With its bright weather, longer days, and feeling that the world is just waking up, the Easter season is a perfect time to go camping. You can see the forests coming to life, watch wildlife coming back into the hills, and see plenty of buds and brilliant new-born green leaves. And because Easter is a holiday weekend, it's a great time to get away with the family.
Traffic tips: to avoid traffic snarls in Seattle and Portland, plan your trip in advance. If you can, travel through Seattle in non-commuter hours and consider taking Highway 99 or another alternate route around the city. In Portland, take Interstate 205 to the east side of the city and avoid the worst of the traffic no matter what the hour.
Don't miss the Chehalis Speedway, Lewis and Clark State Park, and the gorgeous Lewis and Clark Scenic Byway. If you have the time, this makes a great side trip.
Head to the Portland International Speedway and Portland Meadows for great racing action. Kids will love a visit to Delta Park for lunch or a quick stretch of the legs. And you can easily swing by the Oregon Zoo for a look at the animals.See the city by taking exit 302A into the Rose Quarter and City Center. You'll see Portland's fantastic bridges, plenty of city-scape views, and a great look at the river.
Willamette River Valley
This land of vineyards and berry farms is full of idyllic views. Plan a stop at the lovely Champoeg State Park for a romp in the great outdoors, or head to the outlet mall at exit 271 for amazing bargains at the Nike and Banana Republic stores. At exit 263, pay a visit to the Willamette Mission State Park.
Take exit 260 for a tour of historic downtown Salem. Oregon's capital city is filled with quaint neighborhoods and old-fashioned brick buildings. Don't miss the beautiful state capital building and the Oregon Fairgrounds. If you like, from here you can take a side trip out to the coast for a view of the Pacific Ocean.
If the kids are itching for some fun, take them to the Enchanted Forest Theme Park on Enchanted Way (exit 248). You can see the Albany Historic District along exit 234B, or take a picnic lunch to Foster Lake by heading down exit 234A.
Oregon Wine Country
The gorgeous Umpqua Valley is the home of Oregon's famous wine country. You can take a driving tour through the vineyards and wineries by heading off on exit 136. You'll find a number of RV parks nestled among the oak trees, rolling hills, green fields, and pine forests. For an up-close look at wild animals, take exit 119 to the Umpqua Wildlife Safari, where you'll find plenty of ice cream and elephants! On the Umpqua River (exit 99), you'll find the Seven Feathers Casino and pretty little Myrtle Creek.
Crater Lake Visit this incredible national park by taking exit 124 and driving along the Crater Lake Scenic Byway near Roseburg.
Rogue River/Southern Oregon
Explore the history of Southern Oregon at the Applegate Covered Wagon Museum and historic covered bridge off exit 71. At this point, the interstate heads into the mountains, taking you through misty valleys and colorful oak groves. The land is less populated here, but the scenery is breathtaking. Pine-topped hills and curving highways mark the Rogue River area, a place that's famous for its white water rafting and outdoor recreation areas.
You'll find great camping, hiking, and fun on the river at the Rogue River Recreation Area (exit 61). You can visit Indian Mary Park near the Grants Pass National Historic District, visit the Oregon Caves National Monument, or hike along the Applegate Historic Trail. Just before the town of Rogue River, you can view the Savage Rapids Dam off exit 48. Don't miss the Valley of the Rogue State Park (exit 45B). And when you get closer to Medford (exit 27), be sure to stop off at Harry and David for a free sample of their famous Moose Munch.