10 Best Places to Visit in Oregon
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Are you eager to explore the natural wonders and unique attractions of Oregon? You’re in luck because we have narrowed down the top 10 must-visit places in the state for you. From stunning coastlines to breathtaking mountains, Oregon offers a diverse range of attractions that cater to every traveler. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or a foodie, Oregon has something for everyone. Discover the 10 best places to visit in Oregon and plan an unforgettable trip to this beautiful state.

Crater Lake National Park

If you’re visiting Oregon, you cannot miss the breathtaking views and stunning natural beauty of Crater Lake National Park. The park is located in southern Oregon and is a true gem of the state. The park was formed by the collapse of the volcano, Mount Mazama, and is now the deepest lake in the United States, with striking blue waters that will leave you mesmerized.

The park offers many activities for visitors. You can hike along the rim or take a boat tour to get a closer look at the magnificent lake. If you’re looking to escape the hustle and bustle of daily life, camping in the park is an excellent way to disconnect and unwind.

Oregon travel destinations

If you’re a fan of driving tours, you can enjoy the park’s famous Rim Drive, which offers stunning views of the lake and surrounding landscapes. The park also has many trails that are perfect for hiking and exploring. You’ll be able to discover the unique beauty of the park and immerse yourself in nature.

Interesting facts about Crater Lake National Park

  • The lake is so pure and clear that it’s one of the clearest bodies of fresh water in the world.
  • The park receives over 500 inches of snowfall annually.
  • The park is home to the only pure population of a species of crayfish in the world.
  • The park is also known for its Phantom Ship, a rock formation that resembles a ship sailing on the lake.

Plan your visit

Crater Lake National Park is open year-round, but some facilities and roads are closed during the winter months due to heavy snowfall. Entrance fees vary depending on the season, with a daily pass fee of $25 per vehicle in the summer and $20 in the winter. Annual passes are also available.

The park has two campgrounds that offer a range of amenities, including restrooms and showers. Reservations for the campgrounds can be made online or by calling ahead of time.

AddressCrater Lake National Park, PO Box 7, Crater Lake, OR 97604, United States
Phone(541) 594-3000
Websitehttps://www.nps.gov/crla/index.htm
Hours24/7, year-round

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach is an unmissable destination for those exploring Oregon’s stunning coastline. The picturesque sandy shores stretch for miles, making it the perfect spot for a leisurely stroll.

One of the most iconic landmarks on Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock, a towering basalt formation rising out of the ocean. The rock is home to a variety of seabirds, making it an ideal spot for birdwatching.

During low tide, explore the tide pools nestled among the rocks. You’ll enjoy discovering the fascinating creatures that inhabit them, including sea anemones, starfish, and crabs. Stay until sunset for breathtaking views of the rock silhouetted against the colorful horizon.

If you’re in the mood for some shopping, Cannon Beach’s charming town has vibrant art galleries, unique shops, and delicious restaurants.

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Must-visit places in Oregon

Cannon Beach Quick Facts

Best time to visitJune to September for warm weather and clear skies
ActivitiesBeachcombing, tidepooling, hiking, birdwatching, shopping
Notable landmarksHaystack Rock, Ecola State Park, Cannon Beach History Center and Museum
AccommodationsThe Ocean Lodge, Hallmark Resort & Spa, Surfsand Resort

Columbia River Gorge

If you’re looking for a nature getaway amidst stunning scenery, Columbia River Gorge is the perfect destination for you. Located just east of Portland, the Columbia River Gorge is a must-visit spot for hikers, nature lovers, and sightseers. This gorgeous canyon stretches over 80 miles, offering endless opportunities for exploration, adventures, and relaxation.

The Gorge is home to some of the most beautiful waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest, including the most famous and picturesque one, Multnomah Falls, which cascades down in two steps from a height of 611 feet. Before admiring the waterfall, the area offers a little park with a gift shop, restaurant, and photo ops on the historic Benson Bridge.

Multiple trails wind through the forest and along the cliffs, providing scenic hikes with breathtaking views of the Columbia River and the surrounding mountains. You’ll enjoy hiking up to the top of the waterfalls to take in the panoramic view of the Columbia River Gorge or hiking along the Pacific Crest Trail to soak up nature’s beauty. When the weather is warm, the river provides ample opportunities for swimming, boating, and water sports.

Additionally, the Gorge has several charming towns, including Hood River, which features many restaurants, breweries, and boutiques. There’s also Latourell Falls and the Oneonta Gorge, which offer unique experiences in the area.

So, whether you’re an adventure seeker, a nature lover, or someone who’s looking to relax and admire scenic beauty, Columbia River Gorge won’t disappoint.

Oregon sightseeing spots

Mount Hood

Located only 50 miles east of Portland, Mount Hood is a prominent feature of Oregon’s landscape. As the highest mountain in the state, Mount Hood has become one of Oregon’s top tourist hotspots, attracting visitors from around the world.

During the winter months, Mount Hood transforms into a ski and snowboard paradise. With six ski resorts on its slopes, the mountain offers a variety of terrain for every level of skier or snowboarder. The Timberline Lodge is a historic attraction built in the 1930s, and has hosted movie productions such as The Shining. It is a destination in its own right, attracting skiers, snowboarders, and tourists alike.

In the summer months, Mount Hood is a hiker’s paradise. With trails ranging from easy to strenuous, hikers can explore the beauty of the mountain’s forests and meadows. The Timberline Trail is a 41-mile scenic hike that circles the entire mountain, offering panoramic views of the surrounding landscape.

Mount Hood

The Timberline Lodge

The Timberline Lodge is a must-see destination for visitors to Mount Hood. Originally built as a WPA project, this historic landmark offers year-round activities, from skiing in the winter to hiking in the summer. The lodge features local artists’ works and hand-crafted furniture, transporting visitors back to a bygone era of craftsmanship and detailing. The views from the lodge’s large windows are nothing but spectacular, offering unobstructed views of the mountain’s summit and surrounding forests.

Portland

As the largest city in Oregon, Portland has become a hot spot for travelers from all over the world. The city boasts a unique mix of urban attractions and natural beauty, making it a must-visit destination on your next Oregon vacation. Portland is known for its trendy neighborhoods, amazing food scene, and vibrant culture.

One of the city’s biggest draws is its fantastic food scene that offers everything from locally sourced ingredients to international cuisine. You can explore the food carts or enjoy a meal at one of the many acclaimed restaurants in the city. Additionally, there are many craft breweries and coffee shops to explore, making Portland a foodie’s paradise.

Aside from the fantastic food, Portland offers many other attractions. You can explore the city’s many vibrant and eclectic neighborhoods, go on a shopping spree or visit iconic landmarks like the Pittock Mansion, International Rose Test Garden, or Powell’s City of Books.

Oregon trip ideas

If you’re a nature lover, don’t miss the opportunity to explore Portland’s natural beauty. The Forest Park offers miles of hiking trails, while the Powell Butte Nature Park offers incredible views of the city. You can also spend the day exploring the Leach Botanical Garden’s unique flora.

Parks and Gardens in Portland:

Park/Garden NameDescription
Forest ParkA nature lover’s paradise, this park offers over 80 miles of scenic hiking trails.
Powell Butte Nature ParkExplore the park’s trails and get a breathtaking view of the city from the summit.
Leach Botanical GardenDiscover the unique flora and fauna of the Pacific Northwest in this stunning garden.

With so much to offer, Portland deserves a spot on every Oregon travel itinerary. Whether you’re looking for urban exploration or outdoor adventure, Portland has something for everyone.

Smith Rock State Park

Oregon vacation spots

If you’re a rock climber, Smith Rock State Park should be on your bucket list of Oregon vacation spots. This stunning park offers world-class climbing routes that attract climbers from all over the world. With its towering cliffs and challenging routes, it’s easy to see why Smith Rock State Park is a climber’s paradise.

If climbing is not your thing, don’t worry. The hiking trails in Smith Rock State Park are also breathtaking, with stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. Whether you’re an experienced hiker or a beginner, there is a trail for everyone to enjoy.

Make sure to bring your camera to capture the natural beauty of Smith Rock State Park. The towering cliffs and scenic views make it a photographer’s dream.

So the next time you’re planning your Oregon vacation, put Smith Rock State Park on your list of 10 best places to visit in Oregon. You won’t regret it!

Oregon Coast

The Oregon Coast is a true gem of the Pacific Northwest, offering stunning views and quaint seaside towns. Stretching over 360 miles along highways 101 and 1, tourists can explore rugged cliffs, sandy beaches, and charming towns. From Astoria to Brookings, there is no shortage of Oregon sightseeing spots to discover.

Visitors can enjoy beachcombing, whale watching, and exploring tide pools in the company of seals, sea lions, and pelicans. For a unique experience, head to Neskowin Beach to see the ‘ghost forest’ uncovered by the tidal patterns. The lovely coastal town of Yachats offers excellent hiking opportunities with routes that take you to stunning viewpoints.

Don’t miss the opportunity to visit the Cannon Beach, known for its iconic Haystack Rock and Haystack Gallery. Take a leisurely stroll along the sandy shores while admiring the beauty of the Pacific Ocean. Enjoy remarkable sunset views in the company of seagulls and sandpipers.

Oregon Coast

Best Oregon Coast beaches:

BeachLocationActivity
Haystack BeachCannon BeachSunset watching, tidepooling, surfing, hiking
Agate BeachNewportSurfing, beachcombing, tidepooling, exploring nearby Yaquina Head Lighthouse
Sand BeachManzanitaPicnicking, kite-flying, hiking trails, water sports
Whale CoveDepoe BayWhale watching, fishing, kayaking, hiking

Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley is an Oregonian paradise and a must-visit for wine enthusiasts. The valley is bursting with picturesque vineyards producing award-winning wines, and tastings and tours are available for visitors. Cycle through the idyllic countryside and take in the stunning views of the rolling hills and lush vineyards.

In addition to the wines, the valley boasts quaint small towns that offer charming boutiques, art galleries, and excellent dining options. McMinnville, for example, is home to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum, which showcases a stunning collection of aircraft.

Activities in Willamette ValleyLocation
Wine TastingVarious Locations Throughout Willamette Valley
CyclingWillamette Valley
Visit Small TownsMcMinnville, Dayton, Newberg
Visit Evergreen Aviation and Space MuseumMcMinnville

Willamette Valley is an ideal getaway for oenophiles and anyone who enjoys a scenic countryside.

Oregon tourist hotspots

Painted Hills

The Painted Hills are a must-visit destination for nature lovers and anyone seeking spectacular views during their Oregon vacation. These colorful hills showcase fascinating geological formations of layered minerals that give them a remarkably unusual appearance. The perfect location for scenic photography and hiking, visiting the Painted Hills offers the chance to immerse yourself in the unique beauty of this region.

To make the most of your trip to the Painted Hills, head to the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, where you can explore the fascinating paleontological and geological history of the area. With engaging interactive exhibits and educational activities for all ages, this national monument offers the perfect opportunity to learn about the region’s history and prehistory.

Must-visit places in Oregon

Plan a visit to the Painted Hills, and you’ll be rewarded with stunning landscape and unique geological formations that you’ll not find anywhere else. Mesmerizing and captivating, these hills are one of the most unmissable of all Oregon’s vacation spots.

Oregon Caves National Monument

If you’re looking for a unique adventure in Oregon, the Oregon Caves National Monument is a must-visit. Located in the Siskiyou Mountains, the monument is one of the lesser-known Oregon sightseeing spots but is definitely worth exploring. The cave system features intricate marble formations that offer a truly mesmerizing experience. Go on a guided tour that reveals the wonders hidden beneath the earth. This otherworldly attraction is sure to make you feel like you’re on a different planet.

Make sure to bring warm clothes, as the temperature inside the caves is around 44 degrees Fahrenheit. The tours operate daily from Memorial Day weekend through September and on weekends only in the spring and fall, so be sure to check the schedule and book your spot in advance. Children under six are not allowed to participate in the cave tours for safety reasons.

Oregon Caves National Monument

While the main attraction is the cave system, the area surrounding the monument offers plenty of opportunities for hiking, nature walks, and wildlife photography. Keep your eyes open for black bears, gray foxes, and Roosevelt elk that roam the area. Book a campsite and extend your trip to fully immerse yourself in the natural beauty of Oregon.

Silver Falls State Park

If you’re looking for a breathtaking outdoor adventure, Silver Falls State Park should be on your list of Oregon trip ideas. This stunning park is a true gem of the Oregon State Park system known as one of Oregon’s tourist hotspots.

The park is famous for its Trail of Ten Falls, a 7.2-mile trail that takes visitors behind ten magnificent waterfalls. The trail is well-maintained, with bridges, paved pathways, and viewing platforms that provide stunning views of the falls. Make sure to bring your camera!

Camping and picnicking facilities are available, so consider packing a picnic and spending the day exploring the park. The fall season is a gorgeous time to visit Silver Falls State Park, with the autumn colors adding a touch of magic to the already stunning scenery.

Oregon tourist hotspots

Plan Your Visit to Silver Falls State Park

LocationSilver Falls State Park
Admission$5 for day-use, camping fees vary
HoursOpen year-round from dawn to dusk
ActivitiesHiking, camping, picnicking, wildlife watching, photography

Whether you’re an avid hiker or just looking for a peaceful escape, Silver Falls State Park should definitely be on your itinerary for must-visit places in Oregon.

Bend

When it comes to places to explore in Oregon, Bend is a must-visit destination. This vibrant town is situated in central Oregon and offers excellent outdoor activities, making it a popular destination for adventure lovers.

One of the main attractions in Bend is the Deschutes River, which runs through the city, providing fantastic opportunities for recreation and scenic beauty. You can enjoy hiking along the river, go mountain biking or fishing, and many other outdoor activities.

And if you’re looking for a more relaxed experience, Bend has plenty of options for you. You can take a stroll through the charming downtown area, where you’ll find many unique shops, art galleries, and superb restaurants with delicious local cuisine.

Are you a beer fan? Bend is well-known for its craft beer scene, with many local breweries, and annual events such as the Bend Ale Trail. You can tour the breweries or just enjoy a cold one in any of the many pubs in the town.

Don’t forget to check out the other fantastic places to visit in Oregon, but make sure you include Bend in your itinerary. You won’t regret it!

Places to explore in Oregon

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is undoubtedly one of the top tourist attractions in Oregon and a must-visit for anyone interested in paleontology. The monument is home to well-preserved fossil beds, which offer a fascinating glimpse into the ancient past.

Located in Eastern Oregon, the monument comprises three separate units – the Sheep Rock, Painted Hills, and Clarno units. Each unit offers a unique experience and showcases different geological formations and ecosystems.

Visitors can explore the monument’s visitor centers, which provide a wealth of information about the fascinating history of the area and its numerous paleontological finds. Guided hikes are also available, providing visitors with a chance to see some of the most impressive fossils up close.

To truly appreciate the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, it’s recommended to spend several days exploring each unit. Camping facilities are available in the Sheep Rock and Painted Hills units, allowing visitors to spend the night under the stars and truly immerse themselves in the monument’s natural beauty.

Top tourist attractions in Oregon

Overall, the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a fascinating destination that should not be missed on any Oregon vacation spots itinerary. Its breathtaking landscapes and well-preserved fossils offer a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages.

Conclusion

Oregon is a state that offers a diverse range of attractions and experiences for travelers. From natural wonders to vibrant cities, there is something for everyone. Now that you have explored the 10 best places to visit in Oregon, it’s time to plan your trip and create lasting memories.

Whether you’re seeking an Oregon travel guide or looking for exciting Oregon trip ideas, this state won’t disappoint. With its picturesque landscapes and charming small towns, Oregon is a perfect destination for a vacation with friends, family, or solo.

So what are you waiting for? Pack your bags and head to Oregon! You’ll discover the beauty and charm of this state that will leave you with unforgettable memories for a lifetime.

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