The Cabins at Mazama Village and Wizard Island Tours at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Visit with Kids

There’s a place you’ve gotta see in this country.

It’s a lake inside a volcano with an island inside of it with another volcano on it, and it is even more remarkable than it sounds.

You’ve gotta see Crater Lake in southern Oregon once in your life at least. You’ve gotta be on it, be in it, and be there with your kids.

The Cabins at Mazama Village Crater Lake National Park

I hate begin a travel post about a magical place on a negative note, but…don’t be fooled, these aren’t cabins. That there is a very cleverly constructed and cropped official photo from The Cabins at Mazama Village at Crater Lake National Park website. Pan down a few feet and step inside any one of them and you’ll quickly realize that these “cabins” are glorified motel rooms that will disappoint you and your 10-year-old daughter who spent the previous two months jazzed beyond belief, picturing picturesque cabins in the woods surrounding the majestic Crater Lake.

You don’t have many (Crater Lake Lodge, but that’s about it) other non-camping accommodation choices this close to Crater Lake, so you may very well end up in these non-cabin cabins but please know that what you are paying $144 (2015 rate) per night for is a dank, thoroughly unexceptional motel room framed by the makings of an actual rustic cabin. It’s like a Jean Claude Van Damme movie starting unexpectedly after the epic Star Wars opening credits and score are finished — you go from stoked to sour in the blink of an eye.

Now, on to the magic of Crater Lake!

No matter where you rest your head before or after your visit to Crater Lake, do take the Wizard Island Cruise. And to do that you’ll have to book WAAAY in advance, be there during a tiny summer operating window, and pay extremely high ticket prices, but the experience of being on the lake and on the volcano on the island in the middle of the lake is not to be missed. Truly, this is one of the most exhilarating things I’ve ever done and to have done it with my wife and kids made it even more terrific and memorable.

The walk down to the cool and clear Crater Lake water is winding and easy (coming back up is, well, every bit as winding but not nearly as easy) and the boat ride, time spent swimming in and frolicking around the water, and the hours exploring Wizard Island are one of the most unique American travel experiences you and your family can have. If you can manage the heights and many narrow-edged switchbacks, you and your kids should attempt to hike to the top of Wizard Island too. Really, you should. You’re not on the top of the world, but you’ll feel damn near close.

Crater Lake #fisheye @samsungusa #nx30 #imagelogger #nationalparks #Oregon #nature #photography A photo posted by Jeff Bogle (@owtk) on

You’ll want to pack a meal, some snacks, bathing suits and towels, and a few bottles of water for your time on Wizard Island as there is nothing there but nature, rocks, small animals and birds. This is as unspoiled a natural tourist destination as you’ll ever find. No gift shop, no crap overpriced buffet lunch, no nothing. Just serene beauty on a volcanic island inside a majestic lake. Pure magic.

Tip: when you’re done with the drinking water you brought to the island, get into the lake with your bottle sealed up again and plunge it down a foot or two beneath the algae resting on top. Then open the lid and let the cool Crater Lake water in. In minutes you’ll be drinking impeccably clean, cold and delicious Crater Lake water. Trust me. It is amazing. This is a simple natural experience so rare in this day and age, but one your kids will never ever forget.

Good morning, Crater Lake. @samsungusa #nx30 #imagelogger #nature #craterlake #photography #sky A photo posted by Jeff Bogle (@owtk) on

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