ith a wide variety of spectacular scenery and terrain types, Oregon is a great vacation destination for any traveler. With miles of beautiful beaches on the western coast, as well as mountains, lakes and rivers, and big vibrant cities, it’s easy to find plenty of activities for day trips, weekend getaways and longer vacations.
If you’re looking for a vacation destination near the beach, Oregon’s many coastal towns will take your fancy. From the coastal town of Astoria in the north to the dark sands of the southern coast, there are many attractions to visit. See the Columbia Maritime Museum in Astoria, visit Fort Stevens State Park for outdoor sports and activities, and if you visit in June, you’ll love the Scandinavian Mid-Summer Festival, with a parade, as well as authentic Scandinavian music and dancing, food and crafts.
A little further south in the central region of Oregon’s west coast, Newport is a great place for lovers of fine wine and cuisine to visit in February, with the Newport Seafood and Wine Festival a big attraction here. This is the perfect place for whale-watching in March and August, too. In the nearby town of Florence, outdoor enthusiasts will love riding dune buggies up and down the extensive coastal sand dunes, and nature-lovers will enjoy visiting the Sea Lion Caves in the fall and winter months. Even further south, the dark sands of this area provide a unique backdrop for fishing, jet-boat riding and whale-watching in season.
North West Oregon is home to two major cities—Portland, and the capitol city of Salem. Portland is a vibrant city that manages to retain a charming small-town feel, and there is plenty to do here. Visit the Portland Art Museum, with a fantastic collection of European and American art; visit the largest open-air market in the country, the Portland Saturday Market, or view the city by boat with a cruise down the Willamette River on the Portland Spirit. There are plenty of attractions out of town, too, with winter ski fields close by, and a spectacular scenic drive to Troutdale, known as the Columbia Gorge Gateway. There are no less than eleven waterfalls on this driving route, and once you get there, there is great fishing to be had in the area, with salmon on the Sandy River during the spring and fall months.
Further south in this region, Willamette Valley is a lush area of forests, croplands and wineries. This is a fantastic location for a wine tour, with more than half a dozen wineries in the area to visit, and many fine wines to taste! The city itself is a great place to visit too. With places such as A.C. Gilbert’s Discovery Village, with a wide variety of fun and interactive exhibits and play areas, and the Enchanted Forest Theme Park, Salem is an ideal place for a family vacation. Other attractions in the city include the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, Brush’s Pasture Park, a great place for picnics, walking and biking, and the Mission Mill Museum, which features costumed guides and reenactments of everyday life in the nineteenth century.
Southern Oregon is a great destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with fishing, hiking, jet-skiing, white-water rafting and biking, as well as skiing in the winter months. Visit Klamath County and spend time at Crater Lake, hike on the shores in beautiful surroundings or take a boat tour on the spectacular blue waters. Klamath Falls is here too, with museums to visit and water-sports on nearby Klamath Lake, and further west the city of Ashland is a vibrant spot that attracts many visitors throughout the year, thanks to its exciting community and festivals.
Also in this area, the town of Medford is well known for the wines, cheeses and other gourmet items produced here. This is the perfect base for exploring the Rogue River, for white-water rafting and other aquatic activities. There is great fishing here too, with trout, salmon and steelhead in season. Rogue River City has plenty of attractions in addition to angling and water-sports, with the Palmerton Arboretum, state parks, and the Woodville Museum. Stop by on the last Saturday in June to view a fun and unique event—the National Rooster Crowing Competition, a feature of the town since 1953.
The Columbia River Gorge region is the ideal place for the outdoors-lover, with a variety of fun sporting activities, including wind-surfing, sailing and skiing, as well as kayaking, river cruises and nature walks, all set amongst some stunning natural scenery. Come in the spring time for gorgeous displays of wild flowers, or in the winter for all manner of fun in the snow. There are plenty of great places to camp, and many attractions in towns dotted around the area, including wineries, galleries, museums and live performances.
Central Oregon is a beautiful area, and is quickly becoming considered a paradise for recreational activities. The central location allows easy access to an enormous variety of activities, so there is much to see and do here. Visit the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, or the Cascade Mountains for skiing and snowboarding. Both are located close to the fast-growing city of Bend, making this a great place to base your sports-oriented central Oregon vacation. From rock climbing, horse-back riding and hiking to river-rafting, fly fishing and other aquatic pursuits, as well as skiing in the winter months, there is plenty here to keep you occupied.
Eastern Oregon is a wild location, with long stretches of roads punctuated by tiny towns, making it perfect for a road trip. There are lots of interesting places to stay here, including the Clear Creek Farm Bed and Breakfast that offers tours of the nearby Hell’s Canyon Bison Ranch. This is a simply beautiful area, snugly situated in the Wallowa Mountains, that provides all the comforts of home. Hell’s Canyon itself is a great destination for adventurers, with white-water rafting, jet boat tours, steelhead fishing, and chukar hunting. Visit the Pendleton Rodeo Grounds in September to view the Pendleton Roundup, one of the most exciting rodeos around!