Top 10 Things To Do In Southern Oregon
The list of things to do in the Rogue Valley is truly diverse. You can indulge your taste buds in the regions artisan culture with Southern Oregon wine, prized Rogue Creamery cheese and award-winning Lillie Belle chocolate delights. Explore the beauty of the area at Crater Lake or from the top of Mt. Ashland. And enjoy world class performances at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival and Britt Festival.
Since it is officially Spring, we thought now would be the perfect time to lay out ten of our favorite things to do in Southern Oregon in the Spring and Summertime. Have something you want to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!
Things To Do in Southern Oregon in the Spring and Summer
Hike to the top of Upper and Lower Table Rocks
If you drive north along I-5 through Medford and Central Point then you will inevitably see the twin table top mountains that rest in the center of our valley. Formed when a volcano exploded seven million years ago, Upper and Lower Table Rock is now home to hundreds of rare bird and plant species. Both hikes offer views visitors of all ages can appreciate — hardwood forests, volcanic features and cliffs.
Upper Table Rock is 2.5 miles round trip.
Lower Table Rock is 3.5 miles round trip.
Both Table Rocks are classified as an easy-moderate hike, but you can definitely expect to break a sweat, especially on a hot summer day. Remember to pack plenty of water as there are no water fountains on the trails.
See a Play at OSF
The Oregon Shakespeare Festival attracts guests from around the world and has even won a Tony Award. Every season consists of a wide range of classic and contemporary plays produced in three theatres, and by no means is it all Shakespeare. Guests can enjoy world class theatre in one of the most beautiful settings in the country, Ashland.
Spend a day walking around downtown Ashland, take a stroll through Lithia Park, have a nice dinner on the Plaza before heading to OSF to watch the Green Show that proceed every evening play from June through September.
The climate of Southern Oregon’s creates a unique wine growing season that distinguishes it from all other west coast (and American) growing regions. The topography and weather combine to make this an ideal place to grow wine grapes… Which means that for wine lovers, one of the top things to do in Southern Oregon is to explore the regions beautiful wineries and their delicious wines.
Here are a few of our favorite wineries in Southern Oregon:
- Del Rio Vineyards
- Cowhorn Winery
- Quady North
- RoxyAnn Winery
- Troon Vineyard
- Grizzly Peak Winery
- Belle Fiore
- To see all of Southern Oregon’s best wineries all in one place visit southernoregonwines.org
Trip to Crater Lake
If you’re a nature enthusiast, then one of the top things to do in Southern Oregon is to visit Crater Lake National Park. With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States. But, what captivates most visitors the most is the sheer beauty of the lake. Fed entirely with rain and snowmelt from the surrounding cliffs, Crater Lakes is considered to be the “cleanest and clearest” large body of water in the world according to the National Park Service.
To get there from Medford you take Hwy 62 (Crater Lake Highway) for 1.5hrs until you reach the parks West entrance. You can access the park year round from this entrance, though the park does close during extreme winter storms when the roads pile up with snow.
Explore Mt. Ashland
The place to be for local mountain fun all year round. The skiing is fantastic and the mountain is typically open to skiers and snowboarders until the first week in April (on a good year). Once the snow melts, Mt. A is a great place to go for a hike. A few of our favorites are starting at the back parking lot and then hiking to Dutchman’s Peak, Grouse Gap, or hike up to the top of the mountain and gaze at the giant weather ball perched up at 7500’. In the summer you can also keep driving once the pavement ends and make your way to the top of the mountain by car.
The mountain is also a major jumping off point to access many of the mountain biking trails that zig zag down to Ashland’s Lithia Park and downtown Plaza. We can say from personal experience that there is nothing cooler than starting the day on top of a mountain and riding all the way back into town. There are several companies that offer shuttle service to the Mt. Ashland lodge with your bike, so you don’t have to worry about coming back up to get your car.
Go Camping at One of the Many Lakes or Rivers
There’s no denying that Southern Oregon is one of nature’s grandest playgrounds. Everywhere you look there is some beautiful place just waiting to be explored. For those seeking adventure, camping along one of the many rivers or lakes in the region is a great place to start. There are dozens of state parks and official campgrounds that you can visit, but for those looking for something a little less structured, you are allowed to camp anywhere in the National Forest for 14 days at a time. Just remember to consult a map or stop by a local BLM or Forest Service office/ranger station to confirm where you are allowed to camp.
Here are a few of our favorite camping destinations in Southern Oregon:
- Hyatt Lake
- Howard Prairie
- Lake of the Woods
- Lost Creek Lake
- Along the Illinois River
- Along the Rogue River
- Mt. Ashland
Rafting Down The Rogue River
From wild and scenic to mellow floats you can do in an innertube, the section of the Rogue that flows through Southern Oregon offers some of the best rafting on the West coast. There are numerous rafting companies you can arrange a guided float with or rent a raft from in Ashland, Medford, Rogue River, and other areas along the river. However, if you are looking for something you can do on your own, then put in at the McGregor Park Boat Ramp and float all the way down to the Upper Rogue Regional County Park boat ramp in Shady Cove.
To learn more about rafting options in Southern Oregon, chat with our friends at Noah’s Rafting in Ashland.
Visit the Redwoods and the Oregon Coast
One of our favorite things to do in Southern Oregon is to take a roadtrip from Medford or Ashland to the Oregon Coast, stopping to see the Redwoods, the Illinois and the Smith Rivers along the way.
For an unforgettable trip, head North on I-5 until you reach Grants Pass and then head West on HWY 199 (Redwood Highway). Once you are on the Redwood Highway you can stop off at the Illinois River once you reach the town of Selma, or continue along toward the California border until you reach the Smith River. HWY 199 intersects with HWY 101 once you reach the coast on the California side. From here you can travel North back up along the Oregon Coast or continue South toward Crescent City, California.
Looking for a great place to camp along the way? Then check out Jedediah Smith State Park.
Spend a Day Walking Around Downtown Ashland and Jacksonville
Spend a day touring the beautiful cities of Ashland in Jacksonville. Take a stroll through downtown Ashland stopping to see the various art galleries, enjoy culinary delights on the plaza, and explore the Historic Railroad District.
In the historic town of Jacksonville, you will be transported back in time as you peruse the boutique and antique shops, enjoy wine tasting, and casual dining. Start, finish, or simply spend the day relaxing at one of Jacksonville’s top-notch dining establishments or coffee stops.
Here is a fun filled itinerary:
- Start the day with brunch at Ashland’s Morning Glory OR if it’s a Tuesday head down to the Ashland Tuesday Market for a taste of local fare and culture.
- From there you can stroll downtown and stop to explore Lithia Park and the Railroad District.
- Next load up and take a scenic drive to Jacksonville to stop for lunch and walk around the historic downtown area.
- Finish the day by driving out to see Applegate Lake before returning to town for Dinner at Bella Union or The Schoolhaus Brewhaus in Jacksonville.
Go to a Concert at the Britt Festival
The Britt Festival in Jacksonville attracts some big name artists to Southern Oregon. The 2019 lineup includes performances by Sublime, Michael Franti and Spearhead, Umphrey’s McGee, Rodrigo Y Gabriela, Trampled By Turtles, Iration, and the John Butler Trio with Trevor Hall.
This beautiful outdoor venue will fill you with wonder and amusement. Guests usually arrive hours before the concerts begin to lay out their picnic blankets and create a comfortable space to enjoy the show from the upper lawn. Many of the concerts allow you to bring your own food and alcohol to enjoy during the show, but check the website because some of the concerts do not allow this.
Now That You Know The Best Things To Do In Southern Oregon It Is Time To Start Planning Your Next Trip!
If you’re like us and prefer to stay at an Airbnb rather than book an expensive hotel, then you’ve come to the right place. With properties located within walking distance to downtown Ashland and Medford and close to everything Southern Oregon has to offer, we guarantee you will find the perfect place to stay with Acme Suites. Check out all of our vacation rentals available in Medford and Ashland.
Have something you want to add to this list? Let us know in the comments below!