Having lived in Oregon, I’ve discovered many hideaways surprisingly unconsidered by summer vacationers. Here is my favorite long weekend itinerary of what this local knows and hopes the traveler will enjoy in Oregon.
Ashland and Jacksonville: It’s time for thou to be educated about the Shakespeare Festival. Ashland also hosts a yearly Independent Film Festival. Lithia Park is at the end of your stroll past cozy bookstores, quirky shops, and plethora of bars and eateries in this small college town.
Oregonians plan for the Summer’s outdoor amphitheater’s Britt Festival. I’ve had the privilege of dancing to Pink Martini and John Lee Hooker there. Jacksonville is a quaint tourist town with gems of antique shops, old-fashioned architecture, and high class restaurants.
Take a lunch to-go and bottle of wine with you to the concert. After hob-nobbing at the largest picnic ever, stay the night in one of Ashland or Jacksonville’s bevy of Victorian Bed and Breakfast’s.
Winston: Take the I-5 up to this little town for an adventure at the Winston Wildlife Safari drive-through animal park. Head down the 42 to the coast. Remember to stop at Girardet Wine’s boutique vineyard for a quick tasting. Choose an ice wine to enjoy with the fresh-picked fruit you gathered at Brosi Sugartree Farms.
Coos Bay, North Bend, and Charleston: This logging town will surprise you once you pull off the 101 Coast Highway. Shop downtown Coos Bay at Katrina Kathleen’s, pick up a coffee from Dutch Brother’s (an Oregon favorite) and schedule ahead to catch a movie in the historical Egyptian Theater in between restoration projects.
Head up Newmark Avenue in North Bend to take a stroll through Empire Lakes. Old growth trees and well-kept trails are the favorite locals go-to place for a morning jog.
Head farther down the road to Cape Arago Highway which leads to Charleston. Beautiful, minimally populated beaches and seal-watching overlooks await. Bastendorf Beach has an RV park and camping or spend the night at The Mill Casino. Request a room overlooking the bay.
Florence: Further up the 101 is Florence. Restaurants overlook the majestic and serene Siuslaw River. Stop at Sandland Adventures for a dune buggy ride. Moe’s is the most popular clam chowder house in the state. Pick up some candied popcorn at Sure Beat’s Farmin’s retro candy store. Stroll through the shops before driving back to camp at Honeyman State Park where you can rent and paddle a kayak before sunset on the lake.