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ROAD TRIP Bucket List

Start Planning Now for Family Adventures Ahead

Spring is here and it’s time to start planning those bucket-list road trips. Nothing is more American than setting out on one of our vast highways to territories unknown. Whether it’s heading north to the wilds of Washington or south to sunny California, taking off on the open road in any direction from Central Oregon is the beginning of an adventure. While Oregon does have much to offer for the dedicated road traveler, new experiences and memories await in many of our surrounding areas. Plus, many places are not as far as they seem. The visually stunning high desert, forest, mountain ranges, and coastal stretches make these road trips well worth the drive. Before packing the bags and hopping in the car, be sure to research the area to make sure parks, restaurants and attractions are open and operating. Now, let’s get ready, get set, and drive!

Joseph, Oregon

Tucked against the stunning backdrop of the Wallowa Mountains, Joseph is one of Oregon’s best-kept secrets. It’s quite a drive from anywhere in Oregon, yet well worth the trip. Enjoy the small-town charm with friendly people, gift shops and restaurants along the main drag, and be sure to take a long hike in the mountains and a dip in the Wallowa Lake. This quaint town is known for its history, art, and traditional summer activities.

Take a vertical gondola to Summit Grill, the highest restaurant in the northwest. WallowaLakeTramway.com

Yosemite National Park

A visit to this famous national park should be on everyone’s shortlist. Approximately ten hours from Bend, there are several routes to choose from. With its deep valleys, ancient sequoia trees and vast wilderness, Yosemite is best known for its magnificent waterfalls and eager climbers on Half Dome and El Capitan. Especially popular in the summer, Yosemite offers year-round lodging and there’s always a good chance of seeing wildlife in their natural habitat.

See El Capitan to understand why Yosemite is called one of the Seven Wonders of the Natural World.

San Juan Islands, Washington

Another ten-hour road trip from Bend up the coast of Washington, the San Juan Islands are truly a cluster of one-of-a-kind destinations on the west coast. Once you’ve arrived by car, take the ferry or another adventurous mode of transportation to get to the islands. With plenty of seasonal outdoor activities, restaurants, famous whale watching and more—the San Juan Islands should be at the top of your road trip bucket list.

Adopt a whale during your visit to a museum dedicated to the stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem. WhaleMuseum.org 

Astoria, Oregon

At the tip of Oregon’s border with Washington, the charming city of Astoria is one of Oregon’s most historical ports and a little slice of coastal heaven. With its year-round festivals, shops and stunning views of the ocean and Columbia River, Astoria is well worth the drive up north. Make sure to bring an extra jacket while enjoying Victorian-style architecture, historical landmarks and chowing down on some of the best seafood in the state.

Visit the Columbia Maritime Museum to pilot a tugboat, participate in an Oregon Coast Guard ‘rescue’ and walk the bridge of a WWII warship. CRMM.org

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