An Oregon Road Trip That Has Everything

An Oregon Road Trip That Has Everything

Up in the air about your next vacation? Here’s a little secret: You can’t go wrong with a southern Oregon road trip. It’s literally got a little bit of everything.

Love the outdoors? Let the exploring begin.  Want to see the coast? Check.  Wouldn’t mind visiting some breweries or wineries along the way? No problem.  National Parks?  Yes, one that’s not to be missed.  If you’ve got 10 days, you can do it all.  Here’s a suggested Oregon road trip itinerary, including ideas for what to do along the way…

Day 1: Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge

Fly into Medford and pick-up a rental car.  From there, make the quick drive to Morrison’s Rogue River Lodge.  This is where your 3-day Wild & Scenic Rogue River rafting trip will depart from in the morning.  Might as well start the trip off with a bang, right?

Rogue River Rafting trip with OARS. | Photo: James Kaiser

Days 2 – 4: Rogue River Rafting

For the next three days, you’ll be on river time, soaking in forest scenery, sunshine and splashy, fun whitewater.  Opt to have your rental car shuttled to the take-out so after the trip you can follow the Rogue River to the ocean and spend the afternoon exploring Oregon’s coastal route on US-101 N.  Make your way to the town of North Bend where you can have dinner overlooking the bay and an evening stroll along Horsfall Beach, named one of Sunset Magazine’s best walking beaches.

Day 5: Beer in Bend

From North Bend head inland to the other Bend, a.k.a. “the mountain town that has it all.” They’re not just talking about outdoor activities, either. With more breweries per capita than any other city in Oregon, Bend has also been dubbed “Beer City USA.”  Spend your afternoon sampling the local goods on the Bend Ale Trail (the largest beer trail in the West), and enjoy dinner at a brew pub.

Day 6: Paddle Bend

It’s all about outdoor recreation in Bend, and today, your hiking, paddling and biking options are endless.  But since Bend has also been named one of the world’s best SUP getaways by Outside Magazine (is there any title this town doesn’t hold?), head to Standup Paddle Bend, rent a board, and explore the Deschutes River right through the heart of town.

Day 7: Visit Crater Lake National Park

Grab breakfast in Bend’s hip downtown district before hitting the road south to Crater Lake National Park, where you’ll find the deepest lake in the U.S.  Make the trek to Watchman’s Peak or take in incredible views of the emerald crater as you explore the park’s Rim Drive.  Plan your visit in advance so you can stay at the Historic Crater Lake Lodge.

Crater Lake National Park

Day 8: Take a Stroll in Ashland

Grab one last sweeping view of Cater Lake before driving to historic Ashland, known for its longstanding Oregon Shakespeare Festival, which puts on live theater productions annually from February thru October.  Stay in charming downtown so you can stroll along Ashland Creek in Lithia Park, before taking in dinner and a show.

Day 9: Oregon Wine Tasting

Today’s your chance to taste some fine Oregon wine. With more than 127 wineries in the Rogue Valley and beyond, it’s probably best to hook up with a tour company like Wine Hopper for transportation. Looking for one last adventure?  Skip the wine tasting and head to the Ashland Outdoor Store for a map of the extensive hiking trails in the Rogue River-Siskiyou National Forest that you can access right from downtown Ashland.

Day 10: Return Flight

Some 600 miles later, recount your epic Oregon road trip as you make the short drive from Ashland to Medford for your return flight home.  Now, that’s an adventure.

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