August 21, 2017, the Great American Eclipse traversed the continental United States and we had to be there. My husband, well-informed in all that is nerdy and scientific, warned me of it in late 2011 and come hell or high water we were going to see it. I called hotels years in advance and after much ado found a hotel on the Oregon Coast. After rumors of price gouging, I decided to call and verify our reservation only to learn our room was no longer available, with no explanation. I panicked. Desperate, I found Camp Dakota in Oregon, a campground with numerous amenities that all took a backseat to the fact it was in the path of totality. I called Camp Dakota nine months in advance and to my surprise, they had several spots for us to choose from and they were not raising their listed rates at all. I was skeptical after already getting burned, but took a chance, and ended up very happy I did.
Camp Dakota is a fascinating little gem east of I-5 in the middle of a farming community. The road out to it from I-5 is narrow and winds for miles. Have a bag handy for car sick kids.
Camp Dakota is an intriguing bundle of great ideas, fascinating execution, and good old-fashioned small business savvy. It was everything we wanted it to be and more. A serendipitous happenstance for a once in a lifetime event.
- They were honest. They didn’t raise their rates for the eclipse and they probably could have. I give them a big hat tip for this.
- Zipline. It was a blast. The kids LOVED it. Daredevils. Who knew? The instructor was awesome and the lines were fast and fun.
- Archery. It was staffed by a polite and kind teenager who he could have rolled his eyes at my kids but didn’t. Kudos… because I roll my eyes at them all the time.
- Tenderfoot Challenge Course and rock climbing. I like anything that makes my kids exhausted and they came back to camp ready to hit the hay.
- The staff was very nice. Teens were working hard and were impressively professional. The zip line instructors were conscientious of safety and I felt comfortable flying down the line and leaving my kids back to get thrown down the line behind me. The only attitude I saw that weekend was from some of the grumpy clients that needed to relax.
- Wood delivery. They delivered dry wood and kindling to your campsite via a kid with a lead hand on a quad. It was awesome. It’s like ordering a pizza (which they do too) and not having to lift a finger. Love.
- No dump station for RVs.
- Site 10 fit our 28′ trailer, but just barely. It was an adventure to get in and out of that spot because of the trees directly across from the site prohibited our turn radius.
- It was loud at night. Light sleepers might have a hard time. Campers were having the time of their lives, but it can be hard with kids.
- Let the kids do the obstacle course activities. It’ll completely wear them out.
- Take advantage of some of the activities they offer for yourself too. They charge for everything, but it’s their bread and butter and if you embrace it you might be surprised. It’s a great time.
Good to know:
- We were in site 10. You might not realize it from the map but it’s right in the middle of all the action. We loved people watching but if you’re looking for privacy I’d recommend sites 1 thru 4 or sites 42-50 up on the back loop.
- As we had the trailer, we didn’t use the restrooms or yurts so we can’t speak to those.
- There’s an unpaved incline next to the office. When pulling a trailer I’d suggest going slow or even putting your rig into 4×4 to avoid kicking up rocks. We were fine but another driver threw rocks all the way down the hill taking it too aggressively.
- Camp Dakota website.
My photos of our family watching the eclipse:
If you ever have the chance to watch a total eclipse in person, it’s phenomenal. Gorgeous and eerie at the same time.