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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.

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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.

Answered by Sarah Lemon on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What are the best mountain biking trails not too far from the Camas/Portland area? – Linda M.

I’m fond of Three Corner Rock, right outside Washougal. In addition, Ride Oregon Ride is a great resource for finding trails. I hope that helps, and happy trails!

Answered by Otis Rubottom, Ask Oregon Cycling Expert on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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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:

  1. Crosswater Golf Club located at Sunriver Resort. If you are a resort guest, you can have access to this top quality course and you’ll love it. There are several tee boxes so depending on your level of play, you can make it as challenging as you like.  Crosswater has hosted several NCAA, PGA Tour and USGA amateur events.  The course is reopening after an extensive renovation the end of May so your timing to play the course is perfect.
  2. Brasada Canyons Golf Club at the Brasada Ranch Resort is also a fun course to play. It is located just outside  of the airport area in Powell Butte.  It is a Peter Jacobson design. The best part of playing this course are the views. Really spectacular views that follow you through out the 18 holes of play. Zach Swafford is the head pro and he and his team will take great care of you.
  3. Black Butte Ranch has two classic designed golf courses that in so many ways give you that authentic central Oregon golf experience.  The Ranch is  located in Sisters.  The property has two courses, Big Meadows and Glaze Meadows…… tree lined and small greens.  it may remind you of playing Donald Ross designed courses if you have traveled east to do just that.  Jeff Fought, little brother to PGA Tour winner and course designer, John Fought, is the director of golf.  They are super people there and will take great care of your every golf need.
  4. Pronghorn Golf Club – Nicklaus  course – Pronghorn is a semi-private facility again not too far from the Redmond airport.  The course may be most remembered for its manicured greens and  over sized clubhouse.  This course design is pure Nicklaus…..knowing  his pattern for risk reward temptation in the hole designs.  You will love playing this course for so many reasons including the very friendly staff, the views and the 19th hole patio area.

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.

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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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.

Answered by Dave Strom on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

What is the best time of the year to golf?

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.

Answered by Noel Lucky, Ask Oregon Golf Expert on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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We are traveling to Portland and would love to take right off and go on a nature excurion. We are considering Mt. Hood and Mt. St. Helen’s. Can you tell us which you would recommend and why? In both cases, can you recommend a wonderful place to stop for exquisite dining and wining? something we would never find on the East Coast? – Jan M.

Mount Saint Helens is going to be pretty much out of the question. Due to the time you have available, the drive is too lengthy for you to enjoy yourself. Most of the visitor center’s don’t open until May 18th either and the dining options in the area are limited, to say the least.

Mount Hood, however, is maybe an hour and a half from the airport, and you would have plenty of time to explore once you get there. Timberline Lodge is definitely something you won’t get on the East Coast. They feature Northwest cuisine and an extensive wine list including a large number of Oregon wines. In fact, they have the largest wine list in the state. You can’t go wrong there.

If you are looking for something even closer with more time to fit some hiking in, try a drive along the historic highway in the Columbia River Gorge. The Tippy Canoe near Troutdale has the best seafood this side of the coast, a  great wine list and cocktail menu. If the weather is warm and dry, they have a beautiful outdoor dining area featuring stone tables, fire pits, and patio heaters if it’s a little bit chilly.

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My friend and I are planning a motorcycle ride over to the Oregon Coast from Northern Idaho near the end of July. Any roads or towns you would recommend hitting? We would like to spend some time near the ocean and find some good local brews.

There’s a coveted motorcycle route through the Wallowas on the 39 road (Hell’s Canyon Scenic Byway) from Joseph to Halfway—if you have the time. To get to the Wallowas from North Idaho, you’d come through Moscow and Lewiston over highway 82—another epic two-lane roadway—to Enterprise. That’s where you’ll find Terminal Gravity brewpub, one of the first small crafters in the state and home of a great IPA. (I am a huge fan of  their single hop variety double IPAs only available at the brewpub.) If you take the 39 road, you’ll end up on Highway 84 in Baker City, where you’ll find Barley Browns Brewpub. I also recommend a stop in Pendleton at Prodigal Son Brewery. From there you can continue on I-84 and swing through Hood River and the Double Mountain Brewery before high tailing it to the coast.

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We have three kids 5 and under. We want to go on a vacation and check out Oregon, but don’t know where to go? We would love some good ideas. We don’t mind camping, and we like doing things outdoors, but the kids might only last hiking for a couple of days and then be wiped out. – Sharp Family

Wow… you won’t believe the list of family friendly recommendations in the Willamette Valley. Here are some places to check out:

 

Answered by Debbie Lusk, Ask Oregon Portland Expert on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer

We’re interested in renting a home on or near the beach in Oregon for a few weeks this summer. We have kids ages 5, 6, and 12 and are looking for a sandy beach, relaxed quiet community with great fishing, biking and playgrounds. What areas do you suggest? – Lauri

In order to enjoy boating and easy docking, you’re going to have to find a place that is not oceanfront, but more like a bay, inland lake or river. I’m picturing a few places like that on the Nehalem River, and on the Nestucca River, both in Tillamook County. I just did a quick search and found a few on Mercer Lake, near Florence. But, I don’t know of any small, non-touristy communities that are also good for biking and playgrounds — those just don’t seem to go together. But I’ll bet the kids will think the beach is a pretty good playground.

Answered by Niki Price on April 19th, 2012 - Post Your Answer
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