John Day Fossil Beds National Monument: www.nps.gov/joda or (541) 987-2333. Admission is free.
Getting there: The fossil beds area is a four- to five-hour drive from Portland. The nearest commercial air service is in Pendleton, Bend/Redmond and Boise, Idaho. Visitor center and Thomas Condon Paleontology Center are located at the Sheep Rock Unit, in Kimberly, Ore., on Highway 19, two miles north of the intersection with Highway 26, and nine miles west of Dayville. The Painted Hills Unit of the monument is located nine miles northwest of Mitchell, and 75 miles east of Bend. The Clarno Unit is 18 miles west of the town of Fossil.
Facilities: Many sites within the monument have water and there are some picnic facilities, but no food service. The sun can be deceptively strong. Wear a hat, bring a well-stocked cooler, and watch for rattlesnakes.
Lodging: The area has campgrounds and RV parks, as well as standard lodging ranging from B & amp;Bs to a Best Western in the city of John Day. For a list, go to www.grantcounty.cc and click on "Businesses," then "L" for lodging.
Other attractions: The Kam Wah Chung State Heritage site and museum (Canton Street, John Day) celebrates the thousands of Chinese immigrants who worked in the mines of the 1860s Gold Rush era. The museum is open, May 1 through Oct. 31, Monday through Saturday, 9 a.m. to noon and 1 p.m. to 5 p.m., and Sundays, 1 to 5 p.m. Admission is free; details at www.oregonstateparks.org/park or (541) 575-2800. There are also golf courses in the area, and the John Day River, which runs through the fossil beds, is good for fishing and rafting. Information on OMSI summer programs is available at www.omsi.edu/education/camps/oss/hfs.cfm.