LA PINE, OR -- Bend consistently makes AAA's list of top regional holiday destinations. For the first time, La Pine cracked the top ten for this Thanksgiving travel season. "All of a sudden, folks are looking at it and saying, ‘you know, we usually stay in Bend or Sisters or Redmond or Madras. Let’s try La Pine, this time’," says Marie Dodds, with AAA-Oregon. She says holiday vacationers realize South County is less expensive than its more popular neighbors, "And in fact, if you want to go to Mt. Bachelor, or you want to do some hiking, it’s actually closer to some popular spots than some other Central Oregon destinations. And La Pine has more accommodations than it had a few years ago."
Three Central Oregon cities made this year's regional list for Thanksgiving: Bend came in first, followed by Seattle, Lincoln City and Redmond. Boise rounds out the top five; La Pine is tenth.
"No matter where you go," says Dodds, "Make sure you let friends or family know where you’re going and your itinerary. That way, if you don’t show up at your destination, folks have an idea where to start looking for you." She also suggests drivers prepare for changing road conditions. If you're heading out of time, you should have traction tires or chains, "Practice how to put them on before you head out on the family road trip. We’ve got everything you need to plan for winter travel; visit AAA.com/winterprep."