With some of the most beautiful scenery on Earth, and some of the most untouched natural landscape in the United States, the Pacific Northwest makes for a stunning backdrop to a relaxing vacation. While both Washington and British Columbia boast some obvious vacation destinations, Oregon tends to be a bit overlooked by travelers and tourists — until now.
Oregon has a bit of everything: big city, untouched nature, excitement, relaxation and more. Regardless of what you are looking for in your next vacation, you can find it at one of the following five vacation spots around the Beaver State:
Portland is experiencing a population boom, attracting people from all corners of the country thanks to its fascinating culture, beautiful natural surroundings and refreshing climate. However, if you don’t want to make a permanent move, you will certainly find plenty to do during a visit. “Keep Portland Weird” is a popular saying around the city, and once you start exploring, it is easy to see why. Many of the landmarks and events are a bit out of the ordinary, which the locals are happy to celebrate.
For example, in the heart of Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the U.S., there is a dilapidated stone structure known as the Witch’s Castle which is associated with an eerie story of love and loss. Underneath Portland is a network of tunnels once used by kidnappers responsible for coercing drunk Portlanders into working on sailing ships. And, of course, Portland is home to one of the most enthusiastic cannabis communities in the country, with more Oregon dispensaries than any other town in the state.
It is difficult to run out of things to do in Portland. Whether you visit for a weekend or a couple weeks, you will find plenty of weird and wonderful activities to keep you interested and occupied.
Crater Lake is one of the world’s most beautiful natural wonders. Nestled in the crater of a sleeping volcano, the stunning blue waters of the lake are almost perfectly still — speaking to their incredible depths. Views of crater lake are mind-bogglingly beautiful, which is perhaps why a drive around the lake’s rim is one of the most popular attractions in this part of Oregon.
Unlike other lakes, Crater Lake isn’t a good spot for swimmers and water sports enthusiasts; the steep cliffs around the lake and the lake’s depth makes it a dangerous place for recreation. Instead, you can spend your time at the Crater Lake lodge, hiking around the lake and enjoying the unparalleled natural beauty of your surroundings.
If you are looking for a more active outdoor adventure, you might plan a trip in Hells Canyon. In Northeastern Oregon, Hells Canyon Recreation Area is the deepest river gorge in North America, thanks in no small part to the Snake River, which is renowned for offering some of the most exciting white-water river rafting in the world. Backcountry trekking and camping are also popular activities in and around Hells Canyon, which boasts breathtaking vistas of high mountain peaks and canyons. If you are looking to get away from it all for a few days, Hells Canyon is an outstanding Oregon destination.
Oregon has plenty of coastline, but not all of it is as pristine as that of Yachats. A small town at the foot of Cape Perpetua on Oregon’s northern coast, Yachats — pronounced “yah hots” — is called the Gem of the Oregon Coast thanks to its undeniably awe-inspiring views. Though many Yachats visitors come back again and again to enjoy the quiet, slow lifestyle that provides the ultimate in relaxation. However, if you do need something to do during your vacation, you can wander around the local tidal pools and pocket beaches, watch for gray whales, visit the lighthouses and follow a few hiking trails along the coast.
As Napa Valley is to California, Willamette Valley is to Oregon. Technically, the Willamette Valley makes up a good swath of Oregon, which includes Portland, the capital of Salem and the popular college town Eugene. However, much of the valley is relatively rural — and most importantly, much of it is covered in productive vineyards. Two-thirds of Oregon’s winemakers are located in Willamette Valley, and many of them boast awards and accolades for producing some exceptionally delicious pinot noirs. A guided wine tour through Willamette Valley is likely to be less packed with people than a Napa tour, and you are just as likely to leave with a few wines you love.
Oregon is one of America’s most underrated vacation destinations. Whether you are looking for urban adventure or rural relaxation, you can find it in the Beaver State.