Last Updated June 8, 2020 6/8/2020

12 Best Things to Do in Oregon

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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 Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge

Hike Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

What Is It? The protected scenic area where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade mountains. There are unmatched day hiking opportunities, scenic overlooks, rural camping and more.

Why Do It? 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.

Good to Know: 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 Out for a ride with BrewCycle & BrewBarge PDX
Out for a ride with BrewCycle & BrewBarge PDX

Ride the BrewCycle around Portland

What Is It? Part group-bicycle and part bar. It’s a unique way to hop between Portland breweries.

Why Do It? 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.

Good to Know: 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 Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
Crater Lake National Park in Oregon

Visit Crater Lake National Park

What Is It? It’s located in southwest Oregon and in the Cascade Mountain Range, centered on a very deep and circular lake.

Why Do It? Crater Lake is a truly stunning natural area during any season on the year.

Good to Know: 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 Haystack Rock at sunset, Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock at sunset, Cannon Beach

See Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? This is an iconic rock formation that is perfect for your personal inspiration and Instagram photos. It’s also situated along a lovely stretch of beach to go for a walk at sunset.

Good to Know: 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 Sampling at Tillamook
Credit: Tillamook
Sampling at Tillamook

Sample Cheese at the Tillamook Cheese Factory

What Is It? Tillamook has been a family business in Oregon for over a century and makes delicious dairy products, including cheese, ice cream yogurt, sour cream, and butter. Visit the creamery to get a behind-the-scenes look at how these products are made and enjoy all the samples.

Why Do It? There are so many different kinds of delicious cheese that you can sample here. All travelers who love cheese owes it to themselves to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory.

Good to Know:  The factory is open daily throughout the year and offers free self-guided tours. There’s also an ice cream counter and café to dine at.

Marvel at Multnomah Falls Beautiful Multnomah Falls
Beautiful Multnomah Falls

Marvel at Multnomah Falls

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? There is an easy hiking trail that allows you to see the falls, as well as many longer trails throughout the area to explore more of beautiful Oregon. Getting your photo taken in front of the falls is a must.

Good to Know: 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 Food truck at Piedmont Station Food Carts in Portland
Food truck at Piedmont Station Food Carts in Portland

Grab Lunch at a Portland Food Truck

What Is It? 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. Come here to grab lunch, Portland style.

Why Do It? 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.

Good to Know: At any given time, Portland has at least 500 food trucks and carts. You can find online food truck maps of the city to plan your gastronomy adventure.

Go Mountain Biking in Bend Mountain biking with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttle
Mountain biking with Cog Wild Mountain Bike Tours & Shuttle

Go Mountain Biking in Bend

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? Mountain biking is a way of life in Bend, so embrace the local spirit and start exploring the region on two wheels. There are some great gear and rental shops in town to pick up supplies if you didn’t arrive with your own

Good to Know: 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 Willamette Valley Vineyards
Willamette Valley Vineyards

Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? Step aside, Napa Valley, California, because Oregon has its very own wine region that is truly a joy to visit. The pinot noir wines produced here are among the very best in the world.

Good to Know: Tour companies drive visitors to the wineries here to sample safely and learn about the various wineries.

Ski Down Mount Hood Mount Hood
Mount Hood

Ski Down Mount Hood

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? Mt. Hood Meadows is the most popular ski resort on the mountain and has terrain for skiers and snowboarders of all skill levels. The views are also incredible here if you want to go snowshoeing in the area with your dog.

Good to Know: 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 Coastal scene of Newport, Oregon
Coastal scene of Newport, Oregon

Embrace the Coastal Life in Newport

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? The Oregon coast, including Newport, is unlike anywhere else in the world. While the beaches here aren’t necessarily warm and sunny, they are amazingly scenic and offer a perfect vacation vibe.

Good to Know: 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 Oregon Caves National Monument
Oregon Caves National Monument

Go Underground at Oregon Caves National Monument

What Is It? 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.

Why Do It? After exploring Oregon’s forests, rivers, and coastline, it’s fun to mix things up with a cave attraction that really shows off the state’s natural diversity and opportunities for adventure.

Good to Know: 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.

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