Explore Oregon's Top 11 Must-See Destinations
Discover the wondrous state of Oregon, teeming with extraordinary scenery, enchanting drives, and magnificent parks. Whether it's for adventure or relaxation, the state offers an abundance of delightful destinations that can keep you engaged for years without feeling bored. Apart from the breath-taking natural landscapes, Oregon also boasts several amazing cities that are bound to captivate your heart.
What makes Oregon truly exceptional is its awe-inspiring natural attractions that are simply unmissable. Witness the beauty of some of the most stunning Oregon hiking trails and take in the vistas sure to leave you spellbound. Most of these wondrous spots are easily accessible, making them ideal for moderate hikers.
But the best places in Oregon aren't only about breathtaking mountains and valleys. To make your trip truly remarkable, here's a selection of some of the most exceptional areas, must-see cities, and exciting jaunts that you shouldn't miss.
So take a closer look below and discover the finest places in Oregon that are sure to make your trip unforgettable!
1.) Yaquina Head"
Are you looking for a coastal adventure away from the bustling city? Make sure to visit Yaquina Head, located just north of Newport. The area is filled with stunning views, especially during sunset, where you can explore the trails and even visit the 1800s Yaquina Head Lighthouse. Don't forget to bring water and sunblock, as the wind can be misleading and give you an unexpected sunburn. For a more peaceful sunset spot, head further up the coast to Moolack Beach and take in the breathtaking ocean views.
If you find yourself near Siuslaw National Forest, make sure to explore the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, which boasts one of the largest sand dune expanses in the world. You can spend a whole day exploring the sandy hills on an ATV tour or set out on one of the many hiking trails that span for miles. To avoid crowds, make sure to arrive early in the morning.
If you're in the mood for a city break, Eugene, a 100-minute drive from Portland, is the perfect destination. Not too big but still offering a great west coast city experience, it's easy to get around and explore the many attractions.
Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon
1.) Museum of Natural and Cultural History
Make sure to stop by the Museum of Natural and Cultural History - a small but mighty museum that is sure to amaze. Explore exhibits on both natural and cultural history, and learn about the region's rich and diverse past.
2.) Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art
If you're looking for an indoor activity, head to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. With a collection that spans from ancient to contemporary art, the museum is sure to delight all types of art enthusiasts.
3.) Skinner Butte Park and Hendricks Park
For stunning views of Eugene, take a hike through Skinner Butte Park - its easy trails make it a perfect morning activity. And if you're looking for a peaceful and beautiful park to relax in, visit Hendricks Park, the oldest park in Eugene. Make sure to wander through the native plant gardens and take a stroll along its forest routes.
4.) Ecola State Park
One of Oregon's most famous coastal areas, Ecola State Park offers endless breathtaking views. Take a hike along the Indian Beach Trail or visit Crescent Beach for a blissful experience. Don't forget to catch a glimpse of the iconic Haystack Rock just off Canon Beach, and stop by the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Viewpoint for an unforgettable coastal scene.
5.) Silver Falls State Park
If you're up for an adventure outside of Eugene, plan a visit to Silver Falls State Park - home to ten beautiful waterfalls and miles of hiking trails. Take in the stunning scenery while hiking, and make a stop at South Falls for a unique view behind the waterfall.
Looking for more travel inspiration in the USA? Check out our list of fun cities to visit!
And if you're in need of a caffeine fix, head to Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters for a perfect cup. And don't forget to indulge in some seafood at the delicious Fisherman's Market for an unforgettable meal.
Silver Falls State Park is a sprawling oasis that’s among the largest in Oregon, and it’s an ideal destination for anyone seeking a dose of adventure and nature. Only 40 minutes from Salem, the park is easily accessible for a day trip, or you can make a longer adventure out of your visit.
Once you arrive, head straight to the park’s most iconic attraction - its waterfalls. South Falls and North Falls are among the most breathtaking, but you can find plenty of others scattered throughout the park. For the ultimate waterfall experience, take the Trail of Ten Falls, a beautiful 7-mile hike that will take you through some of the park’s most scenic vistas.
However, with all its beauty and grandeur, Silver Falls does tend to attract crowds, especially during peak seasons. The best way to avoid the masses is to arrive early in the morning.
If you’re interested in exploring more of Oregon’s grandeur, be sure to check out some of its other National Parks, starting with Mount Bachelor. As one of the state’s premier skiing areas, Mount Bachelor offers fun and excitement for the whole family. Located two hours from Eugene, Mount Bachelor features runs that cater to all levels, and Bend, a charming town 30 minutes away, offers plenty of lodging options.
Another great destination in Oregon is Hood River, a charming city located at the banks of the majestic Columbia River. If you’re in the area, make sure to take a train ride on the historic Mount Hood Railroad, or rent a kayak from Hood River SUP and Kayak, and explore the nearby waterways. And for a sweet treat that you won't forget any time soon, head into Mike’s Ice Cream for their homemade delights.
Finally, no trip to Oregon would be complete without a stop in Portland. Rich in cultural diversity and natural landmarks, Portland is a fantastic place to immerse yourself in everything Oregon has to offer. Don't forget to check out the Crown Point State Scenic Corridor on your way there, it's a stunning area of natural beauty that is sure to take your breath away.
If you're planning to visit Oregon, don't miss out on Portland - a charming city that has something for everyone. You'll want to set aside a few days to fully experience all the sights and sounds of this vibrant place.
Start your adventure at the Japanese Garden, an iconic attraction that's picture-perfect and sure to leave you feeling blissful. Spend a few hours admiring the natural beauty and tranquility of this serene spot before moving on to the Portland Art Museum, which has been showcasing Native American and contemporary art since the 1800s.
If you're a fan of historic homes, don't miss Pittock Mansion, a stunning Renaissance-style house that has stood the test of time for over a century. Take a guided tour of the mansion and explore the beautiful grounds that are perfect for a leisurely stroll.
When you're ready for a bite to eat, make a reservation at Le Pigeon for some delicious French-fusion cuisine that's bursting with character and seasonal flavors.
And if you're in town on the weekend, make your way over to the Portland Saturday Market - one of the biggest arts and crafts markets in the country. Check out the wares of hundreds of small businesses while rubbing shoulders with thousands of visitors from the wider northwest.
Of course, no visit to Oregon would be complete without a trip to Crater Lake National Park, a vast caldera that offers some of the most breathtaking views in the area. Follow the Scenic Byway to take in the stunning natural beauty, and don't miss the Watchman Observation Station for one of the best views in the park - it's definitely worth the hike!
Remember to visit the breathtaking Devils Backbone, Merriam Point, and Wizard Island from the edge of the crater itself in Oregon. These iconic spots are worth exploring, and we highly recommend them!
Number 10 on our list takes us to Smith Rock State Park, located about a 40-minute drive from Bend. This park boasts a unique landscape that truly showcases the natural diversity of Oregon. Be sure to check in at the Visitor Centre before following the River or Canyon Trail, which is the best way to explore the park's best spots. For those seeking a bit more of a challenge, take on the Misery Ridge Trail that cuts between the Crooked River.
While in the area, don't miss the opportunity to book a hot air balloon ride. Although it's enchanting, be prepared for cancellations due to uncertain weather conditions.
Number 11 on our list is the stunning Multnomah Falls, located between Portland and Hood River. This iconic destination on the Columbia River Gorge is a must-visit spot in Oregon that you won't want to miss. Take your time hiking the trails and enjoy the beautiful views, but be aware that the parking lot can fill up fast, especially on weekends.
Also, why not explore our articles on the best places to visit on the US West Coast? And for the best of Great Britain, click on the link to our website. Check out our travel videos on our YouTube channel and share with your friends and family on social media!
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