Dungeness crab in Oregon

A Perfect Oregon Trip – Crabbing, Clamming & Craft Beer

We’ve had a lot of firsts this summer in Alaska (glacier hiking, fishing for salmon and halibut, our first 10K, etc) and it brought back memories of a few special firsts in Waldport, Oregon.  We don’t have a formal bucket-list but there are several things on our mental “we gotta do that before we die” list, and catching, cooking and eating crab right out of the water has been on that list since day one of our life on the road (we’re seafood lovers after all).

In 2013 we were making our way up the Oregon coast when our friends the RV Geeks reached out and told us “you gotta stop by Waldport, we built a website for McKinley’s campground and they’d love to have a video to share about crabbing.”  We did a little research on the campground and it turned out they sell shellfish licenses, rent boats, crab rings and everything else we’d need to “do it ourselves”.  We were hooked on the idea and we promptly directed our RV north from Florence.  It turned out there were more firsts for us waiting there than we anticipated!

waldport oregon


Here’s the video we put together for McKinley’s, it’s kind of a “how to” and “where to” go crabbing mixed with little vignette about the town and the RV park, but mostly it’s about crabbin’ on Alsea Bay (which is killer fun but nothing like the Deadliest Catch).

For us there really isn’t anything like catching your own dinner!  Crabbing was surprisingly much easier than we expected and just as exciting as we anticipated. Its an incredibly rewarding experience and way less expensive than going on a crowded fishing charter. We even made friends who invited us out to show us how the locals do it.

Dungeness crab in Oregon

Crabbing in the rain made us feel like we were hard core (or at least true Pacific Northwesterners)…in no time we’ll be ready enough for the Deadliest Catch!

catching Dungeness crab in Oregon

catching Dungeness crab in Oregon

Don’t let the smile on my face fool you, the cleaning part isn’t that much fun.

preparing our Dungeness crab

The cooking and eating part…well, lets just say no butter needed when they’re this fresh!

Dungeness crab oregon

fresh dungeness crab oregon


As if catching our limit in fresh Dungeness Crab wasn’t enough we also found out the next morning would be the greatest tidal range of the month.  Which means the clamming opportunities are stellar!  Our new friends loaned us buckets, shovels and bags, but most importantly gave us the scoop on how & where to dig for Razor Clams (they’ll give you the scoop too).  Plus, my mom was flying in to hang out with us and she had never been clamming either!

This is my mom Mary, she is pretty awesome.

traveling with family

digging for clams in oregon

how to digg for clams in oregon

digging for clams in oregon

Here are a few tricks we learned from our first adventure clamming:

  • The larger the tidal range the better (when the highest high tide turns to the lowest low tide).
  • Arrive 1 hr. before low tide.
  • Look for “doughnuts” in the sand and push a long, narrow shovel deep down into the sand, drop the shovel and dig as fast as you can but watch out, they call ’em Razor Clams for a reason.
  • Make sure you know the limit, during our visit it was 12 per person, and that person had to dig themselves without any assistance. They were very specific in alerting us that the clam digger may not get any assistance while clamming.

If you want more info about digging for Razor Clams or crabbing, check out this website run by the state of Oregon  or you can ask for details at the campground or visitor center.

We also took my mom out crabbing on the campgrounds rental boats but sadly we weren’t able to impress her because we only brought home a few crabs large enough to keep. Isn’t that how it always goes when you’re fishing: You tell your friends about the greatness then when they come out to see it in person ya can’t perform! Oh well, we still had a blast and had plenty of crab for dinner!

crabbing in oregon

Craft Beer

We rounded out our bucket list week in Waldport with another unexpected “first”:  One of my favorite breweries just so happens to be located a few miles north.  Rogue holds a special place in our hearts as it’s one of the first big name craft brews that let us film a story inside their establishment, and more importantly it’s what we consider day 01 of our full-time travel.  You see, in February 2011 we were in Coburg, Oregon to pick up Windy, our spankin’ new RV, and we decided to celebrate our arrival with a Valentines date night at Rogues Beer and Chocolate event (remember it’s one of our first videos and not very good so you probably shouldn’t click over to watch it).

rogue craft brewery oregon

Rogue is a fairly common name when it comes to good beer so we assumed it’d be some fancy brewery with lots of flashy stuff.  As soon as we walk in the door you’re on the warehouse floor.  We step over giant hoses laid out like the tentacles of a squid, there’s a loud “beep-beep” as a forklift flies by, the fermentation tanks in the back room are covered in what appears to be black tar…geez there’s so much excitement and we just walked in the front door.  We love beer tours but this raw experience will stand out in our minds for a long time.

rogue brewery oregon

having a flight at Rogue Brewery

So why are we thinking about and writing about Oregon now?  Catching an Alaskan King Crab was on our dream bucket list for Alaska, but that’s not going to work out…turns out they call it the “deadliest catch” for a reason.  Oh well, we’ll just have to stick to buying it at the market…however we are currently driving south along the west coast.  Anyone wanna go crabbin’?

Have you ever been clamming or crabbing?  Got any favorite crustacean catchin’ hot spots you’re willing to share?  Please, by all means tell us all in the comments below!

Famous for my "how-not-to" videos, and typically the man behind the camera, sometimes I’m forced to be here in the “spotlight”. When you see my face you’re probably reading something more technical than adventurous, but either way I do my best to tell it like it is and infuse my opinions into the commentary…after all this is a blog and not MSN.

Comments (27)

  • Mike Davis

    Just thought I would drop you a note. We love your insight on Rving. We find you guys all over the place as we research retirement and full-time rv living. I just wanted to point out that no matter what laptop or PC I use to access your website (using IE, Chrome or Firefox, Windows 7, 8.1, and 10) there seems to be some runaway scripts in the background that are making it impossible to enjoy your website. We do find your video elsewhere and they work just fine I just wanted you to know about in case you didn’t know. Thanks and keep up the good work. Happy Holidays from Texas.

  • Mary O

    We want to go crabbing! 🙂 We are at the Thousand Trails in Pacific City for another 10 days or so. Supposed to be huge waves on Saturday (I think I heard 14 feet on the news) from the remains of Hurricane Oho. Really enjoyed your video on the area. Hoping to go crabbing while we’re here. Looks like fun!

    • Mary O

      Update: went crabbing from shore in Waldport. It was surprisingly easily and lots of fun! Thanks for the encouragement to do it! 🙂

  • Gina

    Just want to drop a line to let you know how much I love your videos. I love your down to earth connection with your watchers. I always look forward to your new adventures.

    • Awe, thanks!!!! We try to keep it real and always happy to hear that comes across.

  • I didn’t catch them (another crew member did that), but I got to eat as much freshly caught and cooked crab as a person can stand when I was in Alaska. Yet another great memory! I’ll have to try to do that when I’m in Oregon sometime.
    Thanks for sharing and reminding me. 🙂

  • Matt Buschert

    We may just try McKinley’s next week as we work our way down the Oregon Coast for only the third trip in our 2015 Baystar. Really want to try the state parks, but sooner or later we will miss the interweb and TV

  • We had our October trip to Oregon in Calistoga, our Winnebago ERA 70x, all mapped out: NorCal to Grants Pass, Tillamook and then Corvallis for an OSU game. Then you guys had to post an awesome Oregon trip involving Dungeness Crab and craft beer! It’s back to Google Maps to see how we can include 2 additional stops. Cheers! Mike,

  • William (Bill) Weaver

    Wow, you found another great place to stop. If I ever get back to OR, I will stay there. In my first MH trip nearly 40 years ago, I took a charter boat out of OR and caught salmon. There was a canning facility that would can your catch and ship it home or would trade you for theirs. One of the people on the charter was a full time RVer and canned their catch in their RV along with blackberries they had picked. Love fulltimers. Enjoyed our canned salmon for the rest of the trip. The OR coast and Columbia River drives should be on a must do list.
    On a trip to Alaska, we took a small boat cruise and put out crab traps and caught big prawns. After watching the captain take a live prawn and pinch off the tail and eat it, I tried one. It was the sweetest seafood I have eaten. Alaskan Brewing makes some great beer. They make a Smoked Porter that tastes like smoked salmon in a bottle.
    There are so many great things to experience and so little time. Thanks again for another great chapter in your adventures.

    • Sounds like you have had some great adventures yourself Bill…which makes me smile ear to ear! We have had the Alaskan smoked porter and it is unique. We did get a chance to taste some of those fresh prawns from some locals in Alaska and they were incredible! The only thing I have had that was as good was the Royal Reds in Alabama/Florida area. If you haven’t had them, add em’ to your bucket list!

      • William (Bill) Weaver

        Yes Nikki, I have had some great adventures in my 73 years. Adventures don’t just happen, you have to make them happen. I read your followers posts and they say “someday I want to …….”. Folks get out there and do it. Every day that goes by doesn’t come back. Life is about making memories, so make them. When you get old, the regrets will suck.

  • MC

    Great share!

    Always enjoy the high quality of your video presentations, and the references to specific venues at each stop are very helpful. I very much appreciate the GPS coordinates that you provide when you are boondocking in remote areas.

    Safe travels !!!

  • We lived right on the water in Rhode Island when I was a kid and we clammed in our back yard…unfortunately we were too young to realize how awesome this was. My husband and I took a trip to Molokai and stayed in a yurt at Molokai Ranch. We caught a huge mahi mahi that they grilled up for dinner that night. Don’t even get me started on craft beer. It’s always on our must do list when we travel–most recently enjoyed Port City in Alexandria, VA, O’Connor in Norfolk, VA and Oskar Blues in Brevard, NC. Once we are semi full timing I suspect we will have to whittle down our pint glass collection.

    • The coastal areas provide so much its hard not to fall in love with any coastal town! We haven’t spent nearly enough time in VA and really need to. As for that pint glass collection…well, that will be tough job.

  • Larry Forman

    I really enjoy your blogs and videos. I would appreciate you doing a video explaining how you make your videos. That would be very instructive and useful.

    I was about to purchase a portable distiller like you use, but then I wondered if one of my solar ovens could be adapted to make distilled water. I signed into a solar cooker yahoo group and received a recommendation for a possible approach. I tried it and found that I CAN indeed make distilled water with a solar cooker and a few common kitchen tools!
    Right now it only makes about 9 ounces of distilled water per day, but I suspect that it can be improved. Another solar cooker person on the solar cooker yahoo group will be experimenting with this and see if he can improve the daily amount of distilled water.

    I received a recommendation from the same yahoo solar cooker group for what is likely the best performing solar cooker and it is called the All Season Solar Cooker. It is sold by Amazon and is a real bargain at $100 delivered. It is very light weight and might produce more distilled water. I placed an order for one and will experiment and see if that is true. If you are passing through Sacramento I could show you how a solar oven can be used to distill water without ANY use of electricity. The electric distiller takes quite a bit of electricity daily, as I am sure you realize. The specs are around 500 watts.

    — Larry Forman in Sacramento.

  • If we hadn’t just gotten to see you two, watching this would have made us so melancholy. But since we did (twice!) it was nothing but pure joy hearing “We’re gonna go crabbin’!” again. If you two do get to stop at McKinley’s on your way south, please say a big Hello to Pat, Gary and Anna for us. We’re hoping to see them too, but not looking like it will be until next spring at the earliest. Okay… now we’re missing you again. Love ya, Peter & John

  • Constance Condit

    Very professional video. I’m going to check that place out!

  • Rodney

    Jason & Nikki, thank you for your Oregon adventures.
    we are reading about your Oregon adventures with a lot of interest.
    You see, we are planning to move to Oregon to escape the California.

    we own property, and have been here all our lives in Santa Barbara and Ventura.
    However 2 weeks ago we decided to move to a place where the total population of the city, coincidentally I believe is equal to the population of our freeway during rush hour.

    That city is Brookings Oregon.
    Next step, rent out a couple of homes here, and pack up the Newmar.
    complicated navigation task.
    first step, get on the 101
    2nd step, drive north.
    Hmm, I guess that’s it, there is no third step.
    Just drive north on the 101, that’s it.

    A couple days later stop for the obligatory photo at the “Welcome to Oregon” sign.
    I wonder, does the sun shine in Brookings??

    Thanks Jason and Nikki, aka “Pippi Longstocking”
    My daughter read every word, from every book that se could find about Pippi.

    thanks again

    • Hey Rodney, we do love Oregon and its such a peaceful place for us. Sounds like you have quite the adventure ahead as you make your way to your new home. Have fun, take your time and I hope you find a new place to call home. Glad to hear someone else loves Pippi as much as I do. 🙂

  • Jim & Jon Hamilton

    McKinley’s looks like a wonderful place to stop!! Having the cook-pots hot and ready to cook your fresh-caught crab is just awesome. I’ve brought fish from our boat to a restaurant to be cooked, but nothing quite THIS fresh. The Oregon coast is high on our list to explore…we’ll have to bookmark McKinley’s so we don’t miss it because it looks like they have it all!! 1000 thanks for sharing.

    We especially loved the throw-back link to one of your first videos. What a hoot!!! I’ve mixed beer and chocolate before, but only under my blanket-of-shame…never open openly in public, and never on video. They do go surprisingly well together, don’t they?? 😉 Fred is a genius!

    Travel safe! Peace!!


    • ha ha, thanks for watching! That throwback video is about as far back as you can go and it is amazing to see how much we have grown with our camera skills. It’s hard for us to watch those early pieces, so terrible. 🙂

  • Hi! We miss you both in Dallas. Since you have been roaming the country for what seems like forever…. I think you might be in need of new, refreshed pillows! Can’t sleep on 4 year old pillows now can ya’?
    Hope you are well! Sweet Dreams and let us know where to send you your new Pillow Bar pillows.

    Life IS an adventure– thanks for reminding us through YOUR adventures.

    • Well Merrimac, I think its a real testament to the quality of your pillows that they are still going strong after 5 years of traveling adventures! We still love them just as much!

  • Norm Burgess

    It is so nice to have you guys back in the lower states doing videos!!!
    But do some travel in the Arkansas, etc states and do some trip videos!
    Love what you do


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