This post highlights points of interest on our five day Oregon Road Trip. Oregon is a hidden gem in the Northwestern U.S., with stunning landscapes, from mountains, trees and lakes to coastal views.
This summer, we decided to do an Oregon road trip as part of our family vacation. Many of our friends had puzzled faces when we told them we opted for an Oregon roadtrip over a California coastal roadtrip. Originally, I wanted to do the Big Sur drive from San Francisco down to Monterey and Carmel. However, some of the roads are currently closed on that route due to recent landslides.
There were several other reasons we chose to do an Oregon road trip:
- The Oregon coastline provides stunning views, including lots of interesting rock formations on the beach.
- The redwood forests in northern California are actually closer to Portland or Eugene, Oregon than San Francisco. The drive to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park is about 4 hours from Eugene, Oregon, versus 6 1/2 hours from San Francisco.
- Oregon has tons of waterfalls that can be seen by car or by hiking. We went to Silver Falls State Park (which has 10 waterfalls in the park, including South Falls that you can walk behind) but there are also waterfalls within a 30 minute drive of Portland (Columbia River Gorge which features Multnomah, Latourell, Bridal Veil falls).
- Crater Lake National Park in Oregon features the deepest lake in the U.S.
- Pacific Dunes is the #2 public U.S. golf course. My husband is an avid golfer and was the designated driver for our road trip, so this was the highlight of his trip.
- We had only five days to drive around, and we wanted to pack in as many different sights and outdoor activites as possible, e.g., hiking, golfing, coastal views, waterfalls, redwood forests, National park.
- Our youngest son is a huge Oregon Ducks fan, and wanted to stop by the University of Oregon to check it out.
Oregon has two main airports you can fly into: Portland and Eugene. We flew into Portland (PDX) because it was less expensive and there were more options for flight times, but Eugene is a great option if you want to be closer to the redwood forests.
Our 5-day Oregon road trip went as follows:
Day 1: Flew into Portland; drove down to University of Oregon in Eugene, and toured the campus. Enjoyed delicious dinner at Novo Modern Latin Table and ice cream at Prince Pucklers, and stayed overnight in Eugene (2 hour drive).
Day 2: Drove to Crater Lake National Park (2 1/2 hour drive) and hiked down to Crater Lake (Cleetwood Cove Trail, East Rim – hike took about 1 hour). The boys jumped off the rocks into the lake. Unfortunately, due to some fires, West Rim was closed and the lake visibility wasn’t great and it smelled a bit smokey. However, the views down at the lake were still spectacular. Note: the hike is pretty steep, especially the section right by the lake, so pace yourself going back up due to altitude changes. Stopped at Taqueria La Guacamaya for an delicious, authentic Mexican meal (highly recommend for homemade salsa/sauce selection) and stayed overnight in Grants Pass (1/2 hour drive).
Day 3: Drove to Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park (1 1/2 hour drive). Hiked Boy Scout Trail (enter the park from Howland Hill Road – the road is a bit rough in the beginning so drive slow, but the tree-lined drive is beautiful). Stopped in Brookings for lunch at Superfly Martini Bar & Grill, then continued our drive up the Oregon coast to Bandon, OR (2 hours). The views along this coastal drive were spectacular so grab a seat on the left side of the car if you can. We rented a house near Bandon beach. My husband and one of the older boys golfed the short Par 3 course at Bandon Dunes. The rest of us went to check out the rock formations at the beach (e.g, Face Rock). Late dinner at Edgewaters. Note: the weather in Jedediah and along the coast of Oregon was significantly cooler than inland (50 degrees vs. high 90’s/low 100’s in Portland/Eugene due to a heat wave).
Day 4: My husband and older boys golfed Pacific Dunes course. My younger son and I went to West Coast Game Park Safari and downtown Bandon (lunch at Tony’s Crab Shack – food was average). The safari was a pleasant surprise – much larger than it looked from the outside and a frenzy of animals that aggressively followed anyone that would feed them.
Day 5: This was our longest day of driving, so my husband got up early to play another round of golf. Picked up coffee and bagels from Bandon Coffee Cake (recommend the Yonkers lox and cream cheese sandwich). We continued our drive up the coast to Florence (1 1/2 hours) and stopped for lunch at Maple Street Grille. This second leg of our trip up the coast did not have as many ocean views as the first leg, but was still very pretty. Unfortunately, due to time constraints, we did not make it up to Yachats, but I understand the drive between Florence and Yachats is supposed to be beautiful. We then drove inland to Silver Falls State Park (2 1/2 hours) and hiked down to South Falls and Lower South Falls (hike took about 1 hour) The drive to Silver Falls took us through farmlands and up windy roads, but it was worth it as we have never been able to stand behind waterfalls. After our hike, we hopped back in the car and drove to Portland in time for a late dinner Lechon (1 1/4 hours).
Day 6: Flew out of Portland (PDX).
Have you done an Oregon road trip? Please share your experience below in the comments. I’d love to hear.