Thursday, July 31, 2014

Sandland Adventures: Dune Buggy Rides

Since we usually head to Ocean Shores, WA or Cannon Beach, OR when we get the itch to see the coast, I figured we may never venture this far south again.  So I decided to research southern attractions within easy driving distance.  A top rated destination was Sandland Adventures in Florence: dune buggy rides!  This ended up being one of our favorite excursions.  They have two types of tours.  Their "giant dune buggy tour" is less exciting but much more educational and affordable.  It encompasses traversing over 2 miles of beach and 8 miles of dunes.  The Sandrail Tour is more exhilarating, as the buggies are smaller and faster.  We decided to opt for the giant dune buggy since we weren't sure how rough the smaller ones might be. 

Waiting for the Tour to Begin

Giant Dune Buggies

On the Highway Headed to the Dunes

Nearly to the Beach

It was awesome!  Fairly calm, but fun with an occasional surprise thrown in.  The driver talked most of the time, giving us lots of interesting information.

One of the more fascinating facts was that the dunes can change quickly and are always slowly altering the landscape.  The drivers need to reevaluate their path each time they go out, because the hills have to be taken in the right way to avoid crashing.  You can't tell how steep the hills are at a glance, because what looks like an endless line of gently sloping bumps can include sharp, deep drop-offs.  Over years, the dunes shift in more drastic ways.  He pointed out what looked like a small tree and told us that it's actually 80 feet tall!  It's slowly gotten buried by the dunes!

We also learned that a variety of grass was brought in at one point in the hopes that it would help keep the sand in place.  It spread so fast that much of the dunes have been swallowed up.  He said they are actually at risk of completely losing them.  This is a classic case of humans trying to "fix" something in nature that results in a much bigger problem!

The Beach Portion:

Smaller off road vehicles were zooming past us throughout the tour.

Time for the dunes!

Our dune buggy left that mark!

See those jagged specks?

It's a group of riders!

Planning out their course, a wise thing to do out here.  We actually saw a vehicle wreck and have to wait for help.

Time to head back.  There were lots of these sand paths through the woods.

When we got off and talked about the experience, Kylen expressed disappointment that the tour was calmer than he expected.  I was feeling brave enough to try the other tour, so we did!  This time the driver talked little, but it was definitely a wilder ride!  Nothing over the top.  It was FUN!  Reminded me of a roller coaster ride.  My joints did fine, no problems with soreness or pain.  I'm glad we did both.  They were enjoyable in different ways, and we probably won't make it back there again.  We got plenty of pics on the first tour, so we didn't take any photos during the second other than one our driver snapped for us during the beach portion.  We're in the back, me in the middle.  We had to wear eye protection due to all the sand blowing around!


katrina said...

That looks like so much fun! We all want to try this sometime :) you all have the best adventures!!