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Crater Lake/Redwood Expense Report

Another trip, another expense report. With this blog, I want to help others have great adventures. It’s one thing to say, “You can travel for cheap!” But unless it’s not tangible advice, then it’s not that beneficial. With these expense reports, I write down all of my expenses to show exactly where my money goes when I travel. Although this trip was my most expensive yet, it was also the farthest I’ve ever driven. On this trip, I drove from my home of Hot Springs, Arkansas, to Crater Lake National Park in Oregon and Redwood National Park in Northern California.

The Itinerary

It took me three days to get to Crater Lake National Park and three days to get home from Redwood National Park. That was a lot of driving, so this trip was more expensive than my previous trips.

I spent 11 days on the road, camping the entire time. Six total days of driving and five total of exploring Crater Lake National Park and Redwood National Park. I left after work on Friday and drove from Hot Springs to the KOA in Wellington, Kansas. From there I drove to the KOA in Green River/Rock Springs, Wyoming. And then from there, it was on to Crater Lake. I spent one full day at Crater Lake. But because of wildfire smoke, I left early the next morning for Redwood National Park.

Crater Lake is shown

Redwood National Park doesn’t have campgrounds, but the park is combined with several state parks. So I stayed at the Mill Creek Campground at Del Norte Coast Redwood State Park.

For my trip home, I camped at the KOA in Wendover, Nevada, and then at the KOA in WaKeeney, Kansas.


5,297 total miles

Well, of course, more distance costs more money. Also because of the distance, gas prices fluctuated greatly. In Arkansas, it was about $2.85 a gallon. But in California near Redwood National Park, it was a whopping $4.50 a gallon. And that was the cheapest gas station that I found! Most stations had it for about $4.90. On this trip, I found the GasBuddy App to be very beneficial.

For a total of nearly 3,000 miles, my fuel cost me a total of $613.36.

Toll Roads


You can avoid toll roads going through Oklahoma and southern Kansas, but it was worth it to me to use them. I had a lot of miles to go and not a lot of extra time to spend. So I ponied up the $22 it cost me to drive the toll roads.



I tried hard to keep the camping fees to a minimum. But I don’t like to boondock (camp in remote areas outside established campsites for free) while I’m solo. So I stayed with parks and KOAs. For 10 nights in campgrounds, my camping fees cost me $332.21.

A campsite at Redwood National Park is shown

My original plan was to travel to and explore Lassen Volcanic National Park in California. But it was literally on fire, so I had to change my plans and go to the Redwoods at the last minute. Because camping is less expensive at Lassen Volcanic National Park and my itinerary for the drive home changed, I ended up spending $100 more in camping fees than originally planned.



For this trip, I packed my usual turkey, ham, and cheese for sandwiches. But I also ate out a little more than usual. I had a long way to go and wanted to be able to eat quickly, so drive-through finger food was the best choice. I also got a little tired of turkey with cheese and chips. But even with eating out a handful of times, I still only spent $118.47 on food for the entire 11 days.

This total includes the $15.25 I spent on ice for my cooler. Because I drove into cooler climates, I only had to buy ice three times.

An open road is shown



In total, my trip cost me just a little more than $1,000. Not too bad I think, for driving all the way to the Pacific Ocean. One thing to note is that on this trip, I did not do any special tours or was required to buy any special permits. There’s a $30 entrance fee to Crater Lake National Park. However, I have the Annual Pass for national parks, so I did not have to pay that. I also did not buy any souvenirs on this trip.

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Budget Road Trip – my comprehensive expense report from my 11-day road trip from Arkansas to Oregon and Northern California national parks.

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