10 Best Places to Visit in Oregon

Martina Rosado
Written by
Last update:

Columbia River Gorge

Head to the Columbia River Gorge if you’ve got a passion for rivers. There are plenty of them to explore here, so be ready to get wet in at least a couple of them! But the river areas around the gorge are worth exploring too if you just want to admire the views.

This area was actually home to a nuclear bomb test which was unofficially dubbed “Operation Coresplitter.” The fallout from the radioactive material that was dumped in the river created the surreal rock formations in the area, called Trilobites.

There are plenty of waterfalls to be found as well – both natural and manmade. The iconic one is Multnomah Falls, a 328-foot-tall series of waterfalls, and a great place to go for a hike. Many visitors come to celebrate their wedding in the gorge too, especially around the Multnomah Falls area.

There are some great views, and for those who want to get outside, rock climbing is a popular recreational activity here as well.

Wallowa Lake

Wallowa Lake is a sweet, lots of water, crystal-clear lake located in the northeast corner of Oregon. Known for its clear, over 50 foot deep, waters, perfect for fishing, boating, and swimming. Located close to the Canada border with a year-round population of only about 500 people, it’s easy to feel like you’re the only one at the lake.

Even more unique about Wallowa Lake is Wallowa Lake State Park. This is a perfect spot to camp for the weekend, hike, kayak, mountain bike, or just relax on the shore.

Yachats

The village of Yachats, Oregon, is a beachfront town with some of the most picturesque views in the Northwest. Located at the mouth of the Siuslaw River on Oregon’s central coast, the historic town is a popular tourist destination with just the right amount of neighborly locals to keep things interesting. It’s no wonder Yachats Today describes itself as “home to one of the Northwest’s best kept secrets.”

With farms and art galleries within walking distance of the town, Yachats stands out in the community for its warm atmosphere. The arts are celebrated with such annual events as the Festival of Arts and the Beachcomber Juried Fine Arts Show. The town’s natural beauty is still felt in the town’s local artists and embrace of the environment in its walkable streets.

It’s no wonder that almost every year, this captivating village has earned such a spot on the Oregon Coast’s top 10 list. As one of the few communities along the coast where you can see both the Pacific Ocean and Mount McLoughlin staring you in the face, this coastal town is the perfect place to stop and enjoy the great outdoors.

Hells Canyon Recreational Area

Hells Canyon is a natural place for recreational activities, and camping is definitely an option in this region. The BLM’s Hells Crossing Campground is a great place to camp and is right in the middle of the Hells Canyon Recreation Area.

The BLM’s spacious sites are perfect for camping and hiking through the Hells Canyon area, or just looking for a view of the beautiful waters of the Snake River. The campgrounds do not require reservations, so show up and make your camp!

There are also a few boat launching ramps in the area that are open to kayakers, rowers, and other boating enthusiasts.

Not only are there boat ramps, but you can catch dinner with the fishermen who are actively fishing on these waters. The fishing season is open year-round, so there is always a chance for a catch. From what I experienced, the fishing is pretty easy and rated as one of the top fishing spots in the state.

The Hells Crossing campgrounds offer a great place for both tenting and RV’s. Sites are numbered and located in two loops. There are about 41 campsites in each loop.

There are also tables, toilet facilities, and drinking water. There are no showers on site.

Mount Hood

Deschutes National Forest, Oregon.

This national honor makes Mount Hood one of the most popular destinations in Oregon. With a height of 12,240 feet, the mountain is certainly tall enough to attract the attention of everyone.

Encircled by mountain ranges, the mountain can provide a real escape from the hustle and bustle others have come to know.

This natural oasis is one of the most prominent attractions of the park. With a glacier, a forest, and a National Park, you are sure to find something that appeals to you. If you enjoy snow sports, this is the place for you.

Not only is the park known for its majestic peaks covered in snow, but it’s also teeming with life.

It is the largest wooded Federal Wilderness in the lower 48 states. The most frequent wildlife you may find are deer, cougars, mountain goats, and black bears.

With cold winters and hot summers, the temperatures are highly varied, especially with the altitude. The temperature can drop as much as 50 degrees in just an hour, making hiking difficult and potentially hazardous.

While this may seem like a negative, the park is home to some of Oregon’s most giant trees. With the right planning, hiking the U.S. Forest Service hiking trails will provide you with views of the awe-inspiring trees.

Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway

Oregon: For a spectacular view from your car you’ll want to drive the one hundred and sixty nine mile stretch that connects the Hood River valley to the Cascade Pass. This road is open from June to October with parking available at each of the ten lakes in the middle of the road. The road offers a solitude you’ll rarely find in the twenty-first century.

Astoria

Salmon Astoria is the real action in the town of Astoria. Located in the heart of Oregon, Saltwater and freshwater fishing both are the main attractions at Astoria. Not just that, but Astoria is a cool little town to stroll around with its old fashioned feel about it.

The most interesting part however is definitely the plethora of seafood restaurants across the Columbia River. Try a variety of restaurants with world-class coastal cuisine before heading to one of the many waterfront lodging and Airbnb properties.

Avian Astoria’s abundance of natural beauty is also a major draw for birders. The most notable natural features are listed below.

Nestling Marsh Visitors to Astoria will find plenty of nesting Great Egrets and Snowy Egrets. Nestling Marsh is one of the largest areas for the species and makes for a wonderful bird watching experience.

Great Blue Heron National Wildlife Refuge The Great Blue Heron National Wildlife Refuge provides a beautiful display of nature and makes for some excellent photo opportunities.

Nehalem Bay The great Pacific Northwest is known for its huge forests and abundant wildlife. While residents of Astoria enjoy the beaches, flower meadows and coastal waterways, nature lovers also want to take a look at the redwoods, macadamia nut groves and wildlife.

Portland

Oregon: Portland is an ideal place to visit in the summer, because the weather is beautiful, there are several great attractions, and the museums and cultural sites are open until late.

Portland, Oregon: Portland is an ideal place to visit in the summer, because the weather is beautiful, there are several great attractions, and the museums and cultural sites are open until late.

Located on the Willamette River and surrounded by hills and forests, Portland was built to mimic the appearance of Paris.

The city boasts an impressive water system, and the residents of Portland are extremely concerned about the level of cleanliness. The town's sewage system was first thought to be a failed experiment, but is now in use all over the country.

Arena Sports, a major manufacturer of soft sports goods, was founded in Portland in 1916. Famous Portlanders include American actress and film director Greta Garbo, American singer and actor Elvis Presley, President Jimmy Carter, and sports commentator Bob Costas.

Washington, Oregon: The city is designed in the form of an "X", with downtown and the natural harbor of Seattle to the east, Mount Rainier to the north, the Columbia River to the west, and Mount Hood to the south.

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States.

The road to Crater Lake National Park is lined with beautiful trees and stunning waterfalls. The Park sits between the Cascade and Klamath Ranges and the road continues to Sandy, OR, where you can take a ferry across the lake to Wizard Island.

Within the park, you’ll find two amazing natural wonders. The first is the many waterfalls that make the road to the Park look like a scenic highway in the Gondola Chairlift. This is the Wizard Falls. The other is the amazing deep blue lake, Crater Lake.

Here the deep blue color is caused by the depth and the reflection of the surrounding snow-covered mountains. The lake’s famous blue color is the result of calcium carbonate leaching from the park’s many calcareous springs.

Crater Lake National Park is located close enough to Portland to visit whenever you take a trip there. It’s also a great place to go for a hiking, camping, or fishing while you’re in town.

Cannon Beach

Oregon.

A quiet, relaxing place with unbeatable views and a strong appreciation for the art of capturing pristine moments on camera. Surrounded by nothing but ocean, the beach is popular with tourists and locals alike.

This likely comes from the fact that countless wedding photographs have taken place in this coastal area. In fact, there is a Cannon Beach wedding photographer that has won so many competitive awards that you’d swear he’s some kind of Photoshop wizard as a photographer. Artist, photographer, and filmmaker, this wedding photographer is amazing.

On the north side of the beach is the tide pools. Here you are likely to encounter sea otters and crabs. It’s an open spot where you’ll also be able to enjoy the beautiful scenery of this Oregon beach.

It’s not just a beach, however. Located in the heart of downtown is the Boarding House Brew Pub. The “one-of-a-kind restaurant�? is made up of three selling floors. The brewpub was designed as an homage to Dutch architecture.

Considered Hawaiian prints, the murals from different cultures throughout the world adorn the restaurant walls. They also fill the hallways and stairs.

The music, atmosphere, and service make the Boarding House Brew Pub a great place to go for a meal.