With a rugged coastline, vibrant cities and iconic green mountains, Oregon hosts a variety of opportunities for travelers everywhere. Below are my personal favorite destinations and sights in the beautiful state.
- Powell’s City of Books:
While I easily could have spent days in the one-block bookstore, perusing the million (literally) books lining the shelves I managed to refrain from the temptation and spend about two hours. However, this didn’t stop me from leaving with a bag of books! To book lovers everywhere—Powell’s City of Books is a must-see.
Home to the Portland Japanese Garden and International Rose Test Garden the urban city offers tranquil spaces with a beautiful view overlooking downtown Portland. Whether it be a day trip or leisurely stroll, the gardens are ideal spots to connect with nature, family and savor the sweet smell of thousands of roses.
8 am, 3 pm…2 am? Regardless of when the craving hits you, the prized establishment will always be ready for you; well stocked with its classic assortment or irresistible doughnuts. Cleverly named and generously proportioned, there is something undeniably magical about these delectable pastries.
- The Columbia River:
Bordered by the towering peaks of the green mountainside, the diverging sapphire path of the vast Columbia river comprise a breathtaking scene resembled in many fairy tales. I highly recommend taking a drive along the water’s edge—beauty and adventure awaits.
Multnomah Falls: Along the Columbia River and a convenient thirty minutes outside of Portland, Multnomah falls is a majestic waterfall with trails anywhere from half a mile to over eight miles long! Don’t worry, if you are looking for more of a relaxing, meditative stroll, you can reach the bridge pictured in just a few minutes. For those who are looking for a challenge, there are a myriad of scenic waterfalls further uptrail—be prepared for significant elevation climb!
- Crown Point Vista House:
Located 733 above sea level, the historic Crown Point Vista House was built over a century ago. Today, visitors can visit the outlook and take in the bird’s eye view of the Columbia river and valley. Tours of the interior of the beautiful limestone building are also available, however, just the scenery at this lookout entices thousands of visitors every year.
- Bonneville Fish Hatchery:
- A five minute drive from Multnomah Falls, Bonneville Fish Hatchery raises young fish—primarily sturgeons and trout—to replenish the populations in the Columbia river. While my family and I stumbled upon the destination by accident, we had a great time feeding the fish (they provide food) and roaming the premises. Visiting Bonneville might just be a great way to end a tiring day.
- Salty’s on the Columbia:
With waterfront dining, delicious food and outdoor seating, Salty’s on the Columbia proves an excellent choice for a nice meal with friends and family. Known for their fresh, quality seafood, the restaurant can accommodate a wide variety of dietary needs, including gluten free diets which makes it all the more inclusive.
- Pittock Mansion
- Oregon Museum of Science & Industry
- Portland Zoo
Picturesque and nestled along Oregon’s coastline, the small town of Lincoln City truly comes alive with beauty and adventure during the summer months.
- Tillamook Factory:
Offering factory tours, the massive Tillamook facility allows the public to visualize and understand the craft of manufacturing and aging cheese. Unique, the location markets cheese aged up to twelve years and a vast array of ice cream flavors—one of which may only be purchased on site: Orange Sherbet. Offering a spacious lawn to patrons, the spot proves an excellent choice to relax with family and friends on a sunny afternoon (and of course, to eat ice cream).
- Evergreen Aviation Museum:
Located an hour away in McMinnville and home of the one and only Spruce Goose, the Evergreen Aviation Museum hosts countless aircraft and a comprehensive air and space museum. As someone who has visited a myriad of air museums in the past I would say it has an impressive collection and is definitely worth visiting. With something for everyone, families and children can also be entertained in the aircraft themed waterpark next door.
While many of the large beaches (sheltered coves are typically much safer for swimming) are not the best for swimming due to strong rip tides and currents, the spacious beaches in Lincoln City are great for bonfires. Allowing cars to drive onto the beach, families can easily set up for a day and evening of relaxation and fun. Sitting and talking on the beach beside the bonfire as the sun sets and the moon rises was definitely one of my favorite memories.
- Bare Moon Farms Stand:
Soap, candles, tiny potted plants—it’s safe to say I left the adorable Bare Moon Farm stand with a generous assortment of handmade items. Off the side of a quiet road the stand sells a plethora of natural, hand made gifts—all made from the fresh ingredients produced on Bare Moon Farms. Left to the honor system, visitors can walk up to the stand, pick out their items—record them on a piece of paper (the old fashioned way) and pay for them using venmo (the modern way!)—all in the peace and leisure of your own company!
- Fort Clatsop: Over an hour north in the city of Astoria, the trip to the historic camp of Sacagawea, Lewis and Clark on their dangerous expedition is preserved in Fort Clatsop National Park and well worth the drive (I recommend stopping here on the way to Portland). With park staff dressed in period clothing and informative presentations of clothing, stories and artifacts, the living museum is unlike any other.
The closest of the cities (for those in the Bay Area), Ashland is a small, yet vibrant town nestled in the passes of Southern Oregon.
A cute, historic town, Jacksonville is a preserved city which harkens back to the Gold Rush. Rated in the top ten of America’s small towns by Budget Travel Magazine, I love the adorable shops, restaurants and live music which imbue the rich culture of Jacksonville.
- Crater Lake National Park
Beautiful in all seasons, Crater Lake’s deep water is cupped in mountain peaks which line the circumference of the crater. With clear water, and a plethora of trails to explore, Crater Lake is an excellent destination for adventure and wonder.
- Shakespeare Festival
Founded in 1935, the nearly century-long tradition has garnered national recognition for breathtaking performances and passion for theater. I have never visited the festival personally, however, upon the many recommendations of others I hope to visit one in the future. 2022’s performances began on August 17 and will continue through October 29—now is prime time to buy tickets and book a trip!