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Best things to do in Oregon

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Where in the world: USA  /  Oregon
You won't run out of things to do in Oregon, a land of rugged coastlines, deep forests, and vibrant cities packed with craft breweries, prized restaurants, and trendy shops. Stretching along the boundary between Washington and Oregon, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area offers numerous outdoor opportunities and a chance to discover a sprawling world of pristine forests, wetlands, and prehistoric sites. Abundant with wildlife, the shoreline at Cannon Beach is one of Oregon's most treasured landmarks, while the town itself is full of independent shops, art galleries, and theaters. Aptly nicknamed the "City of Roses," Portland is home to a number of perfectly manicured gardens and organic coffeehouses.

Oregon is best known for its Gardens, State Parks, and Specialty Museums.

Top 15 things to do in Oregon

1. Crater Lake National Park, Crater Lake National Park

Known for its deep blue color and clear waters, Crater Lake National Park formed in a collapsed volcano. The lake is more than a protected ecosystem, it is also a sacred place to the Klamath tribe, who researchers think may have witnessed the collapse of the volcano. You'll be able to see another legendary aspect of the lake as well. "Old Man of the Lake," once a tree, now a stump, has bobbed in the lake for centuries. Crater Lake National Park boasts hiking trails and lookout points all around its rim.
Suggested duration: 8 hours
Tours from $525 › Learn more about Crater Lake National Park

2. International Rose Test Garden, Portland

Boasting about 7,000 rose plants in 550 different varieties, International Rose Test Garden helps Portland live up to its nickname "the city of roses." The city set up the rose test garden during World War I to protect hybrid roses grown in Europe, which rose lovers feared would be destroyed in the bombings. You can see roses from all over the world, as the public garden receives a steady stream to test. Explore its 1.8 hectares (4.5 acres) and discover the amphitheater, Shakespeare garden, and Gold Medal garden of award-winning plants. If it is a clear day, you can admire superb views of the Cascade Mountains. Bring along a picnic to enjoy in the spacious grassy area; the gardens do not have a restaurant.
Suggested duration: 30 minutes
Tours from $36 › Learn more about International Rose Test Garden

3. River Rafting & Tubing, Ashland

Create memories of Southern Oregon's wilderness that will stay imprinted on your mind forever by whitewater rafting or tubing on the area's scenic rivers. You'll enjoy this activity with an experienced guide, who'll work hard to keep you safe and entertained while rushing through the rapids that'll make your heart beat a little fast. You'll also be able to plunge off the raft into the crystal waters as you come to a calm spot, pick blackberries on the shore, or enjoy an organic meal. You can choose between day trips and multi-day journeys.
Suggested duration: 4 hours
Tours from $89 › Learn more about River Rafting & Tubing

4. Half-Day Columbia River Gorge and Waterfall Hiking Tour

FROM $69
The 80 miles of the Columbia River Gorge’s steep rocky sides offer some of the most spectacular scenery in the world: pounding waterfalls, eagles, century-old trees, ferns, flowers, ancient rocks. This half-day of exploring and meditating on wonders with very short hikes and visits to overlooks and vistas will have you gasping in awe. We'll visit waterfalls and overlooks, selected by our guides to include both the most iconic, like the unmissable Latourell Falls, a stunning plunge-style falls that is one of the most iconic in Oregon, and the special. Depending on weather conditions, this could include a few small hidden waterfalls and another spectacular plunge-style falls with columnar basalt. We'll also tell you stories, not just of the geology and botany and the oft-repeated tales of pioneers and road-builders, but also the old stories we've learned, of gods and animal spirits and the Beaver princess tragically turned into a waterfall.
Suggested duration: 4h
Tours from $69 › More about this tour at viator.com ›
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5. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

A popular destination for hiking, snowboarding, skiing, biking, and fishing, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area transitions from temperate rainforest to dry grasslands in just under 130 km (80 mi). Up to 1,200 m (4,000 ft) deep, the gorge stretches along the boundary between Washington and Oregon and contains a high concentration of waterfalls, with nearly 100 on the Oregon side alone. An important water transportation corridor for millennia, this river canyon offers you a chance to discover a sprawling world of pristine forests, streams, lakes, wetlands, and prehistoric sites. Take advantage of scenic drives, picnic areas, hiking trails, and panoramic lookouts. You can set up a tent or trailer at one of the area's designated campgrounds.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $69 › Learn more about Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

6. Portland Japanese Garden, Portland

Portland Japanese Garden sits nestled in the hills of Portland, overlooking the city and providing a tranquil, urban oasis for locals and travelers alike. Designed in 1963, it encompasses eight separate garden styles and includes an authentic Japanese tea house, meandering streams, intimate walkways, and a spectacular view of Mt. Hood. In 2017, the garden created the cultural village, a place where visitors can immerse themselves in traditional Japanese arts through seasonal activities, performances, and demonstrations. Finally, visitors can relax and refresh while at the umami cafe. Here, visitors can experience the pairing of Japanese tea with traditional gracious, attentive service, and delicious edible delights.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $50 › Learn more about Portland Japanese Garden

7. Haystack Rock, Cannon Beach

Rising 72 m (235 ft) above the Pacific shoreline, Haystack Rock serves as one of the Oregon Coast's most iconic monuments. You can reach the formation, known as a sea stack, at low tide from the beach. It plays home to an array of tide pool-dwelling creatures like crabs, starfish, and anemones. Visit the monolithic rock and the surrounding seaside area and partake of beachfront activities, such as picnicking, kite-flying, and enjoying nature. Bird-watchers should keep an eye out for the great number of species that periodically nest on and near the sea stack. Be sure to check local tide tables to ensure your safety and access to the rock.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $128 › Learn more about Haystack Rock

8. Morning Half-Day Multnomah Falls and Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland

FROM $85
Visit the top attractions near the Portland, Oregon area on this guided, half-day tour. Spend an afternoon taking in some amazing views of  Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls. Start along the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway. Some of the viewpoints in the area may include Portland Women Forum, Crown Point Vista House, Latourell Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, and Multnomah Falls. Bring a camera to capture the indescribable views.
Suggested duration: 3h 30min
Tours from $85 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

9. Powell's City of Books, Portland

Powell's City of Books fills an entire city block, where it sells new and used books. The company claims to be the largest independent bookstore in the U.S. It buys over 3,000 books every day to sells in its used and rare book sections. Be sure to stop by the rare book room where autographed copies and rare editions are displayed. Called "the coolest bookstore in the world" by CNN, the store hosts art exhibits and author events. Visit the website for a list of upcoming book signings.
Suggested duration: 1 hour
Tours from $21 › Learn more about Powell's City of Books

10. Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil

The tallest waterfall in Oregon, and the second-tallest year-round waterfall in America, Multnomah Falls is a natural wonder imbued with Native American legend. Supposedly, the waterfall was created to woo a young princess who wanted a private place to bathe. Find the bottom of this 186 m (611 ft) icy fall after crossing the Benson Footbridge, and then continue up the trail for different views of the spectacle. After your hike, head to Multnomah Falls Lodge, a relaxing restaurant, gift shop, and information center built in 1925 from every type of rock found in Columbia Gorge.
Suggested duration: 1h 30 min
Tours from $67 › Learn more about Multnomah Falls

11. River Rafting & Tubing, Bend

Suggested duration: 2 hours
Learn more about River Rafting & Tubing

12. Columbia River Gorge Waterfalls Tour from Portland

FROM $79
Species seen nowhere else in the world, dramatic basalt lava flows nearly a mile deep, and some of the world’s most beautiful waterfalls are a few of the sights that await you on this tour. Come experience the grandeur of the Columbia River Gorge, one of the United States’ most photographed Natural Scenic Areas. We will drive along the oldest scenic highway in the US, stopping at sweeping viewpoints, flowing falls, and a historic lodge.
Suggested duration: 4h
Tours from $79 › More about this tour at viator.com ›

13. Cannon Beach, Cannon Beach

The shoreline at Cannon Beach is one of Oregon’s most treasured landmarks, distinguished by its pristine sandy beaches and the monolithic Haystack Rock. This picturesque beach is abundant with wildlife and is perfect for exploring tide pools and spotting birds, including tufted puffins and cormorants. Avoid the summer crowds at Ecola Creek by opting for the stretches towards Silver Point instead. The town itself is full of independent shops, art galleries, and theaters, thanks to strict regulations limiting large chain stores and restaurants.
Suggested duration: 2 hours
Tours from $20 › Learn more about Cannon Beach

15. Mt Hood Day Trip from Portland to Multnomah Falls and Hood River

Likely to sell out FROM $130
See the natural wonders that line the Historic Columbia River Highway on this day trip from Portland to Mt Hood. With a guide, you'll be whisked to some of Oregon’s most spectacular sights, including Multnomah Falls and the Columbia River Gorge, as you learn about the area along the way. Stop by attractions like Timberline Lodge and Rowena Crest, and have free time for lunch in Hood River.
Suggested duration: 8h 30min
Tours from $130 › More about this tour at viator.com ›