17 Unforgettable Things to Do in Oregon: A Traveler’s Guide

Oregon, the Beaver State, is a place that’s both wildly beautiful and pleasantly weird.

It’s a place where the spirit of the wild west meets the progressive ideals of the Pacific Northwest.

It’s a place where you can hike through lush forests in the morning, surf on pristine beaches in the afternoon, and sip on craft beers in a hip urban brewery by night. It’s a place that’s just waiting to be explored.

So, without further ado, here are 17 unforgettable things to do in Oregon.

1. Visit Astoria

Astoria is the oldest town west of the Rockies, filled with 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. The T.V. show Ghost Adventures even has an episode about it. 

2. Explore the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

The National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center is one of the finest Oregon attractions for history buffs.

If you’re fascinated by wagons, bonnets, and axes, this is a must-visit. 

3. Marvel at Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park is home to the deepest lake in the United States, formed over 7,000 years ago by the collapse of a volcano.

The lake’s deep blue color is a sight to behold. 

4. Experience the Thrills of The Dalles

Overlooking the Columbia River, The Dalles provides numerous opportunities for outdoor activities like bird-watching, biking, fishing, and stand-up paddleboarding. 

5. Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium

The Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is home to a variety of marine life, including sea otters, harbor seals, and a giant Pacific octopus.

It’s a great place for families and anyone interested in marine biology.

6. Explore the Portland Art Museum

The Portland Art Museum is the oldest art museum on the West Coast and the seventh oldest in the US.

It’s home to an impressive collection of Native American art, as well as contemporary and modern art.

7. Hike in the Columbia River Gorge

The Columbia River Gorge is a canyon of the Columbia River, which forms the boundary between the states of Washington and Oregon.

It’s a paradise for hikers, with trails leading to stunning waterfalls and breathtaking vistas. 

8. Visit the Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery

The Oregon Vortex is a roadside attraction located inGold Hill, Oregon. It’s an area of naturally occurring visual and perceptual phenomena, which can be captured on camera.

The House of Mystery, the centerpiece of the vortex, adds to the intrigue. 

9. Explore the Oregon Caves National Monument

The Oregon Caves National Monument is a protected area in the northern Siskiyou Mountains of southwestern Oregon.

It’s a place of beauty and wonder, with a complex cave system formed by the dissolving of marble and the action of water. 

10. Visit the High Desert Museum

The High Desert Museum in Bend, Oregon, offers visitors a chance to explore the rich cultural and natural history of the high desert region.

Exhibits include living history demonstrations, wildlife encounters, and artful exhibits. 

11. Take a Ride on the Hellgate Jetboat Excursions

Hellgate Jetboat Excursions offer a thrilling way to explore the Rogue River in southern Oregon.

These tours combine beautiful scenery, wildlife viewing, and the excitement of a jetboat ride through the river’s famous Hellgate Canyon. 

12. Visit the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

The Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville is home to the famous Hughes H-4 Hercules, also known as the “Spruce Goose.”

The museum also features a variety of other aircraft and exhibits, including a space shuttle simulator and a Titan II missile.

13. Explore the Lan Su Chinese Garden

Located in the heart of Portland, the Lan Su Chinese Garden is a stunningly beautiful landscape designed in the style of a Ming Dynasty scholar’s garden.

It’s a peaceful oasis in the middle of the city, offering a tranquil space to relax and reflect.

14. Visit the Oregon Zoo

The Oregon Zoo in Portland is home to a wide variety of animals from around the world, including elephants, lions, and penguins.

The zoo is also known for its conservation efforts and educational programs. 

15. Explore the Willamette Valley Wine Region

The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s leading wine region, known for its world-class Pinot noir.

The valley is home to more than 500 wineries, offering a wide range of tasting experiences. 

16. Visit the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry

The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI) in Portland is a fantastic place for families and anyone interested in science.

The museum features a variety of interactive exhibits on topics ranging from physics to environmental science. 

17. Take a Drive to Mount Hood

When people think of ski resorts in Oregon, they often think of Timberline Lodge and Mt Hood Meadows, but few people realize just how much Mt. Hood has to offer year-round.

Whether you’re interested in skiing, snowboarding, hiking, or simply enjoying the stunning mountain views, Mount Hood is a must-visit. 


From the rugged beauty of its coastline to the vibrant culture of its cities, Oregon is a state that truly has something for everyone.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a foodie, or just someone looking for aunique and memorable travel experience, you’re sure to find what you’re looking for in Oregon.

So pack your bags, grab your sense of adventure, and get ready to explore the Beaver State. You’re in for a treat.

Remember, life is too short to stay put. So, get out there and start exploring. After all, the world is your oyster, and Oregon is one heck of a pearl.

David Kingston

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