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Rogue River Roadtrip to the Coast

After you go on a Rogue River rafting trip, you might want to take an extra day or two to explore this beautiful part of Oregon. In my previous blog, I suggested an itinerary that included a trip to Crater Lake and visits to waterfalls. This time I’m suggesting spending a couple of days along the Oregon Coast.

Day 1 – Drive to Galice + Arrange a Car Shuttle

It’s about a 4-hour drive from Portland to the meeting place for the trip, Galice Resort. We recommend staying here the night before your trip. Stop into the shop to arrange your shuttle. Galice will have your car driven down to the ending point, Foster Bar boat ramp.  Since we’ll be floating towards the Pacific Ocean on your trip, having your car at the end is important to making this itinerary work.

Bring 2 sets of car keys: 1 to give to Galice to use to drive your car (and they’ll lock it inside afterwards) and 1 to unlock your car at the end of the trip.

  • Favorite stop along the way: SeQuential Station, just south of Eugene (exit 189). This is not your average gas station – they make their own biofuels from used cooking oil and instead of the usual junk food, you’ll find kombucha on tap, homemade grab-and-go sandwiches and treats (with vegan, gluten free, etc options) and espresso!
Galice, located along the banks of the Rogue River
Galice, located along the banks of the Rogue River

Day 2-5 – Float the Rogue River!

Enjoy 4 days and 3 nights of paddling rapids, camping, hiking, wildlife viewing, and eating delicious river-side meals.

Relaxing at Camp on the Rogue River
Relaxing at Camp on the Rogue River

Day 5 – Drive to Gold Beach, OR

On the afternoon of the last day, you’ll find your car waiting for you in the parking lot of the take-out. Follow signs to Gold Beach. The drive is straightforward but it’s worth having a map in your car since there’s no cell service until you get to Gold Beach. It’s about an hour drive down a paved but very winding mountain road. You’ll catch glimpses of the lower Rogue River until you pop out on Highway 101 and see where it meets the sea.

  • If you want to get lunch before driving to Gold Beach, stop at the Cougar Lane Lodge for BBQ, burgers, and homemade berry cobbler. It’s about a 15-20 minute drive from the take-out and has great views of the river below.
The 1932 Patterson Bridge over the Rogue as it Enters the Pacific
The 1932 Patterson Bridge over the Rogue as it Enters the Pacific

Gold Beach is like most towns on the Oregon coast: a little touristy, a little rugged around the edges, but a whole lot of beautiful views. Most of the hotels in Gold Beach are relatively basic, though those on the south end of town offer views and access to the ocean. We stayed at the Pacific Reef Hotel and although it was a tad outdated, we enjoyed the private beach access, dog-friendly room, and friendly staff. Another good option is the SureStay Plus Best Western which also has an indoor pool and hot tub.

Best Western Gold Beach
Best Western Gold Beach

After settling into the hotel we ordered take-out from Spinner’s Seafood. We picked up big salads and the “Fisherman’s Platter” of fried prawns, scallops, ling cod, & oysters. It was fresh, crispy, and everything we were craving.

Day 6 – Drive Hwy 101 and Visit State Parks

After we checked out of the hotel, we first drove south for just a few of minutes to Kissing Rock, a massive rock formation on the beach that we wanted to check out after seeing it from far away down the beach from the hotel.

On the Beach with "Kissing Rock" on the Left
On the Beach with “Kissing Rock” on the Left

We then headed North to Sisters Rock State Park, which was our favorite of the day. We followed a meandering trail down from the parking area that led down to a variety of options along the building-sized boulders: a trail down to a small bay, another down to a beautiful beach, and others that wandered along the boulders. One of the massive rocks had a cave on it where the ocean flowed in and out. We even saw an otter on the beach!

Chris Looking into the Sea Cave at Sisters Rock
Chris Looking into the Sea Cave at Sisters Rock

We then stopped at Arizona Beach, a nice spot with plenty of picnic tables and a good place to play fetch with our dog. We also briefly stopped at Humbug Mountain State Park and checked out the brochure which showed the camping and many hiking options. Next time we’ll hike to the top of the 1,756′ Humbug Mountain and see the incredible views.

Lastly, we made it to the town of Port Orford. I instantly liked the cute town and saw many art galleries and lovely looking restaurants. We stopped for fish & chips at The Crazy Norwegian’s Fish & Chips, which was just as good as all of the reviews claimed.

The Crazy Norwegian's Fish & Chips
The Crazy Norwegian’s Fish & Chips

If you have time, stay out another night in Port Orford. The Wild Springs Guest Habitat is a small eco-friendly resort that looks incredible.

We enjoyed our take-out lunch at the Port Orford Heads State Park before exploring the historical buildings and wooded trails at this beautiful spot.

Port Orford Heads State Park
Port Orford Heads State Park

Day 7 – Head Back to Portland

Stop for a visit to Cape Blanco State Park, which is the farthest Western point in Oregon. The park has one of my favorite camping spots on the coast with thick woods separating each spot and features a Lighthouse from 1869.

Cape Blanco Lighthouse
Cape Blanco Lighthouse

Other possible stops on your way home:

Find your way back to I-5 via Highway 38 in Reedsport (or continue driving up Highway 101 for as long as you’d like!). I’d love to hear your recommendations along this route– what did I miss?

Originally Published: | Updated on | Categorized under: Rogue River

Post Author

Emily Singletary

Emily grew up in South Carolina but the Appalachian mountains called her north, where she learned to kayak and fell in love with backpacking and all things outdoors. Now she is enjoying living and playing in the beautiful Pacific Northwest.