Enjoy historic downtowns, river views and trail vistas while charging your EV.
Whether you’re traveling along Interstate 5 or taking a more leisurely tour in your electric vehicle (EV), there are plenty of places to plug and play in Southern Oregon. With new charging stations opening all the time, take the opportunity to stop and discover new places.
Umpqua Valley — Sutherlin
Sutherlin, just north of Roseburg, is in the heart of the beautiful Umpqua Valley. Soon it may be a hub for EV charging. Tesla plans to build a “Supercharger” station in town — strategically situated halfway between Seattle and San Francisco. With over 50 stalls, it will be the largest of its kind in Oregon.
There’s no need to wait, though. You can now charge your EV at one of two options at Interstate 5’s Exit 136: a fast-charging station at the Dairy Queen and a single Type 1 charging station at the Best Western. (Charge for free if you’re a hotel guest.) Check out the Sutherlin Area Visitors Center, housed in a little log cabin just a quarter-mile from the exit, and if your pooch is traveling with you, trot over to the dog park at Hatley Park, an easy mile and a half away.
Applegate Valley — Grants Pass
Squeeze in a shopping trip while you charge in Grants Pass. There are two fast-charging locations just off the freeway, one at the Walmart Supercenter (eight stations) and one at the Fred Meyer (one station). If you opt instead to charge using the Type 1 stations at Grants Pass Tourism or the parking lot at G and 7th streets in the historic downtown, you can browse its many antique shops or check out the Italian art glass designs and tour the Glass Forge Gallery & Studio. Be sure to peek at the Rogue River, which flows just south of downtown.
Rogue Valley — Ashland
There is a fast-charging station at Exit 14, one of three Ashland exits along I-5, but it’s worth driving downtown, where you can charge at one of several Type 1 stations and sample shops, restaurants and cafes. Take some time to stroll through Lithia Park and visit the newly revamped Japanese Garden. If you plan right, you can even work in a spa date at The Blue Giraffe, watch a production of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival or catch a movie at The Varsity, Ashland’s downtown theater.
For refreshments, try Ruby’s and Pony Espresso, both conveniently located near a free public parking lot with nine Type 1 charging stations. Special dinners like braised lamb or chickpea tagine can be yours at Cocorico.
Klamath Basin — Klamath Falls
If you’re passing through Klamath Falls, Sugarman’s Corner offers nine stations and three types of chargers. Plugging in gives you the perfect excuse to explore the eclectic and historic buildings downtown. Be sure to stop at the Oregon Bank Building, the tallest structure in town and home to the only manned elevator in the state. Learn about the Modoc War at the Klamath County Museum, or if you’re a nature lover, wander to the waterfront to watch eagles, ducks, pelicans and other waterbirds — or spy painted birds on the colorful murals as you walk in the town’s center.
When you’re feeling peckish, Thai Orchid offers some of the best Thai food in Oregon, including the vegetarian rolls with plum sauce. For creative breakfast burritos, smoothies and delicious baked goods, try A Leap of Taste.
Southern Oregon Outback — Lakeview
With planning, you can drive your EV through the vast Southern Oregon Outback without worry. You will find a Type 1 charging station at the Ford dealership right along Highway 140 in Lakeview. Stretch your legs with a walk through downtown or — for more cardio — hike Noni’s Trail across the road from the town’s public swimming pool. The trail quickly ascends to a viewpoint of the town and greater Goose Lake valley.
Top photo by Dylan VanWeelden / Travel Oregon