We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Level Contributor
12 posts
13 reviews
Save Topic
Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Aloha, everyone! I just became a forum member but I have been reading all your informational posts for the past few weeks and got much, much more out of them than the $100 worth of guide books I have purchased. However, I have a few questions for you Oregon professionals out there...

I hope my questions are not too redundant as I have seen similar concerns in other posts, but not all in the same place. FYI, I'll be traveling with my wife and two sons, ages 14 and 11, next June.

Here is my tentative itinerary:

Day 1 - Honolulu to Portland (airport hotel)

Day 2 - Portland to Cannon Beach (Ecola Creek Lodge)

Day 3 - Cannon Beach to ?Florence (? hotel)

Day 4 - ?Florence

Day 5 - ?Florence to Gold Beach (?Tu Tu Tun Lodge)

Day 6 - Gold Beach

Day 7 - Gold Beach to Ashland (La Quinta Inn)

Day 8 - Ashland to ?Crater Lake (? hotel)

Day 9 - ?Crater Lake to Bend (McMenamins)

Day 10- Bend

Day 11- Bend

Day 12- Bend to ?Warm Springs (?Kah-nee-Ta Resort)

Day 13- ?Warm Springs to ?Hood River (? hotel)

Day 14- ?Hood River to Portland (Embassy Suites or Westin)

Day 15- Portland

Day 16- Portland (day trip to Salem via Amtrak)

Day 17- Portland

Day 18- Portland to Honolulu

As you can see, I got a lot of question marks listed above. Here are my specific questions:

1. Is Florence a good place to stay along the coast between my stays in Cannon Beach and Gold Beach? My kids want to see the backdrop for the movie Goonies in Cannon Beach and we all want to experience the Jet Boats on the Rogue River from Gold Beach so we decided to visit the entire coast. In Florence we were thinking of doing a dune buggy rail tour and maybe see the sea lion cave. Also, any hotel recommendation along the central coast?

2. Should I splurge on the Tu Tu Tun hotel in Gold Beach? We're thinking of taking an all-day Jet Boat tour on the Rogue so for one day we will not be at our hotel except to clean up and rest. Any suggestions on something more economical but in a good location?

3. Since we're not thespians, should we even consider staying overnight in Ashland? Or should we extend our stay to two nights in southern Oregon and not spend a night in Crater Lake? Or, do you have any recommendations for our two nights between Gold Beach and Bend (we would still want to visit Crater Lake along the way)? I guess my major apprehension is the drive. Since I don't drive for more than 25 to 30 miles at a time on the island I live here in Hawaii, I wasn't sure a southern Oregon to Bend route in the same day was practical.

4. I'm not sure about my itinerary between Bend and Portland, but I do know I want to get close to Mt. Hood and drive along the Old Columbia River Highway; so should we stay overnight in the High Desert enroute? Or should we stop in Government Camp? Or, stay in Government Camp, or thereabouts, for two nights and forego a night in Hood River?

5. One of my kids' stipulations for agreeing on this Oregon trip is a train ride, so I could only figure out to put one in while we are in Portland for a daytrip to Salem (or Eugene); is this worth the effort? We love train rides and have taken the Oakland, CA to Denver, CO route a couple of times before, so the Mt. Hood or Hood River train ride (whatever it is called) won't do it for us.

Thanks for any advice, suggestion or recommendation. I appreciate it!

Just as a note, the only thing I have booked so far is the Old St. Francis School (McMenammins) hotel in Bend. I might be able to get a good discount on the Westin in Portland, which is why I listed it, but I will make back-up reservations at the Embassy Suites, just in case.

Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
Level Contributor
10,973 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
1. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Overall, I think it looks good.

I would stay overnight at Crater Lake. One night is enough, but it really is an amazing place and worth the time. A must do, IMO, is the boat ride. Your kids are a great age for it. Tickets sell out quickly, so I suggest going to the ticket kiosk at the Cleatwood Cove trailhead first thing when they open (9am, I believe, but double check on that) and purchasing tickets. You do need to walk down the trail to the boats, which is about a mile and 700 feet elevation change. I would also suggest purchasing the ticket for Wizard Island so you can get off there and explore, and then catch a later boat back.

After that, your idea of staying in Bend is great. We love the area and there is so much to do! The McMenamins is a great location in downtown, and I personally love their hotels as each one is unique, etc. White water rafting, hiking, High Desert Museum, Lava cave, Lava Butte, Old Mill District...those are just a few things to do.

I have stayed at Kah Nee Ta before and honestly, I wouldn't make that stop again. It is fine, but with limited time I don't think it ranks up there high enough for a stop.

Hood River is a cool town. I would stay there 2 nights, taking one from Kah Nee Ta. This way you could drive over to Timberline Lodge as well as have time for the gorge area itself. Definitely take the old scenic highway in the gorge. Multnomah Falls is the big draw, but definitely walk to the very top, not just the bridge. Other stops in the area include Portland Womens Forum and Vista House. Along with a multitude of various falls/trails.

As for a hotel in downtown Portland, I would stick with the Westin. I haven't stayed there, but the location is great.

Buenos Aires...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
17,922 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

I just got an email from Concierge /Conde Nast Traveler and Tu Tu Tun was on their short list of best places in the World to stay:)

So that would be what I would do if possible..

In Portland, I think the Westin is a great location with a good restaurant downstairs.. lots of interesting people stay there..

Embassy Suites is fine too.

As long as you are downtown Portland where you don't have to bother with car/parking/etc.

It is an easy and nice town to walk everywhere or take the Streetcar.

Eugene, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Eugene, Springfield
Level Contributor
7,985 posts
185 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Aloha back at you! You'll find Oregon to be a real change...different weather, different rain forests, different attire, different cuisine.

You'll be getting lots of responses, I'm sure, but let me just touch on a few items and we can delve more deeply into your interests, budget and other preferences as we go along. No problem with Florence as a destination, but you might want to consider Yachats or Newport, as well. You can skip the sea lion caves (just look over the side), but I do recommend stops for the acquarium in Newport, Cape Perpetua, the group dune buggy ride south of Florence and tide pooling along the way.

The all day jetboat in Gold Beach will get you back in time for your dinner. Tu Tu Tun will be a major splurge and could be well worth it. Nothing in Gold Beach in the summer is "cheap," but Gold Beach Resort might be the best alternative.


No need to spend a night at Crater Lake. If the roads are open you will be able to spend an hour or so admiring the lake and the beautiful vista and move on. Snow could still be blocking a drive-through during most of early June, so you'll need to keep an eye on that.

The Shakespeare Festival in Ashland offers more than just Shakespeare. The other plays, including musicals, are wonderful and some are great fare for the entire family (in fact, you'll often find large school groups attending the shows). You'll need to have lodging reservations and theater tickets, however. Cost of everything in Ashland jumps up significantly in June for the summer months.

Not sure you need to spend so many nights in Bend and I might skip the night at Kah-nee-tah. The high desert museum in Bend is a must. The Warm Springs Native American museum is a worthwhile visit. I think I'd prefer to use the time to do the loop up to Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood and then to Hood River and west along the Gorge...and save a day out of Portland to visit Mt. St. Helens. As for trains, we really don't have a good suggestion. The Cascades connecting Seattle/Portland/Eugene are basically just communter trains. The Coast Starlight that is the long distance overnight train from Seattle to Los Angeles is a once a day train that is often very, very late (especially northbound).

Gotta go catch up on the bowl games now...will get back to you with more later....

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
Level Contributor
18,001 posts
62 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

I'd stay in the Newport area over Florence. One, it's closer and allows for a shorter drdive, and your drive will be slow with all the pullouts, views, things to see (e.g., Tilamook Dairy), etc. Two, it offers more activities for you and for the kids.

South of there, do visit Cape Perpetua, the visitor center (if open) on the east hill, and walk several trails to the water, Devils Churn, etc.

Here is a good resource if you don't have it:


Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,889 posts
1,048 reviews
Save Reply
5. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Hi Radmen, and welcome to Oregon, lol.

Florence is not on the beach, except for one older motel. The town is tucked behind some sand dunes, and not particularly scenic. (Sorry, Den)

I agree that for your purposes Newport might work better. There is much more to do. If you want to see the Sea Lion Cave for the novelty of it, fine. If you simply want to see sea lions, you can see them much closer in Newport on one of the docks on the old bayfront. The boys might have fun climbing the lighthouse at Yaquina Head!


Gold Beach - Tu Tu Tun Lodge is undoubtedly extremely nice. However, it is located about 7 miles upriver from the ocean. In my opinion (and given that I hate spending $$$$ for overnight lodging), I'd agree with o'poppa and go with one of the hotels along the oceanfront. Here is a website with most of the accommodations listed; you may also want to consider a beachfront vacation rental, just scroll down the list:


Gold Beach -> Bend is a long drive, too far in one day if you are trying to sightsee as well. You may be interested in stopping and seeing the Oregon Caves along Hwy 199?

Instead of Ashland, here's an idea. Check out Jacksonville, an historic town near Ashland.


Other than the boat ride, not much to do in Crater Lake other than lake-gaze and hike. Do be aware that the boat trip is about one mile straight down the mountainside, and one "and a-half" (lol!) miles straight back up, at very high elevation.

Don't miss the lava cave near Bend, great fun.

Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
Level Contributor
10,973 posts
91 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Different tastes, half-brit:) I love Crater Lake and don't think the walk down to the boats is bad at all. Our kids were fine with it, and lots of older, less able bodied people were doing it too:) Just depends on one interests though:)

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,889 posts
1,048 reviews
Save Reply
7. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Lol, Mtngrl, we actually *would* have gone on the boat ride when we were last there, but they had finished for the year. Bumped into some quite fit 40-somethings who told us the boat ride was not worth the hike back up. Yep, different interests!

Radmen, have been thinking about the train ride. Wonder if there is one (regularly scheduled Amtrak) to the east at all along the Columbia River? Maybe out to Pasco/Kennewick? Trying to come up with something more interesting than just down to Salem . . .

You might also be interested in a boat ride in Portland, maybe out to Astoria, or just to the Willamette Falls. Newport has the Oregon Rocket that goes out into the ocean.

What time of year are you visiting, did you mention?

Florence, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Oregon Coast
Level Contributor
6,029 posts
19 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Florence is a great place to live and the old town area is very picturesque and quaint (insert your own definintion here---I liken it to a mini Lahaina Town), but unless you are a dunes fanatic, it's not a good place for an o/n stay. Motel beds are limited, and as haf-Brit pointed out, there is only one facility anywhere close to the ocean. Add to that, with the exception of the new casino hotel and a couple of B&B's, there is nothing deserving any more than two stars IMO.

Once again I'll put in my plug for Yachats. Even though the town is MUCH smaller (~600 vs ~9,000), there are more beds available and the majority of them are on, or within sight of the ocean. The Overleaf Lodge consistently ranks at or near the top of Oregon Lodging and for good reason. The Fireside and Adobe are good cheaper alternatives as is the Yachats Inn south of the river.

Yachats is located approximately half-way between Newport and Florence, so if you stayed there you would only be adding about 30 minutes to your drive south from Cannon Beach and another 30 minutes on to Gold Beach.

Beaverton, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Cannon Beach
Level Contributor
6,087 posts
80 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

taking the train from pdx to salem i would cancel out --- what are you going to do in salem when you get off the train cause you are not going to have a car

there is a train out of hood river that takes you on a round trip ride into the countryside-


Level Contributor
8,735 posts
42 reviews
Save Reply
10. Re: Itinerary and hotel advice on 2 1/2 week Oregon trip

Agree Newport better than Florence, more to see in Newport, bayfront and ocean front town.

Trains?? Think Mt Hood train ride better than day trip to Salem, or Eugene, both a bit boring

A better Amtrak ride is Portland to Seattle. You go along Columbie River for 40 miles or more then Cowlitz River and soon along Puget Sound. Interesting run to me. and there are return runs, though you need to plan it

I have not ridden Mt Hood, but have the Amtrak runs.

If you are not Thespians pass through Ashland sunrise at Crater Lake is one of the best and sunset not far behind.

Bend area has much to offer. Do you have any plans set? McKenize Pass is very good newberry Crater very nice

Honolulu?? For first time we head to Hawaii in June. We have been 5 times but in winter months. 15 year old grandaughter can not miss any more school. and she will be with us. and her parents. Poipu and Kona