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Grants Pass Oregon: Rogue River, Restaurants and Relaxation

Grants Pass, located in Southern Oregon offers warm summer days, picturesque historic downtown, and plenty of outdoor activities such as hiking and fishing.

Things to do in Grants Pass

The ultimate way to experience Grants Pass Oregon is cruising down the famous Rogue River. The river winds through the old downtown area and offers water sports like floating down in inner tubes, kayaking, river rafting, and the high-speed option of Hellgate Boat Tours.

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Lodge at Riverside

One of the most convenient hotels to stay in town, especially if you are planning a Hellgate boat ride is the Lodge at Riverside. The hotel is located on the Rogue River and is situated directly above the launch location for the jet boats. The lodge offers rustic charm, a great pool and most rooms have panoramic riverfront views.

Serving wine and cheese every afternoon and cookies-and-milk in the evening are two added features that make a stay here easy and fun. They also offer a hearty and complimentary breakfast at the lodge. The lodge is the #1 rated hotel in Grants Pass on TripAdvisor. 

Hellgate Jetboat Excursions

Hellgate Jetboat Excursions

While the hotel is located above the launch spot for the boat rides, the check-in for the Hellgate Jetboat excursion check is a short walk to 7th Street. Choose between a three-hour, 36-mile lunch excursion, a “Quick and Scenic” two-hour excursion or the five-hour, 75-mile round-trip from Grants Pass to Grave Creek that includes a stop for a meal. With your boat tickets in hand head to the river and board the Hellgate Jetboat excursion.

Hellgate Jetboat Excursions

Rides are fun, informative, and wet. The jet boat drivers offer great information about the river and while there are periods of slow cruising the real excitement comes at high speeds and during their famous spins that generally soak one side of the boat depending on how they end the turn.

Rogue River in Grants Pass

If you want all the fun, but don’t enjoy a good drenching choose a middle seat or wear a light rain jacket with a hood for protection. On a nice hot day, embrace the ride-enjoy the water, and laugh. There is something exhilarating and funny each and every time your Hellgate Boat Captain chooses to spin and soak.

Besides the high-speed thrills of racing down the Rogue, a highlight of this trip is to check out the scenic river as the boat travels through the spectacular beauty of Hells Gate Canyon– a magnificent area where rock formations head majestically skyward.

Along the way, you are likely to see any combination of the following wildlife such as deer, osprey, bald eagles, river otters and even black bears.

Pool at the Riverside Lodge in Grants Pass
Pool at the Riverside Lodge in Grants Pass

After the boat ride, walk the short distance back to the Lodge at Riverside for some more fun in the sun. Change into your bathing suit and head to the pool. Here it will be your choice if and when you get wet. Watch the afternoon Hellgate boats take off or just enjoy the beauty of the river view.

Restaurants in Grants Pass Oregon

For dinner, if you want to keep it low-key and local, head across the street to the Taprock Northwest Grill. Located on the Rogue River with both indoor and patio seating the restaurant focuses on Northwest-style cuisine and products from regional businesses. It’s a great spot for both adults wanting beautiful views and families who want a casual atmosphere and a well-rounded menu.  

For something out of the ordinary and a real culinary treat head to Summer Jo’s. Located on Upper River Road, just a few miles from town this restaurant is a unique experience. The property includes a farm where they grow much of their produce, a greenhouse selling everything from fresh-picked and dried lavender to antique wheelbarrows. But the real draw is the restaurant. It feels as though you’ve stepped into a countryside restaurant in the Loire Valley of France. They offer intimate seating indoors as well as on the spacious lawn where you may feel as though you are part of a lovely dinner party.

While the atmosphere both in and out is wonderful, equally so is the menu. Served at an unhurried pace this is food to be savored. We happened to visit on a Friday and to our delight we learned about “Frugal Fridays”, a three-course meal offered for $25 that included a house salad or soup of the day, the main entrée which was braised short ribs with a horseradish cream sauce and two choices for dessert. The flavors were wonderful and portions just right. The menu does change every few weeks, but I venture to guess it may be hard to go wrong at Summer Jo’s.

After a day on the Rogue River, a bit of sunning by the pool and a relaxing dinner it is welcoming to think of a peaceful night sleep in this Southern Oregon river town.

Grants Pass Elevation

Grants Pass is located off Interstate 5, northwest of Medford, along the Rogue River and sits at an elevation of 960′.

Grants Pass to Medford

It’s 29 miles or 47 km from Grants Pass to Medford, which takes about 30-35 minutes to drive.

What & Where
Rogue River Hellgate (966 SW 6th St; 541-956-5260 or 800-648-4874; www.hellgate.com)
Taprock Northwest Grill (971 SE 6th St; 541-955-5998)
Summer Jo’s (2315 Upper River Road Loop; 541-476-6882) (Closed) 
The Lodge at Riverside (955 SE 7th St; 541-955-0600 or 877-955-0600; www.countryhouseinns.com)

Click here for more information on the Rogue River or Grants Pass.  

As travel today remains uncertain, please keep your safety and the safety of others in mind at all times. If you are comfortable with traveling, please travel responsibly and regulations in Grants Pass Oregon, as any travel is at your own risk.

If you do decide to travel at this time, here are a few recommendations:

      • Wear a face mask. 
      • Bring hand sanitizer and wash your hands on a regular basis.
      • Check official websites before your trip for the latest updates on policies, closures and status of local businesses.
      • Book a hotel with free cancellation in case you need to change your plans at the last minute. I also suggest checking hotel reviews in my favorite site, TripAdvisor.  

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Grants Pass Oregon. The most beautiful town in Southern Oregon. Best things to do in Grants Pass and best restaurants in Grants Pass Oregon.


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