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Apr 2, 2009 12:10 PM

Driving from Portland to Gold Beach - any good eats?

I'm an SF hound looking forward to a return trip to Portland for our honeymoon this fall. But this time we want to add in a few days at the Tu Tu Tun Lodge...down in Gold Beach on the Rogue River.

Are there any worthwhile places to stop for lunch along the way, or any towns we should stop at for an overnight?

Plus, if anyone has ideas about the most beautiful route to take I'd love to have your recommendations. Thanks!

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  1. We live part-time in So. Oregon but haven't "done" the coast in a while. But if you search "Oregon Coast" you'll find some recs. I WILL recommend that you drive all the way down the coast from Portland. It's a quite unique coastline if you haven't driven it before. Unlike CA there's little or no development right on the beach so you have amazing views. And if you end your coast drive at Gold Beach, you can take Hwy. 99 from there to Grants Pass and pick up I-5. That's another beautiful drive (under 100 miles)taking you through the Redwood National Forest and along the Smith River. Have a lovely wedding and honeymoon.

    1. as far as routes go _do_not_ take the road(s) that appear to go directly from i5 to gold beach through merlin, galice, agness and along the rogue river. on many conventional maps this is dangerously misrepresented to appear as a fine and emminently passable road. it is not. it ends up being a confusing network of unpaved logging and forest service roads but you wouldn't know it from looking at basic road atlas maps. depending on how late in fall you are there it can be very deep in snow as it crosses the top of the coast range. i can't stress this enough. do not try to cut directly from i5 to gold beach. sorry to seem alarmist but as far as i know this misrepresentation hasn't been fixed on recent road atlas maps. not to diss the other respondent but i'm not seeing a clear route from gold beac to grant's pass called 99. there's 199 from crescent city to grant's pass but that doesn't really fit the bill. and the route that i'm urging you not to take looks perilously like what they describe.

      on a lighter note, the coast highway between lincoln city and florence is not to be missed. the town of yachats is a great place to overnight. we always rent a cabin at the shamrock lodgettes there. and dinner at the yachats river inn is great. places to stop nearby are devil's churn and cape perpetua (stunning sights) and heceta head lighthouse. the coastline in this whole area is cliffy and spectacular. if you guys are campers the primitive campsites at carl g washburne state park just north of heceta head are great. at there's a beautiful hike from there up the north side of heceta head that's under 2 miles but with a lot of elevation gain and amazing views north up the coast.

      have a great time.

      4 Replies
      1. re: ericlutzker

        Sorry, I meant to write 199 not 99. 199 is NOT the road through Galice. Do you know that a couple of years ago a family took that "shortcut" in winter and the man died trying to find help for the family. But 199 is a highway, well maintained, etc. It has no danger whatsoever. And it's a beautiful drive as well. Thanks for warning them about that dangerous road --- well, dangerous in winter anyway.

        1. re: c oliver

          yeah i followed that story, very sad. but actually it wasn't dead of winter, it was november. granted it was late november and a particularly stormy one at that. but the op did say fall. but i am being an alarmist. sorry for that. i look forward to taking 199 sometime. one of the fun parts of going to the coast is seeing the different routes across the coast range.

          1. re: ericlutzker

            The detail/warning is much appreciated - in researching the Tu Tu Tun Lodge I did discover that it was the intended destination for the ill-fated Kim family (who was from SF as well).

            And it certainly did cross my mind that one can't take one's safety for granted. We'll be traveling at the end of September, so hopefully that won't be a concern.

            Thank you for all the helpful and thoughtful insight. It is more than I expected!!

            1. re: Absonot

              On a Memorial Day several years ago I drove from Galice to Gold Beach via Bearcamp without harm. It is paved the whole way, though I have driven wider and straighter dirt roads. I wouldn't recommend it on a dark and stormy night, or in an RV, but if you aren't afraid of a bit of mountain driving it isn't bad. Actually the worst part was the River shuttle traffic. Fast vans pulling trailers stacked high with rafts can be intimidating on a those roads.

              As for eats, we had some great sweet potato fries at the roadside diner in Merlin. On the coast north of Gold Beach, Bandon is a nice town to browse and get a bit to eat.

      2. We live in Newport. About half way between Portland and Gold Beach. A good stop for lunch. Two good suggestions for lunch. Saffron Salmon and Local Ocean Seafood. Any questions about this area, ask......Love the Tu Tu Tun.