Planning a Family Trip to Southern Oregon and Crater Lake


Southern Oregon Family VacationAs a kid I remember looking out from an airplane window at Crater Lake on flights to the Northwest to visit my grandparents. Even from 40,000 feet its intensely deep blue waters were dazzling. As we flew over Southern Oregon, the pilot urged passengers to admire the deepest lake in the United States. I always wanted to jump out the window and dive in.

Now many decades later I’m finally visiting Crater Lake for the first time and taking my three children, ages 9, 11 and 10 months.

The lake sits under a blanket of snow and ice for half the year but in spring it emerges from hibernation until the first snow falls in September.

“During this brief summertime window, one magnificent day typically follows another,” the park’s website says. “For visitors, these few months provide the best opportunity for a comfortable visit.”

The summer window is short and fleeting and throngs of tourists flock to this lake of immeasurable beauty to hike its trails, visit its islands, ply its waters on boat rides, and take in its beauty.

We’re visiting over Memorial Day Weekend, one of the most popular times to go, and our plan is to spend one full day at the lake and then take two days to explore other attractions in the surrounding area. We’ll be staying at Best Western Hotels in Grants Pass, Klamath Falls and Ashland, and this week I’ll be putting together an itinerary for the three-day adventure. I’d love to get some reader suggestions. What should we do? Where should we eat?

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