Best Places to Visit in Oregon

Oregon offers some of the West Coast's most captivating scenery. Miles-long beaches, lush mountains and mesmerizing waterfalls are abundant, and lucky for travelers, many are easily accessible from nearby towns and cities. U.S. News took into account dining – another one of the state's standout attributes – as well as affordability, sights, traveler sentiment and expert opinion to come up with the best places to visit in Oregon. Want to put in your two cents? Be sure to vote below to influence next year's list.

SUMMARY

Best Places to Visit in Oregon

  • Cannon Beach
  • Bend
  • Mount Hood
  • Portland, OR
  • Willamette Valley
  • Sisters
  • Hood River
  • Newberry National Volcanic Monument
  • Newport, OR
  • Seaside, OR
  • Eugene, OR
  • Tillamook
  • Crater Lake National Park
  • Medford
  • Salem, OR
  • Silver Falls State Park
  • Lincoln City
  • Mount Bachelor
  • Ashland
  • Florence, OR
  • The Dalles
  • Cannon Beach
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    Cannon Beach

    #1 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Home to one of Oregon's most beautiful stretches of sand, Cannon Beach features a roughly 4-mile-long shoreline with tide pools and sand dunes in addition to its most well-known attribute, the 235-foot-tall Haystack Rock. Once you've gotten your fill of this breathtaking beach, hop in the car and visit nearby Oswald West State Park, which offers great hiking, surfing and kayaking opportunities. Or, stay in town to check out Cannon Beach's art galleries and watch experts make glass art at Icefire Glassworks.

    Home to one of Oregon's most beautiful stretches of sand, Cannon Beach features a roughly 4-mile-long shoreline with tide pools and sand dunes

     

  • Bend
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    Bend

    #2 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    If you're after hearty hikes and delectable eats, Bend is the place for you. This small city has a dining scene that foodies fawn over, complete with food carts, breweries and even cider houses. Bend is also a jumping-off point for numerous natural attractions, including the Deschutes National Forest, which features multiple rivers, mountains and scenic byways. Ample opportunities for outdoor recreation like skiing and snowboarding in winter, hiking in summer and rock climbing in spring and fall make Bend appealing year-round.

  • Mount Hood
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    Mount Hood

    #3 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Powder hounds and nature lovers take note – Mount Hood is one of Oregon's best places to enjoy outdoor activities. The state's tallest mountain towers more than 11,000 feet above sea level and is the second-most climbed peak in the world. Its perpetually snow-covered peaks are home to six ski areas that offer the longest ski season in North America, with Timberline Lodge open year-round. You can also ski after dark at Mount Hood Skibowl, which boasts the country's largest terrain for night skiing. In the warmer months, take a scenic hike or drive through the mountain's forest.

  • Portland, OR
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    Portland, OR

    #4 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Portland is considered one of the best food cities in the USA, so you'll likely spend the bulk of your time enjoying the city's many culinary offerings, including coffee, beer, food cart fare and locally sourced farmers market treats. In between meals and snacks, visit one of Portland's many parks or cultural sights, such as Forest Park (one of the largest urban parks in the country) or the Portland Art Museum (the oldest museum in the Pacific Northwest).

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  • Willamette Valley
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    Willamette Valley

    #5 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Willamette Valley is to Oregon what Napa Valley is to California. This destination is home to two-thirds of Oregon's wineries and vineyards, totaling more than 500 wineries for the entire region. Come here to wine and fine dine for days, and be sure to sample as much pinot noir as you can, since it is Willamette Valley's specialty. When you're not wine tasting, enjoy a relaxing soak in one of Willamette Valley's hot springs.

  • Sisters
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    Sisters

    #6 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Named for its proximity to the Three Sisters mountains, Sisters will make you feel like you're in the Wild West. This charming town features 19th-century architecture, is home to various art galleries and hosts events like Sisters Folk Festival, Sisters Rodeo and the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show, the world's largest outdoor quilt show. Plus, Sisters offers easy access to fun outdoor activities like skiing, paddleboarding, hiking and golf. For a unique way to relax, head to Hop In The Spa, the country's first beer spa.

  • Hood River
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    Hood River

    #7 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Hood River's location in the Columbia River Gorge makes it a prime place for outdoor pursuits. The 80-mile-long valley is known for its stunning collection of waterfalls (think: Multnomah Falls and Starvation Creek Falls) accessible via various hiking trails. It's also considered the windsurfing capital of the world and an excellent destination for other water sports like kiteboarding and sailing. After a long day of adventuring, travelers can unwind with a beer or two at one of the town's microbreweries.

  • Newberry National Volcanic Monument
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    Newberry National Volcanic Monument

    #8 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Situated 12 miles south of Bend in the Deschutes National Forest, Newberry National Volcanic Monument features one of Oregon's most unique landscapes. The monument's nearly 55,000 acres are filled with lava flows and other fascinating geological features, including a lava river cave and a lava field where NASA astronauts trained to walk on the moon in the '60s. There's also Paulina Peak, which you can climb to the top of for incredible views. When you're not hiking, go biking, boating or fishing.

  • Newport, OR
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    Newport, OR

    #9 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Of all of the cute coastal towns Oregon has to offer, families will probably appreciate Newport the most. The town, located on Oregon's central coast, features kid-friendly attractions like the Oregon Coast Aquarium, Oregon State University's Hatfield Marine Science Center and an outpost of Ripley's Believe It or Not! Newport also provides numerous outdoor attractions suited for adults, including scenic Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area and the equally picturesque Ocean to Bay Trail.

  • Seaside, OR
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    Seaside, OR

    #10 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Seaside is an exceptional vacation destination because it's a gateway to some of Oregon's most notable coastal attractions. From this small town of less than 7,000 residents, visitors can reach Tillamook Head, Ecola State Park and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park. All can be found within 15 miles of Seaside, presenting plenty of opportunities for hiking and wildlife viewing. Seaside also offers several can't-miss attractions, such as a beachfront promenade, the Seaside Aquarium and Captain Kid Amusement Park.

  • Eugene, OR
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    Eugene, OR

    #11 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Eugene provides the perfect blend of city amenities and outdoor attractions. The third-most populous city in Oregon is rich with culture thanks to its many historical and art institutions, including the Hult Center for the Performing Arts, a local favorite. Additionally, Eugene offers easy access to bike trails, hiking paths and kayaking areas, plus beautiful green spaces like Alton Baker Park and the Owen Rose Garden. To see the rose garden's flowers in bloom, visit in spring.

  • Tillamook
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    Tillamook

    #12 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Foodies and outdoor lovers will love visiting Tillamook. This small town in northwestern Oregon is an outdoor recreation hub where you can enjoy hiking, kayaking, crabbing, clamming and fishing, among other activities. After an active day, you'll find no shortage of places to satisfy your appetite. Tillamook is perhaps most famous for its dairy industry, so no trip here would be complete without touring the Tillamook Creamery and sampling its cheese and ice cream. Also save time for trying local brews at one of downtown Tillamook's breweries.

  • Crater Lake National Park
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    Crater Lake National Park

    #13 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Formed 7,700 years ago after Mount Mazama erupted and collapsed, Crater Lake is America's deepest lake. Today, you can admire Crater Lake National Park's rich blue water and towering mountains during a boat or trolley tour, a scenic drive or a hike along one of its many trails. In winter, some roads are closed and visibility may be poor due to clouds and snowstorms. But if you don't mind these potential drawbacks, you can enjoy fun winter activities like sledding, skiing, snowboarding and snowshoeing.

  • Medford
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    Medford

    #14 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Located in the heart of southern Oregon's Rogue Valley, Medford is best known for its pears, blue cheese and fruit baskets. Visit Rogue Creamery to try some of its award-winning cheese, then take a tour of the Harry & David Country Village store to sample local produce and other treats like chocolate truffles. You'll also want to check out a local winery or brewery, as a number of Rogue Valley's best options are part of Medford's Bear Creek Wine Trail or Ale Trail.

  • Salem, OR
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    Salem, OR

    #15 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    The state's capital offers something for everyone. In Salem, you'll find interesting historical and cultural attractions, such as the 19th-century Bush House Museum, Willamette University's Hallie Ford Museum of Art and the Oregon State Capitol. The city also boasts impressive food and beer scenes thanks in part to its farm-to-table restaurants and its Ale and Cider Trail. And for families, there are a number of kid-friendly attractions, including Gilbert House Children's Museum and Riverfront Park, which features a playground, a carousel and a splash pad.

  • Silver Falls State Park
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    Silver Falls State Park

    #16 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Oregon's largest state park is one of the state's most unique and scenic natural attractions because of its jaw-dropping waterfalls. The Trail of Ten Falls hiking path loops through the park and takes you above, below and even behind its 10 waterfalls, including the 177-foot-tall South Falls. What's more, the Silver Falls offers 35-plus miles of backcountry trails that can be used for mountain biking, horseback riding and hiking. When you've worked up an appetite, venture to the park's South Falls Day-use area to enjoy a picnic or barbecue lunch.

  • Lincoln City
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    Lincoln City

    #17 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Established in 1965, Lincoln City occupies more than 7 miles of Oregon's coastline. The town's beach offers optimal conditions for surfing and kite flying, while Devils Lake is ideal for boating and stand-up paddleboarding. Keep an eye out for glass floats hidden at the beach. If you find one, it's yours to keep thanks to Lincoln City's Finders Keepers program. Other local must-dos include hiking, whale watching, shopping at the Lincoln City Outlets and savoring fresh seafood at a downtown eatery.

  • Mount Bachelor
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    Mount Bachelor

    #18 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    With 4,300-plus skiable acres and the highest skiable elevation in the state, Mount Bachelor is one of Oregon's top ski destinations. While there are plenty of trails for experienced skiers, Mount Bachelor also offers runs designed for beginners, as well as free and discounted ski lift tickets for first-timers. The mountain, which is a dormant volcano, receives an average of 462 inches of snowfall annually from late November to May. The fun doesn't stop after ski season, though, when visitors can trade their ski poles and snowboards for mountain bikes and hiking shoes.

  • Ashland
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    Ashland

    #19 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    This small town is a haven for artsy types and culture hounds. Ashland is best known for its plethora of festivals, from the Tony Award-winning Oregon Shakespeare Festival to A Taste of Ashland to the Ashland Independent Film Festival. The town is also home to top-notch art galleries, museums and markets. While visiting, be sure to try a local vintage. Ashland's location in southern Oregon's Rogue Valley makes it an excellent destination for wine.

  • Florence, OR
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    Florence, OR

    #20 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Florence appeals to travelers keen on spending their next vacation outdoors. One of this coastal town's main attractions is its countless sand dunes, which you can hike up, drive across in an all-terrain vehicle or zip down on a sandboard. Other popular activities here include looking for wild animals, riding horses, fishing and playing golf. Don't forget to save time for visiting the Heceta Head Lighthouse and Historic Old Town Florence, where you'll find shops, art galleries and the Siuslaw Pioneer Museum.

  • The Dalles
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    The Dalles

    #21 in Best Places to Visit in Oregon

    Overlooking the Columbia River, The Dalles provides numerous opportunities for outdoor activities like bird-watching, biking, fishing and stand-up paddleboarding. Plus, the town offers a rich history. Visitors can learn about The Dalles' storied past – including its connection to the Oregon Trail and pioneers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark – at the Fort Dalles Museum and the Columbia Gorge Discovery Center & Museum. Foodies will want to visit in April to try the area's delectable cherries at the annual Northwest Cherry Festival.

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