Driving from Seattle to Ashland, OR

Aug 19th, 2009, 10:24 AM
  #1  
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Driving from Seattle to Ashland, OR

2 adults, a 15 year old and a 12 year old are driving from Seattle to Ashland. We would like to break up the drive over two days. Any suggestions for interesting places to stop and see along the way? Where's a good place to stop for the night? Any good outlet malls?
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Aug 19th, 2009, 10:39 AM
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There are outlet malls all long I-5 in various places on that stretch. But I suggest you wait til you get to Oregon (no sales tax). There are for example outlet malls in Woodburn, Oregon, just north of Salem (about an hour south of the Washington State border).

The total drive without stopping, assuming no traffic, is probably nine hours. You could stop at any number of towns along I-5 such as Portland or Eugene, obviously. You might consider a detour over to Mt. St. Helens, to the various visitor centers, back to I-5, and then stop in Portland for the night, then just drive the six hours straight through the next day to Ashland.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 10:50 AM
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Thanks, we've been to Mt. St. Helens and Rainier, and the Woodburn outlet. I guess I was hoping to find something interesting between Portland and Ashland that would be worth stopping for, and not too far out of the way. We went to Ashland last summer and drove the whole thing in one day and it made for a long and boring day on the freeway. It might be that that is just the way it is... We love Oregon for it's no sales tax! It's almost 10% now in WA!
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Aug 19th, 2009, 11:04 AM
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mms
 
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Have you explored Portland itself yet? If not, I would suggest that and then on your way down stop outside of Salem at Silver Creek Falls.

If you are coming in the summer/early September timeframe, you could head over to Bend for your overnights (tons to do in the area) and see Crater Lake on the way to Ashland.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 11:42 AM
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I'll look into Silver Creek Falls = never hear of it. I've been to Portland a couple of years ago, and was thinking of stopping there on our way home. We're leaving this coming Saturday and plan to be in Ashland by Sunday afternoon. I've planned a day trip to Crater Lake for Monday, have tickets to shows on Tuesday and Wednesday. Drive to Florence (stopping at Reedsport for museum, lighthouse, etc.) on the coast Thursday, camping at Honeyman is booked for two nights. Friday I'm hoping for a dune buggy ride and sitting/walking on the beach. Leave on Saturday, stopping by Sea Lion Caves. If we feel tired, stopping in Portland on Saturday night or driving home to Seattle if feeling good.

The "dud" parts of the trip are the long drive to get there and back, and the drive between Ashland and the coast. Was hoping to unearth some interesting little road side attractions or quick pretty hikes, etc. Last year we went to 'The Vortex' which was an interesting enigma... I-5 is not a fun drive.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 11:44 AM
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I would skip Sea Lion Caves. Much better to see them around Newport where they are free and the smell is better
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Aug 19th, 2009, 12:13 PM
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Yeah, Silver Falls is pretty amazing - you could easily spend an entire day there, especially if you love to hike. Maybe you could do that the first day and overnight in Eugene?
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Aug 19th, 2009, 12:18 PM
  #8  
mms
 
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As much as I love SFSP, I wouldn't devote an entire day to it. There are 10 waterfalls on a 7 mile loop hike...it is easy, takes our family only about 2 or 2 1/2 hours to hike the loop. But it is a nice place to go, and if it is a hot day the south falls are a must as you can walk under/behind them and the spray feels great. You can also get in the water at the very bottom. The lodge has decent fare for lunch as well. If you do SFSP, I would plan on half a day or so.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 12:30 PM
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So Sea Lion Caves are not worth it, eh? We've seen the sea lions lounging on Pier 39 in San Fran. so maybe we don't need this. Silver Falls sounds nice though. I like the sound of the hike since we'll be sitting for basically a day in the car...
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Aug 19th, 2009, 12:32 PM
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Oh, I wasn't suggesting they spend the whole day there - but certainly one could. They probably don't have time anyway. I know I could spend several days there just taking pictures...
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Aug 19th, 2009, 12:34 PM
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Maybe the Columbia River Gorge is too obvious?

Or, how about the north Oregon/south Washington coastline. Cape Disappointment is pretty neat for a couple reasons, and the kids would get a kick out of sailing balsa-wood airplanes off the Astor Column. Lodging might be tough, but you could maybe find a place to pitch a tent at Cape Lookout (if nothing's available at Oswald West).
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Aug 19th, 2009, 01:14 PM
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Since we're southward bound I was hoping for places in that direction. We went to Cannon Beach at Easter (in the sideways, blowing wind and rain...) so I was hoping to explore somewhere new. The Gorge is pretty, but I would like to get at least half way to Ashland on the first day...
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Aug 19th, 2009, 01:32 PM
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All of these suggestions mean at least some detour from I-5. The Gorge adds an hour round trip if you simply drive I-84 to Multnomah Falls and back; add two hours to see much more of it. You could detour to the Gorge, spend time, back to Portland (take I-205 south to skip going back through downtown Portland), and stop in Salem or Eugene or somewhere around there.

Silver Falls is also not right on the highway, so expect to add time to get there and back.

Or are you looking for places that are basically right on I-5?
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Aug 19th, 2009, 02:44 PM
  #14  
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Yeah, there really isn't anything right on I-5.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 03:48 PM
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This one has me stumped. Whenever we go to/from Ashland I use the "rip off the band-aid quick" approach; I-5, push right pedal hard, 8 driving hours. In late summer the Willamette Valley can be hot as well as boring, but not as hot as the Rogue Valley.

As you're looking for this Saturday, I expect most nice places on the coast will be out of the question, so maybe the plan ought to be to find a motel in Eugene with a pool, then hit the movies or something low-key that night.

I don't know of any outlet malls south of the one at Woodburn, but I imagine Mr. Google can help on that one.

One thought was that if you pushed it and made it to Grants Pass on Saturday, you could go the next day to the Oregon Caves or continue on down to Crescent City on US 199, see the big trees (Have your kids seen the Redwoods? If not, it's time) and then still get into Ashland by dinner/pool/cooling off time on Sunday.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 03:54 PM
  #16  
mms
 
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I actually thought of one odd but fun thing to do, lol! In Newberg, there is still a drive in theater that shows great movies and is a lot of fun.

For outlets, yeah, the Woodburn ones are the best. They did just open a few more stores there like The North Face.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 03:56 PM
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An hour off I-5 is probably okay. I think that Silver Falls hike sounds the best so far, only about 26 miles off the freeway and gets us out of the car, getting the circulation moving. There was a good description of it on www.oregon.com.

Other than Woodburn, do you know of any other outlet malls worthy of stopping at?
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Aug 19th, 2009, 04:25 PM
  #18  
mms
 
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Actually, an easier way to get to SFSP is to get off of I-5 at Woodburn and then take HWY99Eto HWY 214 down through Silverton on into the park. You could also stop at the Oregon Garden there too. Then after SFSP, get onto HWY 22 back towards Salem/I-5.

As for outlets, nope, Woodburn is the only one.
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Aug 19th, 2009, 04:56 PM
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The Oregon Caves sound interesting too, but maybe we could hit that when we drive from Ashland to Florence. Do these caves have a name or just "oregon caves"? Is there a certain one that is better than others?

We saw some big Redwoods in N. Calif. and drove through the tree a couple of years ago...
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Aug 19th, 2009, 05:18 PM
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so you have seen the gorge? and you do realize that multnomah falls is no further off i-5 than silver falls? so, 3.5 hours seattle to portland, 4 for a gorge visit, then south as far as you want....
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