Oregon is a place that many people fall in love with the very first time they visit. Oregon cities here are trendy, quirky, and down-to-earth. Meanwhile, the options for outdoor activities are limitless, as this is a mecca for adventure sports of all kinds. There’s a beach region that’s blissfully beautiful, tall mountains, impressive waterfalls, and plenty of snow to get your skiing fix. There are so many reasons to visit Oregon, so here are 12 of our favorite things to do here.
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Hike Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area (Nearby Hotels)
The state of Oregon is certainly in no short supply of awesome hiking areas, and many hikers start their exploration of Oregon’s wilderness at the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. There are opportunities here for biking and camping here as well. There is a designated Wilderness Area, two Wild & Scenic Rivers, and a National Scenic Trail and lots of day hiking and backpacking options.
Ride the BrewCycle around Portland (Nearby Hotels)
The city of Portland is well-known for its hip craft brewery scene, and it can actually be overwhelming to try to hit up all the best brew spots in one trip. To sample a few, stay safe, and make some new friends, hop on-board the Brew Cycle to pedal your way from one brewery to the next. These are two-hour rides that make three stops. The bikes go out rain or shine, they can seat up to 15 people. Alternatively, you can board a BrewBarge, which is a 1.5-hour river cruise to enjoy Portland beer and city views from the water.
Visit Crater Lake National Park (Nearby Hotels)
Crater Lake is a truly stunning natural area during any season on the year. It’s located in southwest Oregon and in the Cascade Mountain Range, centered on a very deep and circular lake. At 1,943 feet, this is the deepest lake in America and also home to old-growth forests and a collapsed volcano.
See Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach (Nearby Hotels)
Cannon Beach is just one of many coastal Oregon stops worth making as you check out the state’s beach towns. The iconic natural landmark here is called Haystack Rock, which is a large monolith that stands out in the sea. Also, around the coastal town of Cannon Beach, check out Ecola State Park and Hug Point State Park.
Sample cheese at the Tillamook Cheese Factory (Nearby Hotels)
All travelers who love cheese owes it to themselves to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory. The factory is open daily throughout the year and offers free self-guided tours. There are so many different kinds of delicious cheese that you can sample here too. There’s also an ice cream counter and café to dine at.
Marvel at Multnomah Falls (Nearby Hotels)
Multnomah Falls is located in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area but is worthy of mention all on its own. This is an impressive waterfall that draws in over two million people each year to see the views. The waterfall is 611 feet tall and only about a 30-minute drive from Portland. During your visit, you can stop by the Multnomah Falls Lodge for snacks, restaurants, and visitor information.
Grab lunch at a Portland food truck (Nearby Hotels)
Aside from breweries, Portland is also famous for its food truck scene. Oftentimes, the best places to experience food trucks here is by visiting an area with multiple trucks so that you have your pick of cuisine. For example, the Alder Street Food Cart Pod is a large downtown collection of vendors between Southwest Alder and Washington streets and running from Southwest Ninth to Southwest Tenth avenues.
Go mountain biking in Bend (Nearby Hotels)
Bend has been a long-time favorite town for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers. There are national forests nearby, ski hills, the Deschutes River, and even volcanic landscapes. All of these features make Bend an ideal spot for mountain biking, river rafting, skiing, and rock climbing. There are some great gear and rental shops in town to pick up supplies if you didn’t arrive with your own. You can also take a drive along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway, which passes through the Deschutes National Forest, to rest weary feet and legs.
Wine tasting in the Willamette Valley (Nearby Hotels)
Step aside, Napa Valley, California, because Oregon has its very own wine region that is truly a joy to visit. The Willamette Valley is home to many of Oregon’s vineyards, and there are hundreds of wineries here that you can visit for a tasting. To start exploring this region, choose one wine route, such as the Eola-Amity Hills, Road to Carlton and McMinnville, or the Northern Willamette Valley. Tour companies drive visitors to the wineries here to sample safely and learn about the various wineries.
Ski down Mount Hood (Nearby Hotels)
Mount Hood is another epic landmark in Oregon, standing at 11,239 feet at the peak. This is a great place to go skiing, so pack your gear for the winter season. Mt. Hood Meadows is the most popular ski resort on the mountain and has terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. Other ski areas to check out on the mountain are Timberline Lodge, Mount Hood Ski Bowl, Cooper Spur, Snow Bunny, and Summit.
Embrace the coastal life in Newport (Nearby Hotels)
Newport is a lovely coastal town in Oregon with lighthouses, peaceful scenery, and local attractions to check out. Be sure to stop by the Hatfield Marine Science Center and the Oregon Coast Aquarium, here and then stick around to watch the sunset on the beach. The Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and the Devil’s Punchbowl State Natural Area are also worth visiting nearby.
Go underground at Oregon Caves National Monument (Nearby Hotels)
One of the lesser-known natural attractions here is the Oregon Caves National Monument, where you can take a guided tour to explore underground wonders. Discovery cave tours, candlelight cave tours, and off-trail cave tours are all offered by the national park. The monument is in the Siskiyou Mountains and also has above-ground hiking trails to explore after your tour. Meanwhile, the Oregon Caves Chateau offers lodging and a restaurant.