Five hours south of Portland you'll find this gorgeous getaway: a high mountain, historic lake resort that sits beside one of the clearest natural lakes found in the Southern Oregon Cascades.
On my first visit to Lake of the Woods Resort back in 2004, I had a wonderful time. Everyone did - all 20 something of us! It was a big crowd of friends and families, all camping and playing together in the sunshine. My girls were very little girls then, and I probably spent a lot of time thinking about their snacks, their sunscreen, and safe activities for them. And, as it turns out, all that activity overshadowed (for me) how beautiful the area itself actually was.
This summer we returned without the crowd, and I was blown away. How had I missed this?? So many fun things to do, and the setting is gorgeous.
FISHING. At the marina, we rented a fishing boat in advance. The next morning I got up at 5:45 am and made breakfast sandwiches at our campsite. We showed up at the dock at 7:00 am ready to go! We had the boat for four hours and had zero luck - such a bummer! But hey, it didn't even matter because we had such a great time (and I nailed those sandwiches).
PADDLEBOARDS. So easy to rent and such a great way to get out on the water at your own pace(s). We experimented with Louie on board. Let's just say... since then I have bought her an XS doggie lifejacket. She has a hard time deciding if she'd rather be on the board, or in the water. Better safe than sorry!
HISTORY. The lake was discovered in 1870 and originally intended as a fishing retreat. Each building is set back a ways from the water's edge and there's a reason: great care was taken to situate each structure in such a fashion that the beauty of the lake was not disturbed.
The oldest still existing buildings are the General Store (est. 1924) and Cabin 3 (est. 1922). The resort also had a main lodge with a restaurant and bar, sixteen cabins (now 26 cabins), and a marina.
All around the resort are the classic red Adirondack chairs. I love this look! It's also close to my heart because of their consistent presence at Elkins Resort at Priest Lake, Idaho, which I also adore.
EAT & DRINK. The Lake House Restaurant has great food and cocktails, and we spent quite a few hours on their patio (pictured below).
Look at this Roasted Beet Salad. So good!
While you're in the area, make sure to save time for a day trip to visit nearby Crater Lake National Park (see my post 3 Best Things to Do at Crater Lake in 2020). I am now a HUGE fan of Lake of the Woods Resort, and would absolutely come back and recommend it to others. But be sure to book your campsite or cabin early - this place is popular for a reason!