Ask Oregon Questions & Answers
|Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge, Portland|
I would like to take a tour to the Oregon coast from Portland but I have only 5 to 6 hours for this trip. I would love to stop at Astoria first and then to the coast, but I have no idea where to go next. Could you suggest any interesting attractions or beaches?
Five to six hours might be just enough time. You can get to Astoria on Highway 30 from Portland in about 2 hours. From there you can travel south on 101 to Seaside, Cannon Beach, etc., and return to Portland on Highway 26 – which is again about a 2 hour trip. On 101 you’ll have plenty of opportunities to pull over at scenic viewpoints or to stop in towns or at parks. If you have slightly more time I’d recommend staying on 101 south all the way to Tillamook, home of the famous cheese factory, and then return to Portland via Highway 6.
We plan to fly into Portland in late July or early August with our 14 year old grandson who is intent on visiting the University of Oregon in Eugene. What activities might be in the area that he would be interested in seeing?
I love that your grandson is so intent on seeing the University of Oregon! It’s a gorgeous campus so please be sure to take the whole tour! As far as baseball games go, check out the University of Oregon’s baseball website. Also, please see my friends at the Eugene, Cascades and Coast Adventure Center in Springfield when you come to town. There you will find tons of info on so many very cool things to do. From Portland to Eugene, please take the slow road, highway 99 and enjoy our scenery, hiking trails and perhaps a stop at our beautiful Silver Creek Falls. You will be amazed to find such a place right here in Oregon.
Eugene is surely the place for fun and lots of outdoor activity to keep a 14 year old very busy. Perhaps renting bikes at Paul’s Bicycle Way of Life and riding along the Willamette River would be fun. Taking a picnic lunch and exploring by bike is one of the best ways to experience the city.
I’ve never been to Oregon before and I get slightly overwhelmed trying to plan a trip to a place that has so much to offer. I don’t know where to begin. We have about a week. What places would be your “not-to-miss” places along the coast and around Portland? – Lynn S.
Around Portland the not-to-miss stops probably include Multnomah Falls, Powell’s Books, Saturday Market, and the Portland Farmers Market. If you like beer, you have to visit some of Portland’s breweries and pubs. If you’re partial to wine, visit some wineries a short drive out of town in the Willamette Valley. On the North Coast I recommend stopping in Astoria, Oregon – the oldest American settlement in Oregon, and one of the oldest west of the Rockies. If you’re a fan of the movie The Goonies, you’ll love Astoria even more. It’s a quaint cute town at the mouth of the Columbia.
Hi we are planning a trip to Mount St Helens in July. We are coming in from Calgary with two tough girls aged 9 and 11. We will be very close to Oregon, and was wondering what fun things are there to do in Oregon? We had fun last year on the Hiawatha Trail in Idaho. I heard there were volcanoes near the coast? What fun ideas are there for a family visiting Oregon? – Jason W.
I think your girls would really enjoy spending some time hiking a few of the waterfalls along the Historic Highway in the Columbia River Gorge. I spend a lot of time there with my girls (5 and 11). We also enjoy visiting Bonneville Dam and feeding the trout at the fish hatchery there.
Further out of the way, but really an adventure my family enjoys, is visiting the Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds in Eastern Oregon. It might be worth going out of your way on your return trip to visit. The kids can even dig for their own fossils behind the high school in the town of Fossil, then head over to the ghost town of Shaniko.
|Eastern Oregon, Mt Hood & Columbia Gorge|
Hi, I live in San Francisco and would like to plan a 3-day road trip with my son, who is 18. We wanted to see the Crater Lake but found out it is closed for the winter. Can you please suggest an April destination that is driveable from Northern California, offers nature, hikes? – Oksana W.
Glad to hear you planned a trip to Crater Lake, Oregon’s only national park. To clarify, it’s not closed. Some of the road and facilities are closed. But it’s well worth seeing in wintertime, when there are some unique opportunities for exploring the park. Snowshoe hikes on the weekends are free through April 29, and the park even provides the snowshoes. I personally have done the snowshoe hike and wrote about it for the Medford Mail Tribune newspaper. Just make sure to register in advance because the hikes do fill up. As you probably gathered, Crater Lake is in a very remote area of the state. The closest lodging this time of year is about an hour away in Prospect. I have never stayed at the Prospect Hotel, but I hear good things about it.
If you don’t feel up for a trek in the snow, Southern Oregon has plenty more to offer. The Table Rocks are locals’ favorite for hiking, particularly in April, when wildflowers paint the landscape with fleeting colors. Free, guided hikes are offered through the Bureau of Land Management and other conservation groups. For more outdoor activities in the region, check the Medford Mail Tribune’s weekly Oregon Outdoors section.
Depending on what time of day you get into Oregon from San Francisco or head for home, you may want to stop for the night in Ashland, which is several hours’ drive away from Crater Lake. Ashland has the most lodging and dining options of any town in the region, ranging from budget motels, bed-and-breakfasts to luxury accommodations. The historical Ashland Springs Hotel is among the best-known landmarks. It was renovated and completely redone several years ago. Rooms are small but charming and comfortable, and the restaurant downstairs is very good.
My wife and I will be in the Bend area and would like help in locating four top golf courses to play as well as lodging suggestions. We look forward to hearing from you and appreciate your time. – John P.
Depending on your handicap and energy level, you can actually play 36 holes a day in Central Oregon….there is just that much golf to be had. As far as top courses, I would recommend you consider the following:
All four places I have recommended do provide overnight stay accommodations including all the amenities and restaurants. You really can’t loose if you choose to stay at anyone of these properties so depending on how much golf you want to play, you’re in a good spot. Finally, I would invite you to check out the Central Oregon Golf Trail and Visit Central Oregon for more information on courses in the area.
|Central Oregon, Golf|
I am honeymooning in Portland the first week of May. We are staying in Happy Valley, and trying to take in Portland as the locals do. We plan to take in the great outdoors, shop, and eat. How do we make the most of our week there? L.P.
As the date approaches I recommend checking out PDX Pipeline and my site, Dave Knows Portland for Portland area events. The first week of May means you might also be in town during the Cinco De Mayo on Portland’s Waterfront – it’s a big carnival with rides, fireworks, etc. If the weather’s nice that weekend it may be a particularly good choice of events to attend. Also I recommend visiting Powell’s Bookstore, brewpubs, and the Farmers Market at Portland State University.
As far as best timing for golf in Oregon, the summer through early fall is generally reliable. But often the state of Oregon and the Portland area gets a bad wrap about being raining because that is usually the thought associated with the area. That is just not the case. There are many sun filled days through out the year. I particularly love the golf experience in the early fall. The trees with their colors and the smell of nature and its beauty wraps around your mind as you track around the course. Really a fantastic experience.
One of the most reliable areas to travel for golf with assurance of super weather is Central and Southern Oregon. Central Oregon has over 30 some courses with a wide variety of designs and price points for greens fees. And, it is filled with sunny days. Southern Oregon too has a super collection of courses and more reliable weather in and around the Medford area.
|Central Oregon, Golf, Southern Oregon|