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cox2 Feb 28th, 2010 09:03 AM

Please Help With Oregon Itinerary
Please help! We are planning our first trip to Oregon during July, and I need your advice. We are a family of four: myself, husband, college age son, and high school age son. We love to travel and are very active forty-something year olds. My kids particularly love to fish and play golf. We typically avoid hotels, and rent homes instead whenever possible.

WIth that in mind, this is what I have planned so far...

Portland: 3-4 nights, see city sights and do day trips to Mount St Helens and Mount Hood / Columbia River. I'm looking for an apartment in the Pearl or cultural district. Also, I've seen a few really cool floating houses for rent on VRBO. What would you suggest? Is this reasonable?

Cannon Beach: 3-4 nights. Is this too long? I'm not big on beaches (if I never got in a bathing suit again as long as I live, I would be just fine). My kids would love to fish offshore - is that available here? Is there another area on the coast that you would suggest? Any ideas on where to stay (most listings on vrbo have 1 week minimums to I might need condo/hotel suggestions.)

HERE IS WHERE I REALLY NEED ADVICE! 3-4 more days in either ....
Crescent Lake area (due to proximity to Crater Lake)
Three Sisters (looks like a fun area with lots to do)

My kids/husband will want to fly fish, hike, bike, raft, etc. I'm game for anything, but I am looking for a good mountain experience before we head home to the sweltering Texas heat. Also, I really want to see Crater Lake (could we do a day trip from Three Sisters?). We will depart from here, so proximity to airports might play into our decision too.

Many thanks for your help!

mms Feb 28th, 2010 09:42 AM

Day trips from Portland to Mt. St. Helens and Mt. Hood/gorge are really easy, so you are on the right track with that. I would opt for a place in downtown so that you can walk everywhere.

I am much more of a mountain person that a beach person, so for me, 4 nights or so at the coast would bore the living daylights out of me, lol. That said, when we do go to the coast, we usually head over to Cannon Beach. It is only about 90 minutes from downtown Portland. We always stay at the Surfsand Resort there, which is really nice and is the only place on the entire OR coast that has cabana service. Chairs and umbrellas set up, volleyball net, and kites and beach toys for your use. I like this place because it is very nice, yet is a short walk to the heart of downtown. If this were my trip, I would come here, but only stay 2 or 3 nights.

The Three Sisters are the mountains, but the town is just called Sisters. Fantastic area!!! There is so much to do around here. We head over to Sisters/Bend area several times each year and always find new things to do. White water rafting, fly fishing, hiking/backpacking, biking, horseback riding, name it. The High Desert Museum just south of Bend is excellent. Right near there is Lava Butte and the Lava Tube...all of which are must see's, IMO. Closer to Sisters is the Dee Wright Observatory off of the old McKenzie Hwy, and the Metolious River (great for fishing). You can easily do Crater Lake as a day trip from this area. It is about 2 hours each way.

We usually rent a home at Sunriver Resort, which is about 15 minutes south of Bend. Great resort, and lots of outdoor stuff to do right there. Another place we have stayed near Sisters is which we really liked.

Portland is the usual airport that people fly into as it is the largest.

cox2 Feb 28th, 2010 11:27 AM

What great suggestions you have! You have been so helpful! Surfsand Resort looks perfect, and I think I will reduce our time to 2-3 days. I LOVE sistersponderosahome. Questions: Do you prefer Sunriver Resort or the sistersponderosahome? Is the Pearl district in downtown?

Andrew Feb 28th, 2010 11:49 AM

Technically the Pearl is adjacent to Portland's tiny downtown - but it's such a small city that it really doesn't make any difference. Some hotels that are on the east side of the Willamette River advertise themselves as "downtown" but technically aren't. The Pearl is well connected by downtown Portland (and NW Portland aka "Alphabet District") by the Portland Streetcar or just by walking. Portland's a great walking town.

Cannon Beach is a great coast town, but the highlight really is the amazing beach. To me, though, the Oregon Coast isn't about sunbathing (it's usually too cold to swim in the ocean anyway even in July). In fact, don't expect the Oregon Coast to be sunny and warm in July; definitely bring sweatshirts, it could be cold and overcast, even windy. Seriously! If you get lucky it will be sunny or at least not chilly but best to be prepared. It's not San Diego up here.

No, to me the Oregon Coast is about the breathtaking scenery. So (especially if you don't care for the beach), I'd not spent four nights in any one Coast town. Instead, drive down a bit. Check out the great hiking opportunities. Perhaps spend two nights in Cannon Beach (and check out the numerous state parks nearby e.g. Ecola State Park right at Cannon Beach) and two nights in Newport or Yachats to the south (great scenery between Lincoln City and Newport; Newport also has the Oregon Coast Aquarium which is well worth a visit). If you stay in one coast town, you'll miss a lot of great scenery.

Get an AAA Oregon Coast Tour Map if you can, too - great companion guide to the coast.

cox2 Feb 28th, 2010 12:46 PM

Thank you, Andrew. Great advice. I'm reworking my itinerary as we speak!

mms Feb 28th, 2010 12:52 PM

Andrew mentioned some good points, the weather and the scenery.

As for my favorite between Sunriver and Sisters...its a toss up. I know that doesn't help much, lol! Sunriver is great with kids as they can just take off and bike on the trails there, fish right there, canoe, go to the village mall, etc. The home in Sisters you definitely need to drive to places, but the home is very nice. So it just depends on what you want. You might even do 3 nights at Sunriver and 2 in Sisters, if you can afford the time.

sunbum1944 Feb 28th, 2010 02:50 PM

I would choose Sun River- great place for families- bike trails are great, easy access to some great hiking and rafting, plus SunRiver has canoe and kayak rentals Drive over to Mt Bachelor and take the chairlift to the top for great views.

Close by is Bend which is a fun city with any nice shops and restaurants.
Not far from Sisters is the Metolius River area- a famous flyfishing spot and one of my favorite places in Oregon.
You might take a look at Black Butte Resort - similar to SunRiver with biking, golf and just across the highway from the Metolius area.

Not far from Bend is an area that might interest you- Smith Rock - famous for rock climbing and hiking. Its a pretty interesting area- amazing to watch the climbers hanging from the rocks- and there are several hikes in the area.

My favorite part of the coast is between Lincoln City and Florence - you might consider a Dune Buggy ride in the Florence area- very fun - a driver takes you on a roller coaster ride over the dunes- my favorite thing to do with guests . There is a lot to do and see between these two spots.


christabir Feb 28th, 2010 04:57 PM

The guys love golf - why not a night at Bandon Dunes to play one of their great courses? And the AAA Oregon coast map is really helpful. I am planning a similar trip (but golf is the real reason to get my husband there) and everyone's suggestions are great. Thanks.
If I might poach a question here - we are really interested in wildlife. I have the sea life down, but are there any suggestions to see land mammals and non-sea birds? We're going in May/June so some places are inaccessible.

sunbum1944 Mar 1st, 2010 12:47 PM

To see land animals you might consider a jetboat trip up the Rogue River - frequently see bears from the boat plus eagles and osprey and river otters

I would guess you might not want to travel to eastern Oregon because it takes a lot of driving to get there but - around Burns there is a herd of wild horses, also might see mountain sheep
also a jetboat ride on the Snake River through Hells Canyon you are likely to see a lot of bears, mountain sheep
Both the jetboat trips are a fabulous experience !
when we went through Hells Canyon I think we saw 11 bears from the boat.
Although there are many elk crossing signs on Oregon roads I have yet to see one in the wild
I know there is an area by Reedsport where you can view them in a protected area - but that might not be what you are looking for.

christabir Mar 1st, 2010 04:36 PM

Thanx sunbum! Exactly the kind of info we are looking for. We'll drive pretty far for that.

travelinandgolfin Mar 1st, 2010 05:04 PM

If your kids love golf, I second Bandon Dunes. Awesome. They'll love it. You do have to walk carts.

Bandon town is really nice as well.

leeam Mar 1st, 2010 06:01 PM

Hi, we did the following in July 2008 (it was our first trip to OR. and we fell in LOVE with every aspect of it! I spent alot of time planning and this is what we did)-flew into Portland, spent 4 nights there. Went to Mt. Hood during this time, drove along the gorge, visited all of Portland. The gardens are magnificent and it is a great city, very easy to get around. We then drove South to Crater Lake, spent the night, spent the night day at Crater Lake, then headed West. We then took about 5 nights and drove along the coast. A night here, night there. I agree with the others that along the coast 4 days is to much in one spot. There are many places to stop, fish enjoy the scenery etc. Take your time and the towns are close to one another so you can see several in a few days. We ended up in Canon Beach, spent the day there, then back to Portland for a night to fly out the next day. The coastline is gorgeous, plenty of outdoorsy things to do, hiking, fishing, etc. We had beautiful weather, high 70's every day, was perfect. Cool at night for sure. Some of the towns we stopped at on the Coast were, Coos Bay, North to Florence, Yachats, Newport, Nye Beach, Tillamook then Cannon Beach. The cheese factory in Tillamook was interesting. Crater Lake was a must in my opinion, worth the drive. It was about 4 - 4 1/2 hours from Portland. Hope you enjoy your visit!

sunbum1944 Mar 1st, 2010 06:45 PM

If the jet boat rides appeal to you, take a look at Jerry's Jet Boats at Goldbeach - and then it would be pretty easy to combine that with some golf at the Bandon Dunes

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