the sights and find somewhere to stay for the night lol)

3rd Campsite: Santa Cruz

4th Campsite: Santa Barbara

5th Campsite: Anaheim

slowly make our way home!

We purchased a Thousand Trails membership earlier in the spring and then added on an extra zone to include California. Little did we know it would pretty much pay for itself before we even left on our road trip! We planned our trip mainly around where we could use our camping pass to save on campsite fees. Our first stop was in Seaside, Oregon. (more on that in the next blog post)

September 19th

We decided to jump the gun and head out after work when Brian got off work, instead of the following morning. We left Mission around 7 pm, we crossed the Sumas border with no problems, gassed up and headed for our first stop, the casino. Ok we only stopped in to grab some American money, we didn’t ditch the kids and go in to gamble although the thought had crossed my mind lol. We had heard a rumor that the exchange rates were a hot deal in American casinos so we thought we would try it out. I didn’t feel like it was much better than at home so it wasn’t really worth the stop.

Driving through the night while the kids slept sounded so peaceful. In my head, I envisioned hubby and I sipping on Starbucks fighting over who’s Sirius station we would listen too (he likes Hip Hop Nation and I like The Heat) all while the kids slept comfortably in their carseats. WRONG, lol! We hit somewhere around Tacoma, WA and the kids were over it already, kicking and whining uncomfortably in their carseats. We cruised for as long as we could before finding a motel parking lot to crash for the night. Did you know you can pay a small fee (or even free) to park with your trailer at most motels?? Such a better alternative to a sketchy Walmart parking lot lol. We ended up doing this a few times!

September 20th

None of us slept that great our first night, totally expected though. We settled back into the truck and ventured out for some breakfast. We hit up McDonalds after realizing we couldn’t get the kids Tim Hortons eggs. How were we going to survive?? Mr. Picky aka Nixon wanted nothing to do with the McDonalds breakfast.

We were on the road for about 2 hours before we stopped to stretch our legs somewhere near Raymond, Washington. We found this pretty waterfront walkway where the kids ran and threw stuff in the water.

We made it to our first stop, Long Beach!

Dad insisted on driving the truck and trailer on the beach, guess what… he got stuck! I hauled the kids out of the truck as fast as I could and side-eyed the giant loader parked on the beach (hey my hubby can run one of those, maybe he can use that thing to haul the truck out lol). Ugh, a few f-bombs later and some brief thoughts on divorce and Brian got unstuck. We were back on our way, woo woo!

Next stop, Seaside! Our first official destination. Stay tuned for the next post.

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