It has only been a few years since our family moved to Southern Oregon and fell in love with the storybook scenery. Every season brings new opportunities for family-friendly adventures. As a family of five, we have explored many of the unique experiences in Southern Oregon. It’s easy to make your basecamp in Medford and choose between homestyle comfort food, seasonal farm-to-table cuisine or quickly grabbing a hot dog and soda while cheering on our collegiate baseball team, the Medford Rogues. Here’s how your family can spend four days of fun in the Rogue Valley.
Day 1: Zipline, mysteries and cheese sampling
Explore your Medford surroundings. Take a bike ride or a short walk to the Rogue Valley Growers & Crafters Market, held at Hawthorne Park every Thursday, March through October. Nosh your way through the market’s many vendors, including Pennington Farms and Northwest Pine Apple. Nearby the market, Buttercloud Bakery is known for their enormous sticky buns if you’re feeling extra indulgent.
Then gear up for a morning of thrills at Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure in Gold Hill, where you can soar between the trees with views of Crater Lake Rim, Mount McLoughlin and Table Rock. Just 15 minutes away, explore one of the state’s more bizarre attractions, the Oregon Vortex House of Mystery — a mind-boggling curiosity that will keep your kids questioning gravity for months. Enjoy lunch at the famous Rogue Creamery in Central Point (try to resist their honey grilled cheese sandwich) and Lillie Belle Farms, next door, satisfy your sweet tooth with fruit-filled chocolates and truffles.
In downtown Medford, settle in at Inn At The Commons, where you can relax by their seasonal outdoor pool or walk across the street to Common Block Brewery for a dinner of upscale pub grub. Kick back on the family-friendly patio and look over your trail maps for tomorrow.
Day 2: Crater Lake, hiking and waterfalls
The next day of your adventure begins at Crater Lake National Park, about 90 minutes northeast of Medford — but don’t forget to stop for more fun along the way. Not far off Highway 62, Prospect State Scenic Viewpoint is a perfect midway rest point, with access to the kid-friendly Mill Creek Falls trail, Pearsony Falls and Instagram-worthy Prospect Bridge, which spans the mighty Rogue.
Snack break? Stop in at the historic Beckie’s Café in Union Creek, located 15 minutes north, for a giant slice of their gooey huckleberry pie. Hop out for a quick stretch along the accessible quarter-mile loop trail at the Rogue River Gorge Viewpoint — a truly impressive sight.
Follow Highway 62 as it veers to the right towards Crater Lake, or take a detour onto Highway 230, where you can access even more stunning Southern Oregon waterfalls.
At Crater Lake, drive the 33-mile rim and stop at the viewpoints along way to gaze at the deepest, bluest lake in America. There are a number of accessible trails and picnic areas, including Vidae Falls, the 2-mile Plaikni Falls Trail and Godfrey Glen Trail, a 1-mile loop. Time and weather permitting, don’t miss the mile-long hike from the rim down to Cleetwood Cove, where you can fish, take boat tours to Wizard Island and even spend the day swimming. (Note: These activities at Crater Lake are accessible between July and September, due to snow.)
On your return, grab a bite at Crater Lake Lodge, or back along Highway 62 toward Medford at Phil’s Frosty in Shady Cove, for an old-school ice cream treat. Back in Medford, cap off your day with fresh salmon and other farm-to-table fare in the retro ‘60s-era dining room at Larks Restaurant and Lounge, which anchors the Inn at the Commons.
Day 3: Rafting and burgers
Today, prepare the family for an exhilarating trip whitewater rafting on the Wild and Scenic Rogue River, which marks its 50th anniversary in 2018. Rogue Rafting Company and other outfitters offer full or half-day guided trips (May through September) through class IV rapids, suitable for age 8 and up — mild enough for novices but still plenty of thrills for experienced river rats. Trips along the Upper Rogue River depart from Gold Hill and continue for seven miles of pristine waterway, with a chance to see plenty of wildlife above and below — osprey, eagles, beaver, otters, salmon and the occasional turtle or black bear.
End your magical day with a simple dinner at Jaspers Cafe in Medford, where you can chow down on the best gourmet burgers and sandwiches in town. Don’t forget your side of sweet potato fries and a hand-scooped, old-fashioned milkshake.
Day 4: Trampolines, pizza and baseball
Spend your final morning in Southern Oregon jumping, diving and dodging with the kids at Medford’s one and only indoor trampoline park, located just a short walk from your hotel. Rogue Air Trampoline Park boasts 10,000 square feet of wall-to-wall trampolines that are fun for any age, size or ability level. Play dodgeball, tumble or jump. Kids can literally bounce off the walls — and you can, too.
Or if it’s nice out (and it usually is), head to Prescott Park, the second-largest city park in Oregon, with 1,700 acres to roam by foot or bike year-round. Find a trail to suit your family’s energy level; for a challenge, head up to Roxy Ann Peak at the 2,200-foot summit and soak up more views of Mount Shasta, Mount Ashland, Table Rocks, the Three Sisters and Mount McLoughlin — more trail inspiration for your next trip.
In the evening, grab a pizza from Kaleidoscope Pizzeria & Pub in Medford, with tasty gourmet pies to please everyone.
Or, if you prefer, load up the car and head out to Medford’s Harry & David Field for a ballgame. The Medford Rogues are part of the Great West League — a collegiate summer league of top-level NCAA ballplayers from across the United States.
When you go: Stay at Inn At The Commons, a pet-friendly hotel in the heart of downtown Medford, with continental breakfast, onsite Larks Restaurant and Lounge, heated outdoor pool, spacious rooms with rollaway beds, and easy walking and biking to nearby shops and restaurants.