No. 11 on Bonnie's list is jetboating on the Rogue River.
No. 11 on Bonnie's list is jetboating on the Rogue River.

By Bonnie Glidewell

Oregon’s birthday is Valentine’s Day, February 14, 1859. In honor of our great state, I take this opportunity to share 14 of my personal favorite things to do or see in my very own backyard. 

This is a special Valentine's Day for me. I married a wonderful man, Ty, six months ago. Thankfully, Ty loves Southern Oregon as much as I do and we're excited to get to explore the region together.

Speaking of love, I would like to dedicate this post to the birth date of Oregon. Since February 14, 1859, the great state of Oregon has been sharing its birthday with Valentine’s Day. Coincidence? I think not. Oregonians are so loyally obsessed and in love with their state (even if they are not natives) that they write songs about Oregon and even create stickers which are now known all over as the “Oregon Love” sticker. I know, because my friend wrote the song and I have one of the stickers.

In honor of February 14thI am sharing with you 14 of my favorite things to do and see in Southern Oregon. Warning: you may want to sit down with a big ol’ cup of Joe and a day planner when you start researching all of these great things our area has to offer.

1. Rafting. I can never get enough of the Rogue River, but the Illinois River is also a true gem in our area. 

2. Food-ie “ing”. Either by tour or your own itinerary, there is no lack of good food around here from tiny food trucks to award-winning artisan chefs. 

3. Film, theatre & museum going. We have an abundance of art galleries, live concerts, plays and more.

4. Wine & beer tasting. There are more than 60 wineries and new breweries popping up everywhere, not to mention we were recently named a top 10 international wine destination. 

5. Camping. Harris Beach on the coast holds a special place in my heart, as we camped there many times when I was a young child. 

7. Beach-combing & Lighthouse hunting. Our coastline ranges from Florence to Brookings and has five of the 11 lighthouses on the Oregon coast. 

8. Shopping. Oregon is sales tax free and Jacksonville is a great place to go! 

9. Fishing. Okay, so maybe this is not my favorite thing "to do" but I love being on the water with those who do fish. I make sure to bring a camera and a good book.

10. Zip Lining. Fly high above the trees in a space you would never have imaged you would be in.

11. Hiking. Whether it be a short trip up Table Rock or a 4-day outing on the Rogue River or North Umpqua trails, it is guaranteed to be gorgeous. 

12. Scenic drives. Sometimes you just want to sit in the car and "see" but not "do." There are so many options for this here. The truth of the matter is that a    scenic drive may lead to an adventure, so bring those good shoes just in case. 

11. Jet-boating. Thrilling, scenic and wet. This is definitely my cup of tea. 

13. Waterfall hunting. Camp along the "Highway of Waterfalls" and make sure to charge your phone or camera before you go! 


14. Last but absolutely not least, Crater Lake National Park exploring. Biking, snow-shoeing, hiking, dining, scenic driving and more. 

Now is the time to start thinking about hanging up your rain coat and start planning your next moves in Southern Oregon, whether it is only one or all 14 things listed. I can guarantee you will fall in love with our state after each and every one of these “ings” you decide to do.

Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.


Do you have an idea or event you want to share with Bonnie for her Out & About column? Send her your thoughts.