Rigby and I recently drove to UC Davis for Picnic Day, my alma mater’s annual open house / city-wide party / marching band reunion. I wasn’t too confident in driving the 10 hours straight, so we broke it in half, staying overnight in Ashland.
Since we weren’t in as much of a rush, we had time to check out some dog-friendly roadside attractions along the way! From north to south:
- Eugene, OR – Wayne Morse Ranch
- Oakland, OR – K&R Drive Inn
- Roseburg, OR – Winchester Dam Fish Ladder
- Ashland, OR – Flagship Inn, Ruby’s, Green Show
- Castella, CA – Mt. Shasta Vista Point
- Redding, CA – Shasta State Historic Park
1. Eugene, OR – Wayne Morse Ranch
The Wayne Morse Ranch is about 15 minutes from the freeway, and was well worth the extra time to get Rigby nice and tired. First, we explored the historic house and grounds on leash, then headed downhill to let Rigby’s zoomies out. The off-leash area is fully fenced, and has walking trails connecting three huge pens.
There’s tall grass to leap over, mud to roll in, and kiddie pools to keep cool.
Rigby really focused on the mud part.
Large parks like this give me some peace of mind, since we can usually move far enough away if another dog is playing too rough, wants to hump, etc. The walking trails also made it easy for me to move around without accidentally stepping in mud or poop.
2. Oakland, OR – K&R Drive Inn
This old-fashioned drive-in restaurant is almost exactly halfway between Portland and Ashland, right off of exit 148. They have traditional fast-food fare, but are best known for carrying 38 flavors of Umpqua ice cream.
I don’t love leaving Rigby in the car, so the walk-up window and shaded outdoor tables were super convenient.
3. Roseburg, OR – Winchester Dam Fish Ladder
This one is also right off of the freeway, at exit 129. The fish ladder helps migrating fish swim upstream over the dam — they leap into one elevated pool, rest, then jump to the next, slightly higher pool.
There’s a little lot to park in, where we got a nice overhead view of the dam. We walked down some flights of stairs to get to the viewing area, where you can see salmon and trout getting ready to make their next leap!
4. Ashland, OR – Flagship Inn, Ruby’s, & Green Show
We stayed overnight in Ashland at the Flagship Inn. It’s a no-frills sort of place — you won’t find a dog welcome basket à la Oregon coast hotels — but it’s also fairly affordable.
In the morning, we skipped the hotel’s complimentary breakfast in favor of Ruby’s Neighborhood Restaurant. I had to tie Rigby up outside to order, but the counter had a view of the front patio so I could keep my eye on her.
The Cheesy Dinga Dera — basically a grilled cheese with fried egg and sausage. Hard to pass up!
The OSF Green Show doesn’t start until the summer, but I wanted to list it anyway. Plop down on the grass with your pup and enjoy some free entertainment — last time we were there, the Red Panda Acrobats put on an awesome show!
5. Castella, CA – Mt. Shasta Vista Point
This is another nice quick stop, right off the side of the freeway (northbound only) at exit 724A. It was a clear day, and we caught the last few minutes of daylight to light up Mt. Shasta in the distance.
6. Redding, CA – Shasta State Historical Park
This ended up being closed the day we were passing through, but it looked interesting! It’s just over 10 minutes from the freeway, and dogs are allowed to explore outdoors on leash (just not in the museum). Apparently it’s one of California’s best-preserved ghost towns, and it’s free to check out the restored courthouse, jail, blacksmith shop, and more.
We’ll be driving to California again next month! Do you have any favorite roadside attractions that allow dogs? Share in the comments below!