Oregon Roadtrip - Debrief.

Phew. We are home. We had an amazing week long vacation driving from Sacramento to Portland (and back) that included some wonderful stops and a few bumps and bruises along the way. If you have any desire to road trip it across Oregon this is the post for you because we really did find some gems.

My mom came with us and we rented a minivan to fit us all. It really did make the trip better for everyone. I am sure one of these days we are just going to break down and buy one - but for now we just rent them for our travels. My sister and her family live in Portland - so we were heading up for a long weekend visit and kind of just winged the rest of the trip. I love the app Roadtrippers - it really helped me plan our stops on the fly.

Our first leg was Sacramento to Ashland - we stopped at the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge on the way to stretch our legs, use the potty and see some wildlife. Got to see TONS of bunny rabbits and birds before we continued north. It is a great spot to check out just as a day trip out of Sacramento. We had lunch at the Olive Pit in Corning and grabbed some snacks and ice cream too. Then traveled on to Ashland while the kids napped.


We got rooms at the Best Western Bards Inn in Ashland - which is a great hotel right near everything. We walked to the beautiful Lithia Park and played for a bit, burnt off some energy before dinner. Dinner was at the totally kid friendly brewery, Standing Stone Brewery. Great food, great beer, tons of toys to keep the kids entertained. They also have their own farm a mile away from the restaurant called, One Mile Farm with all the beef they use coming from their farm. If you are staying longer in Ashland ask your waiter about touring the farm. They just might say yes. ;)


Our second day was from Ashland to Portland - and included another amazingly kid friendly restaurant find. Jack Sprat in Cottage Grove not only has a play area for the kids - but they are gluten-free / vegan friendly so if you or the littles have dietary restrictions its a great stop. They also serve great Oregon beer for the grown-ups. We drove on to Portland to have dinner with my sister's family at Hopworks Brewery (which I think I've mentioned before.)

It was a great dinner - until Lucille tripped over a toy box in the play area and hit her head right on the corner of a chair - getting a big ol' slice right above her eye. It was already late and we ended up taking our first trip to the emergency room to get her stitches. She did great - and the doctors and staff at the OHSU emergency room were AMAZING. They even had someone come in and color with her while she waited and blow bubbles to distract her while they did the stitches. AMAZING service. The whole experience was more traumatic for me and daddy than Lucille I think.

So back to the trip.

In Portland we went to Westmoreland Park - where they have an awesome play ground made of natural materials mostly. Lots of logs and such - plus a HUGE sand play area. We also went to the Oregon Zoo and ate at another favorite restaurant of mine Laughing Planet (where they give you dinosaurs to play with.) We didn't get to go to OMSI this time... but we'll be back to go next time. The weather was too nice to stay indoors this trip!

We also saw my sister's amazing art exhibit at Mt. Hood Community College (where she works) - which was part of the whole reason for the visit. It was a great few days in Portland.


Then we hit the road again - this time taking our time to head south. We left Portland for the coast. On the way to Tillamook - Lucille needed a potty stop and we managed to pull off at a neat little trail area with a creek and a little beachy area and a waterfall. A really lucky find. Then we continued on to Tillamook for a Tillamook cheese tour, pre-lunch ice cream and lunch. Then headed down the road to the Tillamook Air Museum to let the kids run a little more before getting back in the car for the longer stretch.

We headed for Florence - where we stayed at the Best Western Pier Point- a really beautiful hotel with a great view and great rooms. We got food from the grocery store and ate in our rooms so the kids could just play and relax a bit. A rotisserie chicken and salad bag made for a perfect meal.


The next day we left Florence and headed down to the dunes to find some sand to play in. While the dunes are not easy to climb for the toddlers it was fun for them to get to play in the sand a bit and see the ocean, and watch people fish. Then we started heading inland towards Roseburg - looking for Elk at Dean's Creek Elk Viewing Area and having lunch at the small little Wells Creek Inn restaurant.


Got to the Roseburg area - and while we were originally planning to do the Wildlife Safari nearby the next day, we decided to go that afternoon and it worked out well. With our Sacramento Zoo membership we got 50% off our admission for the Drive Thru Safari. It was a really fun experience for the kids. They loved seeing the animals out the windows. We got stuck in a Ostrich traffic jam / show down and got to feed some deer and Rhea - which was fun too. Totally worth the experience and they have a village area where you can walk around and see other animals plus a little playground which Gus and Lucille enjoyed. We did miss out on the train which is only open the weekends during this time of year.

Checked into another Best Western (in Roseburg) and grabbed dinner at a Mexican restaurant called Si Casa Flores across the street. An unfortunate night for me - as I dropped and smashed my phone ... meaning I lost a lot of pictures from the past few days that hadn't been backed up yet. Plus it really cut back the work I was able to do remotely. But oh well. On we go!


The next day we buckled down and did a looooong drive from Roseburg to Sacramento - which worked out mostly because the kids napped for a really long time. We stopped in Yreka and explore the Yreka Creek and ate lunch at Etna Brewing Co. Then we powered on through the rest of the Sacramento Valley - stopping at Granzella's in Williams for dinner and finally getting home.

It was an amazing trip and Lucille is already asking when we can take our next vacation. It is great to see the kids get such fun experiences and it really made me see how big Lucille is getting. She was such a great kid the whole trip. (Gus was good too... just a bit more of a handful still...) :)

Until our next open road trip, enjoy your travels!

Ellen Martin

I'm a west-coast mama of two little ones, 15 months apart. This is our family story with reviews and recommendations along the way. Thanks for joining our journey.

Post a Comment