A gorgeous coastline. A few volcanic mountains. An endless desert. World-renowned pinots. Delightful cuisine. An amazing Shakespeare Festival. Surfing. Hiking. Mountaineering. Camping. Cycling ...
Quick TipThe Pacific Northwest is notorious for prolonged wet weather. But the weather in Oregon happens to be as varied as its topography. Packing your rain gear, therefore, would be necessary if you're visiting the extreme west.
... And the list can go on forever.
Summing up Oregon in an article is not an easy task at all, considering the sheer variety of things you can see and do while you're here. So, if you're looking to vacation at a place that has a little bit which interests everyone, this is exactly where you should be heading.
What kind of an Oregon trip are you looking for?For starters, you need to pick a few activities that are on your mind, since that will decide which part of the state you'll be heading to. Having said that, it doesn't matter if all you want to do is nothing, since a vacation in Oregon can be a complete leisure/pleasure trip as well.
What is the best time to be there?Any time is a good time to be in Oregon, as most of the state experiences mild winters and dry summers. The western third of the state sees heavy rainfall during the winters owing to its proximity to the ocean. So, if you're planning a Pacific coastline road trip, schedule your trip in the summer. The deserts of central Oregon sees visitors both in the summer and winter as well, bringing trekkers and skiers in the respective seasons. If a visit to the Willamette Valley is on the agenda, the summer season would be perfect to visit the wineries in the region. Also, October would be a great time to visit if you're interested in the grape harvesting season.
What is the best means of transport to get around?Most tourists coming here love to indulge in outdoor activities that the state is famous for. The best means to travel within the state would be by car, which makes way for flexible traveling, whether you wish to visit the national parks, hit the beach, or check out the wineries. Also, this is the only way to access the more remote regions of the state and spend your time at leisure. Car rentals in the state are fairly abundant, and fit most budgets. Keep in mind, however, that there are several remote areas, especially in the eastern part of the state where you'll have trouble finding a gas station, so be vigilant about the gasoline levels in your car.
Any inputs on the accommodation options?Finding accommodation anywhere in the state is rather easy. Just as any typical tourist destination, the summer months of June and July see a lot of traffic, so hotels become automatically expensive. If you're planning a summer trip, ensure that you've booked your rooms in advance, especially if you're traveling with your family. For solo or budget travelers, there are a lot of B&Bs, hostels, and motels across the state.
What can we look forward to experience?The wineries and cuisine of Oregon have always been a tourist magnet. The mild weather yields some excellent natural produce, including berries and mushrooms. The locally-raised meats, along with seafood is what puts this state on the culinary map. The state is also home to several wineries, producing world-renowned Pinot Noirs.
Where to go and what to see?In this section, you'll find a slice of Oregon, which will give you a heads-up on planning the itinerary of your trip.
As Oregon's largest city, Portland is an upbeat combination of hip urbanity and scenic natural beauty. The city prides itself to be one of the greenest in the United States, along with being the bicycling capital of the nation. So naturally, the best way to explore Portland would be to take the 9-mile bike tour that takes you through downtown, Chinatown, and the Pearl District, as you ride along the waterfront, admiring the splendid skyline of the city. If you don't fancy cycling, there's a decent public transport system comprising buses and trains which will take you around town at prices you can afford.
Portland is easily accessible by air, rail, and land. Portland International Airport has flights arriving from destinations across the US and the rest of the world. Amtrak and Greyhound also have connecting services to Portland. If you're driving to the city, the distance from Seattle is 175 miles, whereas from Los Angeles, it is 1,015 miles.
Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area
The Columbia river gorge is a natural border that demarcates Oregon from the state of Washington in the north. Cliffs rising as high as 4,000 feet make up the gorge, which is an excellent example of our planet's natural marvels. This majestic area provides scope for several recreational activities, including hiking, windsurfing, sailing, river cruising, kayaking, and camping.
The Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area, which includes Mount Hood are an hour's drive away from the city of Portland.
Mt. Hood is the state's highest mountain, and is also a dormant volcano. It has been a popular destination for mountaineers, with around 10,000 attempting to climb it each year. According the U.S. Geological Survey, Mt. Hood is 3,426 meters (11,240 feet) tall. Besides mountaineering, there are specific trails dedicated to mountain biking, horseback riding, and all terrain vehicles.
Mt. Hood is located 20 miles east of Portland, and is easily accessible by road. There are plenty of staying options in the area; prominent names include the Timberline Lodge and Ski Area and The Resort at The Mountain.
Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake National Park is Oregon's sole national park. Its creation dates back to about 7,700 years ago, when a phenomenal eruption caused Mount Mazama (estimated to have been about 12,000 feet high at the time) to collapse on to itself. What followed was a six-mile-wide caldera, which was filled with water over time, and eventually reaching 1,943 feet deep. This makes it, by far, the nation's deepest lake. The beauty of this jewel-toned lake surrounded by high peaks is the park's biggest attraction, and perhaps even the entire state's as well.
The airports closest to the park are located in Klamath Falls (60 miles) and Medford (80 miles). If you're driving to the site, take note that the north entrance is closed in the winter and spring season. The south entrance can be accessed all year round:
From Medford - Route 62 north and east to the park's west entrance.
From Klamath Falls - Route 97 north to Route 62 north and west to the park's south entrance. Visitors coming here are recommended to stay at the Crater Lake Lodge.
Covered bridges are a rarity in the cement-concrete world that we're living in, but it isn't so in the state of Oregon. These vintage structures were constructed with the purpose of covering wooden bridges from the ill-effects of rain. With 50 covered bridges, this state has more of these than any other state west of the Mississippi. Five of these bridges are in the vicinity of Albany―Hoffman Bridge, Gilkey Bridge, Hannah Bridge, Shimanek Bridge, and Larwood Bridge.
Driving or cycling directions to the bridges can be availed at the Albany Visitors Association.
Pacific Coast Scenic Byway
Oregon's 363-mile coastal drive is a natural marvel, and thanks to the government's diktat of reserving it as public land, has largely stayed natural. Cruise along Highway 101, which takes a meandering route to the sea and away, zipping past marshes, seaside cliffs, lush farmlands, and wind-sculpted dunes. The northern half of the Byway has some spectacular temperate rainforests, a rugged coastline, and resorts. All of these sites simply justify the reason why the Oregon coast is one of the most photographed regions in the United States.
Smith Rock State Park
Located in central Oregon, the Smith Rock State Park is part of the desert near the towns of Redmond and Terrebonne. The tuff and basalt cliffs here are considered to be apt for rock climbing at various levels. The park's campground is open to the public all year round. Besides rock climbing, you can also devote time to mountain biking and hiking. Wildlife enthusiasts will be able to spot a few golden eagles, prairie falcons, mule deer, river otters, and beavers.
Over time, the state of Oregon has built a steady reputation of being a tourism hub. As mentioned before, the state has something to offer for every season and every kind of tourist out there. Which means that you should not waste any more time in realizing your plans of coming to the Beaver State very soon.