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The World Outside

Southern Oregon’s appealing climate and diverse terrain allow for a variety of outdoor activities all year round. Visit Crater Lake National Park to see the shockingly blue water of the USA's deepest lake. Formed by the caldera of a volcanic explosion, Crater Lake invites visitors to bike or drive the crater rim for stunning views of the rock formations and pristine water. The region’s volcanic history is also evident in the caves and rocky landscapes of the Oregon Caves and Lava Beds national monuments. Try your hand at fishing for salmon, trout and steelhead, or venture out for paddling of all sorts on the Rogue, Klamath and Umpqua Rivers. Discover a landscape more reminiscent of the Wild West in the region known as Southern Oregon's Outback, home to the sagebrush-covered Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge and Fort Rock State Natural Area with its massive ring-shaped formation of towering rock walls.

 

Theatrical Attractions

Theater lovers will be excited by the selection of stage performances found in Southern Oregon. In Klamath Falls, catch a play, musical or concert at the Ross Ragland Theater, and enjoy live music at the Rogue Theatre in Grants Pass. The Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland produces performances from Shakespeare to musicals to world-premiere dramas on three unique stages, including the famous outdoor Allen Elizabethan Theatre. Annual cultural events include the Ashland Independent Film Festival and the Britt Music and Arts Festival, showcasing a line-up of popular contemporary performers and a renowned classical series throughout the summer.

 

Explore Small Towns

Ashland is a small-town charmer, with great boutique shopping made all the better by Oregon’s zero-sales tax. In the old mining town of Jacksonville, enjoy five tasting rooms and delicious restaurants to go with them. There’s plenty of wine to sip in Elkton and Roseburg, both part of American Viticultural Areas (AVA). Elkton has a cooler climate suited for producing Pinot noir, Pinot gris and Riesling wines, while Roseburg, in the Umpqua Valley, is found on the same latitude as some of Europe's greatest vineyards. The historic district of Grants Pass is pedestrian-friendly, inviting you to explore quaint shops, local cuisine and more Oregon wineries, after a day spent on a jetboat river tour or whitewater rafting. Back in the Outback, the town of Lakeview is the perfect basecamp for high desert adventures.

Fun Fact

Hiker overlooking Crater Lake in Southern Oregon
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With a depth of 594 meters, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the USA. It’s also one of the few places you can swim and drink the water at the same time – it's that clean!

A Southern Oregon vineyard surrounded by mountain scenery
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Considered the father of Oregon’s wine industry, Swiss immigrant Peter Britt opened Oregon’s first winery in Jacksonville in 1855. By 1880, he was producing up to 11,000 liters of wine per year.

A sunny day playing in Southern Oregon
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Southern Oregon’s weather is different from the drizzly coastal areas. On average, there are 200 sunny days a year in Medford and 300 in Klamath Falls.

Must see places

An al fresco meal in Ashland, Oregon
Jak Wonderly/Travel Southern Oregon

Ashland

Home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, Ashland’s cultural scene includes theater, music, museums and art galleries. For outdoor enthusiasts, Ashland has easy access to the Rogue and Upper Klamath Rivers, the Mt. Ashland Ski Area, mountain biking on the Cascade Siskiyou Scenic Bikeway and hiking on the epic Pacific Crest Trail. When you get hungry, mouth-watering restaurants and local wineries abound.

A snow-covered Crater Lake National Park landscape

Crater Lake National Park

One of Southern Oregon’s biggest attractions is Crater Lake and its namesake national park. The water in the USA’s deepest lake is produced entirely by snow and rain, resulting in an ultra-clean, ultra-clear and extremely photogenic lake. Drive, bike or take a trolley tour (seasonal) around the perimeter and snap photos of the volcanic rock formations jutting out of the water. There’s hiking and trail running in the summer, or skiing and ranger-led snowshoeing in the winter.

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A jet boat tour on the Rogue River near Grants Pass

Grants Pass

The city’s motto, “It’s the Climate!” is well deserved. Grants Pass boasts a pleasant climate year round, with dry summers and moderate winters. Its charming historic district is full of amenities – shopping, galleries, local wineries and restaurants – making Grants Pass an ideal basecamp for accessing nearby activities like rafting and fishing the Rogue River, or exploring Crater Lake and Oregon Caves National Monument.

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Paddling on a sunny day in Klamath Falls, Oregon
Discover Klamath

Klamath Falls

Nicknamed Oregon's City of Sunshine for of its 300 annual days of fair weather, Klamath Falls is an outdoor adventurer's paradise in all four seasons. Bucolic waterways beckon with fishing, paddling and wildlife-watching opportunities; three National Park sites invite you to explore; and specialized trails for mountain biking, hiking, backpacking and more criss-cross the region. Even more adventures await at Running Y Resort's  Arnold Palmer-designed golf course and the Crater Lake ZipLine's adventure course, home to the state's longest zip line.

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Lavender in bloom at Dos Mariposas Vineyards & Lavender in Medford, Oregon
Dos Mariposas/Travel Medford

Medford

In the heart of the Rogue Valley, you'll find the friendly small town of Medford, where foodie delights meet outdoorsy charm. The perfect basecamp for exploring many of Oregon's natural wonders, including Crater Lake National Park and Rogue River, and the setting of the annual Heart of the Rogue Festival, this locale offers adventure and culture in equal measure. Don't miss the chance to taste globally-renowned wines and frolic in colorful lavender fields at vineyards and farms across the region.

Starry skies over Summer Lake Hot Springs in Paisley, Oregon
Joey Hamilton/Travel Oregon

The Oregon Outback

Western culture and natural wonders meet in the remote and rugged landscapes of the Oregon Outback, where a lack of light pollution and a number of unique geological features come together to create some of the USA's most stunning stargazing spots. Spend unforgettable nights peering at the wonders of the universe on the vast playas of Summer Lake, in the endless sagebrush country of Hart Mountain and on the high ramparts of the Warner Mountains. You're sure to come away with a renewed sense of wonder.

A sunset performance during the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

From February to early November, the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival (OSF) presents 11 theater performances in three different venues throughout Ashland. There are also educational discussions, lectures and demonstrations to enhance the theater experience.

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Whitewater rafting on the Rogue River

The Rogue River

The designated Wild and Scenic Rogue River is one of Southern Oregon’s most famous and popular natural attractions – even celebrities like Clark Gable and Bing Crosby have vacationed here. Fantastic salmon and steelhead fishing, Class I-V rapids and the 64-kilometer Rogue River hiking trail through spectacular scenery promise something for every fitness level. Stay in Grants Pass or Medford for easy access.

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Along the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway “Highway of Waterfalls” near Roseburg

Roseburg

The town of Roseburg was built on the lumber industry, earning it the nickname “The Timber Capital of the Nation.” Today, Roseburg specializes in charming shops, restaurants and wineries. The appeal of Roseburg is its central location to adventures on the Umpqua River that flows right through town, and the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway “Highway of Waterfalls,” a 275-kilometer drive into the Cascade Mountains dotted with beautiful waterfalls.

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