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Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

Overland Park
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Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

We are planning to travel to Oregon the last week in July (7 days) with our two daughters, ages 15 and 21, and we need to help. We don't have enough time to see it all. We love white water rafting, hiking, and horseback riding. My husband would like to go fishing in a river. To date, all we have is a three-night reservation in Bend at SunRiver Resort. We have not made air reservations. Should we fly to Portland and go to Silver Falls, then Bend, then somewhere on the coast? Or should we fly to Medford, go to Crater Lake, raft the Rouge River, and go to Bend? We are coming all the way from Kansas, so we don't want to go there and miss the best Oregon has to offer. Please help!

Oregon
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1. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

Based on your interests, I would say southern oregon, namely grants pass.

You will be 90 minutes from the coast, and still see some great Oreogn outdoors. Hotel recommendation: www.riverside-inn.com for moderate priced riverfront lodging, and an easy walk to the river will get you on the hellgate jet boat tour (www.hellgate.com) or www.weasku.com for a little higher priced riverfront venue.

The town has nice shopping for the girls, and the town is still rough enough that your husband will find interesting places to go (the town is in transition from old logging town / rural oregon to resort town / retirement community).

To help you plan, though, the driving distances in Oregon on I-5 are about 1 hour between major towns (Portland, Salem, Euene, Roseburg, Grants Pass, Medford).

Bend to the coast (Lincoln City, Newport) is about 4 hours. I don't know if you will want to do that, though the aquarium in Newport is fun. You don't want to come from landlocked Kansas and not see the Pacific (unless you and your kids have seen it before).

Should you decide to hit Silver Falls, in the Salem area, feel free to contact me at marc_lucca@msn.com for a tour of the state capitol building, or if you need further Oregon advice.

Safe travels!

Overland Park
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2. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

Dear SanMarco,

Thanks for your prompt and informative response. We are looking at a map of Oregon, and we see Grants Pass. However, it looks like there is a mountain range between it and the coast. Do you know what the best road would be to drive to the coast? We appreciate your kind invitation to see the capitol. If we have enough time, we'll swing by, but it looks like we'll be very busy with beautiful things to see and do. (We have been to the Pacific Ocean in California, Washington and Costa Rica before, but never Oregon.)

Salem, Oregon
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3. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

I gotta disagree with the southern oregon route. I would say to stay in the Bend area. But before I say that, may I ask if you have white water river rafting experience? Because the Rogue River, even with a guide, is not a novice trip. If you have never been, I would raft the Santiam River, or the McKenzie, or the Deschutes for more challange (which is closer to Bend) before I did the Rouge River. Just me though.

Definately do the Silver Falls trip! You will love it. If you do Silver Falls, plan on staying in Salem (about a 25 minute drive from Silver Falls) for the night. Maybe then you could fit in a tour of the capital if it so interested you. The Oregon Capital is very pretty and has a gorgous rotundra that is worth just standing and listening to when people are walking about.

If you are set on going to the beach, you could then go from Salem to Lincoln City. This is a cute ocean town with lots of neat shops, a beautiful beach and an outlet mall of the girls. Lincoln City is about 60 miles from Salem.

Certainly flying into Portland is going to get you the best airfare.

I personally prefer Northern and Central Oregon to Southern Oregon. (Maybe it's an age thing or possibly what I have grown up around.)

Anyway, you clearly have lots of options! Also, you will miss an amazing view flying in along the Columbia, if you do not fly into Portland.

Let me know if I can answer any other questions!

Oregon/Washington
Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
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4. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

My post was going to be the same as LittleLisas, so I won't write it all, lol!

Central Oregon has everything you are looking for. Plus Crater Lake is an easy day trip from Sunriver as well. When we go to Sunriver, we use Sun Country Tours for white water rafting and have always been pleased. Good trips, good guides, just lots of fun.

I was a page at the Capitol when I was a teen and still remember that rotunda.

Bend, OR
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5. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

Yeah I raised $$ in grade school to repaint the gold statue on the top : ) Central OR is the way to go if you have been to the coast lines you mentioned. I would reccommend S Falls as well on the way to Bend though and don't stay in Salem. Sorry Salem gals, it just doesn't do it for most especially on a short trip. My motto is why waste time in he ll when you can spend time in heaven : )

Salem, Oregon
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6. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

I wouldn't normally direct someone to spend time in Salem, however, Silver Falls is a whole day event and they will be tired after hiking. I wouldn't want to get in the car for a 2 hour drive afterwards! And he ll to me is Eugene;0) I like Salem. But it certainly does not have all the delights of Bend!

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7. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

I would fly into Portland (spend some time in this beautiful city) and explore the northern OR coast. Cannon Beach, Seaside, Gearhart and Astoria are all very nice. Each place has it's own unique things to offer you in ways of sight-seeing, restaurants, beaches, etc.

We have traveled the Oregon Coast from Brookings to Astoria many, many times and my preference still is the northern coast for scenery and things to do. Pick up a copy of Oregon Coast magazine to help you with your travels. Have a great time! :)

Bend, OR
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8. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

littlelisa.....now now now.. Don' take this personal, but the best part of Salem may be comparable to the worst part of Eugene but thats about it. Eugene has the finest University in the state, great food, some international culture by way of music and workshops, not to mention university seminars and tons of great hikking and biking right in town. Salem has, well, Bush Park????? : ) You must be a Beaver : )

To Parcha, sorry for the little friendly local competativeness, but I would still get in the car and go after a day at the park. You would make it in time to catch a beautiful central OR sunset over the cascades, and that alone would make it worth the extra effort, not to mention getting away from Salem :)-

Salem, Oregon
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9. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

Now, now sillybilly!!! I am not a Beaver at all. Actually a Bearcat---Salem has much more that Bush Park. There is culture to be found. And in my humble opinion, Willamette University is one of the best universities on the west coast! Not to mention one of the prettiest campuses.

Perhaps you like the look of the high desert with the dust and the juniper trees and lava rock. To me, that gets old after a couple of days. If it weren't for the river rafting, horseback riding, and great hiking trails---I would never go to Bend. But oh wait, I can do all of that in the Willamette Valley, plus catch the culture, plus be next to the legislative action! Hum, I guess I prefer tall coniferous trees and beautiful tall pines--so in other words--variety---but to each his/her own;)

Overland Park
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10. Re: Northern vs Southern Oregon--need advice

I'm having fun reading all these insightful reviews of the North vs. the South of Oregon. It sounds like we can't go wrong no matter where we go. We're more excited every day about seeing Oregon. However, I'm now leaning toward flying to Portland so we can see Silver Falls, as several of you recommended. We have been white water rafting in Colorado, Costa Rica and Canada. However, our last rafting experience was so frightening that I felt a little irresponsible for paying to put our daughters' lives at risk, even though they loved every minute of it. They're young and fearless, so they would love the Rogue River, but something a little tamer would work just fine for me. Thanks to all of you for taking time to reply to my question. I'm going to look into driving to the coast; we shouldn't travel that far and not see the ocean!

Parcha