Having visited the Oregon Coast before, I was on the hunt for a new activity, something that packed a punch. I decided on a 1-hour “Sandrail Tour” with Sandland Adventures at the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
This 40-mile stretch of sand dunes (the largest in North America) is within the Suislaw National Forest. A large portion of the dunes are open to off-road vehicles.
Because of that, you can rent and ATV or a side-by-side to take on the dunes yourself, but we decided on a guided Oregon dunes tour so that we could jump right into the action. These guys grew up on the dunes and know which routes are sure to thrill; plus they know the limits of their vehicle.
Having limited riding experience on sand, the first hour of an ATV rental would probably be just me figuring out how to handle the machine in deep sand. Not a great use of time or funds for a first time at the dunes, in my humble opinion.
These powerful machines are built to rip on the dunes all day long. Sandland Adventures offers many types of Oregon dunes tours. Unless you have a medical condition or are looking for a very leisurely day, I think you’ve got to choose the 1-hour Sandrail Tour.
Eye protection is a must; sand will get everywhere. Zip your belongings into a pocket because you don’t want to lose anything out at the dunes.
Our first view of the National Recreation Area comes at the top of a bluff, where you can lookout at the sandy expanse all the way to the Pacific Ocean.
Right away, our driver Kyle put the pedal down and found some steep dunes to dive into. Our fellow passengers were taken by surprise (just as we were), but there’s nothing you can do but throw your hands up and scream.
You’ll most likely be in a group of three other buggies all following the same paths. Looking back, you can get a good idea of the kind of angles some of these dunes take.
Raking over the top of a dune and plunging to the bottom of it is just like the feeling you’ll experience on a roller coaster. The difference being you have an engine roaring behind you and you have no idea where you’ll go next.
The sandy color and the way the sand absorbs light make it hard to discern where the tops of dune are, which add an additional element of surprise and excitement.
After some excitement in the heart of the dunes, we rolled out to the beach where we could take a breath and enjoy the view.
Kyle found a crab hanging out on the beach and brought it over to show everyone on the buggy.
Back in the dunes we cruised by some lakes, but luckily Kyle didn’t crash through any of them to get us wet.
At the end of the tour, our hearts were pounding and a thin layer of enamel was sand-blasted off of our smiling faces.
Below: Whitney’s “that just happened” face.
I highly recommend the Sandland Adventures Sandrail Tour, but make sure you book a whole hour – you won’t want this tour to end!
This was so much fun !!!! Thanks for the ride .All that white sand against the blue skies and then the water is just beautiful.