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There are so many fantastically fun things to do in Oregon! Magnificent mountains, exquisite coastline, exciting cities and historic sites are just a few of the best Oregon attractions. The state is naturally beautiful and incredibly diverse – and we are highlighting the top places to visit in Oregon for the best experiences.
The Best Things To Do in Oregon
A relaxing atmosphere and abundant nature are what entice many people to visit Oregon. Over the years, the primary reason for our numerous trips to Oregon was to visit family. Because we travel to the state often, we have been able to discover some of the most beautiful places to visit in Oregon.
On our trips to Oregon, we are always eager to find new places to explore. Coastal towns, hiking trails and hidden gems are among the many cool things in Oregon we have discovered.
In our travels, we have learned that the top places to visit in Oregon are scattered across the state. To help fellow travelers experience the best of the state, we have rounded up a list of the must-visit places in Oregon.
Whether you are a visitor wondering what’s in Oregon worth seeing or a resident intent on exploring more of your own home state, you can use our tips for what to do in Oregon.
THINGS TO DO: OREGON
On our list, we highlight the must-see places in Oregon. We include both major points of interest in Oregon and lesser-known attractions. Additionally, we include a Map of Oregon Things To See so that you can easily plan your sightseeing adventures. To help fellow travelers, we include pertinent information about planning a trip to Oregon – like how to get there, where to stay and what to pack.
Save, Pin or Bookmark our Oregon blog post so that you can access it as you plan your trip to Oregon!
#1 Stop to Smell the Roses in Portland, Oregon
Without a doubt, Portland is one of the best places to visit in Oregon. Known as the City of Roses, Portland is hip, funky and (proudly) weird – and it is home to many of Oregon’s attractions.
Visiting Portland’s International Rose Test Garden in Washington Park is a must-do in Oregon. The roses are in bloom between April and October – and at their peak in June.
Featuring more than 10,000 individual rose bushes of more than 600 varietals, stopping by to smell the roses is one of the unique things to do in Oregon – and it’s free!
That said, the International Rose Test Garden is just one of the many attractions in Portland’s best park. Other top sights at Washington Park are the Oregon Zoo, the Portland Japanese Garden and the Hoyt Arboretum – plus there are statues, monuments and museums throughout.
More Portland, Oregon Fun
Of course, there are more Things To Do in Portland than visiting Washington Park. The city’s Peral District is the best place to start exploring. Peruse the books at Powell’s Bookstore, then seek out the lush Lan Su Chinese Garden in the adjoining Old Town Chinatown neighborhood.
Any trip to Portland requires getting a taste of the epic culinary scene. Get a Voodoo Donut, try the local coffee and sample the fare at one of the food cart pods. District exploration in Buckman and North Mississippi Avenue is fun, too – and The Grotto is one of the Portland, Oregon places to see that is an absolute gem.
#2 Chase Waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge
The waterfalls in the Columbia River Gorge are one of the best natural attractions in Oregon. There are dozens of streaming falls, but five of the most impressive waterfalls in Oregon are easily accessible from along the 30-mile stretch of the historic Columbia River Highway.
Of the many amazing waterfalls to see in the Columbia River Gorge, Multnomah Falls is the most impressive. The two-tiered waterfall has a total vertical drop of 620 feet, and it ranks as one of the best places to see in Oregon. Visitors are welcome to walk or hike to multiple viewpoints for amazing Multnomah Falls views.
More Top Things To See in Oregon in the Columbia River Gorge
The Gorge is one of the cool places to go in Oregon to chase waterfalls, but there are other attractions and activities along the route.
Hiking is a top activity in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Trekkers can follow trails up the side of waterfalls and to hidden falls, as well.
Viewpoints, historic sites and museums detailing the geology of the Columbia River Gorge are more reasons to visit. Find all the important details in our dedicated article about driving in Columbia River Gorge.
#3 Drive the Gorgeous Oregon Coast
Driving a section of the dramatic Pacific Coastline is one of the most spectacular things to do in Oregon. The route along Oregon Highway 101 takes drivers along steep cliffs, by wide beaches and through evergreen forests. The astounding beauty of the coast is undeniable, which is why it ranks as one of the top Oregon tourist spots.
Travelers can drive the entire length of the Oregon Coast – all 363 miles – or opt to explore just a section of the coastal drive.
Coastal Oregon Fun Things To Do
There are so many cool places to visit in Oregon on the coast that travelers could easily explore for weeks. Sights like Haystack Rock, Three Capes Scenic Loop, Heceta Lighthouse and Samuel H Boardman Scenic Corridor are top Oregon attractions that are not to be missed.
Visitors planning a trip to Oregon to drive the coast will likely want to spend time discovering the coastal towns, hiking trails and scenic landscapes, as well. We detail the absolute best things to do in our Oregon Coast Road Trip travel blog post.
Where To Stay: Where you decide to stay on the Oregon Coast will depend on your overall trip plan. Our top recommended spots are the Hallmark Resort in Cannon Beach, the Inn at Cape Kiwanda in Pacific City and the River House Inn in historic Florence, OR.
#4 Marvel at Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach
The iconic Haystack Rock on Cannon Beach is one of the top Oregon places to visit. Sitting just offshore and accessible by foot during low tide, visitors can easily get a good view of the landmark Oregon monolith.
The 235-foot-tall basalt sea stack is not only one of the best things to see in Oregon, but also an excellent place to study sea creatures. The rock is a haven for puffins and birds and the tidal pools are home to a fascinating array of marine wildlife. Just remember to stick to the rules and explore safely and responsibly.
More Fun Places in Oregon to See at Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock is a top attraction in Oregon, but there are more things to do in Cannon Beach than marvel at the unique sea stack.
Some of the other best sights in Oregon near Cannon Beach are Ecola State Park and Neahkahnie Mountain. Cannon Beach itself is a quaint and charming village where visitors can spend time shopping in the boutique stores or dining at one of the local restaurants.
Where To Stay: The Hallmark Resort is an oceanfront hotel that offers a prime location and fun amenities. Check rates for your stay!
#5 Bar Hop at the Craft Breweries in Eugene, OR
Breweries are the best places to go in Oregon to get a taste of local craft beer from the source. Although Portland still ranks as the city with the most breweries, Brew-gene is home to a hefty number of Oregon brewers, as well. In fact, two of our favorite Oregon breweries – Ninkasi and Hop Valley – are both located in Eugene.
Brewery hopping is one of the fun things in Oregon to do – and Eugene is one of the best places to do it. Not only are many of the state’s top brewers located in Eugene, but several breweries are clustered close together, making it easy to create a fun craft beer bar crawl.
Pick which breweries you want to visit – or visit them all with a Eugene Ale Trail Passport.
More Things To Do in Eugene, Oregon
Imbibing at breweries is, no doubt, one of the fun activities in Oregon, but there are a few more reasons to visit Eugene.
The city is the home of The University of Oregon Ducks and there are a multitude of interesting places on campus to see. We recommend using one of the themed self-guided tours to find your way to the top spots.
That said, don’t miss the Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art. Housing both a permanent and rotating collection of artworks, the university museum is open to the public.
Where To Stay: The Timbers Motel is a charming and cozy inn that is ideally located within walking distance to Eugene breweries and University of Oregon campus.
#6 Fly by McMinnville to See the Spruce Goose
The Spruce Goose is the largest wooden airplane ever built – and it’s housed at the Evergreen Museum in McMinnville. Designed and built by Howard Hughes in the 1940s, today the historic airplane is well-preserved and one of the best things to see in Oregon.
Aviation enthusiasts have long had the Spruce Goose on their list of Must-Do Things in Oregon. However, the 2004 release of The Aviator blockbuster movie, which portrays the story of the Spruce Goose, solidified the airplane as one of the Oregon top attractions.
More Things To See at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum
While the Spruce Goose is the top attraction at the museum, it’s not the only plane to see. As a matter of fact, there are more than 150 aircraft on display at the Evergreen Museum.
The SR-71 Blackbird – which once held the record as the world’s fastest jet – and the Titan II spacecraft rocket are two top exhibits. Other museum displays detail both aviation history and space exploration.
Where To Stay: There is a Red Lion Inn close to the Evergreen Aviation Museum, but we recommend staying at The Atticus, which is a boutique downtown hotel within walking distance to bars and restaurants.
#7 See the Sea Creatures at the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport
The coastal town of Newport is home to several Oregon tourist attractions, but the Oregon Coast Aquarium is the most superb.
Centered on education and conservation, the aquarium aims to engage and inspire visitors. The Newport Aquarium has both indoor and outdoor displays where guests can view and interact with sea creatures.
The top exhibit is the underwater shark tunnel, but there are themed aquariums that house a variety of fish and crustaceans. Visitors can also see sea otters, sea lions and seabirds at the aquarium’s outdoor exhibits.
While many visitors assume the aquarium is one of the Oregon attractions for families with kids, we think it is fun for people of all ages!
Best Things To See in Oregon in Newport
In addition to the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Newport visitors interested in learning more about marine biology and ocean life should also stop by the Hatfield Marine Science Center. Although the museum is small, there are hands-on experiences and the fee to enter is very affordable.
Other sights to see in Newport are the historic Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Nye Beach (both the sandy beach and the district shops along Coast Street) and the Newport Historic Bayfront (don’t miss the Sea Lion Docks!).
Looking for a place to eat in Newport? Head to Rogue Brewers on the Bay on the south end of the Yaquina Bay Bridge for fresh pints and pub grub. Another place for tasty food is South Beach Fish Market, an old-school fish shack that is one of the top places in Oregon for fresh-from-the-sea fare.
Where To Stay: As a vacation destination, there are no shortage of places to stay in Newport. We recommend staying beachfront – and the Inn at Nye Beach is an excellent choice.
#8 Eat Crab in Florence, OR
With miles of coastline, eating seafood is naturally one of the top Oregon things to do. Salmon, halibut and oysters are just some of the specialties in the Pacific Northwest. In Florence, however, crabs rank supreme.
Florence is situated at the mouth of the Siuslaw River, where it flows in the Pacific Ocean. The spot is perfect for crabbing and local restaurant menus are flush with Dungeness crab options.
We recommend feasting on delectable crab-encrusted halibut, which is the signature dish at the upscale Waterfront Depot Restaurant. For a taste of fresh-caught crab right on the dock, go to Novelli’s Crab and Seafood Fish Shack for a bowl of the best crab chowder on the Oregon Coast.
More Florence, Oregon Attractions
Once you’ve gotten a taste of the local crab, step out to find more of the Best Things To Do in Florence, Oregon.
A must-see attraction is the Heceta Head Lighthouse, which is the most photographed lighthouse on the coast. From the lighthouse, trekkers can embark on a hike through old growth forest to a hidden beach; it’s one of the best hiking trails in Florence and one of the best Oregon Coast attractions, too.
In fact, Florence boasts numerous natural attractions. The Sea Lion’s Cave is a natural sea lion habitat – and visitors can descend into the cave to get a closer look at the noisy, blubbery creatures. The Darlingtonia State Nature Park is one of the fascinating (and weird) places to visit in Oregon – as it plays host to an insect-eating plant, the Cobra Lily.
The Oregon Sand Dunes in Florence are another natural attraction, but they provide the opportunity for thrilling adventures – like OHV riding and sandboarding.
#9 Taste Cheese in Tillamook, OR
The Tillamook Creamery is an Oregon must-see for cheese lovers! Inside the giant cheese factory, visitors can take a self-guided tour of the cheese-making process. It’s one of the best free things to do in Oregon.
Devouring the delicious cheese, however, is the real reason to visit. The cheese curds are a must – but other dishes (like grilled cheese and mac-and-cheese) are tasty, too. Just be sure to leave room for the Tillamook Cheese Factory ice cream (the Chocolate Peanut Butter is out of this world!).
More Fun in Oregon in Tillamook
Visitors who make the trip to Tillamook will find that there is so much more to the city than a single attraction.
The area is known for its splendid nature. Short trails lead hikers to amazing vistas – like a 319-foot-tall waterfall at Munson Creek Falls State Natural Area and the famed Octopus Tree at Cape Meares State Park.
Tillamook museums can entertain visitors for hours. Delve into the history of Northern Oregon at the Tillamook County Pioneer Museum, discover historic military aircraft at the Tillamook Air Museum or gain a better understanding of the forest at the Tillamook State Forest Center.
Where To Stay: The Shilo Inn offers comfortable accommodation – and it is conveniently situated between the Tillamook Creamery and downtown.
#10 Float the River in Bend, Oregon
Spending a relaxing day floating down the river in Bend is one of the fun things to do in Oregon in the summer. The scenery is epic – and so is the experience – which is why it ranks as an Oregon Must-Do!
The best place to float is along the cool and lazy stretch of the Deschutes River right in the heart of downtown Bend. You can plan your own trip or rent a tube and get a ride from a local tour company.
Tubing on the Deschutes River is fun and effortless, but it is not the only way to play in the water. Kayaks and stand-up paddleboards are a great way to explore the river, as well. Visitors can also partake in unusual water activities – like River Surfing – at the Bend Whitewater Park. For a bit of solitude, travelers might want to arrange a float in one of the mountainous alpine lakes.
Bend: More of the Best Things To Do in Oregon
Bend is a favorite place to visit for the great outdoors. Hiking, biking, skiing and sightseeing are just a few of the fun attractions in Oregon in the region. We share more tips and details in our guide to the Best Things To Do in Bend, OR.
Hike through other-worldly rock formations at Smith Rock State Park. Bike to Tumalo Falls in Deschutes National Forest. Ski down Mt. Bachelor in the Cascade Range. Take a scenic drive on the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway.
Avid and advanced hikers can take on one of the more challenging things to do in Central Oregon and hike the summit trail to South Sister from Devil’s Lake.
On days when you can’t get outdoors, partake in a few of the best things in Oregon indoors. Follow the city’s fun Craft Beer Ale Trail or visit the High Desert Museum. Visitors interested in quirky and unique attractions can visit the Petersen Rock Garden and Museum or go to a farm to feed the alpacas.
Where To Stay: When visiting Bend, we recommend staying on the north side of downtown at the recently renovated Wall Street Suites – check rates for your stay.
#11 Dip a Toe into the Tamolitch Blue Pool in Willamette NF
The famed Tamolitch Falls Blue Pool is one of the best places to see in Oregon. Only accessible via a 2-mile trek in the Willamette National Forest, the turquoise pool is a mesmerizing sight.
Brave thrill-seekers can descend a steep and narrow path down to the water for a quick dip. Just be aware that the water seeps up through lava rocks from an underground river and is a chilly 37 degrees…so maybe just dip your toes.
From the Tamolitch trailhead, it’s an easy-to-moderate hike to the Blue Pool, but trekkers can extend the jaunt along the McKenzie River Trail to other nearby sights, like Sahalie and Koosah Waterfalls.
More Oregon Things To Do and See in Willamette National Forest
The Willamette Forest is a top Oregon attraction with plenty of things to see and do.
In addition to the Blue Pool, another one of the things to visit in Oregon Willamette National Forest are the natural hot springs. The most well-known are the Terwilliger Hot Springs (also called Cougar Hot Springs), where naturally heated water cascades from one pool to the next. However, if you want an exceptionally unique experience, the McCredie Hot Springs are clothing optional.
The sights along the historic Oregon Route 242, which is part of the McKenzie Highway, are a highlight for summertime visitors. The road, which extends from Belknap Springs to the town of Sisters, is only open a few short months. Top attractions along the route are the breathtaking views of the High Cascade Peaks, Proxy Falls and the Dee Wright Observatory.
Where To Stay: A rustic and chic lodge located along the McKenzie River in nearby Vida, the Eagle Rock Lodge is an excellent place to stay when exploring Willamette National Forest.
#12 Visit the Historic Oregon State Campus in Corvallis
Oregon State University – home of the Beavers – ranks as the largest university in the state and is just a short walk from downtown Corvallis.
Established in 1868, the university campus features grand red-brick architecture and gorgeous green spaces. The campus’ oldest district is listed on the National Register of Historic Places. Touring the OSU campus is one of the best Oregon State things to do.
More Things To Do in Oregon State University and Corvallis
Other things to see in Oregon State University are the OSU Cultural Centers. However, sports fans agree that one of the best places to go in Oregon State University is Reser Stadium, a campus landmark.
Downtown Corvallis is fun destination, too! On weekends, visit the Corvallis Farmers Market, catch an Indie flick at the Darkside Cinema or listen to live music at the Majestic Theater. If you want to get outdoors, however, head for the William L Finley National Wildlife Refuge, hike up Bald Hill or go deep into the OSU McDonald-Dunn Research Forest.
Where To Stay: Located next to Reser Stadium and just steps from the OSU National Historic District, the Hilton Garden Inn offers clean and spacious rooms with comfortable beds – plus it’s just a mile from downtown Corvallis.
#13 Learn about Lewis and Clark in Astoria, OR
Lewis and Clark National Historical Park in Astoria is one of the unique places to visit in Oregon. The park, which shares the story of the famed Lewis and Clark Expedition of the early 1800s, encompasses a replica fort, nature trails and ranger-led activities.
Visitors should start their journey at Fort Clatsop – one of the best sights in Oregon. Attend one of the informative talks, partake in a hands-on demonstration and then hop on one of the trails to walk where explorers once did.
More Things To Do in Northern Oregon
Astoria is situated in the northwestern corner of the state, where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Coast – and it’s a fun place to visit for a day, a weekend or even longer!
In addition to the Lewis and Clark Historical Park, travelers can learn about the city’s rich history at the Fort Stevens State Park (featuring a shipwrecked boat), the Columbia River Maritime Museum (to learn about navigation and the fishing industry) and the Captain George Flavel House Museum (a Victorian mansion dating to 1885).
More recent history can be learned at the Oregon Film Museum. The rather small museum is housed in the former county jail and features memorabilia from movies filmed in Oregon – like The Goonies.
One of the top tourist spots in Oregon to see is The Astoria Column. Standing since 1926, visitors can climb up the 164 steps inside the 126-foot-tall column for phenomenal views of the city and region.
Another one of the famous things in Oregon to visit while in Astoria is the Astoria-Megler Bridge. Once ranking as the longest continuous truss bridge in North America, the 4-mile bridge crosses the Columbia River into Washington.
Where To Stay: A historic hotel in the heart of the city, Hotel Elliott is full of character and charm (but has all the modern amenities, too!).
#14 Explore Cape Perpetua Scenic Area in Yachats, OR
A must-see in Oregon, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is one of the best places to visit in Oregon Coast region. The quintessential coastline features craggy cliffs, hiking trails and interesting geological phenomena.
The most remarkable sights to see are right at sea level. Catch a glimpse of Thor’s Well, which appears to be draining the ocean. Check out Sprouting Horn at Cook’s Chasm to watch water spray into the air. Spend time watching Devil’s Churn as crashing waves flow into a narrow cove.
Low tide at Cape Perpetua reveals numerous tide pools – and discovering the marine life within them is one of the amazing things to do in Oregon.
More Top Sites in Oregon at Cape Perpetua
Cape Perpetua not only offers sea adventures, but land sights, too. The Cape Perpetua Lookout – which marks the highest viewpoint accessible by car on the coast – is a top Oregon tourist attraction.
Hiking trails in the area are spectacular! Hikes range from short, easy walks (Captain Cook Trail and Giant Spruce Trail) to moderately difficult treks (Amanda’s Trail and Saint Perpetua).
Where To Stay: The Adobe Resort is an oceanfront property with exceptional sea views and it’s just a short drive from Cape Perpetua.
#15 Take the Scenic Rim Drive in Crater Lake National Park
If you are wondering what to see in Oregon, Crater Lake should be on your list! The vivid blue ‘Lake Majesty’ is the deepest and clearest lake in the United States – and it is simply awe-inspiring.
Crater Lake was created when a volcano erupted – and then collapsed. The lake is not fed by a single river, stream or spring; instead, the lake is filled by rain and snowmelt – keeping the water impeccably clean.
The best way to view the beautiful body of water is from the 33-mile Rim Drive that encircles Crater Lake. This top Oregon scenic route offers more than 30 viewpoints so that visitors can marvel at the lake from every angle. The best spots to stop along the drive are Watchman Overlook, Cloud Cap Overlook, Pinnacles Overlook, Phantom Ship Overlook and Pumice Castle Overlook.
More Things To Do in Crater Lake Oregon Region
There are ample opportunities for recreation at Crater Lake NP. Visitors can take a boat tour to Wizard Island, swim in the crystal-clear waters and go fishing in the lake. Bicycling and hiking are other top Crater Lake Oregon things to do.
Travelers looking for more outdoor adventures near Crater Lake should explore Umpqua National Forest. The forest is filled with natural wonders – like tumbling waterfalls, rushing rivers, hidden caves and pristine lakes. Not to be missed is the majestic Toketee Falls, one of the highlights of Umpqua NF. The Natural Bridge on the Rogue River is another fantastic geological feature.
Where To Stay: Finding accommodations near Crater Lake can be a struggle. The Crater Lake Lodge books up far in advance (often fully booked a year out). We recommend reserving a room in nearby Fort Klamath at Aspen Inn or Crater Lake Resort.
#16 Stare in Awe at John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
The John Day Fossil Beds are one of the cool places in Oregon to see that many travelers miss. The vast park is geologically significant, providing a wealth of preserved fossilized plants and animals.
The John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is comprised of three distinct areas: Sheep Rock, Clarno and Painted Hills. The latter is the prettiest area, featuring bands of colored land. The Painted Hills site is listed as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon.
The three areas of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument are best explored on foot. There are numerous trails that take hikers through some of the most impressive Oregon landscapes.
How To Explore John Day Fossil Beds
While the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is one of the top sights in Oregon, it is in a fairly remote part of the high desert.
Furthermore, the three areas are separate from each other. Ambitious travelers could see all three areas in one day, but for a relaxed sightseeing pace, it’s best to stay a bit longer.
Where To Stay: Camping is probably the best option when exploring John Day Fossil Beds – but there are a few hotels in the town of John Day, like the Best Western that has an included breakfast. While in town, make time to visit the interesting Kam Wah Chung Heritage Site.
#17 Drink Oregon Wine in Willamette Valley
The rolling hills of the Willamette Valley are exceptional at producing fine wines – most notably, Pinot noir. More than 500 wineries dot the lush landscape and the inviting vineyards welcome visitors for a taste.
Without a doubt, wine is one of the most famous things in Oregon – so there are tours and weekend packages that make winery tastings simple and fun. In fact, one of the romantic things to do in Oregon is to spend a weekend visiting the many wineries in Oregon Wine Country.
Guests can swirl, sip and savor local Oregon wines on private tours, lunch tours, bike tours and combo attraction-slash-wine tours; all are ideal options for sampling the local wine. Find your perfect wine tour!
More Oregon Wine Country Experiences
Willamette Wine Country is one of the most unique places to visit in Oregon. In addition to the boutique wineries, luxury hotels and tasting rooms, there are a few more reasons to visit.
Outdoor enthusiasts can paddle down the Willamette River on the Willamette Water Trail or hike through a vineyard with a wine expert. Alternatively, spend a relaxing day at a luxurious spa (like the posh Allison Inn Spa), then indulge in a satisfying farm-to-table meal.
To truly make your weekend in Oregon Wine Country memorable, soar above the vineyards in a hot air balloon.
Where To Stay: The premier place to stay in Willamette Valley Wine Country is The Allison Inn and Spa, but the luxury hotel is exceptionally pricey. Travelers looking for more reasonably priced accommodations can book at room at the much more affordable (but still absolutely charming!) Dundee Hotel.
#18 Step Back in Time in Klamath Falls
Klamath Falls is the gateway to Crater Lake National Park, but we think it’s a destination on its own.
Start your Klamath Falls, Oregon sightseeing by stepping back in time in the historic city center. Take a walk along the enticing Main Street and pop into the Klamath County Museum to learn about the local history.
Things To Do: Southern Oregon
Klamath Falls lays claim to an abundance of outdoor Southern Oregon attractions. Moore Park is the city’s largest green space, offering trails for hikers and bikers, birdwatching opportunities and playgrounds for kids. The park sits on the southern shoreline of Upper Klamath Lake – and is easy to access from downtown via the waterfall-rich Link River Trail.
The OC and E Woods Line State Trail is another one of the outdoor Klamath Falls, Oregon things to do and see. The 105-mile paved path stretches from Klamath Falls to Olene.
More Southern Oregon things to do in Klamath Falls are visiting the museums – like the Baldwin Hotel Museum, the Favell Museum and the Train Mountain Railroad Museum.
#19 Spend a Day Shopping at Bridgeport Village in Tualatin
Bridgeport Village is a premier outdoor shopping and dining district in the Portland suburb of Tualatin. Located just 12 miles south of Portland, it is where to go in Oregon for a unique and fun shopping and entertainment experience.
The planned Bridgeport Village, which is designed to be reminiscent of a European village, hosts more than 80 shops. A fun mix of casual eateries – including options for sushi, Mexican and Italian – can provide sustenance for your shopping trip. For entertainment, the IMAX theater is a big hit.
Other shopping districts in the area are Nyberg Woods and Nyberg River.
More Fun Stuff To Do in Oregon around Tualatin
Oswego Lake, the Tualatin River Greenway Trail and Tualatin Art Walk are great ways to get outdoors. The nearby Cook Park and Summerlake City Park are more great spots for outdoor recreation.
Another one of the interesting things to do in Oregon near Tualatin is to visit the Portland Oregon Temple. The Latter-Day Saints Temple features a modern design that is fun for architecture fans, while the spacious gardens offer a moment of tranquility.
Where To Stay: The Century Hotel offers lakeview rooms in a great location that is close to restaurants and just a mile from the Bridgeport Village shopping experience.
#20 Trek the Waterfall Trail at Silver Falls State Park near Salem
One of the Oregon best places to visit is Silver Falls State Park near the capital city of Salem. The park encompasses more than 30 miles of trails – but the most impressive trail is the 7.2-mile looping Trail of Ten Falls.
The moderate Trail of 10 Falls (which is designated as a National Recreation Trail) descends into a canyon, winds through soaring evergreens and meanders through a landscape of dazzling waterfalls. In some instances, the trail takes hikers behind the falls, offering an incredibly unique perspective.
More Things To Do in Salem, Oregon
After hiking Silver Falls State Park, stop by Salem to see some of the best sights in the capital city – like the Oregon State Capitol, the Elsinore Theatre and the Willamette Heritage Center Mill.
If you are looking for places to visit in Oregon with family, head to the Riverfront City Park to take a ride on the carousel, go to the Gilbert House Children’s Museum or spend an afternoon at the Enchanted Forest Theme Park.
Where To Stay: There is a rustic lodge in the park, but guests looking for more sophisticated lodging should check availability at Oregon Garden Resort – where the grounds are meticulously manicured and each room has a fireplace.
#21 Take a Scenic Drive around Magnificent Mount Hood
Mount Hood tops the list as the Highest Peak in Oregon, standing at 11,245 feet. It’s an iconic landmark of the state and a skiing destination. There is no doubt about it, Mount Hood is one of the must-sees in Oregon – and guests can get a good look from the Mt. Hood Scenic Byway.
The 100-mile scenic byway extends from Troutdale around the south side of Mount Hood to the town of Hood River. Gorgeous scenery, quaint villages, the historic Timberline Lodge, Barlow Pass and fields and orchards in Hood River Valley are top things to see.
Rather than driving out-and-back, visitors can connect the Mount Hood Scenic Byway to the Columbia River Gorge Drive to create the Mount Hood Scenic Loop. Driving the complete loop is an exciting all-day adventure!
More Places to Explore in Oregon near Mount Hood
Visitors can drive the entirety of the Mount Hood Scenic Byway in a day, but there are sights in the region that make a longer trip worthwhile.
Trillium Lake is a top destination – both for water activities and for the unparalleled views of Mt. Hood rising above the lake.
Visitors who want a better look at the agricultural land in the Hood River Valley can take a 35-mile Fruit Loop Drive through forests and farmlands.
Travelers looking for things to do around the city of Hood River can visit the Western Antique Aeroplane and Automobile Museum to see a collection of antique cars and planes. Just leave enough time to stop by the Apple Valley Country Store for a huckleberry milkshake.
Where To Stay: There is no better place to stay at Mount Hood than the historic Timberline Lodge. Room decor is inspired by the natural surroundings and amenities include multiple on-site restaurants, a sauna and pool.
#22 Learn about The Oregon Trail Pioneers in Baker City
One of the best places to go in Oregon to learn about the state’s earliest pioneers is The Oregon Trail Interpretive Center in Baker City.
The Oregon Trail was the route pioneers used to travel from Missouri to Oregon – and it passes right by Baker City. The travel by wagon was arduous and long – and the National Historic Oregon Trail Interpretive Center illustrates what life was like on the trail.
Visitors can learn about The Oregon Trail through the displays and live presentations – and better understand the trials of travel along the route.
More Sightseeing in Oregon in Baker City
Located in Eastern Oregon, Baker City has just enough sights that visitors could plan a weekend in the city. In the town center, guests can learn about the first settlers at the Baker Heritage Museum and tour the opulent Leo Adler House Museum, filled with authentic antiques and furnishings.
Exploring the city, window shopping, perusing the art at local galleries and tasting the local fare are top ways to round out your time in Baker City.
Where To Stay: Grand in every way, the Geiser Grand Hotel is an exceptional place to stay in Baker City. The impressive architecture and design details make it a must-see in the city, so why not book a room for the night!
#23 Ride the Wallowa Lake Tramway in Northeastern Oregon
Riding the Wallowa Lake Tramway to the summit of Mt. Howard is one of the fun Oregon activities in the northeastern part of the state.
The summertime tramway transports passengers from Wallowa Lake Village up a steep 3700-foot incline to the top of Mount Howard.
During the ride, guests are treated to exceptional views of the Wallowa Mountains and wilderness below. Once at the summit, a trail leads to a lookout point that offers a view that extends across the state’s border into Washington, Idaho and even Montana on clear days.
More of Eastern Oregon: What To See
In Eastern Oregon, a myriad of outdoor adventures awaits. The Wallowa-Whitman National Forest is rugged and wild – and rife with unique geological features and stunning scenic viewpoints.
The most striking landscapes at Wallowa-Whitman NF are found within the Hells Canyon National Recreation Area, which straddles the Snake River into Idaho. Hells Canyon ranks as the deepest river gorge in North America and offers the opportunity for world-class whitewater boating.
Anthony Lakes – a ski resort by winter and an unspoiled natural playground in summer – is a fun destination within Wallowa-Whitman National Forest. Travelers who want to explore the natural beauty of the region should drive the Elkhorn Scenic Byway.
Where To Stay: Just outside Wallowa Lake State Park, Eagle Cap Chalets is a basic resort offering clean rooms with kitchens. The reason to book a room here, however, is that the property is nestled in a beautiful, forested setting.
#24 Walk the Trail of Molten Lands at Newberry Volcanic Monument
Thousands of years ago, the mountainous terrain of the Cascade Range was created by erupting volcanoes. Cinder cones and lava tubes were left in the wake – and the barren lands in Sunriver are an exceptional place to see how the event shaped the land.
Exploring the lava landscapes is one of the top things to do in Oregon. At the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, guests can walk where lava once flowed. The Trail of Molten Land extends for one mile from the Lava Lands Visitor Center to the base of Lava Butte.
Along the route, guests learn more about the lava flow from the posted informational plaques.
More Oregon Main Attractions in Sunriver
Visitors intrigued by the volcanic activity can continue their exploration at the Lava River Cave. The 1-mile-long lava tube is open in the summer for hikes.
Another fabulous 1-mile hike at Newberry is The Big Obsidian Flow Trail. Located near Paulina Peak, the trail features evidence of volcanic activity and reveals the resulting black glass and pumice.
After spending a day looking down at the ground, stay in Sunriver to look up to the sky at the Oregon Observatory in Sunriver.
Where To Stay: Guests who want accommodations near the Newberry Volcano sights should check for availability at the Sunriver Resort. Amenities include multiple pools, an on-site spa, a fun kids’ club and more!
#25 Glimpse into the Past at Fort Rock Homestead Village Museum
Ft. Rock Homestead is one of the fun places to go in Oregon to see how homesteaders lived in the early 1900s. The preserved community features a collection of historic structures – including houses, cabins, a school, a church and village buildings.
Visitors can get a glimpse of what the ghost town was like when it was active and thriving. On a self-guided tour, guests get to see a blacksmith shop, original farming tools and the community garden.
Nearby at the base of Fort Rock, travelers can pay respects at the Fort Rock Cemetery, the final resting place for many of the town’s homesteaders. Some claim the cemetery is one of the most haunted places in the Northwest.
More Oregon Top Things To Do in Fort Rock
The area around Fort Rock is fairly desolate, but an excellent place to explore – especially at Ft Rock State Park. Centered on a jagged rock that seems to rise out of the high desert, Fort Rock State Park is a place for recreation and education.
An erupting volcano created the circular-shaped rock, which has since been used by civilizations as a protective shelter. Today, Fort Rock is listed as a National Natural Landmark. Hikers can use the trails to explore the area and the Fort Rock Cave is accessible on tours.
#26 Ride Horseback on Bandon Beach, OR
Located in the heart of the Southern Coast, Bandon is a treasured coastal gem. Sea stacks and rock formations resiliently stand in the shallow waters along the flat beach, creating an utterly magnificent scene.
One of the cool things to do in Oregon while visiting Bandon is to take a horseback ride on the beach. During the 1-hour ride, participants enjoy the breathtaking ocean scenes. It’s particularly splendid at sunset.
More Things To See: Oregon Southern Coast
Horseback riding on the beach is one of the fun things to do in Oregon for couples and families, but there are many ways to explore the South Coast.
Port Orford is an old coastal village with a rock-strewn coast – but families love it for the Prehistoric Gardens dinosaur park. Cape Sebastian Scenic Corridor offers exceptional coastal scenery and Gold Beach is a fun stop along the route.
Further south, the Samuel H Boardman Scenic Corridor is the most spectacular stretch of road in Southern Oregon. Marked by secret beaches, pretty coves and captivating viewpoints, it’s a highlight of the region. If you make it as far south as Brookings, you are nearly to the California border (and we highly recommend continuing south to Crescent City!).
Where To Stay: In Bandon, visitors can opt to stay in town or on the beach…and we recommend staying on the beach! Table Rock Motel is a solid choice for oceanfront accommodations that are also close to the city center.
#27 Discover Steens Mountain Wilderness in Southeastern Oregon
Remote and rustic, Steens Mountain Wilderness might not be the first place that comes to mind when you are thinking about Oregon vacation ideas. However, the rugged region in the southeastern corner of the state is prime for getting off the grid and getting in touch with nature.
The best way to get acquainted with the region is via the Steens Mountain Loop Road. Ranking as the highest road in the state, the 60-mile drive travels to the 9,733-foot Steens Mountain summit.
Hiking in Steens Mountain ranges from moderate to difficult hikes, so make sure you are prepared. Top hikes are the Little Blitzen Gorge, Big Indian Gorge and Wildhorse Lake.
More Fun Things To Do: Oregon Southeast
The region around Steens Mountain might be barren, but it’s an enthralling area to discover.
The Alvord Desert, with its cracked earth, is the driest place in the state. The inhospitable land is a superb place for stargazing by night and land sailing by day (yep, it’s a thing!).
Another attraction in the area – and ideal after a long day of hiking – is the Alvord Hot Springs, where you can soak, rest and rejuvenate…in the middle of nowhere.
Where To Stay: A preserved lodging house from the 1920s, Frenchglen Hotel is an interesting place to stay in the region. Visitors can also book a room at Steens Mountain Wilderness Resort.
#28 Zipline through the Rogue Valley
Some of the most amazing things to do in Oregon are thrilling adventures – and ziplining in the Rogue Valley is one of them.
The Rogue Valley is nestled in Southern Oregon, surrounded by the Cascade Range to the east, the Siskiyou Mountains to the south and the Southern Oregon Coast Range to the west. All which means, it’s a fantastic place for views – and ziplining is a way to get a unique point of view.
Rogue Valley Zipline Adventure offers 5 exhilarating courses – and guests are accompanied by professional guides. While ziplining through the forest and across deep ravines, participants take in outstanding mountain views.
More Oregon Points of Interest in Rogue Valley
If ziplining brings you to Rogue Valley, you should stay to experience more of what the region has to offer.
Medford is a hub of activity – offering shopping, dining and outdoor recreation. Visiting the Medford Railroad Park, hiking Upper and Lower Table Rock and sipping Southern Oregon wine are three top picks.
Curious travelers might want to stop by the Oregon Vortex and House of Mystery – an attraction known for paranormal activity and optical illusions.
The nearby Oregon Caves National Monument is a fascinating destination. The subterranean marble caves can be explored on guided tours and there are hiking trails on the grounds, as well.
#29 Embark on a Wildlife Safari in Winston, OR
The Wildlife Safari, one of the fun Oregon sights for families, is a drive-through zoo that allows visitors to see animals up close as they roam the lands.
The journey takes guests through multiple world regions – including Africa, North America and Asia. Favorite animals to see along the drive are ostrich, zebras, rhinos, giraffes, tigers, elephants and bears.
Visitors have the opportunity to feed some of the animals, as well.
What To See and Do in Oregon near the Wildlife Safari
Winston, where the Wildlife Safari is located, is a fairly small town, but there are a few Oregon sightseeing attractions in the region.
Main Street in Winston is a good place to get a bite to eat; the Winston Diner is a fun place to stop with kids. Adults seeking a few beverages at the end of the day should try a pint at Lookingglass Brewery or sample a flight of wine at the nearby Abacela Winery.
One of the best ways to discover the area is by driving the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic Byway that traverses the Umpqua National Forest (and winds right around Crater Lake). If you are staying in the Winston area, complete the loop on I-5 and stop by Myrtle Creek to see the covered bridges on the route.
#30 Hike a Stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail at Mt Jefferson
Mount Jefferson ranks as the second-highest summit in the state…and it’s one of the best things in Oregon to see.
Although Mt. Jefferson is not the easiest mountain to reach (because of both rough roads or no roads at all), experienced outdoor enthusiasts flock to the Mount Jefferson Wilderness Area for hiking and backpacking adventures.
In fact, a 40-mile segment of the famed Pacific Crest Trail – made famous by the book Wild by Cheryl Strayed – passes through the Mt Jefferson Wilderness Area and is classified as a difficult hike.
More Oregon Sights and Attractions near Mt Jefferson
There are ample reasons to visit the area surrounding Mt Jefferson.
In addition to the epic mountain views and challenging hikes, the area is known for its alpine lakes and wildflowers. Camping, mountaineering and skiing are all top activities.
Where To Stay: Most visitors to Mt. Jefferson plan to stay in the great outdoors, but guests who want a bed in a rustic cabin should book a place at Olallie Lake Resort in Mt Hood National Forest.
#31 Visit the Round Up and Happy Canyon Hall of Fame in Pendleton, OR
The wild west town of Pendleton is one of the top places to visit in Oregon. Known for the annual Pendleton Round-Up rodeo event, Pendleton is steeped in both history and cowboy culture.
A must-visit place in Pendleton is the Round-Up & Happy Canyon Hall of Fame. Filled with artifacts and memorabilia that celebrate the tradition of the famous rodeo, the museum brings visitors into the action (and it is free to visit!).
More Fun Stuff in Oregon in Pendleton
Pendleton’s fame is linked to the rodeo, but many people know the town for the wool blankets that are produced by a company of the same name. Guests can take a tour of the Pendleton Woolen Mill to learn about the production of the textiles.
The poignant Tamastslikt Cultural Institute explores the history of the lands’ indigenous tribes and their experiences with explorers and pioneers. Close by is the Wildhorse Casino, which is fun for gambling, bowling and golfing.
Visitors interested in learning about the town’s crooked past – when opium dens and brothels were rampant – can go below the surface into the city’s tunnels on a Pendleton Underground tour.
The summertime Pendleton Whiskey Music Fest – a 1-day whiskey and music extravaganza – is the city’s second-biggest event after the rodeo…and it’s held at the Round-Up grounds.
Where To Stay: There are a handful of motels in the center of town, but we recommend staying at the Oxford Suites – which is just a half-mile from the Round Up Hall of Fame.
#32 Attend a Fun Festival in Oregon
There are numerous Oregon sites to visit, but the state’s fun festivals are popular attractions in Oregon, as well! The Pendleton Round Up tops the list of Best Oregon Festivals, but there are festive gatherings in cities and towns across the state throughout the year.
The Rose Festival in Portland, the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland and the Oregon State Fair in Salem always attract big crowds.
Music fests – like the Sisters Folk Festival, Pickathon and the Waterfront Blues Festival – have a solid line up of entertainers.
The Oregon Brewers Festival features the state’s fine dedication to craft beer and the Feast Portland event showcases the vibrant culinary scene. Meanwhile, both Cherryfest and the Cherry Festival highlight Oregon’s abundant cherry production.
Coastal events, like the Lincoln City Kite Fest and the Florence Rhododendron Festival, are good reasons to plan a drive on the Oregon Coast.
Some of the more obscure festivals are the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, the UFO Fest and the Adult Soap Box Derby.
Map of Oregon: What To Do
Use this link to Google Maps for an interactive version of our Top Attractions in Oregon Map.
Things To Do Near Oregon
Our list of the Best Places To Visit: Oregon, highlights the state’s best attractions and destinations, but there are places to visit beyond Oregon, as well.
Just north of Portland across the Columbia River, Vancouver, Washington is a charming destination. Top Things To Do in Vancouver are the Fort Vancouver Historical Site, the modern Waterfront Park and the numerous Vancouver Craft Breweries.
Crescent City, CA
Just 20 miles south of the Oregon-California border is quaint Crescent City. The town itself is fun to explore, but the Best Thing To Do in Crescent City is to go see the gigantic trees at Jedediah Smith Redwoods State Park.
Boise, Idaho is just 45 miles east of the eastern Oregon border – and a fabulously fun place to visit! The capital city boasts ample outdoor attractions (check out the Boise River Greenbelt and Julia Davis Park). The best Boise cultural institutions are the Old Idaho Penitentiary, State Capitol and the Basque Museum.
Just 175 miles north of Oregon, Seattle, Washington is home to world-renowned sights and incredible nature. On a Weekend Trip to Seattle, visitors can see the Space Needle, feast at Pike Place Market, attend a live musical performance and take a ferry to Bainbridge Island.
Spokane, Washington is a perfect destination for a weekend escape from Oregon! The mid-sized city is perfect for exploring on foot. The Best Things To Do in Spokane – like Riverfront Park, historic districts and tasty fare – are right in the heart of the city.
The beauty of the Pacific coastline doesn’t stop at the Oregon – California border. In fact, some of the most dramatic coastline is in California. Use our guide to Driving the California Coast for tips on what to see and do!
Looking for more USA destinations? Use our guide to the Best Weekend Getaways in the USA! If you are looking for some of the country’s lesser known locales, check out our list of the Most Underrated US Destinations.
Planning a Trip to Oregon: Travel Tips
Hopefully by now you have the answer to your question, What is there to do in Oregon?, and you are ready to start planning your trip! We have a few tips to help you get started.
Pro Tip: Get (and stay) organized for your vacation to Oregon by using our Travel Planning Printables!
How To Get to Oregon
Oregon can be reached by plane, train, bus or car.
Visitors traveling by plane will likely arrive at one of three airports: Portland International Airport (PDX), Eugene Airport (EUG) or Klamath Falls International Airport (LMT).
How To Get around Oregon
Getting around Oregon is easy…but only if you have a car. In fact, to explore beyond any city center in Oregon, a car is imperative.
Planning Oregon Day Trips
The state’s network of roads allows visitors to reach most of the best destinations by car, making day trips in Oregon a great option. Just be sure to check distances, travel times and road conditions before setting off on a journey.
Many of the top Oregon destinations can also be reached on guided tours. Leave the driving and the planning to someone else – and sit back, relax and enjoy the view! Find the best Oregon Day Trips on Viator.
Where To Stay in Oregon
Throughout our post of the best Oregon Things To Do, we offer a suggested for a place to stay at each destination. We also recommend that you read our tips for Finding the Best Hotels, which will help you get the best place for the best price!
What To Pack for your Oregon Trip
Now that you know all of the fun stuff to do in Oregon and are well on your way to planning your Oregon trip, we want to share a few tips for packing! You can also use our top Packing Hacks and our Ultimate Packing List for more advice.
In order to get to the best places to see in Oregon, you need a good driving map! A map – like this one – will help you plan your adventures and easily get around the state!
In our list of Oregon sightseeing places, we include numerous destinations that are best discovered on foot. Make sure to pack a good pair of comfortable walking shoes for your trip. I like to travel with my favorite lightweight sneakers – and we share more tips in our blog post, The Best Shoes for Traveling.
There is no doubt about it, Oregon is gorgeous. The best way to capture the beauty of the state is with a real camera. We use a DSLR Canon Rebel for our trips. It’s a fantastic budget travel camera because it is easy to use, takes high-quality photos and comes with heaps of accessories.
Whether you travel with a backpack or a suitcase, you’ll also want a great day bag to organize all you essential travel items for your trip. We like to wear lightweight backpacks, which allow us to stow everything we will need throughout the day.
Layers and Seasonal Gear
The climate in Oregon varies by region. The coast is usually cool, but humid – and inland it can be hot and dry. Packing layers is a good idea – and you will want to be sure you have the right seasonal gear, too. In the winter, bring your coat and a good travel umbrella and in don’t forget sunscreen, a pair of sunglasses and a hat for the summertime.
If there is one thing that is certain about travel, it is that plans can change, planes can cancel and luggage can get lost. Be sure to get travel insurance, like an affordable policy with World Nomads, before you leave for your trip to Oregon!
We Want To Know: What would you add to our list of Things To Do in Oregon? Tell us in the comments!
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