If you’re looking for things to do in Oregon, you’re in luck, there’s no shortage of adventurous and gorgeous attractions around every corner. Oregon is the poster-child for the Pacific Northwest and for good reason – it has no shortage of amazing hikes, camping and sights that are amazing to visit year round. This is our list of top 11 attractions for the first timer in Oregon.
1. Multnomah Falls
One of the most iconic waterfalls in Oregon, this waterfall is located about 40 minutes outside of Portland in the Columbia River gorge. It has really nice paved walkways and is handicapped accessible. You can take about 30 minutes to walk around, get up to the bridge and peruse the gift shop. It’s gorgeous!
2. Ecola State Park
This is about 2 hours outside of Portland on the coast. It’s where they filmed the Goonies! You feel like you are driving through a rainforest to get to the coast, but it’s beautiful. There are two look out options; one gives you a perfect view of Haystack Rock and the other one is a beautiful rocky beach where the Goonies was filmed. You can bring a picnic lunch, watch the surfers and look for sand dollars.
3. Seaside, Oregon
Seaside, Oregon is a super cute beach town right outside Astoria. It has a ton of small shops, seafood, candy stores and an arcade! Be sure to get fresh fish and chips from The Crabby Oyster and ate dinner at a delicious Irish restaurant called McKowen’s. There is a candy store that had over 100 flavors of saltwater taffy and walked along the promenade in the sunshine.
4. Walk the river trails in Bend
Bend is a nature haven. Would you guess this scene is right in town? It is! Walk the trails along the Deschutes River, it’s breathtaking. You’ll see people running and walking their dogs here every day, it’s the place to be in the city if you want to be surrounded by greenery and the rhythmic sounds of a river.
5. Try some of the amazing craft beer
Oregon loves beer, but more specifically, Bend, Oregon loves beer. How much do they love it? There are over 200 breweries in Oregon, 24 in Bend alone. Beer is one of the top things to do in Oregon! It’s a must, even if you’re not a beer drinker. The breweries are quite the experience as most have a brewery and bar in one.
6. Float the Deschutes River
Want to be a true local? You have to float the Deschutes River. It’s essentially everyone’s favorite summertime thing to do. You’ll see everyone on a raft ranging from the flimsiest and cheapest donut raft you’ve ever seen, to blow up mattresses to the king of the river – The Intex River Run raft. Grab some beer, in a discrete container if possible, (if not, nobody actually regulates) and make your way down to the rapids and beyond.
7. Visit the iconic Crater Lake
Crater Lake is phenomenal. It was formed over 7,000 years ago after a volcano collapsed. Since there are no rivers flowing into this lake, it’s one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in the world, and it’s the deepest lake in the USA. Oh, and it’s gorgeous! If you come during winter like we did, you might not be able to drive around the loop that goes around the lake because of road closures, but visiting during winter is magical!
8. Hike around Smith Rock State Park
Located in Bend is a fantastic State Park named Smith Rock. It’s flipping ridiculously beautiful. Like, no words beautiful. Huge rocks just jet out of the ground with a river snaking through and incredible views waiting for you up top. A must-see for avid rock climbers.
9. Instagram the Painted Hills
An enthralling alien landscape that makes you feel like you landed on Mars. That’s what most feel like The Painted Hills are like! It’s exactly what it sounds like, hills “painted” in a colorful layer type manner. It’s a very easy to navigate the area with trails to wander.
10. See epic sunsets in the Alvord Desert
Alvord Desert might be one of the coolest places you can camp. Most people come out here to camp for the night on a massive salt flat dessert. The majestic Steen Mountains and the glimmering desert are some must-see sights.
11. Grab a dozen at Voodoo Donuts
This is one of the most typical things to do in Oregon, and delicious. It’s actually, in real life, worth it! Try to come during “off” hours to avoid a ridiculously stupid long line. Anytime around lunch and after work is a bad time.