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This is a Relaxing Day Trip to Old Town in Florence, Oregon

Bridge over Siuslaw River
I am happy that you have decided to take the Oregon weekend trip to Old Town with us. Grab your camera and binoculars, maybe a snack if you wish, and we are off. Our journey will take us the long way around from Eugene to Reedsport, and then into Florence before returning back to Eugene. We have chosen Eugene as our starting point because it is centrally located for most all of our day trips. Are you ready? Then here we go!

We start out trip to Old Town with a short drive south on I-5. Just before we reach Cottage Grove, if we turn off at Exit 176, a short drive would take us to the Saginaw Vineyard, but that will be for another day.

Continuing down I-5, we soon reach our turn off, Exit 162, to Reedsport (Highway 38 and 99), also known as the Umpqua Hwy. We are now leaving Lane County and entering Douglas County. From here, it is about 56 miles to Reedsport.

Rock Racoon As we drive along enjoying the sights, we spotted this raccoon. We pulled over to take this shot. Now is a good time to talk about our philosophy on day trips.

This is what we are talking about when we say enjoy the drive as much as the destination, in this case Old Town.

When you are driving and something catches your eye, pull over and stop. Check it out you will be amazed at the things you will see and enjoy. Besides, it gives you a chance to slow down and relax. You do not have to race to your destination. As the old saying says Stop and Smell the Roses, you will be glad you did.

Ok, time to continue on to Old Town. The next town we come to is Elkton and another surprise.

TurkeyAs we pull into the quaint town, there, walking in front of us, slowly crossing the street, is this wild turkey. Good, an excuse to stop and see the often missed pleasures of a day trip. A few moments later and we are off. As we journey on our way we come to Scottsburg. There is an historical marker here, you might want to stop and look. We have been traveling on Hwy 38.

It has been running parallel to the Umpqua River and now as we pass over the Scottsburg Bridge, you get a wonderful view of this river.Umpqua River

Just past the bridge we find ourselves driving through old growth vegetation. With moss on the trees, ferns all around and all the other plant life, it is like going back in time to an age long forgotten.

Just down the road is Scottsburg Park. This is a small park, right on the river. There is a play ground for the kids if they need a rest. The park also has a boat ramp to the Umpqua River.

Our next stop is a must for this day trip. We will be stopping at Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area. Elk can be seen here all year. This is one of the reasons we decided to take this route today. I have a hint for you. The viewing area is almost always to far away from the elk to see them clearly. So along the road there are several pull out sections. Use one of these to get a much better view of these magnificent animals.Elk After sometime with the elk we move on to Reedsport. As we get to Hwy 101 we are going to turn north toward Florence. Well that was the original plan anyway.

We have decided at the last moment to take a 6-mile detour to see the Umpqua River Lighthouse. This is one of those times when it pays to be flexible with your day trip. We still have plenty of time left in the day to see the Lighthouse and still spend time at Old Town in Florence.

So, south it is, we follow the signs to the Lighthouse. A bit of caution here, just keep to the right and you will go straight to the Lighthouse. I made the mistake of going left and found myself in a camp ground. Nice place but not where I was headed. Ok, Ok even I make errors but I do learn. Hopefully you will also.

Umpqua River Lighthouse

Back at the Lighthouse we find that we are also at a whale watching site. What a stroke of luck, today we actually get to see whales. We can see the water spouts and see them moving through the water. This has been worth the 6-mile detour. This again is why you need to be flexible with your day.

With time well spent we now go north to Florence. As we cross the Siuslaw River Bridge we make a quick right turn and then another.

Tada! We made it to Old Town. There is a large parking lot and some parking along the street. Some 60 shops and eateries are located in this charming historic Old Town.

After a considerable amount of time here in Old Town it is time to head home. However we still have some extra time to enjoy and I know just the spot.Boat Dock Florence

Just outside the north end of Florence there is a fascinating place, Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside. As we drive north the sign is hard to see because of the trees, but there it is.

We make a quick right and 200 feet ahead is Darlingtonia Botanical Wayside. This is a short walk through beautiful foliage. There is an easy path that even a wheelchair could use. What you have discovered is an insect eating plant.

This is a must see. Not just for the unusual plants but also for the peaceful area. Darlingtonia Well, time has come to head back home and although we have spent 5 hours or so it will only take about hour and 15 minutes to get back home. Of course that depends on how many stops we make on the way back.

We head back south for about 3 miles to Hwy 126. This will take us all the way back to Eugene. As we head east on Hwy 126 (also known as the Florence-Eugene Hwy) we go through Mapleton where we make a sharp right to continue on. Just outside of Mapleton, on the right, you will see the Gingerbread Village Restaurant. You can get gingerbread pancakes and waffles along with other gingerbread foods and really good coffee at this location.

We are only 15 minutes from Eugene now as we pass by Fern Ridge Reservoir.

As we have arrived home from our trip to Old Town we hope you had a great time with us and will come back for another day trip soon.

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