Are you thinking about visiting Oregon this year? Here are some of the most beautiful places to visit in Oregon. These pretty sights and destinations will blow your mind.
Oregon, with its stunning coastline, awe-inspiring mountain ranges, lush vineyards, and dynamic cityscapes. This also includes the long enchanted travelers seeking to uncover the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest. This state is a treasure trove of breathtaking views and unique experiences.
From the iconic Crater Lake National Park to the captivating charm of Cannon Beach, Oregon houses some of the most beautiful places in the United States. If you’re contemplating visiting Oregon, know that you’re in for an adventure that combines nature’s grandeur with cultural richness.
For those who are looking for the best places to visit in Oregon, the challenge is not in finding a destination but rather choosing from a multitude of options. Whether it’s exploring the charismatic Portland streets, tasting world-class wines in Willamette Valley, or taking in the postcard-perfect views of Mount Hood, the state promises a variety of experiences for every type of traveler.
We have meticulously curated this list of the most beautiful places in Oregon – a mix of scenic destinations, bustling cities, and hidden gems. Each one offers a unique slice of Oregon, ensuring your journey through this state is nothing short of spectacular. No matter where you choose to go, we’re confident that the beauty of Oregon will captivate your heart and stir your wanderlust.
Ready to discover the best places in Oregon? Let’s dive into the heart of the Beaver State.
The Most Beautiful Places to Visit in Oregon
Ready to explore the most beautiful places in Oregon? As you’ve seen, there’s something for everyone in this corner of the Pacific Northwest. So keep reading to discover the incredible scenery that Oregon has to offer.
Are you drawn to picturesque cities and vibrant cultural attractions? Or do you long for a relaxing getaway immersed in nature? Whether you’re planning a daring outdoor adventure, a culinary journey, or a tranquil retreat, Oregon can accommodate your desires. Here are all the best spots in this stunning state that you should know about:
1. Crater Lake National Park
Enveloped by towering cliffs and offering impossibly blue waters, Crater Lake National Park is undeniably one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and is noted for its clarity and brilliant blue hue. It was created more than 7,700 years ago when the volcano Mount Mazama collapsed.
Visitors are often left awestruck by the lake’s mesmerizing hues, contrasted against the stark ruggedness of the surrounding cliffs. Take a drive around Rim Drive, a 33-mile circuit that encircles the caldera, providing a variety of spectacular vantage points. For those seeking a bit of adventure, boat tours to Wizard Island offer a unique perspective of the lake.
In winter, the park transforms into a snowy wonderland. This makes it a popular spot for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing. Whether it’s the rich history, the stunning views, or the chance to explore an area of unspoiled natural beauty, Crater Lake National Park undoubtedly earns its spot as a must-see in Oregon.
2. Cannon Beach
Known for its sprawling sandy coastlines, remarkable sea stacks, and delightful coastal town charm, Cannon Beach is indeed one of the most iconic places to visit in Oregon. The colossal Haystack Rock, rising 235 feet from the sea, forms a dramatic backdrop against the serene beach, especially during sunset when the skies paint a breathtaking spectacle.
Cannon Beach offers more than just an ordinary day at the beach. It’s an invitation to explore tide pools teeming with marine life, go beachcombing for shells, or simply bask in the tranquil ambiance. The nearby Ecola State Park extends the outdoor possibilities with hiking trails through lush Sitka spruce forests and panoramic vistas of the Pacific Ocean.
The town itself is a treasure chest of quaint art galleries, boutique shops, and seafood restaurants, capturing the essence of coastal living. Whether you’re seeking a romantic getaway or a family vacation, Cannon Beach is a beautiful place in Oregon that should not be missed.
3. Multnomah Falls
Arguably the most famous waterfall in Oregon, Multnomah Falls is a sight that takes one’s breath away. This 620-foot two-tiered cascade of icy water offers one of the most spectacular sights in the Columbia River Gorge area. This makes it a must-see in Oregon.
The waterfall is viewable from the Multnomah Falls Lodge area. The best way to experience its majesty is by taking a short, paved hike to Benson Bridge. This charming footbridge, situated between the waterfall’s two tiers, allows visitors an up-close encounter with the roaring waters.
For the more adventurous, a further hike leads up to a viewing platform at the top of the falls. It offers awe-inspiring views of the Columbia River Gorge. The area around Multnomah Falls also offers an array of other beautiful waterfalls and hikes. It ensures plenty of outdoor adventure for nature lovers.
Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just passing by, Multnomah Falls offers a unique blend of accessibility and natural splendor that truly distinguishes it as one of the most beautiful places in Oregon.
Portland, often referred to as the ‘City of Roses’, is not just one of the most beautiful cities in Oregon, it’s also one of the most unique and vibrant urban environments in the United States. Known for its quirky spirit, lush parks, farm-to-table dining, and thriving arts scene. Portland also offers a dynamic blend of natural beauty and cultural richness.
Visit the stunning International Rose Test Garden, boasting over 10,000 rose bushes. Take a serene stroll along the Willamette River at Tom McCall Waterfront Park, or discover the city’s wild side at Forest Park, one of the largest urban forests in the United States.
The city’s eclectic neighborhoods offer an array of experiences, from the trendy Pearl District with its boutiques and art galleries to the bohemian Hawthorne Boulevard, known for vintage shops and vibrant street life. Don’t forget to indulge in the city’s celebrated food scene, where food trucks and craft breweries abound.
Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a foodie, or a culture vulture, Portland promises a memorable urban adventure in the heart of the Pacific Northwest.
5. Mount Hood
A true icon of Oregon, Mount Hood is an outdoor lover’s paradise. The highest mountain in the state, Mount Hood offers a dazzling array of recreational opportunities. This makes it a unique place to visit in Oregon.
During the winter, the mountain’s slopes become a hotspot for skiers and snowboarders. Come summer, the melting snow uncovers hiking and mountain biking trails that meander through wildflower meadows and old-growth forests. It offers stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding landscape.
Mount Hood is also home to the historic Timberline Lodge, a National Historic Landmark that served as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel in the film “The Shining”. Whether you’re exploring scenic byways, hitting the slopes, or hiking the wilderness, Mount Hood promises a memorable adventure amid stunning natural beauty.
With its year-round snow-capped peak and the surrounding lush wilderness, Mount Hood is undeniably one of the most scenic places in Oregon.
6. Willamette Valley
Wine lovers, rejoice! Willamette Valley, Oregon’s leading wine region, is a feast for the senses. Known for its world-class Pinot Noir, the valley is home to more than 500 wineries. This makes it a must-visit in Oregon for any wine enthusiast.
But it’s not just the wine that lures visitors. Willamette Valley’s rolling hills, lush vineyards, and rustic charm create a serene and picturesque landscape. Enjoy a leisurely drive along the region’s wine trails, stopping to sample wines, tour vineyards, and soak in the gorgeous scenery.
Besides the wine, the valley also offers a range of other attractions. Visit the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home to Howard Hughes’ famous Spruce Goose plane, or explore the numerous parks and wildlife refuges, which offer opportunities for hiking and birdwatching.
With its enchanting landscapes, world-renowned wines, and welcoming hospitality, Willamette Valley is truly one of the best places in Oregon for a tranquil and indulgent retreat.
7. Columbia River Gorge
An area of unmatched natural beauty, the Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. This massive canyon, where the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains, offers some of the state’s most breathtaking landscapes.
Whether you’re driving along the Historic Columbia River Highway, hiking on one of the numerous trails, or simply enjoying a picnic with a view, the Gorge offers a myriad of ways to connect with nature. The area is particularly famous for its high concentration of waterfalls. This includes the majestic Multnomah Falls too.
For adventure seekers, the Columbia River is a popular spot for water sports like windsurfing and fishing. The Gorge is also home to several charming towns. This includes Hood River, known for its craft breweries, orchards, and panoramic views of the Columbia River and Mount Hood.
With its diverse landscapes, outdoor recreational opportunities, and stunning vistas, the Columbia River Gorge is a must-see destination when visiting Oregon.
Nestled along the eastern edge of the Cascade Range, Bend is an adventure-packed destination that has something for everyone. Its location near the Deschutes River and Mount Bachelor makes it a haven for outdoor enthusiasts. This includes activities like hiking, fishing, white-water rafting, and skiing.
For those seeking a more laid-back experience, downtown Bend offers a delightful blend of historic charm and modern amenities. Wander through the art-filled streets, stop at an independent bookstore, or enjoy a meal at one of the numerous locally-owned restaurants. Be sure to check out the city’s vibrant craft beer scene, with over 20 breweries calling Bend home.
Nearby, the Lava River Cave, a mile-long lava tube, and the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, featuring lava fields and the beautiful Paulina Lake, offer unique natural wonders to explore. With its combination of outdoor activities, cultural attractions, and natural beauty, Bend is one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. This truly offers a taste of everything.
9. Smith Rock State Park
Considered the birthplace of American sport climbing, Smith Rock State Park is an outdoor adventurer’s dream. But you don’t have to be a rock climber to appreciate the beauty of this natural wonder—it’s one of the best places in Oregon for hiking. This includes wildlife viewing, and simply enjoying the stunning landscapes.
The park’s defining feature is the striking rock formations that rise dramatically from the desert floor. A network of trails winds through the park, offering visitors a range of hiking options. This includes from easy riverside walks to challenging climbs up to the top of Smith Rock.
The view from the top, with the Crooked River winding its way through the canyon below and the snow-capped peaks of the Cascades in the distance, is nothing short of breathtaking. Wildlife enthusiasts will also enjoy the park, which is home to a variety of birds. This includes golden eagles and other animals like deer and otters.
Whether you’re an avid climber, a nature lover, or a photography enthusiast, Smith Rock State Park is a unique place to visit in Oregon.
10. Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
A unique coastal landscape, the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is like no other place in Oregon. Spanning 40 miles along the Pacific coast, this vast expanse of wind-sculpted sand dunes is the largest of its kind in North America. This makes it a truly unique place to visit in Oregon.
Whether you’re an adrenaline junkie or a nature lover, the dunes offer a diverse range of experiences. Hop on a dune buggy for an exhilarating ride over the shifting sands, or explore the dunes on foot, observing the unique plant and animal life that thrive in this environment.
The area also features beautiful beaches, coastal forests, and freshwater lakes, providing a variety of recreational opportunities. This includes fishing, hiking, and camping. For bird watchers, the dunes are home to various species of coastal birds.
The mesmerizing beauty and varied activities offered by the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area make it one of the best places to visit in Oregon.
11. Painted Hills
A part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, the Painted Hills are one of Oregon’s most surreal and stunning landscapes. Named for their colorful layers of red, gold, black, and orange soil, the Painted Hills look like an artist’s palette come to life.
The colors, which change with the light and moisture levels, were formed over 35 million years ago by volcanic ashs. Several short trails provide different perspectives on the hills and allow visitors to explore the area’s unique geology.
While the Painted Hills are the main attraction, the entire John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is worth a visit. The monument covers a vast area and offers a fascinating look into the prehistoric past of Oregon. An abundant fossil site and a fantastic visitor center to visit.
A visit to the Painted Hills is like stepping into another world. This destination certainly deserves its place among the most beautiful places in Oregon.
12. Silver Falls State Park
Dubbed as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system, Silver Falls State Park offers scenic beauty that is hard to surpass. It’s most famous for the Trail of Ten Falls, a spectacular, nationally recognized hiking trail that passes by, around, and even behind some of the park’s stunning waterfalls.
The park’s namesake, the 177-foot South Falls, allows visitors the unique experience of walking behind the waterfall. This includes feeling the cool mist and thunderous power of cascading water. The park’s other waterfalls, including the Double Falls. This also includes the tallest in the park at 178 feet, offering its own unique charm.
But the park is more than just waterfalls. With more than 9,000 acres, it offers a host of outdoor activities. This includes biking, camping, bird watching, and horseback riding. Its lush forest, filled with Douglas fir, western hemlock, and bigleaf maple, is a delight to explore at any time of the year.
With its breathtaking waterfalls and expansive forest, Silver Falls State Park is undoubtedly one of Oregon’s most beautiful places.
Frequently Asked Questions (FAQs) About Visiting the Beautiful Places in Oregon
Looking to expand your knowledge about the most scenic spots in Oregon? Here are some common questions I often receive about the best Oregon attractions and activities.
What is the prettiest area in Oregon?
Oregon is full of beautiful areas, so picking the prettiest is a tough call. However, many would agree that the Columbia River Gorge, with its stunning waterfalls, breathtaking vistas, and lovely hiking trails, is one of the most beautiful. Crater Lake National Park, with its intensely blue and pristine lake, also tops the list. However, Oregon’s beauty is varied and wide-ranging – from the rugged coastline and quaint coastal towns to the rolling vineyards of Willamette Valley and the towering peaks of the Cascade Range. It all depends on what type of scenery you love most.
When is the best time to visit Oregon?
Oregon is a year-round destination, but the best time to visit largely depends on the activities you’re interested in. For outdoor activities like hiking and sightseeing, late spring, summer, and early fall are ideal as the weather is warmer and drier. For winter sports, mid-winter is best.
What should I pack for a trip to Oregon?
Given Oregon’s diverse climates, it’s best to pack layers. Don’t forget a waterproof jacket, comfortable hiking shoes, and sun protection. If you’re planning to visit during the winter, warm clothing and snow gear are essential.
What is the most beautiful town in Eastern Oregon?
One of the most beautiful towns in Eastern Oregon is Joseph. Nestled at the base of the Wallowa Mountains, Joseph is often referred to as the “Switzerland of America.” Here’s why:
- Wallowa Lake: Just south of Joseph, this glacial lake is renowned for its crystal-clear waters and breathtaking mountain backdrop. It’s a haven for boating, fishing, and relaxation.
- Wallowa Mountains: Often called the “Alps of Oregon,” these mountains provide a stunning backdrop for the town. They also offer countless opportunities for hiking, camping, and exploring.
- Art scene: Joseph is also known for its vibrant arts community. In particular, it’s renowned for the bronze foundries and art galleries that line its main street. Each year, the town hosts various art events, drawing visitors from all over.
- Historical significance: The town and surrounding area have deep ties to the Nez Perce Tribe, with the nearby Nez Perce National Historical Park detailing their history and culture.
- Outdoor activities: Beyond the lake and mountains, the region offers horseback riding, hunting, and winter sports. This makes it a year-round destination for outdoor enthusiasts.
The combination of natural beauty, cultural richness, and a welcoming community vibe makes Joseph a gem in Eastern Oregon.
What parts of Oregon are nice?
Oregon boasts a diverse array of beautiful and unique regions, each with its own charm:
- Willamette Valley: Fertile and scenic, this region is Oregon’s wine country,. It’s dotted with vineyards, farm-to-table eateries, and charming towns like Eugene and Salem.
- Oregon Coast: Stretching for over 360 miles, the coastline offers dramatic sea cliffs, secluded beaches, iconic lighthouses, and picturesque towns such as Cannon Beach and Newport.
- Portland Metro: Portland offers a mix of urban culture, lush parks, historic neighborhoods, and a renowned food and craft beer scene.
- Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge: This area boasts magnificent waterfalls, dense forests, and opportunities for skiing and snowboarding near Oregon’s highest peak.
- Central Oregon: With towns like Bend and Sunriver, this region features the high desert landscape, the Deschutes River, and outdoor activities from rock climbing at Smith Rock to skiing at Mt. Bachelor.
- Eastern Oregon: Here you’ll find the rugged beauty of the Wallowa Mountains, historical sites in Pendleton, and the serene Painted Hills.
- Southern Oregon: Rich with culture in towns like Ashland (famous for its Shakespeare Festival) and natural wonders like Crater Lake.
- Rogue Valley: A blend of wilderness and culture, with river adventures, vineyards, and historical sites.
- Oregon Dunes: Stretching from Florence to Coos Bay, these vast sand dunes are a haven for ATV riders and hikers.
- Tualatin Valley: Located between Portland and the coast, it’s an area known for its wineries, outdoor activities, and the scenic Banks-Vernonia State Trail.
No matter where you go in Oregon, you’ll be met with diverse landscapes. You’ll also find welcoming communities and a myriad of recreational opportunities. These beautiful spots of Oregon are truly prime for adventure!
What are some of the must-try foods in Oregon?
Oregon is known for its fresh, local produce and must-try foods. This includes Dungeness crab, wild salmon, hazelnuts, marionberries, and, of course, local craft beer and Willamette Valley wine.
Is Oregon a good destination for families?
Absolutely! Oregon offers a wide range of family-friendly activities, from exploring Crater Lake National Park and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to enjoying the beach at Cannon Beach or riding the sand dunes on the Oregon coast.
How many days should I spend in Oregon?
The number of days needed to explore Oregon depends on what you want to see and do. A week allows you to see several of the state’s highlights, but if you want a more leisurely pace or wish to explore more off-the-beaten-path areas, two weeks would be better.
Is Oregon a beautiful place to live?
Absolutely! Oregon offers an incredibly high quality of life thanks to its stunning natural beauty, outdoor recreational opportunities, and thriving cultural scenes. From the bustling, creative city of Portland to the charming small towns scattered across the state, there’s a place for everyone. The state is known for its environmental consciousness, world-class food and drink, and friendly, laid-back people. Whether you prefer the beach, the mountains, the high desert, or wine country, you’re sure to find a corner of Oregon that feels like home.
How beautiful is the state of Oregon?
Oregon is often celebrated for its stunning natural beauty. The state encompasses a wide variety of landscapes that captivate visitors and residents alike:
- Coastline: The Oregon Coast stretches for 363 miles, characterized by dramatic cliffs, expansive sandy beaches, unique rock formations, and quaint coastal towns.
- Mountains: The Cascade Mountain Range runs north to south, featuring majestic peaks like Mount Hood. These mountains are dotted with serene lakes, lush forests, and meandering rivers.
- Waterfalls: The Columbia River Gorge is a hotspot for breathtaking waterfalls, including the famous Multnomah Falls.
- Deserts: Eastern Oregon showcases a different side of the state with its high desert landscapes. They are characterized by arid plains, rugged canyons, and the striking Painted Hills.
- Forests: Dense, rain-soaked forests, especially in the western part of the state, house some of the tallest trees in the country and are perfect for hiking and exploration.
- Lakes and rivers: Crater Lake, with its deep blue waters, is a marvel. Rivers like the Willamette and Rogue offer abundant recreational opportunities.
- Valleys: The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s wine country, offers picturesque vineyards and farmlands.
- Diverse ecosystems: From coastal rainforests to alpine meadows and desert sagebrush, Oregon is ecologically diverse.
In all, Oregon’s beauty lies in its diverse landscapes, each promising a unique and awe-inspiring experience. Whether you’re drawn to the wild waves of the Pacific or the serene stillness of a desert sunset, beautiful Oregon offers unparalleled splendor.
Final Thoughts on Visiting Beautiful Oregon
In conclusion, Oregon is an absolute gem of a destination. Bursting with diverse landscapes and abundant wildlife, it’s the kind of place that can surprise and delight at every turn. From the rugged coastline and majestic mountains to its scenic valleys and high desert, the most beautiful places in Oregon offer a wealth of experiences that make visiting Oregon unforgettable.
As we’ve discovered, whether you’re a nature lover, an outdoor adventurer, a foodie, or a culture vulture, there’s something in Oregon that will capture your heart. Every one of its corners has its own unique charm and character, and there’s always something new and exciting to discover.
So, if you’re looking for a destination that combines natural beauty with adventure, history with modernity, and wilderness with fantastic amenities, consider making Oregon your next stop. Get ready to explore, enjoy, and be enchanted by this Pacific Northwest wonder. Visiting Oregon is an experience like no other, and these most beautiful places in Oregon are just the beginning.