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Connecting in Oregon’s Eugene, Cascades & Coast

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Working from home has advantages, but getting to know coworkers isn’t one of them. No wonder meeting planners are looking for destinations that help people connect. 


A Sampling for all interests

As more groups try to “figure out how to come together,” the Eugene, Cascades and Coast region’s plentiful adventures have made it even more attractive, says Juanita Metzler, senior director, conventions, for Travel Lane County. A list of more than a dozen itineraries is just a start, and every idea is adaptable. “It’s all based on interests, price point and time,” she said.

For a tight schedule, a two-hour rafting trip along the Willamette River is “all in the downtown corridor so it’s very easy to do,” says Metzler. For a longer trip, or one with whitewater, groups can opt for the nearby McKenzie River. 

Art becomes an appetizer or intermezzo on walking tours that take in downtown restaurants, breweries and wineries with stops to admire murals along the way, among them new ones painted for the 2022 World Athletics Championships, which were held for the first time in the United States in Eugene in July.

For a free afternoon, the 60-mile drive to Florence on the Pacific Coast leads to more than half a dozen activities. A horseback ride on the beach is popular aboard well-mannered horses. Tours of America’s largest sea cave include meet ups with resident sea lions. The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world, makes for rollicking fun. Dune buggies large and small load up for memorable adventures in the wind-sculpted sand dunes towering to 500 feet above sea level. 

Other outings

Other outings are more sedate: Strolls up to Heceta Head Lighthouse for a tour and picnic; tax-free shopping in historic Old Town Florence; a few lucky hours at Three Rivers Casino.

Whiling away time at a winery is a natural, with 700 of the state’s 980 wineries located in the world-renowned Willamette Valley. Near Eugene, King Estate Winery, the state’s largest winery, demonstrates how to eliminate rodents in a natural way using raptors. Some of the birds were rehabilitated at the Cascades Raptor Center, which offers tours. At smaller wineries, event options are varied. Groups might bring picnics to some and line up for food trucks and live music at others.

Travel Lane County even has a way for planners to fund all the fun. Groups meeting in the region for the first time can earn a rebate of $5 per room night up to $3,500 for meetings held by June 30, 2023.

There’s really nothing to keep groups from connecting in the region, including getting there. Eight airlines serve the Eugene Airport, with direct flights to Chicago, Dallas/Fort Worth, Los Angeles, Phoenix and other major hubs. CVB and airport officials keep in touch, so airlines can adjust service for large conventions and events. It’s just one more way Eugene, Cascades & Coast makes it easy to bring people together. 

For more information:

Travel Lane County – Eugene, Cascades & Coast

Juanita Metzler, CMP