It’s Time for a Road Trip!
Gather your family or friends for a spring break road trip that ends in Newport
Spring is the perfect time to come to Newport with family and friends! We’ve put together a few road trip suggestions to ensure that the journey is as much fun as the destination. Take your time getting here, wherever you’re coming from – we’ll be ready for your arrival with a hot bowl of chowder, gorgeous beaches, and lots of fun things to do.
All of the routes from Bend to Newport include spectacular scenery through mountain passes. The following road trip stops assumes that you are following US Route 20, and crossing the Cascades at Santiam Pass.
After heading out of Bend on Route 20, you’ll pass through Sisters and then into the most scenic part of the drive, right through the Willamette National Forest. About an hour into your trip you’ll probably be ready for a break, just as you pass by Lost Lake near the Hoodoo Ski Area. How does the lake get lost? Every summer Lost Lake fills up with snow melt, and then basically drains into a lava tube and the water goes … well, no one really knows where it goes. It’s an Oregon mystery.
If everyone needs another great spot to stretch their legs, check out the short hike at Rooster Rock, 22 miles east of Sweet Home across from Fernview Campground. The round-trip hike to the rock and back is only a little over 2 miles, although steep as you ascend to the rock itself.
About 20 minutes further down the road you’ll come to the town of Lebanon, home to the Tennessee Thunder Railroad (37672 Kgal Dr). If you have time, and you catch them when they are open, visit this sweet miniature theme park and take the 15-minute train ride on the ¼-scale train.
Route 20 continues all the way to Newport, but the “road less traveled” between Toledo and Newport is a beautiful alternative for the last few miles of the trip. Turn towards Toledo at the Dairy Queen 7 miles east of Newport, then in 1 mile turn right onto North Bay Blvd. This road turns into Yaquina Bay Road, following the edge of the bay. It’s a gorgeous drive along the estuary, with bird life everywhere and sights galore. Stop and buy some oysters at Oregon Oyster Farms. Bonus: you’ll end up on the bustling Newport Bayfront, maybe just in time for dinner!
This road trip from Portland follows Interstate 5 to Route 34/20 in Corvallis and then west to the coast via Route 20.
Are you prepared for coastal weather conditions if you’re coming to Newport from Portland? If not, or if you have other shopping to do, a must-stop is the Woodburn Outlet Mall, one of Oregon’s top tourist destinations. Pick up your fleece, Gore-Tex boots, and rain gear here, then continue south on I-5.
The perfect family stop is the ever-popular Enchanted Forest Theme Park seven miles south of Salem on I-5. The rides at the park are a great break for both kids and parents.
Or if the grown-ups in your party are ready for an adult beverage at this point, stop at Willamette Valley Vineyards, located conveniently close to the Enchanted Forest. Tastings, tours, bottles for purchase, and full meals are available, and the view is spectacular.
After exiting I-5 near Corvallis, you’ll head west on US Route 20. You can choose to take the brand-new stretch of 20 near Eddyville to hasten your trip – it’s straight, smooth, and scenic. Or, if you’re not in a hurry and feeling nostalgic, you could choose to wind along the old section of Route 20, now called Crystal Creek Loop, and cross the historic Chitwood covered bridge.
This route from Salem follows Route 99W to Corvallis, and then Route 20 to Newport.
Don’t leave too early in the morning on this trip, or it’ll be too early for a quick wine tasting at the Eola Hills Wine Cellar in Rickreall, only about 15 minutes from Salem. You can also tour the winery by appointment.
Pizza is unquestionably the best road trip food, and you’ll find the best pizza at Yeasty Beasty in Monmouth. They use organic flour, fresh ingredients, and they have 26 beers on tap. It’s the perfect refreshment to fuel you up for the rest of the trip.
Ready for a leg-stretch? You could opt for a walk at the E. E. Wilson Game Management Area about ten miles north of Corvallis, where there are great bird-watching opportunities. Another choice, if you want to get some more road behind you first, is Avery Park in Corvallis (1310 SW Avery Park Dr.). The kids will have lots of options to work off some energy, from play equipment to open fields to a cool train engine to climb on and around.
If you have time, you could mix up the last part of your drive by detouring off of Route 20 onto the scenic Blodgett-Eddyville Highway, Route 180. Start at the intersection of Crystal Creek Loop (the “old” Route 20) in Eddyvile, and wind your way past Nortons, Nashville, and Summit; it’s a stunning drive. The road will bring you right back to 20 and you can continue on your way to Newport.
This route to Newport from Eugene takes you directly to the coast via Route 126, and then north along gorgeous Highway 101.
A slight detour off of Highway 126 will take you to the Sweet Creek trailhead and a short hike to Sweet Creek Falls in Mapleton. This moderate trail takes hikers past 11 waterfalls in all.
Continuing on Route 126, you’ll hit the coast in Florence. Head to the Old Town district for cool shops and wonderful restaurants, including the Waterfront Depot Restaurant and Sweet Maggie’s Bakery. For a preview of Newport, you can even eat at Mo’s here!
The number of beautiful places to stop between Florence and Newport is beyond belief, but one unique spot is the popular Sea Lion Caves, a natural sea cave that is home to piles and piles of roaring sea lions. Don’t miss descending in the coast’s tallest elevator to visit them at this incredible spot.
About ten miles south of Newport, the tiny town of Seal Rock is an excellent place to stop, whether for sushi at Yuzen, some tide pool peeping at Seal Rock State Park, sampling great beers at Wolf Tree Brewery, or a glass-blowing demonstration at Ocean Beaches Glassblowing & Gallery.
No matter how you get to Newport, we hope you have time to enjoy some of the great places along the way.
Newport looks forward to welcoming you! Click here for more info on visiting Newport.