When I chose Oregon for my 2018 vacation, a lot of the destination decision centered around my dogs who’d be my traveling companions.
It comes down to the old question: what to do with your dogs when you travel.
For me the answer was take an Oregon Coast road trip with my dogs!
Setting up the car
I drive a Mazda 3 hatchback. The back seats are flipped down and two old comforters are set up. It’s a decent sized area for two big dogs. They can lie down comfortably in the back of the car.
I have two big dog beds in the house. My dogs like to lie down beside these cushions instead of on them!
Those dog beds saw more action on a week long road trip to Oregon than they had in the past three years!
I put the two dog beds on top of the comforters and the cushions took up most of the back. Between the comforters and the dog cushions, the dogs would be set up nicely in the back part of the car.
Taking dog food across the border
People who aren’t leaving the country won’t have this problem.
Travel tip for Canadians driving into America with your pooches: leave your dog food at home and buy it once you’re in the states.
Years ago on a weekend trip to Spokane, Washington with two dogs, we got pulled over for a secondary check after being asked if we had dog food with us. The problem is the US won’t allow lamb into the country. And our problem was that the dry dog food was in the dog bowls, not in the sealed dog food bag that listed the ingredients. I had no way of proving that there wasn’t lamb in the dog food. I’d overfilled the bowls so it would last a couple of days. It was confiscated. Dumped out by the US border guards is my guess.
At least I fared better than another person traveling with their dog. They had a huge plastic container filled with dry food that was removed and confiscated. Though I suppose they got their empty container back.
Too bad the border guards didn’t do a more thorough check of my car. Under my seat I had a plastic bag filled with more dog food, so it wasn’t a total loss.
That experience taught me to the leave the dog food at home and buy once I cross the border.
On my Oregon getaway, the border guard didn’t even ask me if I had dog food in the car.
Coming into Canada, there are no restrictions. Any dog food and treats can come across the border.
Dog food, water, and bowls
I stopped at the Pet Smart in Bellingham, Washington to buy Hill’s Science Diet Light dog food and a few cans of dog food. Unfortunately I didn’t notice the dry dog food was for small dogs. My dogs didn’t like it at all. That was a waste of about $30. Well, not a total waste, because they did eat the dog food for a couple of days until I got to the Wal Mart in Newport, Oregon and bought more food. The dogs totally loved the new food I got them. Next time I’ll drive further down I-5 to Mount Vernon where there’s a Wal Mart and stock up there.
The dog food and treats were kept on the front passenger seat floor board. That just made it a little tougher for the dogs to access it during the times I left them unattended inside the car.
A couple of empty cran-raspberry juice jugs were filled with water before leaving the house, and continued to fill with water on my trip. The dog’s water and bowls on the floor sat behind the driver’s seat for easy access because that’s the back door on the driver’s side is when I let the dogs in and out of the car. I kept a shopping bag behind my seat with all the water and food bowls inside it. That made it easier to carry in and out of motel rooms.
Dog friendly accommodations
With my budget, my main choice of accommodations was Motel 6. From many trips south of the border (this chain isn’t in Canada), I know that Motel 6 allows two dogs in the room and there’s no extra charge. That extra savings means I can spend a little more money in the towns I visit.
I stayed at the Motel 6 in Seaside, Coos Bay, Crescent City (California), and Bend.
I spent two nights at the Ester Lee Motel in Lincoln City. I’d stayed there many years ago, attracted by the sign next to the property that said “dogs welcome”, and I was traveling with my Dalmatian, Katy. I already knew what to expect at the Ester Lee. A nice cottage overlooking the Pacific Ocean. This was my splurge motel on my Oregon getaway.
Plenty of walkies on Oregon beaches
Oregon beaches are dog friendly. My dogs enjoyed walking on the beaches at Seaside, Cannon Beach, Lincoln City, and a couple of other random stops.
Keep your dogs leashed and no one will complain.
Of course, I saw a few off leash dogs, and apparently there are off leash dog beaches in Oregon, but I didn’t go to them. My border collie cross is a runner. She’d take off in a second and her recall sucks. My black lab loves the water, but she’s an old girl now. I wouldn’t want to take the chance she’d run into the Pacific and get herself in a dangerous situation.
The beaches in Oregon were excellent to walk on, beautiful sand that stretched out for miles. No pebbles, no garbage. Just clean, wonderful beaches. Many beaches had parking lots off Highway 101 and stairs leading down to the beach.
Just about everywhere I parked, I could be walking on the beach within minutes.
Dog Friendly Attractions
There’s nothing worse than showing up somewhere only to see a sign that says “No dogs allowed”. And certainly, it’s no surprise that restaurants and stores don’t want you bringing your dog inside. I had to leave my dogs inside the car many times. That means hoping to find shade or a tree to park under. Leaving the sunroof and back windows partly open, and cutting my visit short to wherever I was at.
Sand Dunes Frontier in Florence is dog friendly if you’re riding the big purple dune buggy. Or so a man told me after my ride had ended. He was bringing his dog, a border collie, onto the next purple buggy out. The big purple dune buggy has steps at the back where you climb in, but they’re more like a ladder. I’m pretty sure my black lab would have mobility issues getting in. The driver was big, hefty guy. I’m sure he could have lifted her in for me. My border collie cross might have been nervous in this buggy. It is somewhat of a rough ride starting down a forest trail and then up and down the dunes.
It wouldn’t have been an enjoyable experience for me keeping two big dogs under control on this dune buggy. At one point the driver stops the buggy and allows the passengers to get off and walk around for a few minutes.
Well, I know what would have happened as soon as my dogs hit the ground – giant sand box. For sure one of them would have embarrassed me by taking a shit. I keep baggies in my pockets, so no problem cleaning up, but obviously there are no garbage cans out in the dunes. I’d have had to bring it back in the buggy to dispose of when we got back to the parking lot. Can you imagine the smell? I stopped at Frontier Dunes on my drive on Highway 101 between Lincoln City and Coos Bay.
The best fish and chips on the Oregon Coast is at a restaurant in Coos Bay called The Boat. They’re dog friendly. I enjoyed my birthday dinner on the sundeck on a beautiful afternoon with my girls. I recommend choosing the half/half combo of fish and chips and coconut prawns. Read more about my overnight stop in charming Coos Bay.
Trees of Mystery Skytrail
OK, not Oregon, but about 45 minutes drive south in Klamath, California, dogs are welcome at the Trees of Mystery. No extra charge for dogs on the trail or to ride the tram known as the Skytrail.
If you’re traveling with dogs and doing the Highway 101 route in Oregon, bring your tourist dollars to this dog friendly attraction. Read more about my visit to the Trees of Mystery and dinner at a restaurant in Crescent City where I sat at an outside table so my dogs could join me.
My vacation was more about getting away, enjoying the Oregon coast, reading, and spending time with my dogs. I tried to do it as budget conscious as possible
I’m sure there are many more dog friendly attractions in Oregon that I don’t know about. I’ll try to catch them on another visit.
Check out my video for photos I took of the dogs on our Oregon getaway.
Seeing as how I’m Dog Wrangler in the tagline above on my blog, I created a T-shirt available on Amazon. (Disclosure: I’ll earn a small commission if you click the link and make a purchase.) If you feel like you’re a Dog Wrangler too, you’ll want to rock this tee!