11 best places to visit in Oregon: hand luggage only


Oregon is an amazing state to visit. Full of Westcoast’s most spectacular scenery, cars and parks; it’s the kind of state you can explore for years and not get bored. Plus, there are plenty of the best places in Oregon to visit even if it’s not your outdoors. It has some totally cool cities that you really shouldn’t miss.

To be honest, Oregon’s natural landscapes make it an amazing place to discover (and it’s something that always draws me to the west coast of the US). You see, there are plenty of beautiful hiking trails in Oregon and views to see and most within the reach of moderate hikers.

Although, as I said, it’s not just hiking or nature that are Oregon’s best places to take a trip. To help you on your way, I wanted to share some of my favorite excursions, areas, and cities that you really shouldn’t miss.

See below for the best places to visit in Oregon. Have an epic time exploring!

1.) Head of Yaquina

The best places to visit in Oregon

Located north of Newport, Yaquina Head is an amazing coastal area to explore if you feel like taking a short trip away from the city. Honestly, the coastline of the entire Yaquina Head Lighthouse (19th century) is beautiful and is an amazing place to take a walk along the trails that cross the area.

Although it’s a relatively small area (compared to some of Oregon’s other parks), Yaquina Head is really a surprise to visit. This is especially true in the late afternoon, when you can also associate yourself with a walk with a fantastic view at sunset.

Follow the lighthouse route or head to Salal Hill to enjoy some totally beautiful scenery. Be sure to grab some water and sunscreen during the summer months. Even on a cloudy day, this wind can trick you into burning the sun.

Finally, for a quieter (and totally quieter) sunset spot, head north to the coast to Moolack Beach. The ocean views are so stunning!

Read more: The best hiking trails in Oregon

2.) Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area

The best places to visit in Oregon

Just off the southern edge of the Siuslaw National Forest, the Oregon Dunes is one of the best places in Oregon to explore on a trip. Shaped for thousands of years, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is one of the largest sand dunes in the world.

Best of all, the sandbanks and hills are as silky and dusty as you can imagine. You can spend an entire day exploring the wider area, especially with all the places to see and do. Upon arrival, head to one of the quad / ATV excursions that will take you to the dunes.

That said, if you feel a little calmer, take off your hiking boots and go on some of the trails that stretch for miles.

One thing to keep in mind … although it’s never totally crowded, if you want a much quieter experience, it’s best to arrive early in the morning. Yes, it may be colder, but there will be far fewer people around.

Read more: The best places on the west coast of the US to visit

3.) Eugeni

The best places to visit in Oregon

About a 100-minute drive from Portland, Eugene is one of the best places in Oregon to visit if you feel like taking a short break into the city. What I like most about Eugene is that he is big enough to have a great experience in the west coast city, but small enough to move easily.

Once here, be sure to explore the incredible Museum of Natural and Cultural History. Yes, it may be an intimate museum but it certainly has a punch. Then head to the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art, which is totally epic and perfect to visit if you fancy an indoor activity.

Also, to enjoy fantastic views of Eugene, go to Skinner Butte Park. There are some lovely (and fairly easy) trails to follow and it’s perfect for a morning hike.

If you are looking for a park, visit Hendricks Park. This is the oldest park in all of Eugene and a place that is totally beautiful on a sunny day. Be sure to visit the native plant gardens and follow the trails through the forest trails.

Are you hungry? Grab a table at Fisherman’s Market. Their seafood cakes and crab legs are so delicious!

Read more: Fun US cities to visit

4.) Ecola State Park

The best places to visit in Oregon

Probably one of Oregon’s most famous coastal areas, Ecola State Park is a totally beautiful place to visit. It is a totally unspoilt area to visit and includes so many places to see and things to do while the road collapses along the coast.

Of course, you can’t miss a visit to the nearby Bird Point coastal bays and Tillamook Rock Lighthouse Lookout.

The best places to visit in Oregon

For a great excursion, stroll along the Indian Beach Trail or stop at Crescent Beach, totally happy.

The best places to visit in Oregon

Finally, don’t forget to see the iconic Haystack Rock next to Canon Beach. It is totally easy to find and well worth it after strolling around the city.

Oh, and for a perfect infusion, head to the Sleepy Monk coffee roasters. Their coffee blends are so good.

5.) Silver Falls State Park

The best places to visit in Oregon

Being one of the largest parks in the state, Silver Falls State Park is totally beautiful and is one of the best places in Oregon to explore a great deal of nature. About a 40-minute drive from Salem, it’s totally easy to visit it during a day trip or a longer getaway outdoors.

Once you arrive, head straight to explore some of the park’s iconic waterfalls that are dotted throughout the area. There are a lot of things to see, especially South Falls and North Falls which are totally beautiful. If you want to spot more, follow the trail of the ten falls just over 7 miles long. It’s a relatively easy trail (for experienced hikers) and well worth a walk to explore more state park.

Although, like other landmarks in Oregon, it can be busy. That means you should arrive well and soon if you want to avoid the crowds.

Read more: The best U.S. national parks to visit

6.) Mount Bachelor

The best places to visit in Oregon

About two hours from Eugene, Mount Bachelor is one of the best ski areas in Oregon that is well worth it for a while gliding down the slopes. It’s a totally beautiful area and one of the best places in Oregon to do various races for the whole family.

Now, Mount Bachelor doesn’t have the biggest “complex” feel, but in my opinion, that’s part of its charm. Most people tend to stay in Bend (about 30 minutes) and it is worth booking a few nights in the city if you plan to take a longer ski trip.

7.) Hood River

Best excursions in Oregon (20)

On the banks of the Columbia River, Hood River is an Oregon city that is easy to visit while traveling along the Washington-Oregon border.

While you’re here, be sure to stroll along the historic Mount Hood Railroad. It is totally kitsch and worth the experience during your stay in Hood River.

If you like good sunny weather, go to The Hook and rent a kayak at Hood River SUP and Kayak. It’s a great way to explore some of the wider waterways and it’s worth it on a quiet afternoon.

Oh, and for some of the best sweet treats, head to Mike’s Ice Cream to enjoy his delicious homemade cones. We love it!

Finally, don’t forget to explore the Crown Point State Scenic Corridor on your route from Portland. It is a totally beautiful area on the other side of the river.

8.) Portland

The best places to visit in Oregon

Speaking of Portland, it’s one of the best places in Oregon that you really can’t miss when visiting the state. Now, we recommend that you spend a few days in the city at least, as there are a few things to see and experience once you get here.

Upon arrival, be sure to explore the totally iconic Japanese garden which is perfect. You can easily remove them in a few hours here and he is totally happy. Then head to the Portland Art Museum which has existed since the 19th century. Inside, you’ll find plenty of Native American art alongside contemporary art that you can easily spend an entire day watching.

If historic homes are more your style, head to Pittock Mansion. This Renaissance-style home has been in Portland for over 100 years. Today, you can take a walk inland and explore the beautiful grounds that are beautiful. In addition, nearby you will find plenty of paths and trails that will allow you to stroll through the park.

For a delicious treat, book a table at Le Pigeon. Focused on French fusion dishes, it has a lot of character and a totally delicious seasonal menu.

Finally, if you’re visiting on the weekend, go explore the Portland Saturday Market. It is one of the largest in the country in terms of crafts. The market attracts hundreds of small businesses and thousands of visitors from the Northwest. You won’t want to miss it.

9.) Crater Lake National Park

The best places to visit in Oregon

Located in the Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake National Park is one of the best places to enjoy views of Oregon. Well, in my opinion at least!

Technically more of a boiler than a crater, it’s an amazing wide area to follow through the scenic route (summer only).

After arriving at the national park, be sure to check out the views from the Watchman observation station. It is totally beautiful and is easily one of the best views in the whole park. Yes, there may be a bit of digression to get to the views, but it’s worth it.

Also, don’t forget to check out the iconic Devils Backbone, Merriam Point and spot Wizard Island from the very edge of the crater. We love it!

Read more: The best places on the west coast of the US to visit

10.) Smith Rock State Park

The best places to visit in Oregon

About a 40-minute drive from Bend, Smith Rock State Park encompasses a landscape outside of this world that truly showcases Oregon’s natural diversity.

Once you get here and check in at the Visitor Center, be sure to follow the river or canyon that has the best places in the park.

The best places to visit in Oregon

If you feel like taking on a challenge, head for the Misery Ridge Trail, which crosses the Crooked River.

In addition, you can easily book a hot air balloon ride in the area; it’s totally magical, but you have to be prepared for cancellations in case of splashed weather.

11.) Multnomah Falls

The best places to visit in Oregon

Another location between Portland and the Hood River, Multnomah Falls is one of the best places in Oregon to visit on a wider road trip on the northern edge of the state. Honestly, it’s a must-see stop at the Columbia River Gorge and a landmark spot you can’t miss.

You can easily walk a few hours away on the trails. In addition, you will get rewards with totally beautiful views.

One thing to keep in mind is that the parking lot can fill up quickly (especially on weekends). If you want to secure a space, arrive early and avoid weekends that can fill up quickly.

Read more: The best places on the west coast of the US to visit

12 best places to see on the west coast, USA

The best places to visit in Oregon The best places to visit in Oregon The best places to visit in Oregon


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