If you're looking for the best sandbox in Oregon, this is it: The Umpqua Dunes.
Just 10 miles south of Reedsport, the Umpqua Dunes are a set of sweeping sand dunes right off the Oregon Coast in the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. You'll feel like you've stumbled into the Sahara Desert by mistake while scaling these massive sand hills. The dunes rise an astonishing 500 feet above the ocean, but the trailhead parking lot is only 2.5 miles from the beach.
If you're a fearless sand-trekker, you'd be glad to hear that hikers rule the dunes. Fourteen official trails wind through the hills, marked by signposts. However, there are few clear pathways through the dunes thanks to the ever-blowing sand. Luckily, with a tall dune, a compass, and the visual marker of the ocean-side parking lot, it's easy to reorient yourself if you get turned about.
Along with great hikes and the spectacular sight of the shifting dunes, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area has 30 lakes, 13 campgrounds, 11 beach parking areas and nine picnic areas. So those daunted by the idea of actually walking across miles of sand can enjoy their beauty from a comfortable resting spot.
Cost: It varies - most sites in the Oregon Dunes require either a $30 annual or $5 daily Northwest Forest Pass. The annual Oregon Coast Passport also is accepted.
Click the "Learn More" button for more details or check with the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area's Reedsport visitor center at 541-271-3611.