Protect Your Trip »

Best places to visit in oregon.

Oregon offers some of the West Coast's most captivating scenery. Moody coastline, lush mountains and mesmerizing waterfalls are abundant, and lucky for travelers, many are easily accessible from nearby towns and cities. U.S. News took into account dining – another one of the state's standout attributes – as well as affordability, sights, traveler sentiment and expert opinion to come up with the best places to visit in Oregon. Want to put in your two cents? Be sure to vote below to influence next year's list.

Crater Lake National Park

Cannon beach, willamette valley, silver falls state park, newport, or, portland, or, john day fossil beds national monument, seaside, or, florence, or, mount bachelor, oregon dunes national recreation area, newberry national volcanic monument.

oregon cities to visit

Formed 7,700 years ago after Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed, Crater Lake is America's deepest lake and makes for a superb lake vacation . Today, you can admire Crater Lake National Park's rich blue water and towering mountains during a boat or trolley tour, a scenic drive along the rim or a hike on one of its many trails. In winter, some roads are closed and visibility may be poor due to clouds and snowstorms. But if you don't mind these potential drawbacks, you can enjoy fun winter activities like sledding, skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

oregon cities to visit

A top destination on the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach features a nearly 4-mile-long shoreline with tide pools and sand dunes in addition to its most well-known attribute, the 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock. Once you've gotten your fill of this breathtaking beach, hop in the car and visit nearby Oswald West State Park, which offers great hiking, surfing and fishing opportunities. Or, stay in town to check out Cannon Beach's art galleries and watch experts make glass art at Icefire Glassworks.

oregon cities to visit

Powder hounds and nature lovers take note – Mount Hood is one of Oregon's best places to enjoy outdoor activities. The state's tallest mountain towers more than 11,000 feet above sea level and is reputed to be the second-most climbed peak in the world. Its perpetually snow-covered peaks are home to six ski areas that offer the longest ski season in North America, with Timberline Lodge open 10 months of the year. You can also ski after dark at Mount Hood Skibowl, which boasts the nation's largest terrain for night skiing. In the warmer months, take a scenic hike or drive through the mountain's forest.

oregon cities to visit

Willamette Valley is to Oregon what Napa Valley is to California. This destination is home to two-thirds of Oregon's wineries and vineyards, totaling more than 700 wineries for the entire region. Come here to wine and fine dine for days, and be sure to sample as much pinot noir as you can, since it is Willamette Valley's specialty. When you're not wine tasting, enjoy a relaxing soak in one of Willamette Valley's hot springs.

oregon cities to visit

Oregon's largest state park is one of the state's most unique and scenic natural attractions because of its jaw-dropping waterfalls. The Trail of Ten Falls hiking path loops through the park and takes you above, below and even behind its 10 waterfalls, including the 177-foot-tall South Falls. What's more, Silver Falls State Park offers 35-plus miles of backcountry trails that can be used for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. When you've worked up an appetite, venture to the park's South Falls Day-use area to enjoy a picnic or barbecue lunch.

oregon cities to visit

Hood River's location in the Columbia River Gorge makes it a prime place for outdoor pursuits. The 80-mile-long valley is known for its stunning collection of waterfalls (think: Multnomah Falls and Starvation Creek Falls) accessible via various hiking trails. It's also considered the windsurfing capital of the world and an excellent destination for other water sports like kiteboarding and sailing. After a long day of adventuring, travelers can unwind with a beer or two at one of the town's microbreweries.

oregon cities to visit

If you're after hearty hikes and delectable eats, Bend is the place for you. This small city has a dining scene that foodies fawn over, complete with food carts, breweries and even cider houses. Bend is also a jumping-off point for numerous natural attractions, including the Deschutes National Forest, which features multiple rivers, mountains and scenic byways. Ample opportunities for outdoor recreation like skiing and snowboarding in winter, hiking in summer and rock climbing in spring and fall make Bend appealing year-round.

oregon cities to visit

Of all of the cute coastal towns Oregon has to offer, families will probably appreciate Newport the most. The town, located on Oregon's central coast, features kid-friendly attractions like the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center and several beaches. Newport also provides numerous outdoor attractions suited for adults, including scenic Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and the equally picturesque Ocean to Bay Trail.

oregon cities to visit

Located on the southern Oregon Coast just 6 miles north of the California border, Brookings offers outdoorsy travelers the perfect Pacific Northwest welcome, with rugged coastline views and natural splendor to explore. Head to Harris Beach State Park for its sandy beach, tide pools, tufted puffins and views of sea stacks on the shoreline. Then, drive up the coast on the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor for 12 miles of breathtaking ocean vistas. While the town itself is small, you can catch a movie at the local cinema, grab a beer at Chetco Brewing Company or stroll through Azalea Park.

oregon cities to visit

Portland has one of the most dynamic (and affordable) food scenes in the USA, so you'll likely spend the bulk of your time enjoying the city's many culinary offerings, from Voodoo Doughnut to Eastern European fare at Kachka. In between meals and snacks, visit one of Portland's many parks or cultural sights, such as Forest Park (one of the largest urban parks in the country),  the Portland Art Museum (the oldest art museum in the Pacific Northwest) or Powell's City of Books (the largest independent bookstore in the world).

oregon cities to visit

Fans may recognize Astoria as the setting of "The Goonies," and you'll find several iconic film sites in town, such as the original Goonies house and the Oregon Film Museum, which was featured in the opening scene. But beyond its film history (more than a dozen movies have been filmed here), Astoria holds rich heritage. Its location on the Columbia River near the Pacific Ocean made it a prime fur trading post in the 1800's, and many of Astoria's attractions are dedicated to maritime history. Today, visitors can take in the town's Victorian houses, climb the 125-foot Astoria Column or dine at local breweries and bistros.

oregon cities to visit

As its name suggests, this protected area is famed for having one of the most complete fossil records in the world, spanning more than 40 million years. Visitors can hike through and explore fossils and rock layers in the park's three separate units. Sheep Rock Unit, home to the monument's visitor center which features exhibits and a working lab, is the best starting point. But you won't want to miss the Painted Hills Unit, which woos visitors with distinguishing layered rocks, and the Clarno Unit, which boasts jutting Palisades (rock towers formed from volcanic mudslides).

oregon cities to visit

Seaside is an exceptional vacation destination because it's a gateway to some of the most notable attractions on the Oregon Coast. From this small town of less than 8,000 residents, visitors can reach Tillamook Head, Ecola State Park and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. All can be found within 15 miles of Seaside, presenting plenty of opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Seaside also offers several can't-miss attractions, such as a beachfront promenade, the Seaside Aquarium and Captain Kid Amusement Park.

oregon cities to visit

Florence appeals to travelers keen on spending their next vacation outdoors. One of this coastal town's best assets is its proximity to Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, but Florence is worth a visit in and of itself. Visitors can explore Sea Lion Caves, the largest sea cave in the country, ride horses on the beach, fish on the area's many lakes and play golf on a coastal course. Don't forget to save time for visiting the Heceta Head Lighthouse and Historic Old Town Florence, where you'll find shops, art galleries and the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum.

oregon cities to visit

With 4,300-plus skiable acres and the highest skiable elevation in the state, Mount Bachelor is one of the country's top ski destinations . While there are plenty of trails for experienced skiers, Mount Bachelor also offers runs designed for beginners, as well as free and discounted ski lift tickets for first-timers. The mountain, which is a dormant volcano about 20 miles southwest of Bend, receives an average of 462 inches of snowfall annually from late November to May. The fun doesn't stop after ski season, though, when visitors can trade their ski poles and snowboards for mountain bikes and hiking shoes.

oregon cities to visit

This endless sea of sand is best described as otherworldly. In fact, this locale inspired Frank Herbert to write his sci fi book, "Dune." To catch an eyeful of the park's tallest dunes, hike the John Dellenback Dunes Trail. Once you've exhausted yourself from walking on dry sand (trust us, it won't take long), opt for a high-speed ATV or dune buggy ride, or hop on a sandboard. Then, enjoy some shade in the coastal forest at Tahkenitch, or look for wildlife at the Dean Creek Elk Viewing Area.   

oregon cities to visit

Foodies and outdoor lovers will love visiting Tillamook. This small town in northwestern Oregon is an outdoor recreation hub where you can enjoy hiking, kayaking, crabbing, clamming and fishing, among other activities. After an active day, you'll find no shortage of places to satisfy your appetite. Tillamook is perhaps most famous for its dairy industry, so no trip here would be complete without touring the Tillamook Creamery and sampling its cheese and ice cream. Also save time for trying local brews at one of downtown Tillamook's breweries.

oregon cities to visit

Situated roughly 12 miles south of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest, Newberry National Volcanic Monument features one of Oregon's most unique landscapes. The monument's nearly 55,000 acres are filled with lava flows and other fascinating geological features, including a lava river cave and a lava field where NASA astronauts trained to walk on the moon in the '60s. There's also Paulina Peak, which you can climb to the top of for incredible views. When you're not hiking, go biking, boating or fishing.

Vote to Add these Destinations to the Rankings

oregon cities to visit

Lincoln City

oregon cities to visit

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

You may be interested in.

oregon cities to visit

Best Places to Visit in Maine

oregon cities to visit

Best Places to Visit in California for 2024

oregon cities to visit

Best California Beaches for 2024

oregon cities to visit

Best Places to Visit in Georgia

Best small towns to visit in the usa.

oregon cities to visit

Best Oregon Beaches

If you make a purchase from our site, we may earn a commission. This does not affect the quality or independence of our editorial content.


The 18 Best Napa Valley Wineries to Visit in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Sharael Kolberg April 23, 2024

oregon cities to visit

The 25 Best Beaches on the East Coast for 2024

Timothy J. Forster|Sharael Kolberg April 19, 2024

oregon cities to visit

The 50 Best Hotels in the USA 2024

Christina Maggitas February 6, 2024

oregon cities to visit

The 32 Most Famous Landmarks in the World

Gwen Pratesi|Timothy J. Forster February 1, 2024

oregon cities to visit

9 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in Florida for 2024

Gwen Pratesi|Amanda Norcross January 5, 2024

oregon cities to visit

24 Top All-Inclusive Resorts in the U.S. for 2024

Erin Evans January 4, 2024

oregon cities to visit

26 Top Adults-Only All-Inclusive Resorts for 2024

Zach Watson December 28, 2023

oregon cities to visit

Solo Vacations: The 36 Best Places to Travel Alone in 2024

Lyn Mettler|Erin Vasta December 22, 2023

oregon cities to visit

26 Cheap Beach Vacations for Travelers on a Budget

Kyle McCarthy|Sharael Kolberg December 4, 2023

oregon cities to visit

The 50 Most Beautiful White Sand Beaches in the World

Holly Johnson December 1, 2023

oregon cities to visit

Touropia Logo

Touropia Travel

Discover the World

12 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

By Alex Schultz · Last updated on March 3, 2024

The tenth largest state in the United States, Oregon exemplifies the beauty and wildness of America’s Pacific Northwest. While there are many cultural venues in Oregon worth exploring, it’s the state’s diverse landscapes that draw many travelers to this corner of the country. From rugged shorelines and thick verdant forests to towering volcanic mountains and steep river gorges, the best places to visit in Oregon are simply breathtaking.

Whether rambling along a rocky beach, strolling through a rose garden in high bloom or hiking up the side of a mountain, visitors will find a broad range of outdoor activities to enjoy in Oregon wherever their travels take them. Amidst its untouched nature you can find lively cities such as Portland, Eugene, and Salem while historic monuments and sites relating to the famous Lewis and Clark Expedition are strung out across the state.

12. Ashland [SEE MAP]


Set in a very scenic spot in the southern part of the state, Ashland is a lovely place to visit that acts as a cultural capital for the surrounding area. While it is most known for hosting the internationally renowned Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the small city has much, much more for guests to discover with history, nature, and nightlife all on offer.

Located in the Rogue Valley, it lies not far from vast forests and twinkling lakes while the majestic Mount Ashland and its snowy peak rises in the distance. Although its natural riches just beg to be explored, the center of town has lots of brilliant galleries and restaurants to try and a lively, youthful feel due to its sizeable student population.

While there are some interesting museums, most come to attend an unforgettable play at one of Ashland’s many theaters. As the Shakespeare Festival runs for nine months, thrilling productions constantly take place alongside lectures, workshops, and readings of the famous playwright’s works.

11. Silver Falls State Park [SEE MAP]

Silver Falls State Park

One of Oregon’s prettiest state parks, the phenomenally popular Silver Falls can be found just outside of Salem. Nestled amidst the rolling foothills of the Cascade Range, it has a wealth of wonderful waterfalls as well as some excellent hiking, horseback riding and camping.

Founded back in 1933, the picturesque park encompasses fifteen falls in total and is now the largest protected area in all Oregon. Of these, the 177-foot South Falls is the most visited and photographed with North and Winter Falls also attracting lots of people due to their striking size and splendor.

A great way to see as many of them as possible is to hike along the terrific Trail of Ten Falls Loop which takes you through lush woodlands and winding canyons with sparkling waterfalls wherever you look. Asides from visiting its many falls, you can also camp overnight with playgrounds, picnic areas, and a serene swimming spot to be found amidst the pristine wilderness.

10. Columbia River Gorge [SEE MAP]

Columbia River Gorge

Just a few miles east from Portland lies the vast U-shaped corridor known as the Columbia River Gorge. Formed by cataclysmic Ice-Age floods, the miles-wide valley stretches for more than 70 miles (110 km) along the Columbia River on Oregon’s northern border.

Built in the early 1900s, the Historic Columbia River Highway takes visitors past dozen of waterfalls tumbling down the valley’s steep walls. Whether visiting in the autumn when the surrounding forests are draped in fall color or during the spring when wildflowers burst into bloom, the Columbia River Gorge offers spectacular vistas in every season.

9. Wallowa Lake [SEE MAP]

Wallowa Lake

Located in the northeastern corner of Oregon, Wallowa Lake is nestled within the soaring Wallowa Mountains, also known as “The Little Switzerland of America.” The Wallowas were once home to the Nez Perce Indians until Gold Rush prospectors drove them out, and the nearby town of Joseph is named after their famous chief.

A swimming beach, a boat launch and a broad array of cabins and campgrounds make the lake a favorite summer vacation spot for families. Located near Wallowa Lake is an aerial gondola that visitors can ride to the 8,000-foot (2,400 meters) peak of Mount Howard.

8. Yachats [SEE MAP]


Pronounced “yah-hots,” the small town of Yachats is situated at the foot of the 800 foot (250 meter) high Cape Perpetua on the Northern Oregon Coast. The tiny village is a popular destination for travelers who want to enjoy all of the unspoiled beauty that Oregon’s coastline offers, minus the crowds.

Rocky tidal pools and small pocket beaches lie just outside the city’s boundaries, and visitors can often spot gray whales swimming close to shore in the spring. Within the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area above Yachats are 26 miles (42 km) of hiking trails and a public campground.

7. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area [SEE MAP]

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Located near the small town of Joseph in northeast Oregon, the Hells Canyon Recreational Area outranks the Grand Canyon when it comes to depth. Parts of the canyon surrounding the Snake River are as deep as 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).

With few paved roads leading into the area, most visitors opt to enter the canyon by jet boat, although some trails are accessible with four-wheel-drive vehicles. Touring the canyon on a whitewater raft is a popular activity. Overnight horseback trips into the canyon are available as well.

6. Mount Hood [SEE MAP]

Mount Hood

The tallest peak in Oregon, Mount Hood is much more than just a stunning backdrop for the city of Portland 60 miles (100 km) away. It’s a travel destination that attracts visitors all year long.

Five downhill ski areas and miles of cross-country trails keep the slopes of Mount Hood packed during the winter, and summer snowfall attracts visitors to Mount Hood for off-season skiing as well.

For experienced mountaineers, climbing to the summit of Mount Hood is another popular activity. The historic Timberline Lodge, which was used for exterior shots in the movie “The Shining,” offers great views of the Southern Cascades.

5. Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway [SEE MAP]

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

One of the best ways to experience the beauty and splendor of Oregon’s Cascade Mountains is by touring the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway. The 66-mile (106 km) route winds along river valleys, up mountains and past scenic lakes, offering visitors picturesque vistas and an abundance of recreational opportunities along the way.

The route begins in the city of Bend , climbing into forests of ponderosa pine towards Mount Bachelor. Views of lakes formed by ancient lava flows quickly come into view, each offering activities like swimming, fishing or boating. The route ends at the winter resort community of Sunriver.

4. Astoria [SEE MAP]


The historic city of Astoria lies just a few miles southwest of the spot where explorers Lewis and Clark spent the winter of 1805-06 before returning to the East. Five years later, John Jacob Astor founded Astoria, making it the first United States settlement on the West Coast.

Situated at the mouth of the Columbia River, the city’s backdrop is the scenic Astoria-Megler Bridge, the country’s longest continuous truss bridge. Attractions in Astoria include the wave-shaped Columbia River Maritime Museum, which features 30,000 artifacts of the Pacific Northwest’s seafaring history. The region’s unique Victorian architecture is best represented by the multicolored Flavel House built during the 1880s.

The city of 10,000 people is popular with seasonal sports fishermen, with fishermen coming from Alaska and throughout the Pacific Northwest for the annual Fisher Poets Gathering. Dominating the city’s skyline is the Astor Column; it’s a steep climb to the top but the view is worth it. Astoria also is the western end of the 4,250-mile coast-to-coast TransAmerica Bicycle Trail.

3. Portland [SEE MAP]


Oregon’s largest city straddles the Willamette River near the point where it meets the mighty Columbia. With Mount Hood in the distance and the Pacific Ocean just a short drive away, Portland is surrounded by natural beauty, and it’s clear by the sheer number of parks, gardens and green spaces in Portland how much the city’s inhabitants value the outdoor life.

The city’s ever-changing dining, music and art scenes are worth experiencing, and visits to the city’s quirky museums are fun too, but for many visitors, it’s venues like Forest Park and the International Rose Garden that make “The City of Roses” one of the best places to visit in Oregon.

2. Crater Lake National Park [SEE MAP]

Crater Lake National Park

The most popular natural attraction in Southern Oregon, Crater Lake is what remains of a volcanic eruption that occurred on Mount Mazama 7,700 years ago. With a depth of nearly 2,000 feet, (600 meters) it’s the deepest lake in the United States, and its tranquil sapphire-blue waters are a sight to behold.

With 90 miles (150 km) of trails winding through the national park, the area is a hiker’s paradise. The 33 mile (53 km) long Rim Drive offers less adventurous visitors many scenic overlooks. A guided boat tour of the lake and its central island is a must.

1. Cannon Beach [SEE MAP]

#1 of Best Places To Visit In Oregon

Named after a cannon that washed ashore after a shipwreck, Cannon Beach is one of the most popular of the seaside resorts that stretch along Oregon’s 300 mile (480 km) long coast.

Located around 80 miles (130 km) to the west of Portland, the once-rustic artist community has grown into an upscale resort filled with restaurants, boutique shops and art galleries. In-town attractions include the Cannon Beach History Center, which features an authentic reproduction of a Native American longhouse.

The most striking feature about the beach itself is the 235 foot (72 meter) high Haystack Rock, the largest of the monolithic rocks that dot the sandy shoreline and provide a nesting ground for sea birds. To the north of Cannon Beach is Ecola State Park which offers a multitude of hiking trails of all levels and some of the most stunning Oregon Coast views anywhere.

Map of Places to Visit in Oregon

Places to Visit in Oregon

Oregon Travel Video

Share this post:.

oregon cities to visit

12 Best Cities to Visit in Oregon

Best Things to Do in Oregon

33 Best Things to Do in Oregon

oregon cities to visit

12 Most Scenic Small Towns in Oregon

oregon cities to visit

12 Best Places to Stay on the Oregon Coast

Best Beaches in Oregon

12 Best Beaches in Oregon

Best National & State Parks in Oregon

12 Best National & State Parks in Oregon

Best Things to do in Ashland, Oregon

11 Best Things to do in Ashland, Oregon

Things to Do in Newport, Oregon

12 Fun Things to Do in Newport, Oregon

Best Things to Do in Seaside, Oregon

12 Best Things to Do in Seaside, Oregon

Best Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon

12 Best Things to Do in Eugene, Oregon

Oregon Travel Guide: Plan Your Perfect Trip

Written by Brad Lane Updated Sep 24, 2021

Oregon is arguably one of the best vacation spots in the country. And it's not a bad place to live either. Whether searching for some high-alpine activity or oceanside splendor, you'll find it in Oregon. Planning a trip has never been easier with Planetware's collection of guides on the top cities, attractions, and outdoor activities throughout the state. And with such a wide variety of terrain to explore, including ancient calderas and high-desert spires, go ahead and plan for a few extra days in the Beaver State.

On This Page:

Inspirational ideas for a trip to oregon, best time to visit oregon, visitors guide to portland, plan a vacation on the oregon coast, cities and small towns on the oregon coast, other cities and small towns to explore in oregon, hiking, camping, and outdoor attractions in oregon, interesting facts and common questions about oregon.

Sunrise on the Columbia River Gorge

Oregon is a big state with many destinations, landscapes, and cities. When planning a first-time trip or repeat visit, it helps to have a broad look at everything to explore. Reading through our article overviews on the top attractions and places to visit is a good starting point for planning a trip. From there, start putting together a memorable Oregon weekend getaway or extended itinerary.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Oregon
  • Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in Oregon
  • Best Places to Visit in Oregon in Winter
  • Best Cities in Oregon
  • Best Small Towns in Oregon
  • Oregon in Pictures: Beautiful Places to Photograph

Fall colors near Bend

Summer: Reasons to visit span the entire year, but arguably, summer is the best time to visit Oregon. High mountain passes are free of snow, the forests abound with wildlife, and suntanning on the coast hits its peak appeal. The summer is a great time to visit outdoor places like the Columbia River Gorge or Crater Lake National Park. Similarly, cities like Portland are brimming with creative locals and visitors throughout this time of year. The season is also ideal for endeavors like backpacking, mountain biking, and general exploring.

Fall: September and October are gorgeous months to visit Oregon. Some of the tourism dies down alongside the dropping temperatures. At the same time, many of the destinations take on a new color. The smaller crowds lead to easier travel, with less competition for hotel rooms and campgrounds. For cities and destinations in the heart of the Willamette Valley and Southern Oregon, these two months offer ideal times to visit after scorching summer temperatures cool down.

Winter: Winter is a very active time in Oregon. October through March brings the ski and winter sports season to the state. And several local and internationally renowned resorts offer all-day activity. Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, provides five places to ski. But it's not just the snow adding winter appeal. In high-desert locations like Bend, the winter still translates to sunny weather and T-shirts. And for the adventurous, winter storms on the coast are known to make quite the impact.

Spring: March ushers in a special time in Oregon. Melting snow swells the rivers, and persistent sunshine tends to turn everything green. Flowers in Portland's International Rose Garden begin their bloom in spring, and residents flock to the outdoor spaces to enjoy the change in weather. Multiple layers of clothing are recommended this time of year, as rain, snow, and sleet are still in the forecast. But chances are, you'll still catch some sunshine during spring in Oregon.

Fremont Bridge in Portland

Portland, also known as the City of Roses, is a cultural capital of the Pacific Northwest. This vibrant metropolis is often reason alone to visit the state, with museums, restaurants, and a community that "Keeps Portland Weird."

While Portland's city slogan evokes images of abstract fashion and design, at its heart is a passion for the local economy, sustainable solutions, and community cohesion. This gives the city a smaller-town feel, despite the population of Portland exceeding 650,000.

Portland is also a base camp for the great outdoors. Stunning outdoor landscapes saturate the city. The spectacular Columbia River Gorge borders the city to the north. And Mount Hood, the state's tallest mountain, stands prominently to the east. And with the ocean under two hours away and the verdant Willamette Valley to the south, a trip to Portland often extends beyond city limits.

Things to Do in Portland

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Portland, Oregon
  • Top-Rated Hiking Trails near Portland
  • Top-Rated Campgrounds near Portland
  • Top-Rated Day Trips & Weekend Getaways from Portland

Getting Around Oregon from Portland

  • From Portland to Multnomah Falls: Best Ways to Get There
  • From Portland to Mount Hood: Best Ways to Get There
  • From Portland to Crater Lake: Best Ways to Get There

Cannon Beach coastline

The Oregon Coast stands on its own as a vacation destination. This long slice of coast is over 360 miles long and is entirely open to the public every inch of the way. And dotting the landscape are miles-long stretches of sand, dominating headlands, and picture-perfect sea stacks jutting from the surf. With such postcard-worthy landscapes, Oregon's coast is a must-visit at least once in a lifetime.

  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do on the Oregon Coast
  • Plan the Best Oregon Coast Road Trip: Great Ideas
  • Best Hikes on the Oregon Coast
  • Top-Rated Beaches on the Oregon Coast
  • Top-Rated Small Towns on the Oregon Coast
  • Top-Rated Campgrounds on the Oregon Coast

Yachats on the Coast

Dive deep into planning an Oregon Coast vacation with our overviews on the best cities near the surf. While all the best small towns and cities on this edge of the country share ocean views, each exhibits a unique community and culture. Decide for yourself which one you like best by linking multiple cities together.

From North to South

  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Astoria, OR
  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Seaside, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Rockaway Beach, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Lincoln City, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Depoe Bay, OR
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Newport, Oregon
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Yachats, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Florence, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Coos Bay, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Gold Beach, OR

Hood River

There's so much more to explore outside of Portland. Throughout the Willamette Valley and on both sides of the Cascade Mountains, other cities and small towns in Oregon offer easy access to mountains, volcanoes, scenic drives, and places to slow down and relax.

Head to places like Bend and Three Sisters for mountain biking, alpine adventures, and geological attractions. Enjoy kitesurfing and other water sports in Hood River. Hit scenic spots like Medford in Southern Oregon. Excellent cities worth visiting span the entire state. And while all have different terrain to explore, every small town and city offers homegrown hospitality and a certain charm lost on bigger city streets.

  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Salem, OR
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions & Things to Do in Bend, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Sisters
  • Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Eugene, Oregon
  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Ashland, OR
  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Medford, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Jacksonville, OR
  • Top-Rated Attractions & Things to Do in Hood River, OR
  • Top-Rated Things to Do in Albany, OR

Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge

For nature lovers the outdoors is a big part of travel to Oregon. And in a state with active volcanoes, a churning coast, and high-desert rock climbing hot spots, there's a lot to do outside. Whether looking for the perfect place to hike, camp, soak in a hot spring, or ski down a mountain slope, Oregon offers adventure 365 days of the year.

Hiking Trails:

  • Top-Rated Hiking Trails in Oregon
  • Top-Rated Hiking Trails near Bend, OR


  • Top-Rated Campgrounds in Oregon
  • Top-Rated Campgrounds near Hood River, Oregon

Other Outdoor Adventures:

  • Best Ski Resorts in Oregon
  • Top-Rated Waterfalls in Oregon
  • Best Lakes in Oregon
  • Top-Rated Hot Springs in Oregon
  • Top Attractions & Things to Do in Mt. Hood National Forest, OR

Crater Lake

Population of Oregon : The population of Oregon is over 4.2 million and growing. The state continually attracts new residents looking for mild weather and adventurous communities. The state's largest city, Portland has a population of more than 650,000 in the metropolitan area. Oregon's next largest cities, Salem and Eugene, each have nearly 170,000 residents in comparison.

What is Oregon State's Nickname? Oregon's best-known moniker is the Beaver State, thanks to the early history with these large webbed-footed rodents. Early pioneers of the area relied on beaver pelts for trade. Today, the state identifies with the animal's intelligence and ingenuity. The beaver is Oregon's official state animal and is also on the back of the state flag. And the state's largest university, Oregon State University, is home to Beaver athletics.

Crater Lake is the Deepest Lake in the U.S.A . In Southern Oregon, with a maximum depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the country and one of the deepest lakes in the world. This magnificent body of water has many other unique attributes, including its status as an ancient caldera, also known as a volcanic crater.

Over 7,700 years ago, the 12,000-foot Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed, leaving behind the massive basin today known as Crater Lake. No inlets or outlets stem from the lake, meaning that only rain and snowmelt contribute to the lake water. And because of these pure water sources and the incredible depth, the lake shimmers a fantastic blue tone that catches the eye.

What Sports Teams are in Oregon? Oregon is home to three professional sports teams, all of which have their home crowd in Portland. The Portland Trailblazers are part of the National Basketball Association (NBA) and play at the Moda Center, formerly known as the Rose Garden. The city is also home to the Portland Timbers of Major League Soccer (MLS) and the Portland Thorns FC of the National Women's Soccer League (NWSL). Both soccer teams play at Providence Park, a few blocks from the International Test Rose Garden.

Does Oregon have Sales Tax? Oregon is one of only a few states not to impose a sales tax. When paying for goods in-state, this lack of sales tax means that the price on the tag remains the same at the register. Oregon does make up for some of this tax revenue with higher levies on personal income.


Wandering Wheatleys - Logo

Best Places to Visit in Oregon: 15 Beautiful Destinations

Best Places to visit in Oregon

When you think of the state of Oregon , you may conjure up images of the city of Portland , known for hipsters and craft beer. Or maybe you think of lumberjacks sporting denim coveralls while chopping down old-growth timber. Well, we have all of that… and so much more.

Oregon has gorgeous waterfalls, arid deserts, snowcapped mountains, cascading rivers, steaming hot springs , a beautiful coastline, and the friendliest of locals. I could go on and on about this amazing state. And I will, below. So read on to learn all about the best places to visit in the great state of Oregon!

Disclaimer: This post may contain affiliate links. If you make a purchase or booking through one of our links we may earn a small commission (don’t worry, it’s at no extra cost to you).

Top 15 Places to Go in Oregon

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Bend (Smith Rock State Park)

Located about three hours southeast of Portland, Bend is the perfect adventurous town to spend a weekend exploring. The people who live here tend to love the great outdoors and spend their weekends kayaking in the river that runs through the center of the city, hiking on one of the countless trails nearby, or snowboarding on Mt Bachelor which is just outside of town.

Not only does Bend offer a plethora of outdoor activities, but it also has a bunch of craft breweries, cute boutiques, delicious restaurants, fancy mountain lodges, hot pools for lounging, the list goes on and on. It’s definitely a town that you must visit during your trip to Oregon!

And, of course, you must check out Smith Rock State Park during your visit. It’s another of the Seven Wonders of Oregon!

2. Crater Lake

Best Places to Visit in Oregon: Crater Lake

Crater Lake is located in Central Oregon and is a part of the US National Parks system. Several thousand years ago Mount Mazama collapsed after a massive eruption and formed this volcanic caldera. The lake is estimated to be just over 2,000 feet deep – the deepest in the entire US and the 3rd deepest in the world. Although some people believe it has no bottom.

The lake has an intense blue color and is unbelievably clear. Floating at the surface is the “Old Man of the Lake”, a tree log that has been bobbing vertically for 100 years.

There are many hiking trails around Crater Lake. And weather permitting, you can even hike down to the rim of the lake and have a swim in the frigid water. There are several campsites in the park (beware, they close in the winter) and a gorgeous lodge. It’s a must-visit during your trip to Oregon!

3. Columbia River Gorge

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Columbia River Gorge (Latourell Falls)

The Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains and now provides a natural barrier between Oregon and Washington. Here you’ll find spectacular scenic views and plenty of spots to stop along the way for short or long hikes or just to view the spectacular waterfalls.

The Historic Columbia River Highway follows the river and you’ll enjoy the cliffs rising above you, the lush vegetation lining the road, and the many waterfalls cascading from above. Multnomah Falls is crowded but is a must-visit during your drive. Bridal Veil and Latourell Falls are also worth a stop.

And if you want to spend a few hours hiking, Dog Mountain Trail , Wahkeena Falls Loop Trail , and Angel’s Rest are all well-maintained and popular trails. And the Vista House provides the most spectacular view of the gorge, it’s a must-stop!

4. Oneonta Gorge

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge is located in the beautiful Columbia River Gorge and is a popular hiking area for locals and tourists alike. But unlike most hiking trails, there isn’t actually a path. You’ll park, walk down to the water, and start hiking through the creek. Almost immediately, you’ll come to a large log jam that you’ll need to scramble over so be careful. There tends to be a bit of a pileup of people here, especially on weekends.

You’ll walk upstream through the water for about a mile until you get to Lower Oneonta Falls. Depending on the season, at times you’ll be wading through chest-deep water which may be difficult for small children unless they can swim. Be sure you are dressed to get wet and wear shoes that have good traction.

The waterfall at the end is a nice treat but the challenge of getting there is what you’ll enjoy the most. It’s one of our favorite places to visit in Oregon when we’re craving an adventure!

5. Hood River

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit: Columbia River Gorge (Rowena Crest)

Hood River is a quaint little town about an hour east of Portland in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. It draws hundreds of kiteboarders from around the country due to its ideal windy conditions. It also draws Portlanders looking for a relaxing weekend retreat. The locals know it’s one of the best places to visit in Oregon, especially since it’s just a short drive from the city.

Even if you don’t kiteboard or windsurf, Hood River is an ideal place to spend a long weekend. With delicious brunch spots, lively breweries with industrial-style tasting rooms, cute boutiques, and art galleries lining the pedestrian-friendly downtown, you’ll have plenty to fill up your days. It’s a perfect stop to add to your Pacific Northwest road trip itinerary .

6. The Painted Hills

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Painted Hills in John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

A visit to the Painted Hills is like a trip back in time. The hills contain colored stratifications in the soil and the colors yellow, black, and red appear to have been painted on in long, horizontal brush strokes. The colors are most vibrant in the late afternoon. You’ll want to spend a few hours here, admiring how the colors look different depending on the sun and wandering along the trails.

There are several well-maintained trails in the area if you’d like to get out and stretch your legs. You can also see the hills from your car if you’d prefer. The Journey Through Time Scenic Byway takes you through a ghost town and the town of Fossil which has some fun activities for kids.

The Painted Hills are one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon (a few others are listed here as well) so of course, you must visit. They are also a part of the John Day Fossil Beds so there are plenty of other amazing landscapes to explore nearby. We especially loved the Blue Basin where you can hike either the Islands in Time Trail or the Blue Basin Overlook Trail . Walking through the bright blue canyon is like being on another planet!

7. The Wallowa Mountains

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Wallowa Mountains

Located in northeastern Oregon, near Hells Canyon, are the spectacular Wallowa Mountains . They are popular for outdoor enthusiasts looking to hike and explore the beauty of Oregon.

Even if hiking isn’t your activity of choice, you can still enjoy the Wallowa Mountains. The Wallowa Lake Tramway will transport you 3,700 vertical feet to the top of Mount Howard, which is over 8,000 feet tall. Views of the entire area from here are absolutely stunning. There are two miles of relatively easy hiking trails at the top for you to explore.

Be sure to stop in the quaint town of Joseph nearby. They have an up-and-coming art, food, and beer scene and a cute downtown area. It’s the perfect place to use as your base before heading into the wilderness for a day of trekking.

8. Alvord Desert

Best Places to Visit in Oregon: Alvord Desert

Most people don’t know that there is a massive dry lakebed in Southeastern Oregon, in the shadows of the Steens Mountains. The playa here is similar to Black Rock City, where Burning Man is held every year, but smaller and far less crowded. This 12×7-mile desert wasteland is the perfect place to go if you want to camp in the middle of a giant playa or set land speed records.

There are no real rules here other than “leave no trace”. You can just drive onto the lakebed, camp anywhere, and drive as fast as you want. And right on the outskirts of the playa is a privately owned hot springs, general store, toilet (you’ll probably need this at least once during your stay), and a campground with a few more amenities.

It’s awesome to have a soak in one of the pools, temperatures are “hot” and “scalding”, and then drive onto the playa and find your own little private spot to pitch your tent. And when you wake up in the morning you can cruise around the playa, testing the limits of your car. It’s our favorite place in Oregon to camp for a few nights!

TIP: Be sure to fill up on gas in the nearest town of Fields (population 86) since the Alvord is literally out in the middle of nowhere.

9. Strawberry Lake

Oregon - Best Places to Visit: Strawberry Mountain Wilderness

East of John Day, Oregon, in the Malheur National Forest, you’ll find 68,700 acres of beauty called the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. The aptly named Strawberry Mountain Range provides a picturesque backdrop to the lush vegetation you’ll find here.

And one of Oregon’s best lakes , Strawberry Lake, is in this area as well. The trail is a 6.2 heavily trafficked out and back that is moderate in difficulty. You’ll get to see both Strawberry Lake and Little Strawberry Lake. The reflection off of this amazing high-elevation, shallow lake is quite spectacular.

If you’re a fishing enthusiast, you’ll be happy to know that the lake is stocked with trout, and fishing here is permitted. And in the winter you can reach the frozen lake with cross-country skis or snowshoes.

The idyllic Strawberry Camp sits along Strawberry Creek and this is where the hike to the lake begins. This area is not a popular tourist destination so you’ll find a good amount of peace and quiet here. It’s the perfect place to spend a weekend camping and hiking in the beautiful Oregon wilderness! Plus, how cute is it that everything here is named after a piece of fruit?

10. Hart Mountain

Oregon, Best Places to Visit: Hart Mountain Wild Antelope Refuge

The Hart Mountain National Antelope Refuge is a rugged, backcountry area of land in Southern Oregon that protects over 300 species of wildlife. There are some primary maintained roads, as well as some bumpy, off-roading style roads. You’ll want 4-wheel drive and high clearance here.

This is also an area that is open to hunting during designated seasons to keep the population controlled. Fishing is another popular recreational activity in the area. Most people like to do some wildlife observation and photography as the opportunities here are endless!

The real draw to this area, at least for us, was the natural hot springs that are located right near the campground. You can soak in this natural pool while watching the sun sink below the majestic mountains that tower above you. And if you’re lucky, you may spot some wildlife grazing nearby.

11. Tamolitch Blue Pools

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Tamolitch Blue Pool

To reach this little piece of bright blue paradise, you’ll need to hike the McKenzie River Trail. It’s kind of on the way to Bend if you’re taking Highway 22 through Salem. The trail is a 3.7-mile well-maintained, heavily trafficked out and back trail that is fairly flat the whole way.

Once you reach the end of the hike, you’ll understand what all of the hype is about. Tamolitch Falls (aka “Blue Pools”) is a body of water so blue, and so crystal clear that you won’t even believe that it is real. This was once a waterfall but the river changed course so now this area contains a dry waterfall ledge and a pool beneath that is so clear and so still that it resembles glass.

It’s an idyllic place to swim on a hot summer day. And the waterfall ledge is perfect for jumping (check the depth before you leap of course). You’ll love spending an afternoon swimming in this pool of bright blue water!

12. Astoria

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Astoria - Peter Iredale Boat Wreckage in Fort Stevens

Located in northwestern Oregon, right across the Columbia River from Washington state is the darling little port city of Astoria. You may know it as the setting of the classic movie Goonies. Astoria is the oldest city in the state of Oregon and is a good mix of history with some modern touches that make it an ideal tourist destination.

The downtown area is full of restaurants and cafes with dishes that are sure to please any foodie. And the Fort George Brewery, located in an old auto dealership, is a great place to grab a craft brew and sit outside in the sun. There are also a few food trucks here if you need a snack.

Camping is available at the nearby Fort Stevens State Park where the famous Peter Iredale shipwreck remains still sitting on the beach. Fort Stevens was once a military defense area that was in service for 84 years. And today it is a large park with campgrounds, hiking and biking trails, a military fort, and plenty of opportunities to see wildlife.

Spend a few days enjoying the state park, the coast, and the cute little town of Astoria!

13. Cannon Beach

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock is a giant rock that sits right on the coast of Cannon Beach. It is one of the most recognizable and popular landmarks in the state of Oregon. Rising 235 feet from the sand, this large rock is home to some interesting sea life and bird species. You can walk right up to it at low tide.

Cannon Beach is located in northwestern Oregon, not far from Astoria. The beaches in Oregon are often referred to as “the coast” as opposed to “the beach” because both the air and the water are generally pretty chilly. So you may not want to come here for the sunbathing opportunities, but you will want to visit Cannon Beach for the beautiful views of the sea, the soft sand, and the cute little town with shops and cafes galore!

If you have some extra time, the entire stretch of Highway 101 is quite spectacular and worth the drive.

14. Mt. Hood

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Mt Hood

Mt. Hood is another of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, and for good reason. At over 11,000 feet, you can spot this behemoth all the way from Portland’s city center! It is the tallest mountain in Oregon and the 4th tallest in the Cascade Mountain Range.

Located just about an hour outside of Portland, Mt. Hood is a popular destination for weekend warriors looking to do some skiing, snowboarding, snowshoeing, or tubing during the cold winter months. There is a cozy mountain lodge here, perfect to warm yourself with a hot toddy after a long day in the snow.

In the summer months, there are popular trekking opportunities on Mt. Hood. The trek to the summit is difficult and not for the faint of heart. There is also a ring trail called the Timberline Trail that allows you to hike around the base of the mountain. It takes a few days so you’ll need to carry all of your camping gear and food. But the landscape is absolutely breathtaking!

15. Portland

Oregon Road Trip, Best Places to Visit & See: Portland Skyline

And last but not least… no trip to Oregon is complete without a few days in Portland! This weird wonderland is full of hipsters drinking overpriced brews (coffee and beer) while talking about how great Portland used to be. You’ll find the craziest donut concoctions, lively outdoor markets, some of the best cuisines in all of the US, a gorgeous city skyline, and more.

Out of all of the great places to visit in Oregon, we think Portland might just be the best. We love Portland so much that we’ve written several complete posts about it – start here and work your way through all of them!

That’s it – 15 of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Do you have a favorite Oregon destination? Let us know in the comments.

Planning a trip to Oregon? Check out our favorite travel guides for more inspiration!

oregon cities to visit


Best Places to visit in Oregon

About the Author:

Valerie Wheatley

Val grew up in Portland, Oregon but moved to Oahu on a whim back in 2013. She sold her house and all of her belongings and bought a one-way ticket. Since then she’s taken two around-the-world trips and has visited 60-ish countries while living out of a duffel bag. Val started documenting the Wandering Wheatleys travels back in 2013 as a way to update friends and family about her whereabouts and to relay humorous daily interactions. The only readers were her mom and her mother-in-law but that didn’t stop her! These days you’ll find Val dreaming up future trips, creating new travel content, managing a team of amazing travel enthusiasts, and chasing around her two adorable but naughty kids.

View all posts

Related Posts

Best things to do with kids in Columbia, South Carolina: State Capital Building

5 Awesome Things to do with Kids in Columbia, SC!

Airbnb Pocono Mountains, Pennsylvania: Cottages A-Frame Cabins, Gmaping, Lake Houses, Chalets & Mansions

12 Stunning Airbnbs in the Poconos

The Best Things to do in New York City in the Summer

The 15 Best Things to Do in NYC in the Summer

1 thought on “best places to visit in oregon: 15 beautiful destinations”.

oregon cities to visit

Amazing Post, maybe someday can I visit one of this magical places!

Leave a Comment Cancel Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

50 Fun Things To Do & Best Places To Visit In Oregon

By: Author Jerric Chong

Posted on Published: February 1, 2020  - Last updated: October 15, 2023

things to do In Oregon

There’s a lot to love about Oregon.

From its breathtaking natural scenery to its quirky, avant-garde culture, there’s a little something for every type of traveler.

Do you like testing your limits on grueling ski slopes and back-breaking mountain climbs?

Do you prefer relaxing in hot springs or fishing on the docks of quiet wooden cottages?

Would you enjoy a stroll through renowned art museums?

There are many amazing things to do in Oregon.

Here are just a few suggestions as you plan your vacation.

Table of Contents

1. Portland Japanese Garden

Portland Japanese Garden

Randall Runtsch / Shutterstock

If you’ve always dreamed of sipping sake under the softly-falling petals of a cherry blossom tree, the Portland Japanese Garden can turn these visions into reality.

You won’t even have to leave Oregon to enjoy them!

Despite the name, the Portland Japanese Garden is actually a series of gardens.

Some of them have ponds and streams filled with koi fish; others have ferns, flowers, stones, shrubs and water wheels like a real zen garden.

The architecture is inspired by temples and traditional Minka houses.

Lanterns light the walking paths.

If you like cultural activities, there are fun events hosted at the Portland Japanese Garden, too.

From tea ceremonies to woodblock exhibitions, you can fully embrace the art, music, nature and folklore of Japan.

Consider putting the Portland Japanese Garden on your shortlist of tourist attractions in Oregon.

It’s one of the most fun places to visit in the entire state, especially if you’re a dedicated student of eastern culture.

Address:  611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland, OR 97205, United States

2. Thor’s Well

Thor's Well

Jakub Skyta Photography / Shutterstock

You’ve never seen a sinkhole like this one.

With ferocious power, Thor’s Well is so big and so mighty that it regularly sweeps visitors out to sea.

They get too close, and the God of Thunder lashes out at them with gut-churning, rock-crushing force.

What is Thor’s Well?

Though it has many nicknames, including “the drainpipe of the Pacific,” it doesn’t actually suck away the ocean.

In simple terms, it’s just a deep hole in the middle of a rocky outcropping.

The waves slam into the rocks; the water goes flying in every direction; the hole appears to act like a drain, emptying the area until the next wave.

People come from all over to photograph Thor’s Well.

It’s proof of nature’s fury in action, and it’s easily one of the coolest places in Oregon.

Just don’t get too close!

Address: Highway 101, Yachats, OR 97498, United States

3. Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Coast Aquarium

steve estvanik / Shutterstock

As a coastal state, Oregon has its fair share of docks, ports, bays, aquatic centers and marine life exhibitions.

However, none of them can hold a handle to the Oregon Coast Aquarium .

Filled with literal tons of water, the Oregon Coast Aquarium showcases everything from sharks to seabirds.

There are underwater passageways where you can stroll across the ocean floor, and there are tide pools where you touch starfish or get a kiss from a sea otter.

As an educational site, there are fun learning experiences to be had at the aquarium as well.

You can sign up for a number of classes, lectures, workshops and other special events.

They’re divided between kids and adults, so everyone will have something new to try or explore.

If you’re thinking about vacation ideas along the coast, consider the Oregon Coast Aquarium.

It’s one of the best places in the state for families who aren’t afraid to get splashed a little!

Address:  2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport, OR 97365, United States

4. Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

Rimsky-Korsakoffee House

Marie / flickr

With dim lights, crammed tables and decorations named after dead people, the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House is one of the quirkiest places to visit in Oregon.

You might even say that it’s to die for.

There are many bizarre things in Rimsky’s, including gruesome knick-knacks on the shelves and tables that randomly rotate or vibrate.

According to legend, the house itself is haunted, and the owners certainly play up the superstitions with spooky decor and mournful music.

The menu is also a swerve.

While they serve the usual coffees and cakes, they also experiment with freshly-made, limited-quantity desserts that incorporate all kinds of spices, sauces and toppings.

They only accept cash. They don’t post their specials online.

When they run out of something, that’s it; there’s no more.

If you want to experience the Rimsky-Korsakoffee House, you’ll need to go there in person, and you’ll need to be prepared for everything.

Don’t expect it to be like any other coffee shop.

This is a creative, boundary-pushing business that lives up to its reputation.

Address:  707 SE 12th Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States

5. Terwilliger Hot Springs

Terwilliger Hot Springs

TSLPhoto / Shutterstock

Located about a quarter-mile into the wilderness, the Terwilliger Hot Springs can offer a relaxing soak after a long, sweaty hike.

They’re one of the best places to visit in Oregon, especially if you’re a fan of letting things air out.

Clothing is optional here!

Six pools are separated by rock arrangements along the river.

Their temperatures range from 85°F – 112°F, so their heat will really sink into your bones and loosen up your muscles.

The fresh air from the mountains is also a plus; it’s the deep, cleaning kind of oxygen that you can only enjoy when you’re miles from civilization.

If you’re ready to trade your bath bombs for the real thing, consider a soak in the Terwilliger Hot Springs.

Not only are they one of the most beautiful places in Oregon, but they can provide some much-needed R&R during a busy vacation.

Address: Hwy 19, About 1 mile S of Cougar Dam, Blue River, OR 97413, United States

6. National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Rick Obst / flickr

You can’t talk about Oregon without mentioning the Oregon Trail.

More than 300,000 settlers took a journey across its dusty roads and rivers, and many of them perished along the way.

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center honors their lives and memories.

It isn’t just a museum filled with exhibits; it brings the past to life with everything from workshops to living history demonstrations.

Visitors can watch films, listen to guest speakers, examine wagon replicas and look at carefully preserved artifacts from the 1800s.

If they want to stretch their legs, they can also go outside and hike on several nature trails with beautiful mountain views.

Does this sound like something that you and your family would like?

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is one of the finest Oregon attractions for history buffs, so if you’re fascinated by wagons, bonnets and axes, book your ticket today.

Address:  22267 OR-86, Baker City, OR 97814, United States

7. Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Kris Wiktor / Shutterstock

As the only national park in Oregon, Crater Lake National Park draws visitors from all over the northwestern United States.

They travel for miles to see its hills, mountains, forests, springs, streams, and waterfalls.

Its biggest draw is Crater Lake.

Thousands of years ago, a volcano erupted so spectacularly that it formed a crater plunging 2,000 feet into the earth; now that crater is filled with water, and it’s one of the deepest lakes in the world.

It’s become a hot spot for summertime activities like swimming, fishing, camping and boating.

Sightseeing is also popular at the park.

Hikers can enjoy trails and rock pillars; families can frolic among the flowers in gardens and secluded coves.

Are you traveling to Oregon in the winter?

You’ll miss the crackling campfires, but you can still enjoy skiing, sledding, snowshoeing and other chilly pursuits.

The lake is especially beautiful when its deep blue waters contrast against the pure white snow.

Consider a trip to Crater Lake National Park if you’re looking for the best things to do in Oregon.

It’s one of the prettiest places in the state, and it’s a national treasure for a reason!

Address:  Oregon, United States

8. Cherryfest

Cherryfest NW

Cherryfest NW

Are you headed to Oregon in the summertime?

Do you love to sink your teeth into fresh red cherries?

You might like Cherryfest , a multi-day festival that takes place every June or July in Salem, Oregon.

The city of Salem is also known as “Cherry City” because of its natural abundance of cherry trees.

It’s hosted a variety of fairs and festivals dedicated to the fruit, but Cherryfest is the most enduring.

It’s been around since the days of the pioneers.

What are some fun things to do at Cherryfest?

If you like music, there are always bands giving outdoor performances.

If you’re there for the food and drink, you’ll have your pick of meats, breads, cheeses, pies and liquors.

Not everything is cherry-themed, but most of it is. That’s the glory of Cherryfest.

If you’re a cherry lover looking for fun things to do in Oregon, clear a weekend this summer and have a blast!

9. Crux Fermentation Project

Crux Fermentation Project

Joshua Rainey Photography / Shutterstock

The Crux Fermentation Project is a craft brewery located in Bend, Oregon .

Like its name suggests, it’s an experimental kind of place, so you won’t find the usual brewing techniques here.

Instead, they age their beers in wooden barrels and cultivate wild yeast strands through open fermentation.

They have almost two dozen taps, so there’s always something new to try.

When you visit, you can take a tour, hit the bar, try samples in the tasting room or enjoy a frosty pint on the deck patio.

If you discover a brew that you really like, you can buy a bottle of your new favorite from the gift shop.

You don’t have to be a connoisseur to enjoy the Crux Fermentation Project.

As long as you can appreciate a tasty beer, it’s a must-see destination.

Address:  50 SW Division St, Bend, OR 97702, United States

10. John Day Fossil Beds

John Day Fossil Beds

Nadia Yong / Shutterstock

Covering almost 14,000 acres, the John Day Fossil Beds are a staggering example of desert beauty.

There are red cliffs and dry, cracked canyons; there are colorful badlands and prickly desert shrubs that can survive anything.

The fossil beds contain the last remnants of plants and animals that lived in Oregon millions of years ago.

They’re one of the major points of interest in the area, and they attract thousands of visitors each year.

There are other things to do at the John Day Fossil Beds, however, so don’t feel like you have to squint at the dirt all day.

If you like working up a sweat, you can hit the hiking trails; if you prefer your fun to be a little more air-conditioned, you can explore the museum, theater, bookstore and gift shop.

The John Day Fossil Beds are considered a U.S. National Monument.

They’re a must-do for history buffs, nature lovers, fossil finders and anyone else who enjoys amazing natural wonders, so get on the phone and start planning your trip.

You won’t want to miss a top attraction like this.

Address:  32651 OR-19, Kimberly, OR 97848, United States

Looking for more thrills? Why not check out some of the things to do in Eugene, Oregon ?

11. Powell’s Books

Powell's Books

Michael Gordon / Shutterstock

Covering an entire city block, Powell’s Books is a gargantuan collection of everything from comic books to rare first editions.

It has more than 3,000 sections in its flagship store, and there are other stores scattered around the city of Portland, too.

Bibliophiles will have a field day at Powell’s Books.

Not only does it offer all of the comfy chairs and coffee bars that you’d expect from a modern bookstore, but it also hosts things like guided tours, writing workshops and children’s storybook time.

This is in addition to the thousands and thousands of books that cover every surface of dozens of rooms.

If you can’t find a specific title in the store, they offer even more through their website.

They move countless new, used, rare and out-of-print books every year.

If you’re looking to add to your bookshelf, you won’t want to miss Powell’s Books.

Wandering its maze of hallways is one of the top things to do in Oregon!

Address (Flagship Store): 1005 W Burnside St., Portland, OR 97209, United States

12. Out’n’About Treehouse Treesort

Out'n'About Treehouse Treesort

Written In Silver Visuals / Shutterstock

Anyone can stay in a resort.

How many people can say that they stayed in a treesort?

The Out’n’About Treehouse Treesort is unlike any other lodging that you’ve experienced.

The rooms are made completely out of wood, and they’re nestled in treetops between 10 – 40 feet off the ground.

Individual cabin names include the “Peacock Perch” and the “Treezebo.”

Once you’ve enjoyed a refreshing night in the clouds, you can climb back down to Earth and take advantage of the resort’s many events and classes.

For outdoor enthusiasts, there’s hiking, ziplining and horseback riding.

For families, there’s tie-dyeing and mosaic painting.

You can also take a short drive to nearby stores for food, firewood, souvenirs and camping supplies.

Put yourself on top of the world with the Out’n’About Treehouse Treesort.

It’s different from other Oregon attractions, but different can be a lot of fun!

Address:  300 Page Creek Rd, Cave Junction, OR 97523, United States

13. Mount Hood

Mount Hood

Josemaria Toscano / Shutterstock

There are dozens of mountain ranges in Oregon, but Mount Hood is one of the best.

In the winter, you can enjoy just about every snow sport under the sun, including skiing, sledding and snowboarding.

In the summer, after all of the icicles have melted from the trees, the forests become gorgeous places for hiking and camping.

Do you prefer relaxation to athleticism? Mount Hood still has you covered.

The main resort is Mount Hood Meadows, a home-away-from-home that offers all of the amenities that you could need, but there are other, more rustic lodgings available as well.

You can pamper yourself with a luxurious suite or become a cowboy in a rustic cabin.

No matter what kind of vacation that you’re hoping to have, Mount Hood is one of the best places to see in Oregon.

It might even be one of the most beautiful places in the US all together.

If you’re wondering what to see in the northwest, this is it!

14. Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves

B Norris / Shutterstock

Home to hundreds of sea lions, the Sea Lion Caves are a series of gigantic underground caverns where these playful critters come to frolic.

Visitors have to descend stairs and take an elevator just to reach them.

When you get there, however, you’ll enjoy a new kind of site seeing.

The stone walls are covered in moss and lichens, and the underground streams are always rushing fast.

The sea lions tend to gather on the rocks as they caper, chatter and socialize.

When you’ve filled up your camera roll, you can step outside to the whale-watching deck and see if you can spot any orcas on the horizon.

There are also learning stations if you want to know more about marine life, and a gift shop is nearby for souvenirs.

Sea lions are some of the coolest marine animals that you’ll ever see, and with the Sea Lion Caves, they’re more accessible than ever.

Address:  91560 US-101, Florence, OR 97439, United States

15. North Mississippi Avenue

Located in Portland, this avenue is basically a neighborhood in its own right.

It’s known for its trendy, high-energy atmosphere, and its streets are always alive with culture and commerce.

The buildings have been painted with every color of the rainbow.

The businesses are an eclectic mix of everything from bakeries and bubble tea shops to jewelry stores and pottery barns.

Food carts are always roaming, and live music can be heard from bars, cafes and studios.

Art lovers will find a lot to appreciate on the avenue as well.

It hosts a number of independent galleries, and it sees a lot of up-and-coming creators.

It’s a must-see destination if you like independent art.

Are you traveling to Portland and wondering about the best things to do in Oregon this weekend?

Stop by North Mississippi Avenue.

Take advantage of your proximity to one of the most interesting places in the state!

16. Wildlife Safari

Wildlife Safari

Tami Freed / Shutterstock

With the fields and savannas of Wildlife Safari , you can travel to Africa without ever leaving Oregon.

It’s home to dozens of species, including lions, cheetahs, elephants, hippos and giraffes, and they roam freely across 600 acres of protected land.

You can drive along a trail to see them in action, or you can stop at the petting zoo to actually handle some of the smaller, gentler creatures.

A nice thing about Wildlife Safari is that it isn’t exploitative.

It’s contributed to a lot of conservation efforts, and it’s been praised by animal rights activists for its open, natural habitat.

It considered one of the top organizations of its kind in the state.

For some guilt-free fun with African animals, take a drive through Wildlife Safari.

You’ll send your wheels churning through one of the best destinations in Oregon, and you’ll be helping a charitable organization at the same time.

Address:  1790 Safari Rd, Winston, OR 97496, United States

17. Mount Jefferson

oregon cities to visit

Michal Balada / Shutterstock

Mount Jefferson isn’t for the faint of heart.

As the second-highest mountain in Oregon, it has steep cliffs, hard summits, low levels of oxygen and a remote setting that scares off many potential visitors.

It also has a death toll: At least one person dies while attempting a climb each year.

If you’re an experienced outdoorsman, however, you might enjoy the challenge presented by Mount Jefferson.

Your first test will be getting there.

It’s so secluded that it’s only accessible by foot or horseback, and there’s a distinct lack of trails on certain areas of the mountain.

Of course, if you can hack it, you’ll be treated to some of the best landscapes in the state of Oregon.

The views on Mount Jefferson have to be seen to be believed.

Not only will they put you on top of the world, but they’re also far enough from the big cities that they’re almost completely free from lights and pollution.

Are you the type of adrenaline junkie who sees a death-defying mountain climb as a fun excursion?

If so, Mount Jefferson is waiting.

18. Wanderlust Tours

Wanderlust Tours

Wanderlust Tours

If you’re wondering what to do in Oregon but don’t have any firm plans yet, consider booking a trip with Wanderlust Tours .

Rain or shine, they can show you the best parts of the Bend region, including lakes, forests, rivers, caverns and more.

Would you like to swim in stunning blue waters or ski down a snow-topped mountain?

Have you always dreamed of white water rafting or exploring an underground lava tube?

Do you get a thrill out of camping underneath the stars?

Wanderlust Tours can provide all of these experiences and more.

They’ll take you to all of the best Oregon vacation spots, and they’re open all year long, so you don’t even have to worry about seasonal closings.

Whenever you’re headed to the area, they can be ready and waiting for you.

You just have to pick up the phone and call!

Address:  61535 S Hwy 97 #13, Bend, OR 97702, United States

19. Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley

Steven Madow / Shutterstock

You don’t have to go to Napa Valley for amazing wine.

While the vineyards of Oregon might not be as famous as their California counterparts, they’re still lush and beautiful, and they can offer a sweet afternoon with a good drink and good company in a natural setting.

Willamette Valley is the best example of a wine country in Oregon.

It has sprawling vineyards in every direction, and it’s dotted with quaint little shops and cottages to give the full, picturesque look.

Local activities include everything from wine tastings to horseback riding across the fields.

If you’re looking for the best things to do in Oregon, consider a trip to Willamette Valley.

Once you step on the thick green grass of the countryside and take a deep breath that smells like grapes, you’ll realize that you made the right decision in going there.

20. Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks

Covering thousands of acres in multiple states, the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks is a series of parks and nature reserves that celebrate the Lewis and Clark Expedition.

Some of the trails were actually pounded by Lewis and Clark’s boots; others were just designated as likely areas of travel for the duo as they made their way west.

These are the official parks on the Oregon side of the border:

– Ecola State Park – Fort Stevens State Park – Sunset Beach State Recreation Site

These are the parks on the Washington side that are just a few hours away if you feel like taking a drive:

– Cape Disappointment State Park – Fort Columbia State Park

If you’re looking for historic places to see in the northwestern United States, the Lewis and Clark National and State Historical Parks should keep you occupied for a while.

Address:  92343 Fort Clatsop Rd, Astoria, OR 97103, United States

Making a trip to Astoria soon? Why not check out some of the best things to do in Astoria, Oregon before you go?

21. Bridgeport Village

Bridgeport Village

ARTYOORAN / Shutterstock

Shop ’til you drop at Bridgeport Village .

It’s an upscale, open-air shopping mall, so you’ll need a little money to burn, but it’s worth the cost for the experience alone.

The complex is lined with shops, cafes, bookstores, bakeries and boutiques.

Fairy lights are draped over the rooftops.

Music can always be heard from windows and patio decks, and vendors often line the main square to hand out balloons, coupons, perfume samples and ice cream cones.

It’s okay if your budget doesn’t quite meet their standards.

When a complex is this nice, even window shopping is fun!

Bridgeport Village isn’t like the harshly-lit malls of your hometown.

It’s a warm, friendly place, and it’s one of the top vacation ideas for people traveling to Tigard.

If you’ll be visiting the area, don’t miss the opportunity to admire Bridgeport Village.

Address:  7455 SW Bridgeport Rd, Tigard, OR 97224, United States

22. Kam Wah Chung and Company Museum

Kam Wah Chung and Company Museum

Max Rae / flickr

Originally built as a trading post in the late 1800s, the Kam Wah Chung and Company Museum was forgotten for decades after the death of its owner.

When it was rediscovered, it had become an untouched time capsule of early Chinese-American life, so the decision was made to turn it into a museum.

Today, you can find all sorts of delights and oddities on the shelves.

There are knick-knacks ranging from toys to jewelry boxes; there are ancient medicine bottles mixed with spice jars and dried herbs.

Mysterious symbols are stamped on letters. Everything is decorated with vintage fabrics and furniture pieces from the 1800s.

From Japanese gardens to Chinese museums, the state of Oregon can be a real melting pot of different cultures.

If you’re wondering how to plan a trip and see them all, start with a visit to the Kam Wah Chung and Company Museum.

Address:  125 NW Canton St, John Day, OR 97845, United States

23. Cannon Beach

Cannon beach

Hrach Hovhannisyan / Shutterstock

You’ve already seen Cannon Beach .

Even if you’ve never traveled to Oregon before, you’ve seen its misty, rocky shores in movies like Twilight, Point Break and The Goonies.

The beach offers all of the usual fun, including swimming and snorkeling.

Annual sandcastle competitions are held every year, and you can see fireworks burst over the water on the Fourth of July.

If you want to venture away from the surf, you’ll find all kinds of shops, resorts, restaurants, boutiques and movie theaters within the city.

Cannon Beach has a very lively atmosphere that makes it a must do for tourists.

Unleash your inner vampire with a trip to Cannon Beach.

It’s a nice place, especially if you’re a movie buff, and who knows when you’ll get the chance to breathe the same air as Robert Pattinson again?

Address: Cannon Beach, OR 97110, United States

24. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

Checubus / Shutterstock

The best museums don’t even feel like museums, and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is so much fun that your kids won’t even realize that they’re getting an educational experience.

For starters, there are more than 200 exhibits dedicated to everything from dinosaurs to ocean waves.

Hands-on laboratories are always cooking up new science experiments.

A planetarium will take you to the stars, and a movie theater will let you enjoy documentaries about sharks, submarines, butterflies, hurricanes and everything in between.

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is one of the top vacation destinations in the state, especially when you’re traveling with kids.

It offers cool things to do for visitors of all ages, so no one will be bored.

Whether you’re carrying a toddler or prodding along with a teenager, it’s a weekend trip that will keep everyone entertained.

Address:  1945 SE Water Ave, Portland, OR 97214, United States

25. Dee Wright Observatory

Dee Wright Observatory

Eponaleah / Shutterstock

Built on the remains of an old wagon trail, the Dee Wright Observatory is one of the most unique structures in Oregon.

It’s an observational point that offers stunning views of the nearby mountains, but it isn’t made of the usual brick or concrete.

It’s made of lava stones.

That’s right: The entire observatory is built on a foundation of basaltic lava.

You’ll need to pick your way through huge, jagged rocks just to reach the summit.

For this reason, the area is sometimes called a “lava field.”

You won’t be in any danger, of course, since the lava melted and hardened into stone more than a thousand years ago.

But if you’re looking for fun things to do in Oregon, crossing a lava field is definitely a bucket list item for the ages.

Address:  McKenzie Hwy, Blue River, OR 97413, United States

26. Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure

Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure

Brocreative / Shutterstock

If you’ve never flung yourself from the top of a tree, this is your chance to make it happen.

Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure is a ziplining company, and it’s all about the thrill of hurdling across open air while attached to nothing but a razor-thin wire.

Ziplining isn’t the only fun that they offer, however.

They can also take you on hiking and rafting trips, or they can guide you to local attractions like a replica gold mining town.

They even have a special tour package called “Zip, Dip and Sip” that includes ziplining across the mountains, rafting down the river and enjoying fine wine at the nearby vineyard.

Get your heart pumping with Rogue Valley ZipLine Adventure.

It isn’t the only ziplining experience that you can have in Oregon, but it’s one of the best.

Address:  9450 Old Stage Rd, Central Point, OR 97502, United States

27. Voodoo Doughnut

Voodoo doughnut

“The magic is in the hole.” With a tagline like that, how can you resist taking a peek inside Voodoo Doughnut ?

Open 24 hours per day, Voodoo Doughnut is one of the most peculiar places to visit in Portland , but it’s also a lot of fun.

It experiments with new puffs and pastries every day, so if you’re the type of person to enjoy bacon-topped doughnuts drizzled with maple syrup, this is the destination for you.

They don’t actually curse their doughnuts. That’s just a bit of lore.

You might want to try multiple doughnuts, however, to be totally sure of their safety.

A trip to Voodoo Doughnut is pretty much a requirement for anyone visiting Portland.

It’s beloved by the locals, and it’ll become a great vacation story as you describe the sights, sounds and smells of a one-of-a-kind bakery.

Address:  22 SW 3rd Ave, Portland, OR 97204, United States

28. Kite Festival

Kite Festival

Dee Browning / Shutterstock

The Kite Festival is held every year in the summer and fall, and it’s one of the most fun things to do in Oregon.

Thousands of bright, colorful kites are sent into the sky, and while some of them are homemade crafts from kids or amateurs, many are gigantic, high-quality structures made by professionals.

Emojis can be the size of planes. Dragons can have tails that flutter in the breeze for dozens of feet.

There are fun things to do on the ground as well.

There are races in the sand with people strapped to parachute kites; there are arts and crafts workshops and musical performances by local artists.

Enjoy a unique event with the annual Kite Festival.

Whether you’re traveling in the blazing days of summer or the cool afternoons of autumn, the Kite Festival will put on a spectacular show that you won’t want to miss.

29. Olallie Lake Resort

Olallie Lake Resort

Olallie Lake Resort

Get away from it all with a trip to the Olallie Lake Resort .

Located completely off the grid, it has no cell service and no electricity, but its simplicity offers a rare and rustic vacation experience.

How often do you get the chance to light your own oil lamps in a rustic wooden cabin?

As for activities, there’s plenty of stuff to do even without power.

If you’re a nature lover, you can go hiking or camping around the mountainous woods; if you enjoy quiet time on the water, you can enjoy fishing, swimming, canoeing and paddleboarding on the lake.

You’ll need to prepare yourself for a weekend without Instagram when you travel to Olallie Lake Resort.

If you aren’t afraid of unplugging, however, it’s definitely one of the most unique places to visit in Oregon.

Address:  Mt. Hood National Forest, 4 NF-4220, Oregon 97041, United States

30. Tamastslikt Cultural Institute

Tamastslikt Cultural Institute

Tamastslikt Cultural Institute

Native Americans have lived in Oregon for thousands of years, and they have important stories to tell.

The good news is that the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute is here to preserve their art, culture, history and folklore.

Three tribes are represented by the institute: Cayuse, Umatilla and Walla Walla.

They’ve each contributed texts and artifacts for educational purposes, and since the institute is run by fellow tribe members, everything is carefully protected and respectfully presented.

As for the fun stuff, the institute holds all kinds of special events.

From kid camps to pow-wows, there’s always something on the schedule.

The Tamastslikt Cultural Institute is the only Native American museum along the Oregon Trail.

It has the heavy burden of representing the past in a place where no one else does, but that just makes their work even more important.

Buy a ticket, learn something new and contribute to a good cause.

Address:  47106 Wildhorse Blvd, Pendleton, OR 97801, United States

31. Fort Stevens State Park

Fort Stevens State Park

Thye-Wee Gn / Shutterstock

Fort Stevens State Park was built on Fort Stevens, an abandoned military base that withstood everything from sea storms to submarine attacks.

Today, it’s little more than a series of empty corridors and rusted artillery guns, but it’s become the centerpiece of one of the biggest attractions of the region.

At Fort Stevens State Park, visitors can enjoy more than 3,500 acres of beaches, forests, rivers and mountains.

There’s hiking and biking; there’s bird watching and whale watching.

You can jump into the water or fling some frisbees on the grass.

Tours are also a popular pastime.

One of the coolest things to see is a 100-year-old shipwreck that juts out of the sand of a local beach!

If you’re wondering what to do around Oregon, Fort Stevens State Park won’t disappoint.

It offers a wide range of activities that are sure to keep you busy, and with the fun local culture that surrounds the fort, it’s much more memorable than other parks.

Address:  100 Peter Iredale Rd, Hammond, OR 97121, United States

32. The Grotto

The Grotto

You don’t have to be religious to appreciate the beauty and tranquility of The Grotto .

Though it’s a Catholic shrine dedicated to Mary, the mother of Jesus, it can also be enjoyed by secular visitors.

What makes The Grotto so special?

For starters, it’s located within a flowing landscape of flowers, gardens, brooks and bridges.

It also has an amazing centerpiece: a statue of Mary giving her blessings from a cave that was carved into a cliff wall.

If you’re religious, The Grotto is one of the most powerful places to go in Oregon; it’s well-known as a site of spiritual healing.

If you’re just interested in the gardens and caves, it’ll still make a nice detour for the weekend.

Consider a trip to The Grotto if you’re looking for fun and interesting tourist spots.

You might not get any visions, but you’ll be able to feel the faith in every stone.

Address:  8840 NE Skidmore St, Portland, OR 97220, United States

33. Darlingtonia State Natural Site

Darlingtonia State Natural Site

The Darlingtonia State Natural Site is one of the craziest places to visit in Oregon.

It’s devoted to a single species, the Darlingtonia californica, and this species isn’t just a run-of-the-mill flower.

It’s a carnivorous plant that literally eats insects for breakfast.

Also known as the “cobra lily,” Darlingtonia californica has a long, serpentine shape with an inner tube for catching and holding prey.

It even boasts a spiky leaf that looks like a forked tongue.

It’s vividly colorful, and the fields of the Darlingtonia State Natural Site are dazzling to the eye.

You could almost forget that it’s a field of mass slaughter!

If you don’t mind gruesome bug murders, however, consider a trip to the Darlingtonia State Natural Site.

It’ll be a fun and memorable thing to do while you’re traveling through Oregon, and you’ll have a cool story to tell once you’re back home.

Address:  5400 Mercer Lake Rd, Florence, OR 97439, United States

34. Newport

Newport, Oregon

B Brown / Shutterstock

Hailed as “the coast you remember,” Newport is a kooky city in Oregon that offers everything from wax museums to gigantic aquariums with live animal shows.

It’s a fresh, funky sort of destination, especially for visitors who are looking for places to go that are off the beaten path.

Seafood joints are on every corner.

Lighthouses are still in operation.

Shops, restaurants, museums and art galleries line the bay, and critters are always coming on the shore to say hello.

The calls of sea lions are just as common as the honks of horns in traffic.

Newport is one of the major points of interest in Oregon.

You might not find it in a lot of brochures, but it’s a favorite of the locals, and it’ll provide a one-of-a-kind weekend during your trip.

Stop by if you’re in the mood for something that’s just plain different.

35. Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls

f11photo / Shutterstock

If you like beautiful places, you’ll definitely want to put on your hiking shoes and make the trek to Multnomah Falls .

Not only does it weave through craggy cliffs and green hills like something out of a storybook, but since it’s fed by an underground stream, it’s a waterfall that never dries up.

You can visit it at any time of year!

You’ll need to take a short hike to reach Multnomah Falls, but it’s a moderate one, and there are plenty of sightseeing opportunities along the way.

Once you make it to the cascade, you can view it from trails, footpaths, lodges, bridges and observation decks.

Another nice feature of Multnomah Falls is the bridge.

It stretches across the top of the water, and you can either walk it or view it from a distance for some amazing photo ops.

If you’re headed to Oregon and wondering where to go, put Multnomah Falls on your list.

It’s one of the top tourist attractions in the state, and since it’s an everlasting waterfall, it’ll fit into your vacation schedule no matter when you visit.

Address: 53000 E Historic Columbia River Hwy, Bridal Veil, OR 97010, United States

36. Captain George Flavel House Museum

Captain George Flavel House Museum

Sveta Imnadze / Shutterstock

Built in 1885 by one of the first millionaires in the state, the Captain George Flavel House is an architectural marvel.

It’s almost like a miniature castle, especially since it was constructed in a “Queen Anne” style that brings to mind the wealth and splendor of Victorian London.

Heavy fabrics decorate ornate furnishings.

A spiral staircase will take you between floors, and stained glass windows give every room a colorful glow.

Outside, there’s a carriage house and a wild garden, and tall towers seem to reach for the sky.

The house measures 11,600 square feet in total, and it covers an entire city block.

The best places to visit in Oregon aren’t always the loudest.

Sometimes, they’re quiet homes with well-tended yards.

Consider a trip to the Captain George Flavel House Museum if you’re looking for something a little different than the usual tourist attractions.

Address:  441 8th St, Astoria, OR 97103, United States

37. Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

Enchanted Forest

Despite the name, the Enchanted Forest isn’t a garden or wilderness area.

It’s something much more fun: an amusement park!

It gets its name from a vivid storybook theme.

The attractions are inspired by Mother Goose, Alice in Wonderland, Grimms’ Fairy Tales and many others.

The rides have dragons and wizards; the shops are nestled in castles and decorated with jolly rogers.

There are light shows and comedy theaters.

There are water slides, bumper cars and haunted houses.

Visitors can dig for buried treasure or listen to folk songs at outdoor concerts.

Whether you’re a pirate or a princess, the Enchanted Forest is one of the top destinations in Oregon.

Families will love it, and couples can use it as a new, exciting alternative to the usual date nights.

Just make sure to call ahead and confirm its hours of operation since they can vary by the season!

Address:  8462 Enchanted Way SE, Turner, OR 97392, United States

38. Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

Nestled deep within the mountains, the Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort is a winter wonderland where the powder is always fresh and the sun is always sparkling on the slopes.

If you’re looking for the best vacation spots in Oregon, it’ll be a real treat!

The main attraction of the resort is skiing.

It offers both alpine and backcountry skiing, and whether you’re at the level of beginner, intermediate or expert, you’ll find some of the best slopes around.

Another benefit of the resort is its warm, cozy lodging.

It offers bars, cafes, cabins, shops, equipment rentals and everything else that you might need to have a great time away from home.

The Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort is one of the top 10 places to visit in Oregon.

If you’re making a list of where to go and what to do, this is a destination to consider!

Address:  47500 Anthony Lakes Hwy, North Powder, OR 97867, United States

39. Oregon Vortex

Oregon Vortex

Sean O’Neill / flickr

If you like giving yourself the heebie-jeebies, you’ll love the eeriness of the Oregon Vortex .

It’s an unnaturally tilted building that sticks out of the ground, and there are multiple stories about how it came to be.

Local legend says that someone tried to live on sacred Native American ground and got punished by the land.

Others say that it was the office of a normal mining company before its owners started getting sucked into a supernatural vortex.

Lots of odd things happen in the building.

Brooms stand on end, and marbles roll uphill.

Objects appear to change size and shape depending on where you look at them.

If you don’t mind tempting the spirits during your vacation, consider a visit to the Oregon Vortex.

It’s a roadside attraction unlike any other, and it’s definitely one of the most fun attractions in the state.

Address:  4303 Sardine Creek L Fork Rd, Gold Hill, OR 97525, United States

40. Prehistoric Gardens

Prehistoric Gardens

Is there still a part of you that gets excited about dinosaurs?

At the Prehistoric Gardens , you don’t have to be ashamed of loving Triceratopses or thinking that T-Rexes are totally cool.

It’s a roadside attraction that’s meant for the paleontologist in us all.

More than 20 life-sized dinosaur sculptures are spread out on the grounds.

The area is designed to look like a rainforest, so some of them are hidden by shrubs and trees.

You’ll need to step carefully during your explorations if you don’t want to run into a Velociraptor!

One ticket will give you an all-day pass, so you can wander the Prehistoric Gardens at your leisure.

Take pictures. Look up information about every species that you encounter.

If you have kids, it can become an interactive learning experience.

There’s a giddy, dino-loving third-grader inside of everyone, and with the Prehistoric Gardens, it will come right out.

Have fun at this attraction! It’s one of the best places to visit in Oregon.

Address:  36848 US-101, Port Orford, OR 97465, United States

41. Oregon State Fair

Oregon State Fair

Michael Warwick / Shutterstock

Smell the hot dogs. Get sticky with the cotton candy.

Go back and forth on the pendulum rides until you’re ready to hurl.

There’s no place like a state fair, and the Oregon State Fair is especially fun!

Between 200,000 – 300,000 people visit the Oregon State Fair each year.

It’s chaotic, but you’ll buzz with the energy of the crowd as you enjoy food, drink, games, rides, concerts and other amusements.

The attractions range from carousels to bumper cars.

The menu can include everything from deep-fried pickles to finger-lickin’ barbecue.

Since it’s hosted in Oregon, there’s also an emphasis on the farming and agricultural industry with this fair.

There are usually petting zoos for livestock, and contests centered around pigs and cows are common.

In terms of Oregon attractions, it doesn’t get much better than the Oregon State Fair.

It’s completely unique to the state, and it’s one of the best ways to spend your time while you visit!

Address:  2330 17th St NE, Salem, OR 97301, United States

42. Three Capes Scenic Loop

Three Capes Scenic Loop

Jasperdo / flickr

The Oregon Coast is famous for its scenic driving trails.

Not only does the topography change from beaches to forests to mountains, but there are also all kinds of attractions in the form of parks, lighthouses, landmarks, monuments and observation decks.

The Three Capes Scenic Loop is just one of the driving routes that you can find along the coast, but it’s among the best.

It has breathtaking views of both land and sea, and since it stretches for a good 50 miles along the ocean, you’ll have your pick of detours as well.

If you get hungry, stop at a local seafood bar and order a shrimp platter.

If you want to stretch your legs, pull over at one of the beaches for a long amble through the sand.

Scenic drives are a great way to enjoy the wonders of nature without having to sacrifice snacks and air conditioning.

If you’re interested, fill up the tank and get started on the Three Capes Scenic Loop.

43. Petersen Rock Garden

Petersen Rock Garden

Petersen Rock Garden

The Petersen Rock Garden is another one of those nifty Oregon attractions that you won’t find anywhere else in the country.

Even more remarkably, it was built by a single man!

The creator was named Rasmus Peterson.

After emigrating from Europe at the age of 17, he started collecting little doo-dads that he found around town, including rocks, fossils, gems, geodes and crystals.

Then, he started building.

He built miniature replicas of churches and cottages.

He built bridges for the ponds and terraces for the houses.

Every available surface of the garden was either formed or decorated with rocks.

By the time of his death, the Petersen Rock Garden was a genuine marvel, and it quickly became one of the top destinations in Oregon for fans of the cool and the funky.

Give it an hour or two if you’ll be passing by!

Address:  7930 SW 77th St, Redmond, OR 97756, United States

44. Oregon Shakespeare Festival

Oregon Shakespeare Festival

star5112 / flickr

The Oregon Shakespeare Festival isn’t an event.

It’s a place.

In fact, it’s one of the most awesome places to see in the entire state.

Located in the city of Ashland, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival is a old-school repertory theater that’s been around since the 1930s.

It hosts dozens of performances per week and hundreds per year; at any given time, there are at least five shows on the roster.

They don’t limit themselves to Shakespeare.

The Bard is their favorite, of course, but they also have plays and productions for everything from Greek tragedies to Spanish comedies.

They’ll even throw in the occasional blockbuster show from a well-known Broadway title.

The performances are all given in an outdoor, open-air theater.

During the day, the sun shines on the actors; at night, the stage lights up with a warm golden glow.

You don’t have to be a theater geek to appreciate a good play in a vintage setting.

If you’re looking to have fun in Ashland, book a ticket for the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.

Address:  15 S Pioneer St, Ashland, OR 97520, United States

45. Baldwin Hotel Museum

Baldwin Hotel Museum

User:bobjgalindo [ CC BY-SA ]

Located in the quiet, sleepy town of Klamath Falls, it’s been run by the same two families for generations, and they haven’t changed much about the decor.

In fact, one of the best things about the Baldwin Hotel Museum is the fact that it’s basically a time capsule of the early 1900s.

The wallpaper is the same; the furniture is the same.

If it isn’t authentic, it’s an exact replica.

Another charming feature of the museum is that the docents are very friendly and knowledgeable.

They’ll give you a tour, and they’ll tell you everything that there is to know about the hotel and the historical 1900s life in general.

The Baldwin Hotel Museum isn’t one of the flashy tourist attractions of Oregon, but some things don’t need glitz and glamour to be fun.

If you’d enjoy a low-key afternoon in a quaint little museum, this is the destination for you.

Address:  31 Main St, Klamath Falls, OR 97601, United States

46. Washington Park

Washington Park

Oregon is filled with beautiful places.

In fact, you might be so overwhelmed by your options that you don’t even know where to visit.

But Washington Park is a destination that you won’t want to miss, especially since it can serve as a gateway to many other Oregon attractions.

Here are just a few things to see that are within walking distance of Washington Park:

– Oregon Zoo – Hoyt Arboretum – International Rose Test Garden – Washington Park Amphitheater – Portland Children’s Museum – Oregon Holocaust Memorial

This isn’t even including the amenities of Washington Park itself.

From playgrounds to archery ranges, it’s sure to keep you busy, so it’s one of the top 10 things to do in Oregon for sure.

Address:  4033 SW Canyon Rd, Portland, OR 97221, United States

47. Train Mountain Railroad

Train Mountain Railroad

Train Mountain Railroad

Many people had a “train phase” when they were younger.

For some, however, the dream is still alive, and it can be enjoyed in a quirky way at the Train Mountain Railroad .

You see, the Train Mountain Railroad isn’t a regular railroad.

It’s for miniature trains.

These knee-high locomotives can be ridden like the real thing, but they only reach about five miles per hour, so they provide a scenic journey rather than a speedy trip.

There’s also an art to straddling them just right.

Once every three years, miniature train hobbyists come together for the Train Mountain Triennial.

It’s a fun, memorable event that welcomes visitors who are interested in tiny engines and even tinier tracks.

You won’t find the Train Mountain Railroad anywhere else in the world.

It’s been officially certified by the Guinness Book of World Records as the longest hobby railroad in the world, so it’s a one-of-a-kind attraction in Oregon.

If you’re headed nearby, pull on the whistle and get your choo-choo going!

Address:  36941 S Chiloquin Rd, Chiloquin, OR 97624, United States

48. Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm

KennStilger47 / Shutterstock

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is only open to the public for one month out of the year, so it’s just as rare and fleeting as the blossoms that come out of the soil.

For visitors who are passing through the state at the right time, however, they’ll be blessed with an unforgettable memory of a gorgeous destination.

Rows and rows of tulips are cultivated in every color.

The pinks mingle with the purples; the reds and whites contrast against the yellows and oranges.

In the background, Mount Hood rises majestically like something off a postcard.

You can view the tulips with a walking tour or a tractor ride offered by the farm owners.

There are also hot air balloon rides that will pass over the colorful, bountiful fields.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is one of the best sights in the United States.

It’s a little slice of the Netherlands that can be found right in Oregon.

If you want nice pictures for your scrapbook, this is the place to get them.

Address:  33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn, OR 97071, United States

49. Apple Valley Country Store

Apple Valley Country Store

Apple Valley Country Store

The Apple Valley Country Store is one of the hidden gems of Oregon.

If you have a sweet tooth, it’s the single best place to fill your belly with pies, cakes, tarts, jellies, jams and cinnamon rolls.

It’s also a nice store for handmade foodstuffs like apple butter and maple syrup.

In addition to the ready-to-eat desserts, they sell all kinds of ingredients for good old-fashioned home cooking.

You can enjoy the cookies and milkshakes right there in the store, and you can pack up some spices, sauces and pie fillings for later.

The signature dish of the Apple Valley Country Store is a four-pound apple pie.

Many have tried to finish it, but few have completed their quest.

Do you think that you can do it?

Is your mouth already watering at the thought of huckleberry milkshakes and chocolate-topped ice cream sundaes?

If you’re ready to stuff your face and have some fun, indulge yourself at the Apple Valley Country Store.

Address:  2363 Tucker Rd, Hood River, OR 97031, United States

50. Wallowa Lake Tramway

Wallowa Lake Tramway

Ashley O’Photography / flickr

Say goodbye to Oregon with the Wallowa Lake Tramway .

It’s one of many lifts and gondolas that you can find scattered around the mountains, but since it ascends more than 3,700 feet, it’s among the best.

The panoramic views will be stunning.

When you reach the top of the tramway, the cliffs below will look like pinpricks.

Since there’s a rest area at the summit, you’ll be able to gaze to your heart’s content as you sip a cold beer or munch on a stacked hamburger.

The restaurant has a simple fare, but it’s hearty.

No one wants to leave Oregon once they arrive.

All good things must come to an end, however, and with the Wallowa Lake Tramway, at least you can take one last look at the beauty and majesty of the wilderness before you return home.

Address:  59919 Wallowa Lake Hwy, Joseph, OR 97846, United States

Got more time? Why not check out some of the things to do in Seaside, Oregon ?

Start Planning Your Trip To Oregon

These are just a few of the most memorable things to do in Oregon.

Whether you’re looking for death-defying thrills or relaxing days on the beach, it’s a state that can offer it all.

  • Search Please fill out this field.
  • Manage Your Subscription
  • Give a Gift Subscription
  • Newsletters
  • Sweepstakes
  • Destinations

22 Things to Do in Oregon — From Coastal Bike Routes to Canyon Hikes

Rugged coastline, starry night skies, and local breweries — these are the best places to visit in Oregon.

Evie Carrick is a writer and editor who’s lived in five countries and visited well over 50. She now splits her time between Colorado and Paris, ensuring she doesn't have to live without skiing or L'As du Fallafel.

oregon cities to visit

There's a reason why hundreds of thousands of pioneers braved the Oregon Trail in the mid-1800s. At the end of the roughly 2,000-mile route was Oregon — a state with a little bit of everything , from lush, fertile valleys where berries, pears, plums, and cherries thrive, to expansive high deserts and wild coastlines. And let's not forget the skyscraper-high waterfalls (many flow all year round) and the fact that in modern-day Oregon, you can ski on a potentially active stratovolcano.

There's plenty to see and do — so where do you start? We sifted through the state's 11 national forests , 361 state parks, quaint small towns , and unique sites to determine the best of the best. Here are 22 things to do in Oregon.

Willamette National Forest

Situated between Eugene and Bend is the expansive Willamette National Forest (clocking in at a whopping 1,678,031 acres). Within the wooded expanse are eight wilderness areas, seven volcanic mountain peaks, and enough waterfalls to keep even the biggest cascade lover entertained for days.

Alvord Hot Springs

Two pools dating back to the 1940s sit at the edge of the Alvord Desert, near the eastern base of Steens Mountain. Day trippers and overnight guests at the Alvord Hot Springs Bath House & Campground can soak the day away in one of the state's most renowned and historic geothermal springs. (The water comes out of the ground at 170 degrees, cooling when mixed in the soaking pools.)

Owyhee Canyonlands

Those looking for a remote, off-the-grid getaway will find it in the Owyhee Canyonlands in southeastern Oregon. Here, hikers will discover a side of Oregon not seen by most travelers — a place of deep canyons, petroglyphs, and bighorn sheep. And thanks to its remote, dark-sky locale, the stargazing is out of this world .

Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon holds the title as the deepest river gorge in North America , topping even the Grand Canyon. In addition to being over a mile deep, the canyon is 10 miles wide. Visitors to the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area (managed by the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest) can float the mighty Snake River and hike along the rim.

Timberline Trail

If you're an experienced hiker with a penchant for adventure, make your way to the Timberline Trail on Mount Hood. The 41.4-mile loop fully circumnavigates the stratovolcano, taking those willing to put in the work through alpine meadows, Cascade forests, and glacial-fed drainages. If you don't have time to do the full trail, you can do just a segment — including one that overlaps with the iconic Pacific Crest Trail.

Multnomah Falls

One of the most beautiful and accessible waterfalls in the state is Multnomah Falls , a cascade found just off the interstate in the Columbia River Gorge. The best time to see the falls is in the winter and spring, when the flow of water is at its peak.

The oldest city in Oregon (founded in 1811) remains one of the state's most stunning, with a location on the Columbia River, near the Pacific Ocean. In addition to offering views for days, Astoria has a distinct Scandinavian feel , plenty of local breweries, and a rich history.

Cottonwood Canyon State Park

Cottonwood Canyon State Park is known for its wide-open expanse of grasslands cut by canyons and cliffs carved by the John Day River. It's the place to go for year-round camping, hiking, fishing, boating, and wildlife spotting — the 8,000-plus acre park houses elk, mule deer, pronghorn antelope, coyotes, and bighorn sheep.

Ecola State Park

Misty mornings are common in Ecola State Park , a piece of land that stretches nine miles along the rugged Oregon coast. Sea stacks shoot out of the sand, surfers line up along the break, and hikers meander along the park's network of trails — including an 8-mile segment of the Oregon Coast Trail.

While not the state's capital, Portland is easily Oregon's most famous city. Food trucks, hip coffee houses, breweries, and donut shops seem to be everywhere, but no trip is complete without a visit to the Portland Japanese Garden and an afternoon spent perusing Powell's Books , the world's largest independent bookstore.

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort has the highest base elevation of any ski area in Oregon, which makes for lots of snow and great skiing in the winter and wonderfully cool temperatures in the summer. In addition to everything the resort offers, the Anthony Lakes area is home to 15 lakes and marshes set amongst the stunning Blue Mountains.

Just an hour east of Portland is the small, but growing community of Hood River . It's the place to try your hand at windsurfing (the town is often called the windsurfing capital of the world, after all) followed by a farm-to-table dinner and locally made beer and wine.

Devils Punch Bowl

The Oregon coast is a wild place, and nowhere is that more apparent than at the Devils Punch Bowl . In the winter, the ocean collides with the punch bowl (a hollow rock formation resembling a huge punch bowl) creating a thunderous roar and a dramatic churning of water. The area is also home to great tidepools, surfing, and whale watching.

Crater Lake National Park

The heart of Crater Lake National Park is Crater Lake, which was formed by a collapsed volcano and is now the deepest lake in the U.S. (the average depth is 1,943 feet ). You can drive around the lake, which is fed by rain and snow, and scope out Wizard Island near the lake's western edge.

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument

To time travel to ancient Oregon, you only need to visit the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument , a series of colorful rock formations that have recorded climate changes and planet and animal evolutions for millions of years.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach may be small, but it makes up for its size with a landscape that includes long, sandy shores, tide pools, and the iconic Haystack Rock, a giant sea stack that houses tufted puffins. The town has plenty of galleries and boutiques to keep you entertained once you're done exploring the area's wild coastline.

The Oregon Trail

The Oregon National Historic Trail , better known as "the Oregon Trail" traverses through six states, but the trail's ultimate destination was and is the state of Oregon. Multiple sites in the state transport you back to the days when brave pioneers slowly made their way west of the Rocky Mountains.

Oregon Caves

Going inside the Siskiyou Mountains is more than doable thanks to the Oregon Caves , also known as the "Marble Halls of Oregon." Twisted passageways make their way through the marble-like rock leading to jaw-dropping caves.

Mt. Bachelor Ski and Snowboard Resort

With over 460 inches of snowfall a year (on average) and a ski season that lasts much longer than most, Mt. Bachelor has made a name for itself across the country. Plus, once summer hits, the mountain morphs into a mountain biker's paradise.

Oregon Coast Bike Route

Most people do only a segment of the 370-mile Oregon Coast Bike Route , but the full route is doable — and truly enjoyable. The journey is best undertaken in late summer and early fall and best ridden north to south (due to wind). Along the way you'll enjoy coastal views and more than your fair share of stunning Oregon sunsets.

Sea Lion Caves

In addition to being America's largest sea cave, the Sea Lion Caves are home to — you guessed it — hundreds of sea lions who spend the winter in the caves before venturing out to the rookery areas for breeding and birthing.

Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is home to one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world. Here, you'll find a welcome dose of solitude as you explore 40 miles of dunes stacked along the Oregon Coast.

Related Articles

oregon cities to visit

Things To Do In Oregon


1. Visit Crater Lake National park

Crater Lake is truly awe-inspiring and is the deepest lake in the entire United States. Crater Lake formed when an eruption triggered the collapse of what was a tall peak over 7,700 years ago. This natural wonder, its deep blue waters and location atop the Cascade Mountain Range offer spectators, artists, and photographers alike ample opportunity within its park boundaries. Click on the link to learn more about Crater Lake National Park . 

oregon cities to visit

2. Visit the Oregon Coast

Oregon’s coastline is roughly 363 miles of unmatched beauty. Better yet? All of our beaches are free and public thanks to a trailblazing beach bill passed in 1967. With so much diversity along our coastline, it can be overwhelming to choose just one place to visit. Check out the southern coast for more secluded beaches and slower paced towns, or head up to the central and northern coast where tourists flock by the 100,000’s every summer. Wherever you go, you are sure to be mesmerized by the mighty Pacific Ocean and the towns scattered along its shores. Below we’ve listed a few of our personal favorite towns to checkout along the Oregon coast. If you’re looking for even more Oregon Coast adventure ideas, then read our blog Top 10 Things To Do On The Oregon Coast .

Astoria Oregon  is the oldest town west of the Rockies, Astoria is chock-full of history, art, and craft beverages. Historically a fishing town, it lies on the edge of the Columbia River right where it meets the Pacific Ocean. The bar, known as “The Graveyard of The Pacific” is so notorious that a licensed bar pilot has to navigate boats across it and the T.V. show Ghost Adventures has an entire episode dedicated to it (Astoria alone has a 4-part special dedicated to its spooky past and haunted underground.)  Named the 2nd “drunkest” city in Oregon thanks to their unusually high number of bars per capita, they have a great selection of craft breweries you won’t want to miss.

The epitome of an Oregon beach vacation destination, Seaside Oregon is one of the coast’s most popular towns thanks to its abundance of family-friendly features. The popular downtown street, Broadway, leads to what is called the “turn-around.” It is essentially a turnaround at the end of downtown the stretches onto the beach allowing traffic to be redirected, and a place for people to hangout and watch the action around them. It also lies in the center of “The Prom” – a 1.5 mile paved walkway that stretches along the beach granting walkers, runners, bikers, and skaters a place to stretch their legs and take in some ocean views while they’re at it. Downtown is full of rides, attractions, shops, and restaurants that anyone in the family can enjoy. Are you interested in learning more about Seaside? Check out the Top Things To Do In Seaside Oregon . 

Newport Oregon  is home to the Oregon Coast Aquarium and is one of the most popular aquariums in the state. Hosting unique, interactive exhibits this place is usually packed with families and visitors alike. Also home to two of Oregon’s most prominent historical lighthouses, there is no shortage of Instagram worthy photo-ops here. Newer additions to the area include OMSI’s Coastal Discovery Center or Ripley’s Believe It Or Not museum and wax figure display. Complete with over 80 restaurants in its 11 sq miles of land, they have enough culinary and beverage diversity to accommodate most, if not all, palettes.


3. Visit Downtown Portland

We like to say that you can, be, eat, or drink just about anything in Portland. Their unofficial slogan “Keep Portland Weird” is an ode to the cities mission to promote individuality, self-expression, and because the city is what is considered a hub for “atypical” lifestyle choices, art, style, and more. Downtown Portland is home to the beautiful Tom McCall waterfront, Portland’s “living room” Pioneer Square, and more shops, restaurants, breweries, and galleries than we can count. Downtown Portland also hosts hundreds of events throughout the entire year so a trip to downtown Portland is sure to be a full (and fun!) one. Checkout the Top 25 Things to Do in Portland Oregon . 


4. Visit Smith Rock State Park

Dubbed one of Oregon’s “7 Wonders,” Smith Rock State Park attracts climbers and spectators from all across the globe with its jagged basalt rock cliffs. Situated in Central Oregon , Smith Rock State Park sees about 300 days of sunshine annually, making this one of the most popular state parks in Oregon. Surrounded by Mt. Bachelor, vast nature and wildlife, and ample recreational activities, Smith Rock and surrounding areas are one of our favorite spots in the entire state of Oregon. It can get pretty crowded between rock climbers, mountain bikers, hikers, and spectators but is definitely worth a visit if you ever find yourself in Oregon. If you’d like to learn more about Smith Rock and Central Oregon then visit our blog Top Things to Do In Central Oregon . 


5.Visit Silver Falls State Park

oregon cities to visit

6. Visit the Rogue Valley

oregon cities to visit

7. Visit OMSI 


8. Attend an Event at Autzen Stadium


9. Attend a Home Team Sporting Event


10. Visit Mt Hood and The Columbia River Gorge 

Bonus things to do in oregon:, ➡ visit any of our state parks .

Did you know Oregon has 255 State Parks? Oregon has one of the most popular state park systems in the entire country and services over 46 million daytime visitors, and well over 2.5 million campers. 58 of our state parks allow camping – check out our Oregon Camping Guide  or learn more about  Oregon Coast Campgrounds . 

➡ Visit The Columbia River Maritime Museum

Take a roadtrip on one, or multiple of our scenic byways , ➡ visit enchanted forest  , ➡ go beer or wine tasting .

Featured Oregon Articles

The best Wineries In Oregon

The Top 10 Best Wineries In Oregon

Top 10 Things To Do On The Oregon Coast

Top 10 Things To Do On The Oregon Coast

Dog Friendly Beaches in Oregon

Top 12 Dog Friendly Beaches In Oregon

Fun Things To Do In Seaside Oregon

Top 10 Fun Things To Do in Seaside Oregon

Explore more get to know the amazing beauty of oregon, learn more about us, oregon regions, explore the site, follow us on social media.

Tik Tok

© Copyright – Visit Oregon 2023 | Site Built By: Oregon Web Solutions | Sitemap

oregon cities to visit


  • Destinations

25 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

Multnomah falls, hood river, oregon.

  • Complete List & Map

Multnomah Falls

Next read: 50 Oregon Weekend Getaways


You can explore Astoria ’s historic working waterfront on the Astoria Trolley, visit the Bumble Bee Cannery Museum and the Maritime Museum. You can make the most of Astoria’s idyllic waterfront location by trying your hand at fishing or clam-digging.

Hood River, Oregon

You can admire some art and culture as you stroll through the beautifully restored historic downtown, visit some galleries, or watch a show at the Columbia Center for the Arts. Foodies can titillate their taste buds on tours to wineries, breweries, coffee roasters, and farm-to-fork restaurants or drive the scenic Hood River County Fruit Loop for some fresh farm produce.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach

You can try a zip-line tour with High Life Adventures, hike through a rainforest at Ecola State Park, or uncover amazing marine life around Haystack Rock, where you can spot Tufted Puffins in early summer. Next read: 25 Best Beaches in Oregon


Those wanting to combine fun with education should not miss the Oregon Air and Space Museum and The Science Factory children’s museum and planetarium. Nature lovers can cycle just about anywhere in town along a network of paved trails, go hiking along the McKenzie River National Recreation Trail or climb the basalt columns at Skinner Butte Park. Foodies can enjoy a craft brewery tour, several farm-to-fork restaurants, and a farmers’ market in Eugene .

Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon

In winter you can enjoy cross-country skiing, snowmobiles, dog sledding and more. You can take advantage of several ranger-led educational programs and tours, including free fishing lessons for young visitors. There are dozens of campsites where you can pitch your tent or park your RV to spend a few nights communing with nature.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Other popular activities include biking, fishing, boating, swimming, tubing and windsurfing and there are several accessible areas for those with mobility restrictions. There are a number of museums dotted around the area and you can even combine great views with great beer on a Gorge Beer Trail.



Today many visitors come to Jacksonville for wine tasting at some of the 60 wineries in the area along the famous Applegate Wine Trail. In addition, you can go hiking, biking, and horseback riding along a variety of trails and daredevils can try a Rogue Jet Boat Adventure or go river rafting with Indigo Creek Outfitters. Foodies can enjoy exploring all the culinary offerings, which range from coffee shops to fine-dining restaurants.


More ideas: Oregon City


To work off some of the extra calories, you can get active in Bear Creek Park or hike the Natural Bridge Loop or Upper and Lower Table Rock. If you love water sports, you can enjoy swimming and boating on Diamond Lake and Applegate Lake or go white water rafting or floating on the Rogue River. Children will enjoy the hands-on Kid Time Children’s Museum and Railroad Park.


The town hosts several annual festivals, including the Ashland Culinary Festival, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, the Oregon Chocolate Festival , and the Honey Festival, so there is truly something for everyone. Outdoors, the fun continues with a variety of scenic hiking and biking trails and excellent access to rivers and lakes for swimming, kayaking, boating, jet-boating and white water rafting. In winter you can head to the Mount Ashland Ski Area for all types of snow sports.


Nature lovers can spend hours exploring the great outdoors in the Tualatin Hills Park and Recreation District, where there are over 60 miles of hiking and biking trails, eight swim centers and various sports fields. For water sports, you can head to the Columbia and Willamette Rivers for water skiing, rafting, boating and fishing. Things to do in Beaverton

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

There are trails for all abilities, and cyclists can explore the area along several paved paths. Although no private boats are allowed on this pristine body of water, you can go on ranger-led boat tours in summer or try your hand at fishing along several streams. In winter the park offers cross-country skiing, snowmobiling and snowshoeing. More info

The City of The Dalles

The City of The Dalles

The Maryhill Museum of Art and The Dalles Art Center will delight art enthusiasts. Outdoors, you can explore several scenic hiking and cycling trails, tour some up-and-coming wineries, go fishing or rafting, or admire the petroglyphs (Indian rock art) at the Columbia Hills State Park


Langlois is a charming historic town in Curry County, Oregon, originally established in 1881 as a pioneer settlement along the Oregon coastline. The town's name, which was chosen in honor of early Oregon pioneer William Langlois, is commonly mispronounced and is officially pronounced as "Langless," a nod to the phonetic spelling of Langlois' name in the 1860 Federal Census. Throughout the late 19th and early 20th centuries, the town was famed for its blue cheese production, though its cheese factory was destroyed in a fire in the mid-1950s. Today, visitors can enjoy windsurfing and kiteboarding at Floras Lake or hike and explore historic lighthouses at Cape Blanco State Park. World-famous hot dogs are also served up at the Langlois Market, which has also served delicious deli sandwiches for more than half a decade.


There are several museums you can visit, including the Thompson’s Mill State Heritage Site and the fascinating Albany Historic Carousel and Museum where century-old carousels have been lovingly restored. Outdoor enthusiasts can enjoy all kinds of water sports, play a round of golf, or go fishing, hiking, backpacking or cycling. Foodies can enjoy a thriving restaurant culture and visit some of the many vineyards and wineries in the area.

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

For the more adventurous, there is a three-hour Off-Trail Adventure Tour in summer, where you have the opportunity to belly-crawl, climb and slither through some very small spaces. To get really close to nature, you can pitch your tent in the campground and spend some time exploring the several scenic hiking trails.



You can try some thrilling river rafting on the Willamette River in summer or make your way to Splash Indoor Water Park all year round to enjoy slides, tubes, and even a wave pool. You can explore the vibrant downtown area on foot to discover many restaurants, galleries, shops and the excellent Friday farmers’ market. More Oregon Weekend Getaways

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock

Birdwatchers can spend hours observing the behavior of many species of marine birds, including the beautiful Tufted Puffin, which nests on the rock in spring and early summer. To learn all about the wildlife, you can make use of interpretive signs, birding stations with spotting scopes, or ask the trained Rocky Shore Interpreters who are on hand to educate you. Next read: Oregon beaches

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

Cape Perpetua Scenic Area

You will find wonderful views and loads of area information at the Cape Perpetua Visitors Center, which offers short films and guided hikes in summer. Besides the very scenic hiking trails you can also access tidal pools at low tide and admire the ferocity of the Spouting Horn and Devils Churn from observation decks at high tide.


More ideas: Things to Do in The Dalles

Ecola State Park

Ecola State Park

If you prefer to just relax, you can swim, picnic, sunbathe, or surf at secluded Indian Beach and there are many fascinating tidal pools to explore at low tide. Wildlife enthusiasts can follow the boardwalk from Ecola Point to view nesting sea birds on Sea Lion Rocks, scan the ocean for migrating whales in spring and winter, or be on the lookout for deer, elk, and eagles.

Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rock State Park

You can go horseback riding along sections of the Canyon River, Wolf Tree and Homestead trails, which are shared by mountain bikers, and there is a campground for those who would like to pitch a tent and stay overnight. More ideas: Things to Do in Hillsboro

Yachats Coastline

Yachats Coastline

Here you can explore tidal pools , go for long romantic beach walks, and go clamming and crabbing for your supper, or head off along one of the many walking and hiking trails that provide wonderful views of the Pacific Coastline. You can take a drive to the historic Yachats Covered Bridge, visit a couple of lighthouses or the Little Log Church Museum, go fishing, or do some whale watching.

  • 1. Multnomah Falls
  • 3. Hood River, Oregon
  • 4. Cannon Beach
  • 6. Mount Hood National Forest, Oregon
  • 7. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
  • 8. Jacksonville
  • 10. Medford
  • 11. Ashland
  • 12. Beaverton
  • 13. Crater Lake National Park
  • 14. The City of The Dalles
  • 15. Langlois
  • 17. Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
  • 18. Springfield
  • 19. Haystack Rock
  • 20. Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
  • 22. Ecola State Park
  • 23. Smith Rock State Park
  • 24. Yachats Coastline

Yachats Coastline

Last Updated By VI on April 27, 2024 in Things to Do in Oregon & Places to Visit

More Features

Awesome Beach Picnics

Beach Destinations: 15 Most Awesome Beach Picnics

Portland, Oregon

Best Time to Visit Portland, Oregon - Weather Year Round

Best Italian Restaurants in Portland

20 Must-Try Italian Restaurants in Portland, OR

  • --> Conclusion


  • About Us/Contact Us
  • Privacy Policy
  • Terms of Service

oregon cities to visit

The best places to visit in Oregon: 5 exciting itineraries

I f you’re planning a visit to Oregon, it can be difficult to choose the right Oregon itinerary. Located in the Pacific Northwest, Oregon is a beautiful, yet incredibly diverse state. Within one day, you can travel from sea to mountains, from rain forest to high desert.

So with such an abundance of natural beauty to experience, you’ll want to choose an itinerary that will make the most of your time. Here are five Oregon itineraries that will help you do just that.

These five itineraries will explore Oregon’s seven wonders, the Oregon Coast, the Oregon Outback, Portland Oregon, and part of the Oregon Trail. These are the best places to visit in Oregon.

Oregon Wonders Itinerary

The Oregon Wonders itinerary covers Oregon’s wide range of climates, allowing you to experience a little of everything Oregon has to offer. This loop starts and ends in Portland.

First, see Oregon’s temperate rain forest as you drive east from Portland, through the Columbia River Gorge towards Multnomah Falls , the tallest waterfall in Oregon.

Then continue east to the beautiful Mt. Hood . Go for a hike at Mt. Hood, like to Ramona Falls. Or visit Timberline Lodge, where The Shining was filmed.

Next, travel further East to experience Oregon’s high desert. In the Wallowa Mountains , take a gondola ride from Wallowa Lake Village to the top of Mt. Howard, where you can see to the next state over.

Admire the warm colors of the Painted Hills , and go hiking or rock climbing at Smith Rock State Park .

Then, visit Oregon’s only national park, Crater Lake National Park . And finally, drive along the Oregon Coast for stunning views of the Pacific Ocean before returning to Portland.

The best time of year to plan this road trip is typically in July, August, or September, when the roads are open in Crater Lake.

However, July and August tend to be particularly hot months in Smith Rock. So it’s best to plan for an early morning hike here before the heat of the day.

Plan to spend at least ten days for this road trip. This will allow time to experience each of the Seven Wonders of Oregon , plus some travel time.

Oregon Coast Itinerary

This itinerary takes you along Oregon’s ruggedly beautiful coastline. Highway 101 , also known as the Pacific Coast Highway , runs for 363 miles down Oregon’s western most border.

This Oregon Coast road trip starts in Astoria and ends in Brookings, Oregon’s northern and southern most cities.

Along the way you’ll see 3 haystack rocks, in Cannon Beach (the rock filmed in The Goonies), Pacific City , and Bandon. You’ll visit two aquariums, in Seaside and Newport, where Keiko once lived. And visit 7 of Oregon’s 11 lighthouses.

Also, explore a shipwreck near Astoria, a ghost forest in Neskowin, and a sea lion cave near Florence. Plus, go whale watching from the world’s smallest bay in Depot Bay. Then, learn about our impact on the oceans at the Washed Ashore Art Gallery in Bandon.

And all along the way, enjoy delicious food. Many restaurants on the coast serve fresh seafood and warm clam chowder with stunning views of the ocean.

But be sure to eat at the Pronto Pup in Rockaway Beach , where the corn dog was invented! Then enjoy ice cream and squeaky cheese (cheese curds) at the Tillamook cheese factory.

You could easily travel the Oregon coast in about 8 hours if you drove straight through, but you’d miss out on so much beauty and adventure along the way. Instead, plan to spend about 1 to 2 weeks to complete this itinerary, depending on how many coastal towns you want to stop in.

Oregon Outback Itinerary

The Oregon Outback itinerary will take you to a one-horse town in the high desert of Central Oregon. This is the best itinerary to choose if you love to hike, don’t mind a little dust in your boots, and want to avoid the crowds. This is the road less traveled.

Book your stay at one of two motels in Christmas Valley. About 4 hours and 30 minutes southeast of Portland, this small town is centrally located to several amazing and unique hikes in the area.

There are three major hikes worth checking out here. First, hike through a narrow, rocky canyon at Crack in the Ground. Then, be sure to bring a headlamp to explore the depths of Derrick Cave, an old lava tunnel.

And lastly, hike the perimeter of Fort Rock, an ancient volcano, as you watch for jack rabbits sprinting across the landscape. Then visit the outdoor museum, Fort Rock Homestead Village, for a taste of what life was once like in this Wild West.

Enjoy a hearty dinner one night at the Cowboy Dinner Tree. Just be sure to reserve your seat well in advance. They may have a rather remote location, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t booked solid!

Plan to spend about five days for this road trip. That gives two full days for travel and leaves three full days for hiking and exploring Oregon’s Outback.

At the end of this vacation, you’ll have experienced Oregon, untamed and untainted in its raw and natural beauty.

Portland, Oregon Itinerary

This itinerary is all about how to spend three perfect days in Portland, Oregon. And it’s the perfect itinerary for those who prefer the city or are only able to make a short visit to Oregon.

There’s a lot more to Portland than the rain. For starters, it has a great food and restaurant scene, with a strong affinity for coffee shops and microbreweries.

Portland is also known for its love of dogs and bikes, and for its many parks, gardens and bridges. But with so much to see and do, this guide will help you see the best highlights of the city.

Day One : Start the day with brunch at one of Portland’s many delicious brunching restaurants. A few excellent options include Broder Söder, Jam Cafe, or The Tin Shed ( a dog-friendly dining option! ).

Then, visit Powell’s books, the largest used book store in the world. Later, enjoy a cup of tea at the Lan Su Chinese Gardens . End the day with amazing views of Portland from the Portland Aerial Tram or Tom McCall Waterfront Park.

Day Two : On your second day, set out to explore the neighborhoods, admire the street art , and eat lunch at a food truck pod. Or get outdoors and go for an afternoon hike in Forest Park to discover the witch’s hut.

Day Three : On your final day in Portland, visit the International Rose Test Gardens and the Japanese Gardens at Washington Park. Then play around at Portland’s new and interactive art museum, Hopscotch. End your trip with drinks from one of Portland’s roof top bars.

If you have extra time, you can plan a day trip from Portland . Visit the Oregon Coast, head east to Mt. Hood, or travel south to Silver Falls State Park.

Oregon Trail Itinerary

Follow the path pioneers once took through Oregon on this Oregon Trail itinerary. Walk in the deep ruts of old covered wagons and imagine what it must have been like to traverse this country before the convenience of our smooth, paved freeways.

The Oregon Trail originated in Kansas and Missouri and spanned a total of seven states. However, this road trip focuses on the stretch of trail in Oregon.

Since I-84 roughly parallels the Oregon Trail through Oregon, there are two ways to approach this road trip. Option one is to drive east on I-84 from Portland to Baker City and back again. Or, option two is to fly into Boise, Idaho, rent a car, and drive west on I-84 to Portland.

The main highlight of this Oregon itinerary is the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City, Oregon. At the interpretive center, discover an outdoor recreation of a covered wagon camp, watch live historical re-enactments, and hike alongside wagon ruts. This site covers 500 acres and includes over four miles of hiking.

Note: The Interpretive Center is currently closed for remodeling and has moved to a temporary location. For latest updates, visit their site here .

From Baker City, follow the trail west through the Grande Ronde Valley and over the Blue Mountains. Marvel at the Columbia River as you drive through the Gorge to The Dalles, where many pioneers rafted their wagons down the river.

TIP : Other locations to hike along actual Oregon Trail ruts are at Birch Creek near Huntington and Echo Meadows near Hermiston, Oregon.

While many pioneers settled in Oregon, others continued on to Washington. However this particular road trip ends in Portland, Oregon. Plan to spend about three to four days for this road trip.

Final Thoughts on Oregon Itineraries

From ocean to high desert, from the bustling city to dusty country roads, these five Oregon itineraries are sure to have a little something for everyone.

And whichever of these itineraries you choose, you’re sure to be stunned by Oregon’s beauty and diversity.

Pin it for later

Latest posts.

  • The Best Oregon Coast Road Trip Itinerary
  • The 7 best things to do with one day in Málaga, Spain (2023)
  • What Happened When We Got Lost in Ávila, Spain, and Why I Fell in Love with the City
  • What to do during a long Amsterdam Layover
  • Does it snow in Oregon?

The post The best places to visit in Oregon: 5 exciting itineraries appeared first on The Clever West Wind .

Choose the perfect Oregon itinerary and see the best places to visit in Oregon. From rain forest to desert, and ocean to mountains.

Oregon is for Adventure

17 BEST Oregon Coast Towns to Visit

Sharing is caring!

If you were to ask Oregonians what defines an Oregon coast town, you’d probably get a myriad of different answers.

Is it the panoramic, historical lighthouses dotting the coastline that make Oregon’s beaches so special? Or, is it the sheer cliffs and rugged landscapes that define the essence of the Oregon coast? Maybe it’s the charming towns perched along the coastline or the fresh seafood they serve up in cute cafes and breweries.

In truth, it’s all of the above. Whether it’s lighthouses or cliffs, Oregon has an incredible coastline. From the warm dunes in the south to the trendy towns further north, the array of diverse landscapes and scenery is breathtaking.

People on Indian Beach near Cannon Beach, a favorite Oregon Coast Town

With such a great selection of beaches, it’s often difficult to figure out which one to visit.

Whether you’re an Oregon local looking for a new beach or taking a road trip along the coast , we’ve curated our favorite Oregon coast towns so you can spend more time enjoying your trip and less time figuring out where to go. With that in mind, let’s dive right in…

Table of Contents

The Best Oregon Coast Towns

Things to do in astoria, things to do in seaside, things to do in cannon beach, things to do in manzanita beach, things to do in tillamook bay, things to do in pacific city, things to do in neskowin, things to do in lincoln city:, things to do in depoe bay, things to do in newport, things to do in yachats, places to stay near yachats:, things to do in florence, things to do in coos bay, things to do in brandon, things to do in port orford, places to stay near port orford:, things to do in gold beach, things to do in brookings, final thoughts, 15 adventurous things to do in lincoln city, 11 adventurous things to do in astoria, oregon, 11 adventurous things to do in pacific city, 13 adventurous things to do around seaside, oregon, 13 adventurous things to do in newport, oregon.

We could go on and on about Oregon’s coast and the charming communities that stretch along the scenic shoreline, but for now, we’ve started off with 17 of our favorite Oregon beach towns AND the best adventures in the area.

You can trust us because not only did I personally grow up going to these coast towns all the time, but I’ve road-tripped it in my adult years countless times, too!

→ If you don’t have a lot of time, do this Oregon Coast day trip from Portland to see the best of the coast with a local.

Map of the best Oregon Coast towns pinpointed.

✋ HOLD UP! Don’t Forget…

You need some wheels! It’s nearly impossible to get around the USA and check out the best adventures without a car! Here are our top recommendations…

🚗 Rent a car

If you don’t have your own, renting a car is your best bet!

👉 Find Deals on Cars and SUVs

🚐 Rent a home on wheels

For the more adventurous, rent a van or RV and ditch the hotel.

👉 Find The Best Van For Your Trip

As the oldest town in the state, Astoria is one of Oregon’s most iconic coastal towns.

The settlement was formed along the mouth of the Columbia River in 1811 and features gorgeous Victorian-era homes perched along the hillside. It’s historic, it’s scenic, but above all, Astoria holds some of the most exciting outdoor adventures along the entire Oregon Coast.

Aerial view of the Astoria Column lit up in Astoria a coastal town in Oregon

Thanks to its location near the Pacific Ocean and the border of Washington, this Oregon coast town draws visitors from near and far to hike wooded trails, discover old forts and shipwrecks, and explore the state parks that surround the city. Oh, and did we mention this town was the set for The Goonies?

  • Explore the trails in Cape Disappointment State Park . The North Head Trail is particularly special, with panoramic views of the North Head Lighthouse and a long stretch through lush coastal forest.

Cape Disappointment Lighthouse through the trees.

  • Wander along Astoria’s Riverwalk. The Riverwalk stretches along the coastline parallel to the downtown area. You can walk or bike, and there are plenty of fun spots to stop along the way.
  • Check out Fort Stevens State Park. Fort Stevens State Park is an old military fort located about 20 minutes from Astoria. Some of the original fortifications remain to this day, and there are also hiking trails, freshwater lakes, sandy beaches, and even an old shipwreck!

Rusty ship nose on the beach of Fort Stevens.

  • Fuel up at Coffee Girl. After a busy day of exploring this stunning Oregon coast town, you can get your caffeine fix at Coffee Girl. While you’re in the area, be sure to explore the rest of Pier 39.
  • Troll for Salmon at Buoy 10 . Buoy 10 is widely known as the most productive salmon fishery in Oregon, thanks to its position near the ocean. Buoy 10 is most popular from late July through October when both chinook and coho salmon are available.

Hotel under a bridge in Asotira, Oregon.

  • Chase waterfalls at Youngs River Falls. The Youngs River Falls area sits about 15 minutes from Astoria and features a beautiful waterfall, easy (yet rewarding) trails, and a nice little swimming area if you happen to be lucky with the weather.

READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things to do in Astoria

Places to Stay Near Astoria Beach:

  • Shepherds Cottage Retreat
  • Clementine’s Bed & Breakfast
  • Norblad Hotel
  • More of the best hotels in Astoria

Campgrounds: KOA Resorts | Fort Stevens State Park

Searching for the perfect beach day along the Oregon coast? Set your GPS for Seaside .

This gorgeous beach town lacks some of the cool rock formations that other Oregon coast towns offer, but the wide sandy beaches are perfect for bumming, boogie boarding, and sandcastle making.

American flag and lamp posts on beach promenade in Seaside, Oregon.

The town is quite touristy and glitzy, but there are also plenty of uncrowded trails to hike, quiet rivers to paddle, and big waves to catch. Seaside is a paradise for those who know what to look for, and it’s one of the few Oregon coast towns that lets you have it all.

  • Kayak the Necanicum River. The Necanicum River flows through Seaside directly into the ocean, offering some great kayaking and paddle boarding opportunities . There are multiple places in town to rent kayaks or paddleboards, and it’s one of the best adventures within city limits.

Seaside kayak on the Necanicum River with hills in the back.

  • Visit Del Rey Beach State Recreation Site . You can drive your car right onto the beach here (make sure you have 4WD), pitch a tent, or just enjoy a relaxing beach day in a scenic location.
  • Hike the Tillamook Head Trail . Offering views of one of the most splendid lighthouses on the Oregon Coast , the Tillamook Head Trail is a must for anyone visiting Seaside. It’s wedged right between Seaside and Cannon Beach and is a great option for hikers coming from either location.

Sunset over Pacific Ocean with Tillamook Rock Lighthouse out on the water.

  • Conquer the Saddle Mountain Hike . For more great views, tackle the Saddle Mountain hike. This 5.2-mile trek is a bit more moderate, and there is a pretty intense incline. The views here are fantastic, and on a clear day, you can see all the way from the Pacific Ocean to Mount Hood .

Saddle mountain hike with a bit of snow on the trail.

  • Amble along the Seaside promenade walk. Feel the sea breeze in your hair as you walk along Seaside’s oceanfront promenade. There are places to access the beach on one side, and on the other you’ll find cute cottages, coffee shops, boutiques, and a brewery.

READ MORE: 13 Adventurous Things To Do Around Seaside

Places to Stay Near Seaside Beach:

  • Edgewood Cove Guest House
  • Cozy Pet Friendly Cottage
  • Cabin at Starry Night Inn

Campgrounds: Seaside RV Resort, North Side | Seaside RV Resort

3. Cannon Beach

Often regarded as one of the best beaches in the world, Cannon Beach is an absolute must when visiting Oregon’s coast.

Two people walking on the beach by Haystack Rock in the popular Oregon coast town of Cannon Beach.

It’s the epitome of a classic beach town: picturesque, quaint, and memorable. Haystack Rock stands out as a coastal landmark, but almost everything about this beach begs to be admired.

What’s more, there’s a ton to do here for outdoor lovers, with scenic sites and opportunities for adventure around every turn.

  • Explore Ecola State Park. Ecola State Park is a wildly popular state park located in the heart of Cannon Beach. It offers a great complex of trails and views to explore, making it a fantastic option for adventurers wanting a classic Oregon coast experience.

View of rocks out on the oceans in Ecola.

  • Visit Hug Point State Recreation Site . This area is all about the beach, which used to be home to an old stagecoach route. Today, it’s a scenic stretch of sand with deep sea caves, a rugged coastline, and giant rock formations jutting up out of the surf.
  • Hike to Neahkahnie Mountain . About thirty minutes south of Cannon Beach, Neahkahnie Mountain is one of the most beautiful hikes on the Oregon coast . The hike ends up close to 6 miles round-trip from the north trailhead, and from the south, it’ll top out right around 3 miles round-trip.

Neahkahnie View Point overlooking beach below.

  • Go Tidepooling. Cannon Beach has some great tidepooling opportunities. For your best chances of seeing marine life, head to Haystack Rock or Arcadia Beach. And remember to tidepool at low tide!
  • Kayak Ecola Creek. If you’re into kayaking, don’t miss Ecola Creek. It runs straight into the Pacific Ocean, but the true kayaking action happens a little bit further upstream. The creek is small and easily navigable, with some of the most spectacular scenery of any Oregon Coast town.

Two people kayaking Ecola creek.

  • Wander around town. Cannon Beach has a super cute downtown area, so remember to spend some time wandering around after you get your fix of nature. Indulge in great seafood, visit the shops, hit up a market, or plop down for a beer at the Public Coast Brewery.
  • Walk to Haystack Rock. This is Cannon Beach’s crowning glory, and it’s not hard to see why. Access the beach wherever you can (there are plenty of access points in and around town), then walk to the giant, lone rock in the ocean. It’s that simple!

Garrett bending down for a photo in front of Haystack rock.

READ MORE: 14 Adventurous Things To Do in Cannon Beach

Places to Stay Near Cannon Beach:

  • Adorable Seaside Cottage
  • Cannon Beach Tree House
  • Buccaneer Bay Bungalow
  • More of the best hotels in Cannon Beach

Campgrounds: Wright’s for Camping

4. Manzanita Beach

Manzanita is the definition of a quaint oceanside village, with an itty bitty population and unspoiled scenery everywhere you look.

Beautiful pink sunset and a bird  at Manzanita Beach.

It’s less frequented than Cannon Beach to the north, with easy access to the nearby Oswald West State Park and Nehalem Bay – both hubs for adventures of all kinds.

If you’re looking for an underrated and beautiful town on the Oregon Coast with plenty of exciting outdoor pursuits to keep you entertained, Manzanita just may be the perfect choice for you.

Aerial view of Manzanita, Oregon Coast town.

  • Discover the town of Manzanita Beach. Spend some time wandering Main Street, where you’ll find artisan shops, upscale souvenirs, and even an acclaimed whiskey bar.
  • Kayak and camp at Nehalem Bay State Park . Making its way directly into the Pacific Ocean, Nehalem Bay is more reminiscent of a river than a bay. Fairly narrow and quite shallow throughout most of its entirety, Nehalem is one of our favorite bays on the coast to camp and kayak on.

VW van at Nehalem Bay State Park Campground.

  • Discover Oswald West State Park . Whether you want to hike epic trails, enjoy a scenic picnic, or even shred some waves, Oswald West State Park is one of the best Oregon Coast State Parks .
  • Have a beach day at Short Sand Beach . Located at the center of Oswald West State Park, Short Sand Beach offers soft sand for bumming, great waves for surfing and paddleboarding, and trailheads to lead you to some of the best lookouts in the state.

Man holding surfboard in ocean with rocky cliffs in background at Oswald West State Park.

  • Attend the Friday night farmers’ market. Who doesn’t love a good farmers market? Manzanita Beach puts on a fun market every Friday evening in the summer. Browse fresh produce, handcrafted goods, and other fun stalls.
  • Hike to Cape Falcon . One of the most popular trails in the area, the Cape Falcon Trail , is a 4.6-mile hike that is truly a stunner. A seasonal waterfall halfway through the hike and a meadow with a view at the end make this one of our absolute favorite hikes on the Oregon Coast.

Hiker looking out over the sea and rocks from Cape Falcon.

Places to Stay Near Manzanita Beach:

  • Cottage by the Sea
  • Artist Cottage

Campgrounds: Nehalem Falls Campground | Jetty Fishery Marina & RV Park

5. Tillamook Bay

While it’s probably best known for its dairy industry, Tillamook Bay has a lot more on offer than just its (amazing) cheese factory.

Located on stunning Tillamook Bay (the product of more than a half dozen major rivers and tributaries), Tillamook is a unique town when it comes to adventuring and scenery.

Tillamook Oregon and harbor from above.

There are hundreds of miles of trails on both the land and in the rivers, plus a gorgeous state forest that often goes undiscovered in lieu of other pursuits (remember that cheese factory we were telling you about?).

  • Visit the Tillamook Creamery. You don’t visit Tillamook without stopping at the creamery, trust us. You can take a tour to see how the dairy products are manufactured, sample some cheese, or just pop in for a quick scoop of ice cream.
  • Hike in Cape Lookout State Park. Great hiking trails and even better ocean views are all things you’ll be rewarded with at Cape Lookout State Park . Just south of Tillamook, it offers serene views up and down the coast, and the trails in the park are relatively short and easy.

Tillamook Bay from above showing ocean on the left and greenery in front.

  • Tackle the Trails at Tillamook State Forest. For more scenic trails along Oregon’s coast, check out Tillamook State Forest . Over 80 miles of trails run through new and old-growth forests in this area, with options for hikers of every skill set. There are also numerous campgrounds here!

Tillamook State Forest Hike along a river outside of Tillamook.

  • Drive the Three Capes Scenic Loop. No need to wear your hiking boots out for this one. Hop in the car for some epic views along the Three Capes Scenic Loop , which connects Cape Meares , Cape Lookout , and Cape Kiwanda .
  • Down fresh oysters at Nevør Shellfish Farm. Seafood lovers know that Oregon coast towns have some of the freshest fish around, but if you don’t want to shell out tons of cash, head to Nevør Shellfish Farm. You can get your oysters to go, or have them shuck them for you on-site.

Places to Stay Near Tillamook Bay:

  • Wave Watch ‘N
  • Happy Camp Beachfront Cabin
  • Blue Sea Oceanfront Cottage

Campgrounds: Cape Lookout State Park Campground | Netarts Bay RV Park & Marina

RELATED: 11 Stunning Things To Do on the North Oregon Coast

6. Pacific City

For adventurers who want to do it all and see it all, there’s no better town along the Oregon coast than Pacific City. Throwback craft brews on the beach, try your hand at hang gliding, or climb up the towering sand dunes for some epic views (just not in that order, probably).

Two surfers surfing wave in ocean in front of large rock island in Pacific City.

Nestled just beneath the large headland of Cape Kiwanda, Pacific City is popular with Oregon locals from all over. It offers great views, restaurants, and plenty of outdoor adventures close to the city.

  • Climb the Giant Sand Dune. When you arrive at Pacific City, there will be no ambiguity as to which sand dune we’re referring to. The dune sits along the scenic Cape Kiwanda, just north of Pacific City Proper. There’s not really a designated trail to the top; rather, this one is best improvised.
  • Explore Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. After you conquer the giant sand dune, you can spend the rest of the day in Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area tidepooling, bumming on the beach, surfing, hang gliding, whale watching… the opportunities are endless!

Unreal view at Pacific City, with ocean in the back and sand dunes and cliffs in the forfront.

  • Go surfing. Pacific City is one of the best Oregon coast towns for surfing . The waves are especially rad after a storm or anytime in the winter.
  • Rent a Paddle Board on the Nestucca River. Many Oregon coast towns are characterized by some sort of river flowing through them, and Pacific City is no exception. We recommend renting a paddleboard or kayak and exploring some of the dramatic scenery that the Nestucca has to offer.

Little Nestucca River Oregon with hill in the back.

  • Cruise the beach in your car. The beaches in the Pacific City area are some of the few in Oregon where vehicles are allowed. In the town of Pacific City itself, many people will park their cars along the beach and enjoy the views from the comfort of their vehicles. 4WD is recommended!

Surfer with surfboard walking out of the ocean with giant sand dune in background at Cape Kiwanda.

READ MORE: 11 Adventurous Things To Do in Pacific City

Places to Stay Near Pacific City Beach:

  • Mermaid Cottage
  • Main Deck Cottage
  • Surf & Sand Inn

Campgrounds: Sandbeach Campground | Hart’s Camp Airstream Hotel & RV Park

7. Neskowin

Offering more solitude and equally impressive views as its cousin to the north (Pacific City), Neskowin is one of the best Oregon coast towns. The town is quaint, yet it has a couple of stellar restaurants and nearly endless opportunities for adventure.

Neskowin ocean views at sunset.

Even though the town isn’t huge and lodging options can be limited, it has a fantastic beach that often gets overlooked. Put simply, Neskowin is, without a doubt, worth your time.

  • Grab picnic supplies at the Neskowin Trading Company. There’s nothing better than a picnic with a good view, and there are plenty of spots around town to do just that. If you need to stock up on supplies, head to the Neskowin Trading Company, where you’ll find fresh deli options, home-cooked baked goods, and plenty of beer and wine.
  • Climb Proposal Rock. Once you’re on the beach in Neskowin, you shouldn’t have much trouble identifying Proposal Rock . Though there aren’t any officially maintained trails here, you can wander the tide pools around the rock at low tide.

Spooky ghost forest at Neskowin, it's tree stumps in a foggy scene.

  • Check out the Ghost Forest . While you’re on the beach, don’t miss the Ghost Forest. Hundreds of ancient tree stumps jut out from the sand, and scientists believe these remains are the result of earthquakes and tsunamis centuries ago.
  • Visit the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge . Featuring 360-degree views of the Pacific Ocean, the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Refuge is the perfect place to reconnect with nature. Wander the trails as you search for wildlife like waterfowl, deer, and more, all protected in this stunning area.

Places to Stay Near Neskowin Beach:

  • Darrs Beach Cottage
  • Ocean View Oasis
  • Coastal A-Frame Cabin

Campgrounds: Neskowin Creek RV Resort

8. Lincoln City

Beach bum or adrenaline seeker? Who said you can’t be a little bit of both? Lincoln City offers visitors plenty of options for chilling AND adventuring – a true ‘choose-your-own-adventure’ kind of town.

Lincoln City is a well-known destination for day trips from Portla n d and Salem. With Devil’s Lake to the north and Siletz Bay just a bit further south, its place on the map is part of what makes Lincoln City so appealing.

God's Thumb near Lincoln City with the ocean in the back.

The town’s scenic beach, coupled with the natural features in the area, make Lincoln City one of the most loved Oregon coastal towns, and it’s certainly worth checking out on your next trip road trip through the area.

READ MORE: 15 Adventurous Things To Do in Lincoln City

  • Go fat tire biking. Experience the Oregon coast in a new way. Rent a fat tire bike from Safari Town Surf Shop and glide across the sand around town. TIP: stick to the hard-packed sand along the water line for smooth sailing riding.
  • Kayak Siletz Bay. One of the most drop-dead gorgeous bays on the entire Oregon Coast, Siletz Bay isn’t one to miss. An expansive beach and some oceanfront restaurants complete the overall aesthetic, and you won’t get tired of things to look at while you’re paddling. There’s a lone spot near the bay’s east end where you can rent kayaks or boats to enjoy your day out on the water.

Beautiful view of Siletz Bay with warm golden sunset colors and person in the bottom right take a photo of the three rock stumps in the ocean.

  • Hit the beach. There are plenty of spots around town for beach bumming, surfing, tidepooling, and swimming. In fact, Lincoln City has seven miles of soft sandy beach, with 17 public access points. You won’t be short on options for beach days here! You can even stick around until evening and enjoy a bonfire on the beach.
  • Hike God’s Thumb. Looking north from Lincoln City Beach, you may notice a rock formation at the end. Many admire it from afar, not realizing that it’s actually one of the coolest hikes in this Oregon coast town. The God’s Thumb Hike is a 4-mile out-and-back hike that provides stunning views over Lincoln City Beach.

Woman looking out at view of ocean from God's Thumb hike.

  • Camp at Devil’s Lake. Not to be confused with the Devil’s Lake located near Bend in central Oregon, Devil’s Lake in Lincoln City is an excellent spot to camp. From hiking to fishing and kayaking, there are plenty of things to do in and around this scenic lake.

Places to Stay Near Lincoln City Beach:

  • Cottage by the Beach
  • Whale Watch

Campgrounds: Devil’s Lake State Recreation Area | Lincoln City KOA Journey

RELATED: 17 Cool Oregon Coast Campgrounds to Stay At

9. Depoe Bay

Of all the coastal towns in Oregon, there’s no better place for whale watching than Depoe Bay.

Don’t let the itty bitty harbor fool you. Large marine life flock here like clockwork between March and December, as do the tourists to witness the incredible events.

Depoe Bay scene with rocks cliffs and homes on top.

Once you’ve seen enough whale tails, you can park your bum on the beach, hike some scenic trails, or hit up the local winery!

  • Watch for Whales at the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint. One of the best places for whale watching in Depoe Bay is the Otter Crest State Scenic Viewpoint. Take in views of the ocean and scenic Cape Foulweather from over 500 feet above the sea.

Whale tail in ocean.

  • Enjoy the natural beauty of Fogarty Creek State Recreation Area . This peaceful park boasts a grassy day-use area, a long sand beach, and a series of wooden footbridges. You can spend your day hunting for washed-up driftwood on the beach, exploring tide pools, or birdwatching along one of the park’s trails.
  • Explore Beverly Beach State Park. Beverly Beach State Park is the perfect spot to park your bum on sunny days. The park is also known for hosting some great waves for surfing, scenic beachside trails, and excellent wildlife-watching opportunities (yes, including whales!).

Down low picture of Beverly Beach with hills in the back.

  • Stop by the Depoe Bay Scenic View Area & Park. This is one of the best viewpoints in the area, and it requires zero hiking! The rest of the park stretches through the downtown area, making it a convenient spot to get those iconic coastal views.
  • Visit the downtown area. Once you’re downtown, be sure to pop into some of the cute stores and cafes that line the ocean. This is a foodie’s paradise, so don’t hesitate to stuff yourself before continuing on to another Oregon coast town.

Places to Stay Near Depoe Bay:

  • Whale-Come Home
  • Coastal Breeze
  • Suite Williams

Campgrounds: Beverly Beach State Park

10. Newport

Equal parts eclectic and iconic, Newport is often thought of as the capital of the Oregon coast.

Travelers curious about the mysteries of the Pacific Ocean will adore the sights of Newport. It’s a fantastic place to view marine life and surreal coastal formations, and the town’s scenic viewpoints help you spot migrating whales and other marine life just offshore.

Nina walking towards Yaquina Head Lighthouse, a black and white lighthouse.

This charming Oregon coastal town also has a splash of Victorian architecture, some epic engineering marvels, and plenty of spots to grab a good beer in between sightseeing.

  • Visit the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. The area’s star attraction is the 93 ft Yaquina Head Lighthouse, perched on a basalt rock headland. Standing at the top of Oregon’s tallest lighthouse gives you sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, coastal landscape, and marine life like whales, waterfowl and more.

Kayaker on beach near Yaquina Head Oregon Lighthouse.

  • Spend a day at South Beach State Park. This stunning 498-acre park is tucked between the Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay and offers tons of outdoor activities, including hiking, whale watching, and surfing.
  • Discover Devil’s Punch Bowl . One of the coolest spots along the Oregon coast, the Devil’s Punch Bowl , is a geologic treasure. Shaped like a giant punch bowl carved into the rocks, the rock formation fills with water during violent storms.

Aerial view of Devils Punchbowl, a huge hole in a rocky cliff.

  • Have a pint at Rogue Brewing. One of the most famous breweries along the Oregon coast is Rogue Brewing. It’s set just along Yaquina Bay and in front of the crabbing pier, and it’s a great spot to wander, as you can literally watch beer being made while enjoying their beers and food!
  • Check out the Crabbing Pier. Want to experience the thrill of catching your own crab? What better place than Newport – the self-proclaimed “Dungeness Crab Capital of the World.” It’s a fun and relatively easy activity for the day, and the best months for meaty catches are between summer and fall.

READ MORE: 13 Adventurous Things to Do in Newport

Places to Stay Near Newport:

  • Cozy Nye Beach Bungalow
  • Bayfront Lodge Studio with a Fireplace & Balcony
  • Cozy Dog-Friendly Cottage
  • More on the best hotels in Newport

Campgrounds: South Beach State Park | Beverly Beach State Park

11. Yachats

The wonders of Oregon’s coastal towns are far from a well-kept secret. But there are still a few spots that fly under the radar. Welcome to Yachats.

Situated off the scenic Highway 101, Yachats is one of Oregon’s hidden coastal gems. While you may be tempted to pass through the tiny town without stopping, those who spend some time in Yachats will find plenty of reasons to stick around for a day or two.

Stairs leading to the water in the coastal town of Yachats, Oregon

Yachats lays on the small-town charm thick. From local diners serving up fresh catches of the day to incredible seascapes and a plethora of outdoor offerings, Yachats is not to be missed.

  • Explore Cape Perpetua. Head south to Cape Perpetua to the highest accessible viewpoint by car on the entire coast. After taking in the scenery from the viewpoint, you can hike over 26 miles of trails, drive between scenic lookout points, or explore the rich and varied tidepools.

Nina at Cape Perpetua on a rocky cliffside edge with the ocean roaring on the left.

  • Wander around downtown Yachats. Although small, Yachats has plenty to keep visitors entertained. Pop into the rare gem gallery, visit the Little Log Historic Museum, or just wine and dine to your heart’s content.
  • Have a pint at Yachats Brewing + Farm Store. One of the best places in town is Yachats Brewing. If you’re not into microbrews, you can always opt for kombucha or probiotic sodas! If you’re feeling hungry, you can purchase some house-fermented veggies to go with your bevvy. Note that opening times vary throughout the year.
  • Visit Thors Well . One of the biggest draws to Yachats and Cape Perpetua is Thors Well . Also known as ‘the Drainpipe to the Pacific’ and ‘the Gate to Hell,’ this oceanic sinkhole has been baffling onlookers for centuries. When the waves hit the well, you can expect an epic water show, especially during high tide.

Close up shot of Thor's Well - a rocky cauldron in the ocean.

  • Hike part of the Oregon Coast Trial. The 804 trail is a short and easy section of the Oregon Coast Trail that runs along Yachat’s rugged coast. This is a great hike for anyone looking to avoid the crowds that plague some of the more popular trails in the area.
  • Ocean Cove Sunset
  • Romantic Cottage

Campgrounds: Cape Perpetua Campground

12. Florence

Found right in the middle of the Oregon Coast, Florence is at the center of all the action. With raging waterfalls, tall dunes, and rugged cliffside trails, this Oregon coast town is the place to be if you want to get the adrenaline pumping.

Heceta Head from above showing the lighthouse and the beach to the right.

The scenery here rivals some of the best on the rest of the coast, and there are plenty of things to keep you entertained as you admire the sights.

  • Rent a Dune Buggy. Renting a dune buggy to roam the Oregon dunes is one of the most exhilarating adventures in Florence. You won’t find many options for this activity further north, so take advantage while you’re in the area!

Dune buggy with trees in the back.

  • Kayak the Siltcoos River. The Siltcoos River is hands down the best kayaking spot in Florence. It’ll take you through some lush coastal forest scenery, and the current isn’t too strong. The river starts at Siltcoos Lake, which is one of the few lakes in Oregon that gets a salmon run!

Kayaker on the Siltcoos River.

  • Hike the Heceta Head to Hobbit Beach Trail. The Hobbit Trail doesn’t disappoint when it comes to scenery. A gorgeous beach, a historic lighthouse, and sweeping ocean views are all in store on this trail. At just under 4 miles round-trip, this is a great side excursion for adventurers interested in a great hike that won’t take all day. Read more on how to explore Heceta Head !

Lighthouse at Heceta Head overlooking the ocean.

  • Hike to Kentucky Falls. While most Oregon coast towns are renowned for their pretty coastal views, Florence offers visitors the chance to see a different side of the state without venturing too far from Route 101. Kentucky Falls sits within the lush Siuslaw National Forest , and you’ll hike through verdant, old-growth forests before reaching the three thundering waterfalls.

Kentucky Falls waterfalls cascading over mossy rocks.

  • Visit the Sea Lion Caves. You know that Oregon coast towns are great for whale watching, but if you want to switch it up, go. to the Sea Lion Caves! As the name suggests, you’ll find plenty of sea lions lazing about inside the caves, and there are also some walking trails you can explore.

READ MORE: 9 Adventurous Things To Do in Florence

Places to Stay Near Florence Beach:

  • Pelican’s Perch
  • Huckleberry Cottage
  • Fisherman’s Cottage

Campgrounds: Heceta Beach RV Park | Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park Campground

13. Coos Bay

Combine one part historic charm, one part outdoor adventure, and one part epic scenery, and boom – you’ve got Coos Bay.

With a population of just over 16,000, Coos Bay is one of the “bigger” cities along the Oregon coast. Many adventure seekers choose to make Coos Bay their home base while exploring the coast due to the abundance of entertainment and accommodation options.

View of Coos Bay beach, Oregon.

There are a plethora of state parks around Coos Bay, along with soft sand beaches, scenic hiking trails, and fruitful fishing holes.

  • Get the adrenaline pumping at Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. One of the biggest draws to Coos Bay is the dramatic Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area . While there are plenty of hiking trails within the recreation area, one of the most thrilling ways to get around the dunes is via OHV. You could also spend the day here sandboarding, taking a dune buggy tour, or paddling along the shoreline.

The Oregon Dunes NRA trail with a hiker walking up hill on a sandy trail.

  • Go for a drive along the Cape Arago Highway. This scenic drive boasts some of the state’s best coastal scenery, with plenty of spots to stop off along the way. Sunset Bay State Park and Shore Acres State Park are favorite detours, with gorgeous trails offering additional viewpoints.
  • Wander through Golden & Silver Falls State Natural Area. This hidden gem of a park is well off the beaten path and features miles of incredible hiking trails – many of which you will likely have all to yourself! The views from the trails are breathtaking, with massive waterfalls and dense forests making up the bulk of the scenery.

Golden and Silver Falls cascading over rocks.

  • Meander along the Coos Bay Boardwalk. Taking a stroll along the Coos Bay Boardwalk will not only give you great views of the bay area, but there are also some information signs depicting the city’s history.
  • Explore downtown Coos Bay. After you visit the boardwalk, head downtown to see what Coos Bay is all about. Be sure to admire the iconic Egyptian Theater, pop in for some sweet treats at Cranberry Sweets & More, or spend a rainy day perusing art at the Coos Art Museum.

Places to Stay Near Coos Bay:

  • Bayview Cottage
  • Sparrows Nest
  • Cottage on the Bay

Campgrounds: Sunset Bay State Park

RELATED: A Legendary Oregon Coast Road Trip—35 Stops & 3 Itineraries

Bandon is next level when it comes to scenery and cozy, coastal town vibes.

Wizards Hat rock formation on Bandon Beach, with reflections in water at sunset.

Beloved for its dramatic rock formations, this Oregon coast town entices nature lovers and geology nerds alike. Legendary tales surround Face Rock State Scenic Viewpoint, and its tidal flats draw birdwatchers to the area.

Walking on Bandon Beach, a large sandy beach with random rocks scattered around.

Comfortable year-round temperatures make Brandon a hotspot for fishing, hiking, and cycling. You can also admire the sea stacks and rugged cliffs from lighthouses or partake in the annual shellfish and cranberry harvests.

  • Explore Bullards Beach State Park . Located along the Coquille River, Bullards Beach State Park features hiking and biking trails, a horse camp, and some great fishing spots. Get an intense workout by cycling through thick sand or hiking around sweeping dunes.

Bridge over water with forested hills in the background near Bandon Beach.

  • Admire artwork along the Oregon Coast Public Art Trail. This 30-mile trail stretches from Brandon to Port Orford and features paintings, sculptures, furniture, and more from local artists. There are also several galleries located in towns along the way, so don’t hesitate to take a detour!
  • Hike around the several state parks near Bandon. Bandon Beach visitors are lucky to have a cluster of state parks nearby, all with beautiful hiking trails and scenic viewpoints in hefty doses. Sunset Bay State Park is a favorite, as are Cape Arago State Park and Shore Acres State Park.

View across bay to Cape Arago Lighthouse.

  • Enjoy a beach day. Brandon Beach has some of the best beaches along the Oregon coast , making it the perfect place for beach bumming, swimming, surfing, and all the other classic beach day activities.
  • Visit during the Brandon Cranberry Festival. Each September, Brandon puts on an epic cranberry festival with three days of fun activities. You can see live music, dine on cranberry-inspired food, shop the farmer’s market, and more.

READ MORE: 9 Cool Adventures Around Bandon Beach, Oregon

Places to Stay Near Bandon Beach:

  • Cranberry Overlook at Black Moon Farms
  • Bandon Bear Cottage
  • Dog-Friendly Home with Fenced-In Yard

Campgrounds: Bullards Beach State Park | Sunset Bay State Park

15. Port Orford

Surrounded by gorgeous white sand beaches, impressive rock formations, and staggering mountain scenes, Port Orford is the embodiment of Oregon’s coastal beauty.

There is plenty here to entertain even the most adventurous travelers, including state parks, beaches, trails, and enough raw beauty to keep you coming back time and time again.

Port Orford views on a foggy day with the ocean and random rocks jutting out of the water.

With its bustling harbor, boutique shops, and cute local eateries, this is the perfect stop for anyone who wants to couple unspoiled nature with some awesome creature comforts.

  • Explore Cape Blanco State Park. Cape Blanco is one of the most secluded state parks in Oregon. With the remoteness comes unmatched raw beauty, which is best observed by hiking along one of the park’s scenic trails. While you’re in the park, don’t miss the iconic Cape Blanco Lighthouse.

Lighthouse in distance at Cape Blanco Oregon Coast State Park.

  • Hike the trails at Humbug Mountain State Park. Humbug Mountain is all about hiking. The park is home to one of the highest mountains in the state, offering hikers sweeping views from 1730 feet above the sea. There are also thick forests, trickling creeks, sandy beaches, and a cozy campsite for overnight travelers.

View of the ocean over the forest on the Humbug Mountain Loop Trail viewpoint.

  • Take a stroll along the beach of Battle Rock Wayside Park. This is the perfect place for a leisurely stroll, with great coastal views and a soft sandy beach. If you’re lucky, you may even spot a whale as you wander around the park!
  • Discover Floras Lake State Natural Area. Floras Lake State Natural Area is incredibly stunning, yet not that many people know about it! Enjoy the solitude as you conquer scenic trails, go paddleboarding or windsurfing on Floras Lake, or spend some time beachcombing along the sandy shoreline.

View of beach and sea cliffs at Floras Lake State Park on the Oregon Coast.

  • Spend the day at Sisters Rock State Park . This is one of the newer Oregon state parks, and it does a great job of showcasing the best of the coast’s beauty. All the usual suspects are here, including towering sea stacks, hidden sea coves, and of course, miles of scenic trails.

READ MORE: 7 Adventurous Things to Do Around Port Orford

  • Tranquil Cottage
  • Whimsy by the Sea
  • Vintage Beach Cottage

Campgrounds: Camp Blanco RV Park | Elk River Campground

16. Gold Beach

Maybe you’re planning on extending your road trip further south into California. Or perhaps you’ve heard lore of the unique things to do in southern Oregon . Either way, Gold Beach is the golden ticket.

Mary D Hume shipwreck in water with bridge in background at Gold Beach.

Not too far from the Oregon-California border, this incredible Oregon coast town boasts a host of perks that you won’t find in many of the state’s other beach towns: warmer weather, vast dunes, and the mighty Rogue River.

Gold beach with a few random rocks along the shoreline.

There are plenty of awesome outdoor activities on offer in Golden Beach, and whether you’re looking for adventurous pursuits or a relaxing getaway, this southerly coast town will not disappoint.

  • Hunt for treasure at Gold Beach. Channel your inner pirate and search for gold along Gold Beach. Okay, there’s probably not actually any gold, but this spot is known for its treasure hunts. Visitors are welcome to eagerly hunt for picturesque glass floats all along the 2.5 miles of beach, with a few also hidden within the many shops in the town.
  • Jet Boat the Rogue River . Jet boating a coastal river like the Rogue is an adventure you’d be hard-pressed to find anywhere else in Oregon. You’ll whiz by plenty of lush coastal forest scenery along the way, and we haven’t heard of anyone who’s regretted this trip.

Cape Sebastian at sunset with the mountains in the distance reflecting off the water below.

  • Enjoy Scenic Views Along Cape Sebastian & Mouth of Pistol River . The Cape Sebastian Trail, located just a few minutes south of Gold Beach itself, is one of the most rewarding hikes on the Oregon Coast. The 3-mile trail consistently delivers panoramic views of Cape Sebastian and the Pacific before making a final descent to a picturesque beach.
  • Check out Sam H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. While you’re in the area, check out Samuel H Boardman , one of the most popular hiking areas along the coast. This stunning spot features vistas of sea stacks sprinkled along the coastlines and the rushing tides hitting the cliffside.

Tiny hiker in pink jacket overlooking the ocean and beautiful seastacks and rocks in the distance.

  • Book a charter boat and go salmon fishing. Because of the presence of the Rogue, Gold Beach is an Oregon Coast icon when it comes to fishing. The river gets strong salmon and steelhead runs, and it’s somewhat of a landmark for anglers across the entire state. There are plenty of charters in Gold Beach , and the type of fishing you’ll do will depend on the time of year.

Salmon fisherman in the water with his line drawn.

READ MORE: 15 Adventurous Things To Do Around Gold Beach

Places to Stay Near Gold Beach:

  • Gold Beach Country Cottage
  • Gold Beach Apartment
  • Sunny Cabin on the Rogue River

Campgrounds: Indian Creek Campground | Rogue Pacific RV Park & Vacation Rentals

17. Brookings

If I had to guess, I’d say that Brookings probably isn’t on your Oregon Coast bucket list. Heck, most Oregon natives don’t know that much about it!

Beach with beach grass and large rock in background at sunset in Brookings.

This is the state’s southernmost town, and it has somewhat of a mysterious quality to it. Because it’s so far from Portland (and most other major cities in Oregon, for that matter), it doesn’t get discussed very often.

But Brookings is an absolute gem, and it shouldn’t be overlooked by any adventurer serious about exploring all that the Oregon Coast has to offer.

View out to ocean with rocky coastline in the foreground at Harris Beach State Park.

Brookings offers unique scenery and generally warmer temperatures than some of the coastal towns further north, and there’s plenty to do here.

  • Hike and Relax at Chetco Point Park. An oceanside park offering trails, picnic tables, and scenic ocean views, Chetco Point Park is one of our favorite adventuring opportunities in Brookings. It’s always a pleasure to revel in the southern Oregon Coast scenery, and Chetco Point Park is one of the best places to do just that.

View of Brookings Oregon by the sea from above.

  • Hike the Harris Beach Trail. Harris Beach State Park is one of the most popular attractions in Brookings, and for good reason. From ocean views and picnic areas to mountain bike trails and brimming tide pools, it offers just about anything anyone could possibly want from the Oregon Coast.

Tides in at Harris Beach with a wave coming over some rocks.

  • See Redwoods. Redwoods? In Oregon? Who knew?! A lot of people associate redwoods with California. But you can also see Redwoods in Oregon if you journey far enough into the southern part of the state. There are several trails on the outskirts of Brookings that boast Redwoods, and they’re all pretty short and easy!

Garrett on dirt trail surrounded by redwood trees in Oregon.

  • Admire the views at Lone Ranch Beach. The driftwood-strewn beach isn’t the best place for working on a suntan, but there are some great views to be found here. Hike along the coastal trails to find some of the best viewpoints.
  • Hop over to California. If you’ve got the time, keep heading south on Highway 101 and take a road trip through northern Cali . Obviously, Oregon is for adventure, but there’s no denying that northern California holds some great gems too! You’ll hit Crescent City first, which is just about 30 minutes south of Brookings.

Nina in Crescent City, California on a deck overlooking the beach.

READ MORE: 7 Adventurous Things to do in Brookings, Oregon

Places to Stay Near Brookings:

  • Tanbark Shores Guest Suite
  • Captain’s Quarters
  • Sunlight Cottage

Campgrounds: Harris Beach State Recreation Area Campground | Driftwood RV Park

It’s no surprise that Oregon’s coastal towns are considered some of the most spectacular in the country.

Intriguing cultural and food scenes, along with the limitless supply of outdoor adventures, are what make the Oregon Coast so special. It’s a paradise for outdoor adventure lovers, and you’ll likely not see some of the same scenery anywhere else.

Woman sitting on bench and looking out to sea at Cape Arago.

If you’re planning an extended trip out to the Oregon Coast or are just trying to find a new beach for the weekend, the towns listed here provide the absolute best adventure opportunities and scenery that the dramatic Oregon Coast has to offer.

Explore a beach or three, and have fun doing it!

If you need more help planning your trip here, our Oregon Coast road trip post will help you do exactly that. We have sample itineraries and maps for you to steal too! And these are our favorite Oregon coast hikes too.

More Oregon Coast Towns

oregon cities to visit

  Check out more of what  Oregon’s coast  has to offer and see what other  adventures Oregon  has for you to discover.

' src=

Oregon native and explorer at heart. Loves tackling expeditions around the world and drinking a good beer at the end of the day. PNW obsessed, VW nerd, and surf or snow riding fanatic.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

10 ways to experience Oregon on a budget

Tamara Gane

Apr 23, 2024 • 5 min read

oregon cities to visit

Experience Oregon on a budget with these money-saving tips © AscentXmedia / Getty Images

Oregon is like dozens of vacation destinations rolled into one.

In addition to the natural beauty of its many landscapes, the Beaver State is home to vineyards, dazzling cities and exciting cultural events like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival . The only catch? With so many options, you can easily spend a fortune on your itinerary.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case. With a little planning, you can visit Oregon on a budget. These travel hacks will help you see bucket list Oregon locations – like the Pacific Ocean, Crater Lake National Park  and cities like Portland – without breaking the bank. 

Daily costs in Oregon

  • Dorm lodging in a hostel: $28
  • Basic hotel room for two: $100
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb:) $110
  • Camping fees: $17 for a tent site 
  • Public transportation: $5.60 for a day pass in Portland 
  • Coffee $3–6 a cup
  • Sandwich: $10
  • Dinner for two: $50 
  • Wine tasting: $15

A cyclist rides along a path in a city's riverside park

Skip the rental car 

Save yourself the money and hassle of renting a car on your next trip to Portland. Many of the city’s top attractions are walkable from downtown, plus you’ll find bike shares and scooter rentals on virtually every corner. If you need to venture further, a day pass for Portland’s TriMet transportation system (including light rail, commuter rail and bus service throughout the metro area) is just $5.60. 

Oregon’s inter-city bus line, Point , offers affordable transportation for longer distances. The scenic Northwest route from Portland to Astoria is a popular way to get to the coast since tickets are only $18 each way. Once you arrive, downtown Astoria is walkable. During warmer months, you can take a ride on the historic riverfront trolley for just $2 a day.  

Local tip: If you’re arriving by air, catch the light rail at the south end of the PDX terminal building. 

See the very best of Oregon with our guide to the top places to visit

Visit the beach during the shoulder season 

The Oregon coast is most popular from Memorial Day through the end of September. This means lodging comes at a premium. You’ll save money if you plan your visit outside of that time frame. The weather can be quite lovely in spring and fall and the beaches are far less crowded. Even stormy winter days are beautiful on the coast when waves crash on the surf.

Purchase your lift tickets in advance 

If you’re planning a ski trip to a destination like Timberline or Mt Bachelor , you’ll save money by purchasing your lift ticket online. If your plans are flexible, search for a few different dates to find the best deal. Most of the time you’ll get a better price the farther you book in advance. Since ski season in Oregon usually lasts through April or May, there are plenty of dates to choose from. 

An alpine area covered with snow and a vast lake

Explore Southern Oregon 

In addition to attractions like Crater Lake National Park , Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve  and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Southern Oregon is home to fantastic vineyards and wineries. Besides being an amazing vacation destination, lodging, restaurants, and activities like wine tasting usually cost less than they do in hot spots like Portland or Willamette Valley. Base yourself in Grants Pass, Ashland or Klamath Falls to save money without sacrificing memorable experiences.

Book hotel rooms or rental houses during the week 

Most hotels and rental homes are cheaper on weekdays than they are on weekends. If you aren’t tied to a specific date, try playing with booking platforms to see how much your stay will cost on different days of the week. You can put the money you save towards meals or transportation. 

Take advantage of free or discounted museum days 

Many of Oregon’s best museums offer free or discounted admission to the public regularly. Examples include free admission to the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton on the first Friday of every month, free admission to the Portland Art Museum on the first Thursday of every month, or $5 admission to the Omni Museum of Science and Industry on the first Sunday of every month. Free admission and discount programs are usually listed on museum websites. 

Stay in a hostel

Forge friendships with fellow travelers and save big bucks on lodging with accommodations at properties like Portland Hostel , where dorm-style beds cost as little as $36 a night. If you’re traveling to the Oregon coast, a shared room at the Seaside Lodge and International Hostel can be yours for about $50 a night. In Southern Oregon, shared rooms at Ashland Commons Hostel are as little as $28 a night.

Time your visit to Oregon just right with this seasonal guide

Two women prepare a meal at a picnic table beside an RV camper parked in a scenic tree-lined campsite

Oregon’s state parks are not only beautiful, they are excellent places to stay . Although prices at individual parks vary, you can generally expect to pay about $17 a night for a tent site, between $30–40 for a non-resident RV site, and about $50 a night for a yurt or rustic cabin. For exact rates, search for your dates and desired location online.

Snag a wine-tasting passport 

Tasting fees at Oregon’s wineries typically run from $15–25 a person, although they can easily cost more, depending on the winery. If you’re visiting several wineries, it can put a serious dent in your budget. The Heart of Willamette Passport offers free or discounted tastings at wineries in the Corvallis area for a one-time fee of $45. If you’re traveling with a plus one, a second passport can be purchased at a $5 discount. 

Seek out happy hours

Happy hour is hardly a new concept but the discounts are especially rewarding in a food-centric city like Portland. Find $5 cocktails and two tacos for $5 at Pig Patas Tacos or $10 chicken sandwiches with half-off bottles of wine at Radio Room . There are plenty of great happy hours in other parts of the state, too, including $6 for poutine and wings plus discounted drinks at Taproot Lounge and Cafe in Salem. 

Explore related stories

Amtrak sale_0.jpg

Sustainable Travel

Nov 29, 2019 • 1 min read

Ready to plan your 2020 rail adventures? Amtrak is offering fares for as low as $19 in its Black Friday / Cyber Monday sale, with special discounts…

oregon cities to visit

May 3, 2024 • 12 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 28, 2024 • 7 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 26, 2024 • 7 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 22, 2024 • 13 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 20, 2024 • 4 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 17, 2024 • 5 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 17, 2024 • 6 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 17, 2024 • 4 min read

oregon cities to visit

Apr 11, 2024 • 6 min read

ceano, California. Street view, shops and restaurants, architecture, city life

  • 7 Most Affordable Towns to Retire on the Pacific Coast

Finding a budget-friendly retirement spot along the Pacific Coast can be tricky.

The region is famous for its raw beauty, with crashing coastal scenes and ancient forests. But it can be a bit notorious for the high cost of living and expensive homes, depending on where you look.

Despite this, it also has places ideal for retirees who want to stretch their dollar in scenic settings.

The states that encompass the Pacific Coast have lots of unique attractions that draw people to live there, like stunning natural landscapes, rich culture, and vibrant communities.

Read on to learn about seven towns that are affordable options to settle down in after your retirement.

Crescent City, California

Beautiful pottery at the Trading Co. Native Made Moccasins building in Crescent City, California

With the redwoods just around the corner, any retiree with a passion for nature will feel right at home here.

The town also has home prices and crime both lower than the national average, and offers a safe, affordable place to settle in.

A retiree who enjoys casting out a fishing rod will find the Smith River close by, offering some of the best salmon and steelhead fishing in the area.

Crescent City is surrounded by stunning nature, featuring wild shores and beautiful beaches like Pebble Beach, famous for its bright agate stones. This coastal spot has lots of chances for fun outdoor things to do like walking, watching birds, and spotting whales when they migrate.

The areas around Crescent City were home to many Native American tribes before settlers arrived, like the Tolowa Dee-ni’. Local events, museums, and classes keep their culture alive by highlighting their traditions and stories, and are an important part of the town's current history and legacy.

Westport, Washington

The marina at Westport, Washington.

With an average house price of just over $280,000, this town is a good option for coastal living after retirement.

The town has a relaxed vibe, with pretty beaches and ocean views. It is an ideal spot for a calm, slow life after retirement.

This place has a rich history of sea travel and is famous for its large deep-sea fishing industry. In Westport, there are lots of boats available for hire that take folks out to sea to catch fish like salmon and tuna.

Westport Light State Park is a must-see stop. Inside the park, you can find Grays Harbor Lighthouse, the tallest lighthouse in Washington. Built in 1898, it is 107 feet high and lets you see amazing views of everything around it from the top.

The town is also lively with things to see and do. Some of the fun things to do include the Westport Art Festival, Crab Races and Crab Feed, and the big World Class Crab Derby.

Eureka, California

Downtown Eureka, California

If retiring amongst beautifully preserved architecture sounds appealing, Eureka is a top-tier choice.

It has one of California's largest collections of Victorian houses, and among these, the Carson Mansion stands out as a stunning example of Victorian architecture, known as one of the finest in the whole of America.

The town is also the gateway to some of the tallest, most majestic trees on Earth.The nearby Redwood National and State Parks have ancient giant redwoods, hundreds of years old. These parks draw in people who love nature and hiking from all over the world.

The town is lively, with a community feel that is great for retirees who want to stay active and sociable. There is always something to partake in, like art walks and music festivals.

All year round, it hosts different cultural festivals, including the Redwood Coast Music Festival.

Ocean Shores, Washington

View from the Rock Jetty on a Clear Sunny Day at Ocean Shores Washington.

With low crime and an affordable cost of living, Ocean Shores is a fine option to retire in.

In fact, the rent in town is 40 percent lower than the national average.

If walking around and searching for gorgeous birds sounds like a great time to you, then you will love your time in Ocean Shores.

The place to check out is Damon Point. It is highly regarded for its beautiful views and calm beach walks. Plus, you can see birds and sometimes even spot grey whales depending on the time of year.

Every year the town holds the Razor Clam Festival & Seafood Extravaganza. Here people gather to search for clams, try to make the top clam chowder, and have fun listening to live music.

Close by, near Ocean Shores, visitors can explore the Quinault Rainforest in the Olympic National Park . This temperate rainforest provides a stark difference to the beach setting of Ocean Shores.

Port Angeles, Washington

Street Scene in Uptown Port Angeles, Washington

With the Olympic National Park just next door, Port Angeles is a prime spot for retirement.

The park has everything from mountains with glaciers, ancient forests, and more than 70 miles of wild beaches. It is also great for hiking, watching animals, and just having fun outside.

Rent in town is 15.6% cheaper than the national average. Plus, there are lots of chances to enjoy the outdoors, making it a great spot if you enjoy nature and save some money.

Retirees who love the arts should check out the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center. It is located in a gorgeous forest park, and visitors can find art from local artists and a sculpture garden with walking trails, combining art with nature.

Traveling to other spots nearby is simple too. From Port Angeles, you can hop on a ferry to Victoria in British Columbia . There, you can visit places like the immersive Royal BC Museum and the world-class Butchart Gardens.

Oceano, California

Oceano, California: Houses that are set amid coastal sand dunes.

Oceano, while its own unique area, can get lumped together with Pismo Beach. Even on its own, this town is the perfect example of an ideal beach spot.

It has a beautiful pier, sandy beaches, and an active boardwalk. This is where folks come to live the relaxed California lifestyle.

Who wouldn't want a little bit of that sweet Mediterranean-style weather all year? Here the climate is a big draw for folks ready to kick back and enjoy retirement without the chill of winter or the sizzle of summer beating down on them.

Pismo Beach is close to wine areas like Edna Valley, and it is only a quick trip to get there. This lets visitors easily try different wines and see the lovely vineyards along the Central Coast.

The city has great natural spots and facilities that help people stay active, which is important for staying healthy. Retirees can enjoy different activities like beach walks, hiking, playing golf, and doing yoga. A good example to do some of those things is at the Oceano Dunes State Vehicular Recreation Area.

Coos Bay, Oregon

Marina in Coos Bay Oregon.

This town is the biggest on the Oregon coast and plays a key role in the area's economy because of its deep-water port.

Living in Coos Bay costs less than the average for both the country and the state. It costs about 10.5% less than the average across the U.S. and 21.7% less than what you would typically pay in Oregon.

If you envision heading outdoors after you retire, just south of Coos Bay, visitors can find the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, stretching out for 40 miles next to the ocean.

Here, there are huge areas of beach sand dunes, some of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world.

Love seafood? The town and area is acclaimed for its seafood. The place has tons of food events every year, like the Charlestown Seafood Festival and other like-minded festivals.

In Conclusion

Retiring along the Pacific Coast can be a dream come true without stretching your finances.

These spots combine affordability with the stunning natural scope of the Pacific Coast.

They also offer lively cultural scenes, and inviting communities. Ideal for retirees, they can also have mild climates and diverse activities that enhance a relaxed yet active lifestyle.

So, if you want to embrace a coastal retirement where budget meets beauty and vitality, the sky is the limit in the Pacific Coast.

More in Places

Central Street through Middleburg, Virginia. Image credit Nigel Jarvis via

10 Breathtaking Towns to Visit in Virginia

Blue hour after sunset in Madison Connecticut from East Wharf beach.

6 Most Scenic Small Towns in Connecticut

Street view in Tilba, New South Wales, via BBaron /

The Best Small Towns in New South Wales for a Weekend Retreat

Group of women by ocean in foggy morning in Deception Pass Bridge Park, Anacortes, Washington.

12 Best Places to Live in Washington in 2024

Newburyport, MA, US. Editorial credit: Heidi Besen /

7 Most Idyllic Small Towns in Massachusetts

The beach in Michigan City, Indiana, USA. Editorial credit: Lewis Photo Studio /

7 Coolest Towns in the Great Lakes for a Summer Vacation in 2024

Aerial view of Cedar City, Utah, USA.

8 Towns Perfect for Retirement in Utah

Street scene in historic old town Julian, California. Editorial credit: littlenySTOCK /

7 Most Affordable Towns to Retire in Southern California

oregon cities to visit

Discovering America: 10 Must-Visit Cities For Every Traveler's Bucket List

The best cities to visit in USA can be toured virtually by reading this post, before booking a flight to your desired destination.

Camilla Amadi • May 3, 2024

oregon cities to visit

The United States of America , a land woven from the threads of diverse cultures, breathtaking landscapes, and vibrant energy, beckons the explorer within. From the sun-drenched shores of California to the history-laden streets of the East Coast, each city boasts a unique charm, waiting to be unwrapped.

Imagine strolling through bustling metropolises where iconic landmarks pierce the sky, or meandering down cobblestone streets lined with charming cafes and independent shops. Perhaps you crave the thrill of world-class museums and Broadway shows, or yearn for a taste of authentic regional cuisine. The best cities to visit in USA can be toured virtually by reading this guide, before booking a flight to your desired destination.

What Are The Best Cities To Visit In USA?

In this guide, we’ll embark on a virtual journey, unveiling the hidden gems and iconic experiences that await in each destination. Whether you’re a history buff, a foodie adventurer or an art enthusiast, we’ll help you craft the perfect American itinerary. So, grab your virtual passport and buckle up, as we unveil the captivating tapestry woven by the best cities in the USA!

New York City, New York

oregon cities to visit

Best Time to Visit: Spring (April to June) or Fall (September to November)

Things to Do: Explore Central Park, visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, take in a Broadway show, and wander through the diverse neighborhoods like Times Square , Greenwich Village, and SoHo.

Where to Eat: Indulge in New York-style pizza at Lombardi’s, dine at world-class restaurants like Le Bernardin and Eleven Madison Park, and sample street food at food trucks around the city.

Where to Stay: Consider luxury hotels like The Plaza or boutique hotels like The NoMad Hotel.

San Francisco, California

oregon cities to visit

Best Time to Visit: Fall (September to November) or Spring (March to May)

Things to Do: Walk across the Golden Gate Bridge, explore Alcatraz Island, ride a cable car through the city’s hilly streets, and visit attractions like Fisherman’s Wharf , Chinatown, and the Painted Ladies.

Where to Eat: Enjoy fresh seafood at Fisherman’s Wharf, dine at iconic restaurants like The Slanted Door and Gary Danko, and sample gourmet food at the Ferry Building Marketplace.

Where to Stay: Consider waterfront hotels like Hotel Vitale or boutique hotels like The Kimpton Buchanan.

Chicago, Illinois

oregon cities to visit

Best Time to Visit : Summer (June to August) or Fall (September to November)

Things to Do: Take an architectural boat tour on the Chicago River, visit Millennium Park and Cloud Gate (The Bean), explore the Art Institute of Chicago, and enjoy panoramic views from the Willis Tower Skydeck.

Where to Eat : Try deep-dish pizza at Lou Malnati’s or Giordano’s, indulge in Chicago-style hot dogs at Portillo’s, and savor fine dining at Alinea or Girl & the Goat.

Where to Stay: Consider luxury hotels like The Langham or boutique hotels like The Gwen.

Los Angeles, California

Pictured: street view of the Hollywood sign between tall palm trees along Hollywood Boulevard in Los Angeles, California

Best Time to Visit : Spring (March to May) or Fall (September to November)

Things to Do: Explore the Hollywood Walk of Fame, visit Universal Studios Hollywood, relax on the beaches of Santa Monica and Venice, and hike to the Hollywood Sign.

Where to Eat: Indulge in tacos at Grand Central Market, dine at celebrity chef restaurants like Nobu and Spago, and enjoy gourmet food trucks in neighborhoods like Silver Lake and Echo Park.

Where to Stay: Consider luxury hotels like The Beverly Hills Hotel or boutique hotels like The Line Hotel.

New Orleans, Louisiana

New Orleans is amount one of the most popular party cities in the United States. But is New Orleans safe? Pictured: historic district of New Orleans

Best Time to Visit : Fall (September to November) or Spring (March to May)

Things to Do: Experience the vibrant nightlife on Bourbon Street, listen to live jazz music in the French Quarter, sample Creole and Cajun cuisine, and visit historic sites like Jackson Square and St. Louis Cathedral.

Where to Eat: Enjoy beignets and café au lait at Café du Monde, dine at iconic restaurants like Commander’s Palace and Galatoire’s, and try local dishes like gumbo, jambalaya, and po’boys.

Where to Stay: Consider historic hotels like The Roosevelt New Orleans or boutique hotels like The Old No. 77 Hotel & Chandlery.

Washington, D.C.

Pictured: Washington D.C., DC, USA

Best Time to Visit: Spring (March to May) or Fall (September to November)

Things to Do : Explore the National Mall and its iconic monuments, visit the Smithsonian museums, take a stroll through historic neighborhoods like Georgetown, and enjoy cherry blossoms in bloom in one of the best cities to visit in USA.

Where to Eat: Indulge in classic American fare at Old Ebbitt Grill, sample international cuisine at Union Market, and savor upscale dining at restaurants like The Inn at Little Washington.

Where to Stay: Consider luxury hotels like The Hay-Adams or boutique hotels like The Line DC.

Boston, Massachusetts

Pictured: Boston, MA, United States

Best Time to Visit : Fall (September to November) or Spring (April to June)

Things to Do: Walk the Freedom Trail, visit historic sites like Faneuil Hall and the Paul Revere House, explore the vibrant neighborhoods of Beacon Hill and Back Bay, and take a ferry to the Boston Harbor Islands.

Where to Eat: Enjoy seafood at Legal Sea Foods, indulge in Italian cuisine in the North End, and dine at upscale restaurants like Menton and Ostra.

Where to Stay: Consider historic hotels like The Omni Parker House or boutique hotels like The Liberty, a Luxury Collection Hotel.

Seattle, Washington

Pictured: Seattle, Washington

Best Time to Visit: Summer (June to August) or Fall (September to November)

Things to Do: Visit the iconic Space Needle and Pike Place Market, explore the waterfront at Elliott Bay, take a ferry to nearby islands like Bainbridge or Vashon, and hike in nearby national parks like Mount Rainier or Olympic.

Where to Eat: Enjoy seafood at Pike Place Chowder, sample coffee at local roasters like Starbucks Reserve Roastery, and dine at acclaimed restaurants like Canlis and The Pink Door.

Where to Stay: Consider waterfront hotels like The Edgewater or boutique hotels like Thompson Seattle.

Charleston, South Carolina

Charleston, South Carolina

Things to Do: Explore historic landmarks like Rainbow Row and the Battery in one of the best cities to visit in USA, take a carriage ride through the cobblestone streets of the French Quarter, visit plantations like Boone Hall or Magnolia, and relax on the nearby beaches of Isle of Palms or Sullivan’s Island.

Where to Eat: Indulge in Lowcountry cuisine at Husk, sample seafood at Fleet Landing Restaurant & Bar, and dine at upscale eateries like FIG and Charleston Grill.

Where to Stay: Consider historic hotels like The Mills House or boutique hotels like The Spectator Hotel.

Portland, Oregon

oregon cities to visit

Things to Do: Explore the eclectic neighborhoods of Alberta Arts District and Pearl District, visit iconic landmarks like Powell’s City of Books and the Portland Japanese Garden, hike in nearby parks like Forest Park or Mount Tabor, and sample craft beer at local breweries.

Where to Eat: Enjoy food carts at Cartlandia, indulge in farm-to-table dining at restaurants like Le Pigeon and Beast, and sample doughnuts at Voodoo Doughnut.

Where to Stay: Consider boutique hotels like The Nines or eco-friendly accommodations like The Jupiter Hotel.

Go Ahead And Book That Flight

With its diverse landscapes, rich history, and vibrant culture, the United States offers a multitude of cities just waiting to be explored. Whether you’re marveling at national monuments in Washington, D.C., indulging in seafood in Seattle, or strolling through historic streets in Charleston, each city promises a unique and unforgettable experience. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embark on the adventure of a lifetime in America’s most captivating cities.

Subscribe to travel noire

Get more travel content

Subscribe to Travel Noire, a free daily newsletter that features the best of travel, destinations, and guides to the cities you love from a new point of view — yours.

By subscribing to this newsletter, you agree to our terms of service and privacy policy.

Popular posts

Trending stories in world travel


  1. 18 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Hood River. #6 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon. Hood River's location in the Columbia River Gorge makes it a prime place for outdoor pursuits. The 80-mile-long valley is known for its stunning ...

  2. 12 Best Cities to Visit in Oregon

    5. Corvallis. Wendell / Flickr. Lying on Willamette River, Corvallis is a lively city, thanks in large part to Oregon State University which resides within its confines. As such, there is a youthful vibe to the streets, and the huge student population dominates life in Corvallis.

  3. The 50 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    7. Mount Hood. Oregon's highest peak offers year-round recreational opportunities, from skiing and snowboarding in winter to hiking and mountain biking in summer. Visitors can explore Timberline Lodge, hike to alpine lakes, or take the historic Mount Hood Railroad for scenic views.

  4. 25 Top-Rated Attractions & Places to Visit in Oregon

    And this cultural capital is only one of many of the best cities in Oregon. Plan your summer or winter trip to Oregon with our list of the top attractions and places to visit. On This Page: 1. Crater Lake National Park. 2. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. 3.

  5. 8 of the best places to visit in Oregon

    4. Eugene. Best place for runners and cyclists. Nicknamed "Track Town USA," Eugene is considered a de facto capital of track and field, and it hosts numerous running events, particularly in the summer. It's also a great place for more casual joggers, with numerous trails and a mix of hilly and flat terrain.

  6. 20+ Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Columbia River Gorge. Best Places to Stay. Just a few miles east of Portland is the vast Columbia River Gorge, one of Oregon's most alluring attractions which divide the state from Washington. Formed by cataclysmic Ice-Age floods, the valley stretches for over 70 miles along the Columbia River on Oregon's northern border.

  7. 12 Best Cities in Oregon

    Albany. 12. Redmond. Map of Cities in Oregon. 1. Portland. Portland and Mount Hood in the distance. Portland is the largest city in Oregon and the cultural capital of the Pacific Northwest. This esteemed city is brimming with art and culture in the northern part of the state.

  8. 12 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    7. Hells Canyon National Recreation Area [SEE MAP] Located near the small town of Joseph in northeast Oregon, the Hells Canyon Recreational Area outranks the Grand Canyon when it comes to depth. Parts of the canyon surrounding the Snake River are as deep as 8,000 feet (2,400 meters).

  9. THE 30 BEST Places to Visit in Oregon (UPDATED 2024)

    See way to experience (1) 2023. 5. Haystack Rock. 3,288. Beaches. Haystack Rock is a unique 235 feet monolith that attracts wildlife and tourists alike and is part of the Oregon Coast's geological history, formed millions of year ago by lava flows that created many of the dramatic capes and headlands along the coast.

  10. Oregon Travel Guide: Plan Your Perfect Trip

    Oregon is a big state with many destinations, landscapes, and cities. When planning a first-time trip or repeat visit, it helps to have a broad look at everything to explore. Reading through our article overviews on the top attractions and places to visit is a good starting point for planning a trip.

  11. THE 15 BEST Things to Do in Oregon

    Things to Do in Oregon, United States: See Tripadvisor's 1,649,026 traveler reviews and photos of Oregon tourist attractions. Find what to do today or anytime in May. We have reviews of the best places to see in Oregon. Visit top-rated & must-see attractions.

  12. Best Places to Visit in Oregon: 15 Beautiful Destinations

    9. Strawberry Lake. East of John Day, Oregon, in the Malheur National Forest, you'll find 68,700 acres of beauty called the Strawberry Mountain Wilderness. The aptly named Strawberry Mountain Range provides a picturesque backdrop to the lush vegetation you'll find here.

  13. 10 of the best things to do in Oregon

    6. Stroll the vineyards and go wine tasting in Willamette Valley There are more than 20 federally recognized American Viticulture Areas and over 900 wineries inside Oregon's Willamette Valley.In Forest Grove, you'll find 65 wineries within a 20-mile radius including the lovely farmhouse tasting room of David Hill Winery.Forest Grove is also home to the sake distillery, Sake One, which ...

  14. 50 Fun Things To Do & Best Places To Visit In Oregon

    The best places to visit in Oregon aren't always the loudest. Sometimes, they're quiet homes with well-tended yards. Consider a trip to the Captain George Flavel House Museum if you're looking for something a little different than the usual tourist attractions. Address: 441 8th St, Astoria, OR 97103, United States. 37. Enchanted Forest

  15. Cities

    Cities. Here in Oregon, no city is just like another. Each community has its own personality and special claims to fame. And all that can feel a little intimidating when you're trying to get to know a place. We don't expect you to visit every town — though we wouldn't blame you for trying — instead try to spend quality time in each city.

  16. 22 Things to Do in Oregon

    22 Things to Do in Oregon — From Coastal Bike Routes to Canyon Hikes. Rugged coastline, starry night skies, and local breweries — these are the best places to visit in Oregon. There's a reason ...

  17. Travel Oregon

    Oregon is on the West Coast, right between Washington and California. Some people think it's the best thing about the West Coast, and of course they're right. Made up of seven diverse regions, Oregon has the ocean, mountains, valleys, high desert, cities, small towns, and almost everything in between. Beginner's Guide to Oregon.

  18. Things To Do In Oregon

    Astoria Oregon is the oldest town west of the Rockies, Astoria is chock-full of history, art, and craft beverages.Historically a fishing town, it lies on the edge of the Columbia River right where it meets the Pacific Ocean. The bar, known as "The Graveyard of The Pacific" is so notorious that a licensed bar pilot has to navigate boats across it and the T.V. show Ghost Adventures has an ...

  19. 25 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Here are the best places to visit in Oregon. More Features. Beach Destinations: 15 Most Awesome Beach Picnics. Best Time to Visit Portland, Oregon - Weather Year Round. 20 Must-Try Italian Restaurants in Portland, OR. 25 Best Places to Visit in Oregon: 1. Multnomah Falls; 2. Astoria; 3. Hood River, Oregon

  20. Ultimate Oregon Bucket List: 150 Best Things to Do Statewide

    🌃 Top 15 Cities to Visit in Oregon. It is tough to rank the best cities in Oregon as there are so many different metrics by which to base the decision. However, the following 15 are worthy of visiting and experiencing if you are nearby or have the time and interest to do so. 1. Bend

  21. Map of Oregon's Cities & Regions

    These aren't your typical bike routes. Oregon Scenic Bikeways are the state's best road rides, showcasing incredible, only-in-Oregon scenery — along high-desert highways, past geologic wonders, on covered bridges, next to roaring rivers, over snowy...

  22. The best places to visit in Oregon: 5 exciting itineraries

    Pacific City. , and Bandon. You'll visit two aquariums, in. Seaside. and Newport, where Keiko once lived. And visit 7 of Oregon's 11 lighthouses. Also, explore a shipwreck near Astoria, a ...

  23. 17 BEST Oregon Coast Towns to Visit

    12. Florence. Found right in the middle of the Oregon Coast, Florence is at the center of all the action. With raging waterfalls, tall dunes, and rugged cliffside trails, this Oregon coast town is the place to be if you want to get the adrenaline pumping. Heceta Head near Florence - one of the best Oregon beach towns.

  24. 10 ways to experience Oregon on a budget

    Luckily, this doesn't have to be the case. With a little planning, you can visit Oregon on a budget. These travel hacks will help you see bucket list Oregon locations - like the Pacific Ocean, Crater Lake National Park and cities like Portland - without breaking the bank. Daily costs in Oregon. Dorm lodging in a hostel: $28

  25. 7 Wonders of Oregon

    We invite you to not just see Oregon's 7 Wonders, but experience them. Because our Wonders aren't just for taking pictures of - to truly say you've seen our Wonders, you have to get out of the car, hike down from the scenic vista and feel them beneath your feet. Just remember: This is Oregon. So how you go about doing that is entirely ...

  26. 7 Most Affordable Towns to Retire on the Pacific Coast

    Marina in Coos Bay Oregon. This town is the biggest on the Oregon coast and plays a key role in the area's economy because of its deep-water port. Living in Coos Bay costs less than the average for both the country and the state. It costs about 10.5% less than the average across the U.S. and 21.7% less than what you would typically pay in Oregon.

  27. Discovering America: 10 Must-Visit Cities For Every Traveler's Bucket

    New York City, New York. Best Time to Visit: Spring (April to June) or Fall (September to November) Things to Do: Explore Central Park, visit the Statue of Liberty and Ellis Island, take in a Broadway show, and wander through the diverse neighborhoods like Times Square, Greenwich Village, and SoHo. Where to Eat: Indulge in New York-style pizza ...