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First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Georgia
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50 posts
6 reviews
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First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

We’re a family of 4 with teenage boys planning a first-time trip to Oregon next July. We love nature, photography, hiking, & scenic drives – dislike crowds, shopping, etc. We are budget travelers for the most part, but will splurge a bit on occasion for something special. I’ve put together a rough itinerary, but not sure about the amount of time I have in each place.

Day 1 - Flying in from ATL & will probably arrive in Portland late so will stay somewhere not too far from airport, maybe Comfort Inn in Troutdale.

Day 2 – Columbia River Historic Drive – hike to some of the waterfalls, if a clear day maybe drive Larch Mt. Road – stay in Best Western Hood River

Day 3 – Drive to Mt. Hood – maybe hike around Trillium Lake, drive up to Timberline Lodge – then on to spend night in Redmond

Day 4 – Up early to explore Smith Rock State Park, afterward drive to Crater Lake. I’ve already booked one night at Crater Lake Lodge.

Day 5 – AM explore more of Crater Lake – afternoon drive to Bandon. Thinking of staying in Bandon Beach Motel on a cliff overlooking the Pacific!

Day 6 – AM explore the beach at Bandon - afternoon drive south a bit to see more of coast? Spend night again in Bandon.

Day 7 – Drive up coast to Yachats. See Shore Acres, Cape Arago along the way. Stay at Fireside Motel in Yachats.

Day 8 – Explore Cape Perpetua Scenic Area. Stay Fireside in Yachats again.

Day 9 – Up early to drive to McMinnville. Hubby & kids are aviation enthusiasts so we want to see the Spruce Goose. Afterward drive toward Portland, stay somewhere along the way.

Day 10 – Fly back to Atlanta. Don’t have flight info yet, so not sure how close we need to be to Portland the night before.

I currently have 2 nights in Bandon & 2 nights in Yachats. Wondering if instead I should do 3 nights in Bandon to explore more of the southern coast? What do you think? Thought about trying to squeeze in Jedediah Smith Redwoods but not sure how I could. Is that a reasonable day trip from Bandon? Can’t really afford to add another day.

Also, can anyone suggest the best route from Yachats to McMinnville? Up coast or through Corvallis? We prefer route with least traffic. I thought 34 Alsea Hwy looked like a good possibility.

THANKS in advance for any suggestions!

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Atlanta
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Georgia
Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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1. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Hi, how nice that you've done so much planning ahead :-)

Overall, it looks good to me. There are a lot of things to do around Bend that you might be interested in, but I can't see any extra time to fit them in, unless you want to bypass Mt Hood, or just do a quick look around there? Have your teens ever been in a lava tube?

Also, are you interested in the boat ride on Crater Lake? It is a strenuous walk back up but if you are all regular hikers you shouldn't have problems.

Bandon to Jed Smith is about 2 hours or just under. You could see Stout Grove and drive Howland Hill Road. If you continue south on 101 I think you could fit in more of the attractions in Redwood NP if you wanted. It would be a full long day but it stays light late in July ;-)

Hwy 34 is very scenic with almost no traffic. Here are some pics:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g28958-d19…

If you take Hwy 34, you'll come out on Hwy 20 on the west side of Philomath. From there you have some options.

If you go west on Hwy 20 for a few miles, you'll see a road going to the north to Wren, Hwy 223. That is also a scenic drive with little traffic. When you get to Hwy 22, do a slight jog west (about a mile) and then take the Perrydale road north. You'll end up in Amity, on 99W just south of McMinnville.

Or, when you come to Hwy 20 from 34, go east to 99W and take that north. It's much busier than the other route but a pleasant non-freeway drive.

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Bend
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2. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

I highly recommend the boat trip in crater lake if hiking out is not a problem. On day five be sure to stop at Tokatee Falls on your way down hwy 138 towards bandon... Agree that you can drive to redwoods if you would like- also if you aren't interested in going all the way- consider going on one of the jet boat trips up the Rogue River in Gold Beach- your teens will love it!

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Rogue River
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3. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

How do you plan to get from Crater Lake to Bandon? You could go to Crescent City via 199 then north along maybe our best coast Brookings to Port Orford. I would do that over boat ride on Crater Lake when pressed for time as your trip is. Also think you pass through Bend too quickly. I would drop Timberline for more time in Bend area

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Bandon
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Bend
Bend
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Georgia
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6 reviews
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4. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Half-Brit – thanks for the route info to McMinnville, that looks perfect for us! And I will look into the lava tube idea – is that near Bend?

Two hours to Jedediah Smith doesn’t seem bad. Maybe on day 6 if we’re feeling up to more driving we could do that. But if we’re needing a rest day at that point we’ll just skip it and enjoy the coast around Bandon.

Chinookgirl, thanks for the tip about Tokatee Falls. I looked it up and it is gorgeous! That’s just the kind of tip I love to get from these forums! In all my research I had never heard of that one. Also, it would be a great way to stretch our legs on the drive from Crater Lake to Bandon.

I’m a bit confused now about the recommendations for Bend over Mt. Hood. Mt. Hood looks so beautiful in the pictures – what is at Bend that makes it preferable? Keep in mind we are photography buffs. I was already sort of imagining my photo of Mt. Hood reflected in Trillium Lake. :) 

phirl - guess I need to consider that longer route to Bandon. Could see the Redwoods then instead of the next day. I hate to be rushed to leave Crater Lake though. Need to check the drive times for your suggested route.

Thanks all!

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Bend
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Port Angeles, WA
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5. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

The Bend area has great variety, everything from crystalline springs that bubble right out of the ground and turn into rivers, to lava lands. If you go to Newberry National Monument you can hike through lava fields, climb a huge cinder cone, marvel at lava bubbles, and clamber through a lava tube. You can hike trails that lead you to tumbling rapids and quiet waters damned by a lava bridge. Central Oregon is stunning, with some of the best hiking in the world.

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Bend
Bend
Central Oregon, OR
Oregon Coast
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for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
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6. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

What kaleberg said, except I don't do real hiking ;-)

Lava tube - tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g51766-d22…

More things to do in Bend... tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g51766-Activitie…

And in close surrounding areas:

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g52092-d15…

tripadvisor.com/Attraction_Review-g1808456-d…

tripadvisor.com/Attractions-g52033-Activitie…

tripadvisor.com/…REVIEWS

Just to give you some ideas :-)

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Bend
Bend
Central Oregon, OR
Oregon
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7. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Mt Hood dominates the scenery in area. Going to Timberline really gets you too close to it. To me best scenes of Mt Hood are not at Timberline, but the Lodge is worth a visit if that interests you. However still think Bend area worth more time than Timberline. You picked Smith Rocks, but Newberry Crater and McKenzie pass both worth some time. Newberry is closer to your route, so would take less time then McK Pass.

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Mount Hood
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Bend
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Newberg, Oregon
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8. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Take your swimsuits. Your teens will probably enjoy the water park that's part of the Evergreen Aviation Museum complex. Features a waterslide from a 747. Our daughter, her adult kids and their 5- to 8-year-olds go there quite a bit and have a ball. Fun for all ages!

Portland, Oregon
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9. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Keep your day on Mt Hood if you like- Whatever you choose will be good- you cant really go wrong. the only thing is there is just too much to do! I noticed you had visited the SW US with all the arches, etc... I think I would recommend skipping Smith Rocks- you will probably be thinking nice, but Utah is much better! I'd focus on either Newberry Crater National monument or drive along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway(also known as Century Drive) on your way down to Crater Lake. Plenty of hiking and short stops to do along the way... you can also take the chairlift up Mt Batchelor in the summer and walk around on top...

www.tripcheck.com/Pages/SBcascadeLakes.asp

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10. Re: First time trip to Oregon - July 2014

Only thing I might add to the great recommendations above is that since the airport is on the east side of Portland, depending on the day and time of your flight, personally I would stay as close as possible to PDX especially if you need to return a rental car, etc. Traffic can be an unpredictable bear in that neck of the woods.

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