Visiting Ashland, Oregon

Parent Reviews

Monterey/Pacific Grove (although could be rainy), San Diego (brutal drive) for Legoland, beach, science museums?

We go to Santa Barbara frequently since we have family there. We always have a good time, but there's not a lot for toddlers there particularly. There's no "signature" playground in San Diego a la Dennis the Menace Park in Monterey.

I cannot imagine spending a week in Pismo... it is a small town! I think you'd get bored, and it's easily a half hour to SLO for their kids' science center & restaurants.

Ashland OR is 5 hours, has cute little downtown, nice playgrounds, and kids science museum. Again, for an entire week though, I think you're best off going to someplace that's big with a good sized tourist infrastructure like LA or San Diego. If you edit down your trip to 4 days, you could have a great time in monterey, SB, or Ashland.

My personal pick would be renting a 2-bd in Pacific Grove for 3-4 nights. One day at MY Museum in Monterey, one day exploring the coastline in PG/Monterey (rent a 4-person surrey bike), *maybe* one day at the aquarium (not my favorite place on earth, always too crowded), and definitely a long visit to Dennis the Menace. Then back home to normal schedules!  :)

Archived Q&A and Reviews


Ashland OR without the kids - place to stay, whitewater rafting

June 2014

A friend and I are thinking about going to Ashland Oregon mid-July. I realize it's probably very late to try to get reservations and theatre tickets at this late date, but we want to look into it.

We'd love to go to the theatre, whitewater rafting, and if at all possible stay in a place that has a kitchen or kitchenette so we didn't have to spend money on going out to eat all the time. We need 2 bedrooms so we can each have some private space. Also open to other accommodations that you might love. No kids involved. Just my friend and myself.

I haven't been to Ashland in decades, so if you have recommendations on how to manage Ashland during the high season in terms of needing reservations for various activities and the like, or any favorite restaurants, or anything, I would be so grateful! Thanks!

Hi- you can still get accomodations Ashland. Just do it asap and go midweek. There are units with small kitchens in the Best Western hotels and others. You can find information from Ashland tourist center. White water raft with Echo River Trips. They used to be based in Berkeley. They're wonderful people. they have cut back on their business to the Rogue and the Salmon in Idaho. Recommned you raft first, give yourself time to shower, and then see the plays. Rafting trips are 3-4 days long. Echo rafts the wild and scenic part of the Rogue which means lots of wildlife. It's not too highwater re: the type of river. any rafting can be dangerous. be sure you are all strong swimmers and do what the guides tell you to do! have fun. Shakespeare enthusiast

I am planning to go to Ashland this summer for the first time in a few years but it is one of my favorite places to visit. Re theater tickets, although you could get better seats if you plan early, I dont think it will be that hard to get seats since many of the shows play frequently. As for lodging, we booked on Air B&B and had many choices there so we were able to find the perfect place for our super large party of 10. I never went rafting because I have always felt there was so much to do that I didnt need to add an extra paid activity but Im sure a few months out you could still book a boat since there are so many options for outfitters, etc. See you in Ashland

A great, family friendly restaurant is the Black Sheep right in downtown Ashland. Don't miss this gem! Black sheep fan

Going to Ashland for the Shakespeare Festival - where to stop along the way

July 2013

My husband and I are going to the Ashland Shakespeare Festival for the first time this summer. I would appreciate recommendations on places to stop/stay overnight for the drive there and/or back. Also, recommendations on hiking or other activities while we are there and have time when not watching plays. Thank you! anon

Your loyal moderator's daughter goes to Southern Oregon University in Ashland so we go back and forth a lot. One place we always stop in both directions is the Rolling Hills Casino in Corning. It's a great place for a bathroom stop and they have free soft drinks. Jon

We just enjoyed four days in Ashland, where a friend of ours is one of this season's dramaturgs. You (and our faithful moderator) MUST stop on the way up or back in the little town of *Cottonwood*, a completely charming spot just off the highway, just past the half-way point of the drive. (We usually stretch our legs first at the Maxwell rest stop, about 2 hours in, and then soldier on for another hour to get to Cottonwood.)

Cottonwood is home to the Cottonwood Eatery, a cheerful western-style diner, serving breakfast and lunch every day, and dinner every day but Sunday, I believe. It's located in the historic district, about a mile off the freeway on Front Street. You'll see what looks a bit like a movie set for a western, and if you have time, check out the red building across the street from the Eatery, with a sign saying 'Farm Toys sold here!' It's a consignment store called Rhinestone Ranch, selling clothing, saddles, and what- not...quite charming.

You could also consider a stop at Redding, to see the Sundial Bridge. When kids were smaller we would stop at the Turtle Bay Exploration park, a natural history museum in a lovely setting, and there was a nice outdoor cafe adjacent to the bridge. However, there is now a Sheraton going up on site, and I think it's closed for the next year. It sounds like you might want to divide the drive in half and stay overnight somewhere? Redding or Red Bluff could work, but I don't have a specific place to suggest.

Another possible stop on the way up or back is Mt. Shasta and/or Shasta Lake. The town of Mt. Shasta has a number of new age cafe's, as it's considered a 'power spot' for those who believe in harmonic convergences. Whatever - the result is, if you're a vegan/vegetarian, you have a place to stop.

Once in Ashland, take a side trip to Jacksonville, a historic preservation district, home to the Britt Music Festival, and gateway to the Applegate Valley, a winery and orchard region. Good restaurants (C Street Bistro, Gogi's, etc.), nice little shops. Alas, the history museum is now closed. If you have lots of time, spend a night in the Applegate Valley, perhaps at Pennington Farms (who have a booth at the Ashland Farmers Market).

While in Ashland, check out the Tues and Saturday farmers markets, and lots of good restaurants (Smithfields, Loft, Tabu, Amuse, Sesame) or get groceries at the Co-Op and coffee or ice cream at Mix Sweet Shop on the plaza and stroll through Lithia Park before/after a play. You'll have a great time. And see King Lear if you can, my favorite staging yet! Cheers! Natasha

On the way to Ashland we have stayed in Mt. Shasta City at the Mt. Shasta Ranch B and B. It has a lovely front porch, ping pong, pool, nearby hiking trails and great breakfast. We stayed in the main building in one of the 4 rooms upstairs.

We have also stayed at the Railroad Car Hotel in Dunsmuir. It is lots of fun for adults and kids, and for train or history buffs.

We love hiking in Lithia Park in Ashland, and nearby Jacksonville has hikes within the city boundaries that are very nice. We ate at the Bella Union in Jacksonville and it was lively, historic, and encompassed several beautiful historic rooms, with good food. anon

I'm from Redding, which can be a nice stop on the way up to Oregon. Stretch your legs at the Sundial Bridge, grab lunch at Cheesecakes Unlimited. However, please note: in the summer (when you said you were going) it is HOT in the Sacramento Valley, from after you cross the Carquinez Bridge until Lakehead. Like over 100 during the day, easily, and you may not want to get out of your car much less walk anywhere. Honestly, some Bay Areans are always surprised by this, so just a warning. The Rolling Hills Casino (as recommended by the moderator) is a good spot for a bathroom break and free coke - enter at the south door to access the smoke-free section. North of Redding, I also like tiny Dunsmuir for leg-stretching and lunching (interesting two-level downtown). Mt Shasta city is a little bit too new-agey for me and Yreka is a little too country for me, but they're both on the way with restaurants too. If you go just north of Ashland to Medford, you can visit the Harry and David factory store. Have a great trip! North State Native

We've stayed at lots of places along the way. In Redding, the Gaia motel and then we walk the Sundial Bridge. In Weed, we've stayed at the Comfort Inn. More recently we have been staying at Best Western, in Mt Shasta and in Yreka. There is an easy hike at McCloud Falls outside of Mt Shasta for stretching your legs. We've had good success with yelping our meals, best options in Mt Shasta and Dunsmuir, so far. Eve

Ashland area river trip

April 2013

We are going to Ashland in June and would like to do a kayak or rafting trip. We have done the large fast boat ride (I forget the name) from Grant's Pass. Now we would like to do a one day more adventurous trip where we can get away from big crowds. Can anyone recommend a company and location? mirsun

We went on a four-day trip on the Rogue River with ECHO River Trips. They were wonderful in every way. I don't know if they have one-day trips, but if they don't, I'm sure they can steer you to good companies that do. Have a great time! River rafter

Going to Ashland for 4 days - other outings besides the Shakespeare Festival?

March 2013

We are traveling to Ashland, Oregon in July '13 (Shakespeare Festival) for four days and hoping for tips on: driving shortcuts or places to avoid; places to stop mid-way; recs for places to eat; things to do in Ashland OTHER than seeing a play (we have two scheduled). We have a nine year old boy. Thanks!

Check out Jacksonville - it's a great historic town near Ashland, fun to walk around. For restaurants we love Alex's restaurant near Lithia park, upstairs in a historic building overlooking the plaza.

I grew up near Ashland, and we travel up to see family often, now with a 4-year-old.

No great shortcuts along the way, and while the coastal route is beautiful it takes a LOT longer so you probably want to stick with 80 to 505 to 5. I recommend stopping in Redding at Turtle Bay Exploration Park with kids - it's about halfway, and has some need things to walk around and explore, inside and out. In the past we've stopped at Castle Crags Park to look around, and Shasta Lake. If you want to take some more time there, I have fond memories of Shasta Caverns from my childhood roadtrips (although we're talking 30 years since I've been there). Granzella's in Corning is not the most exciting food for adults, but has lots of kid-friendly options that aren't fast food. If fast food is fine, you can find stuff everywhere along I-5.

In southern Oregon, I recommend ScienceWorks in Ashland. It's not the Exploratorium, but if your son is interested in science it's fun to explore. The nearby Jacksonville Museum is more historically oriented, but also fun and in a small historic town. Lithia Park in Ashland is right in downtown and fun to explore, with playgrounds, easy hikes, ponds, etc. If you want to travel further afield there are lots of fun hikes nearby, as well as rafting trips.

As a child, I enjoyed going to the pre-play Green Show as much as the plays themselves. They range from musical to dance to occasionally acrobatics.

Lots of good food in Ashland. My favorites are actually breakfast places: Ashland Bakery Cafe, the Breadboard. Morning Glory. All are close to downtown, but can get busy on weekend mornings in particular.

Enjoy your trip! Jeannie

Ashland, OR - where to stay, eat, raft

June 2011


Thinking of taking a long weekend in July to go to Ashland, Oregon. Interested in theatre, rafting, hiking. I haven't been in decades. When I used to go, I went rafting with Noah's, which still seems to exist and appears to be favorably reviewed. If we are lucky, we can get theatre tickets.

What I don't have current information on is places to stay and places to eat. This would be just for my husband and me, so there is flexibility. Also, I never have been hiking in the area, so anything about that would also be welcome.

Any recommendations?

Thanks! Ashland bound - we hope!

Your loyal moderator's daughter goes to college in Ashland at Southern Oregon University so we go up there a lot. We like to stay at the Stratford Inn ( and we like to eat at Pangea ( on Main Street.

Ashland is a fun town. We stayed at the Palm Motel, it was really nice. The Dragonfly Restaurant is great. Momentum Rafting also great. Applegate lake is beautiful for swimming.

I've stayed at the Columbia Hotel 2X. Some rooms have bathrooms and some share. I've done both. It's got 'character' - I'm going back for the 3rd time. The location can't be beat, right on main street in the midst of everything.

There are many good restaurants in Ashland. I've liked Dragonfly for breakfast and dinner. Dragonfly Cafe and Gardens in Ashland Oregon provides a fusion of Latin and Asian food that explodes with taste and satisfies the senses. - Cached Mary in Oakland

Oregon road trip and Ashland too

Oct 2007

I want to take a road trip with the family next summer to Oregon. Any places to recommend with beautiful scenery and not too long a drive? Also, I would like to spend a couple of days seeing plays in Ashland. Can anyone recommend a nice place to stay that is quiet and within walking distance of the plays? Also, how can you pick plays that everyone will enjoy ( our kids will be 11 and 14)?

I was just in Ashland, OR about a month ago and it was fantastic. We stayed at the Columbia Hotel ( which was very close to the theaters, had tons of charm and the staff were really nice. The only downside is that the bathrooms are shared, but really turned out to be no problem as I only had to wait in line for a shower once even though they were completely booked that weekend. Be sure to visit Lithia park. It's beautiful and has some great hiking trails, and it's within walking distance from the hotel and theaters. Brenda

We were in Ashland last summer, and stayed at the Palms-it was about 6 blocks from downtown. Probably not the cheapest place, but it was very charming, has a pool. We had a small cottage with a kitchen, which saved a lot of money. they also have a sister property in downtown Ashland which is less expensive, a hotel without kitchens. Oregon is a beautiful state-great things to do are to go white water rafting on the Rogue River (you can go for the day with a guide-look on the web-we used Momentum rafting); silver falls state park is great-has seven waterfalls, a great hike for kids. It's further up, a few hours from Ashland I think. the coast is also beautiful, Bandon is a nice little town.

Where to Stay in Ashland

May 2006

Does anyone know any good places to stay in Crescent City, CA, and in Ashland, OR? My husband, son, small dog (Basenji) and I are going to be camping near Fort Bragg for a few days in June, then traveling up along the coast to Crescent City where we hope to spend one night. Then on to Ashland to see a show at the Shakespeare Festival. We have a very well-behaved small dog (16-pounds) who will stay happily in her crate for several hours, and we'd like to stay somewhere besides Motel 6 if possible, although we are fine with Motel 6 also. Has anyone been in those parts traveling/lodging with pet? Also, any suggestions for ''don't-miss'' things to do along the way? Thanks. Elaine

We drive from S.F. to Seattle a few times a year and Ashland is our favorite place to stay. We typically stay in the Best Western. It is nothing fancy, but a step up from Motel 6. They allow dogs, which we know from experience. They are located right in town. They also have a pool, which is great with kids after a day in the car and nice because it can get pretty hot there. You can also save money, by going a few miles north to Medford. It is not as nice of a town, but they have all the big chain motels Mary

Nov 2005

Re: Driving to Portland - where to stay along the way
Ashland is a great family/kid friendly town with parks, activities, nice-friendly folks. We have done the drive from here to Portland a couple of times and Ashland was a good half- way point. It has lots of B n B's, but also just outside of town are decent enough hotel/motels with pools i.e. Days Inn or the like. Have fun!
Driven to Portland too


My family of 4 (2 kids ages 5 and 2) is meeting another family with a 2 year old in Ashland, OR to see some Shakespeare plays. I am interested in getting recommendations of family-friendly accomodations (hotels, motels, or B's) in Ashland, preferably within walking distance of the theater.

My parents always stay at the Winchester Country Inn and have seen families there with children, although not as young as 5 and 2. They have 18 rooms at the inn and some of them are away from the main house so it's quite possible that they can accommodate them. We'd recommend that a call be placed to the Winchester at 1-800-972-4991 to inquire. If they don't, they can probably recommend another inn that does. Also, the inn is about 5 blocks from the theater and right in the heart of the main part of Ashland. Have fun! Jill