On the Road in Oregon & Idaho

Explore destinations, attractions, and events on the road in Oregon and Idaho.

On the Road – January, 2022

Crane Hot Springs

Just thirty miles south of Burns in Southeast Oregon, Crane Hot Springs is close enough to Highway 20 to serve as a stopover for weary east-west travelers, but it feels a world away from the rush of a road trip.

Photo: Robert Eckhardt

The mineral-rich soaking pools have been an oasis in this desert region of Oregon for decades and are sought-after for their healing properties. There’s a large soaking pool to dip into as well as private soaking pools. Rest for a night in one of the rustic cabins or teepees, or bring your trailer and camp. Stay up late and stargaze under the expansive sky, or wake up early and watch the sunrise as you soak and listen to the coyotes howl. See cranehotsprings.com.

Oregon  Coast

Spearheaded by Governor Tom McCall, Oregon’s Beach Bill was enacted in 1967 to ensure that the state’s peerless coastline is open and accessible to all. The public has free and uninterrupted access to Oregon’s entire 363 miles of surf, tidepools, whale watching, kite-flying and sandcastle-building.

An Artsy Treasure Hunt

On the road for local glass float art in Lincoln City, Oregon
Photo: Nathan Holstedt

In Lincoln City, beach exploration comes with a fun challenge. Throughout the year, volunteer “Float Fairies” place hand-blown glass floats on the seven-mile stretch of beachfront with the intent that they be found by passersby. The Finders Keepers program is a nostalgic nod to the erstwhile pastime of searching for Japanese net floats, blown glass balls occasionally transported to the Oregon coast by tides. Today, regional artists fashion beautiful new glass floats in a rainbow of colors for the Float Fairies to distribute. Find a float; take it home. The city-sponsored program gives visitors a solid reason to hit the beach any day of the year, rain or shine. See oregoncoast.org/glass-floats.

North Coast Food Trail

Follow the breadcrumbs on this culinary tour of bakeries, seafood purveyors, farmers markets and restaurants. From the northern point at Astoria south to Neskowin, this new route allows travelers to explore the northern Oregon coast with their senses. Taste as much as you can while you’re on the road, and then purchase locally made products to take home for later, from beer to cheese to smoked salmon. See northcoastfoodtrail.com.

Whale Watching: Five places to spot whales on the Oregon Coast

Oregon Coast whale watchingBandon – Face Rock Scenic Viewpoint

As well as whales, this spot is a stopping point for more than 300 species of birds, including tufted puffins in the summer.

Yachats – Cape Perpetua Interpretive Center

Shelter from the weather and take in a stormy day at this site, which has a phenomenal panoramic view.

Depoe Bay – Whale Watching Center

This location on the seawall is perfect for watching migrating whales as they blow, dive, spyhop and breach.

Cannon Beach – Ecola State Park

One of the prettiest and largest headlands on the coast, Ecola is an excellent vantage point for whale-watching.

Pacific City – Cape Kiwanda State Park

Keep your eye out for surfers and dory fishing boats as well as whales in the waves off of this popular beach.

Events

Pacific Flyway during the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls
Photo: Discover Klamath

Winter Wings

Each February, the Winter Wings Festival in Klamath Falls offers field trips, walking tours, lectures and more to celebrate the largest wintering population of bald eagles in the lower 48 states as well as the abundance of all the birds that make the Klamath Basin home. The Pacific Flyway is a major north-south route of travel for migratory birds in the Americas, extending from Alaska to Patagonia. Every spring and fall, migratory birds travel this route—about 80 percent of the Pacific Flyway migrants make the Klamath Basin a stopover, numbering at times to more than a million birds present in the area. Join bird enthusiasts this winter to take in the glory of the flyway sky. See winterwingsfest.org.

McCall Winter Carnival

McCall Winter Carnival ice sculpture
Photo: @TRAVELINGSPUD

In 1924, a train from Boise delivered 250 visitors to McCall, Idaho for the first Payette Lake Winter Games. Forty years later, inspired by those winter lovers of long ago, residents launched the McCall Winter Carnival as a celebration of the adventures and beauty of the colder season. The iconic event brings more than 60,000 people to the region in late January for snow sculptures, dog sled racing, pancake breakfasts, live music, fireworks and more. See visitmccall.org.

On the Road: Plan a Trip

Road trips are in AAA’s DNA, and we’d love to help you plan your next one!

Build a TripTik | Maps & Directions | Road Trip Ideas | Contact a AAA Travel Agent