What are the Must-See Places in Oregon?

Welcome to the Pacific Northwest, where lush forests, rugged coastlines, and vibrant cities await. Oregon, affectionately known as the Beaver State, is a treasure trove of natural beauty and cultural riches. 

From majestic mountains to charming small towns, there’s something for everyone to explore in this diverse and captivating state. So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable adventure through Oregon’s must-see places.

Mckenzie River Central Oregon – Free photo on Pixabay – Pixabay

1. Crater Lake National Park: Nature’s Masterpiece

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Crater Lake National Park is a breathtaking natural wonder that will leave you in awe. Formed over 7,700 years ago by the collapse of an ancient volcano, Crater Lake is the deepest lake in the United States and boasts stunning sapphire-blue waters that mesmerise visitors year-round. 

Whether you’re hiking along the rim, cruising on a boat tour, or simply soaking in the panoramic views, Crater Lake offers endless opportunities for outdoor adventure and exploration. Be sure to visit Wizard Island, a volcanic cinder cone that rises from the lake’s surface, and keep an eye out for wildlife such as elk, deer, and bald eagles as you immerse yourself in the beauty of this natural masterpiece.

Crater Lake Park is the ideal destination for natural lovers. There are very few places on this earth that can match the pristine beauty of Crater Lake and Wizard’s Island. 

2. Columbia River Gorge: Waterfalls and Wonders

Spanning the border between Oregon and Washington, the Columbia River Gorge is a scenic wonderland filled with lush forests, towering cliffs, and cascading waterfalls. Take a drive along the Historic Columbia River Highway, stopping at iconic viewpoints such as Vista House and Crown Point to soak in the breathtaking vistas of the gorge below. 

Be sure to visit Multnomah Falls, the tallest waterfall in Oregon, where you can hike to the top for panoramic views of the surrounding landscape. Explore charming towns such as Hood River and The Dalles, where you can sample local wines, indulge in farm-to-table cuisine, and embark on outdoor adventures such as windsurfing, kiteboarding, and hiking along scenic trails.

3. Cannon Beach: A Coastal Gem

No visit to Oregon would be complete without experiencing the rugged beauty of the Oregon Coast, and Cannon Beach is the perfect place to start. With its iconic Haystack Rock, miles of sandy shoreline, and charming seaside town, Cannon Beach is a coastal gem that’s sure to capture your heart. Take a leisurely stroll along the beach, hunt for seashells and sand dollars, or explore tide pools teeming with colourful marine life. 

You’ll also want to visit Ecola State Park for panoramic views of the coastline and explore nearby attractions such as the quaint village of Manzanita and the dramatic cliffs of Cape Kiwanda. Better yet, use a travelling platform like Route Perfect and plan a picturesque day full of everything Cannon Beach has to offer. 

4. Portland: The City of Roses

Known for its eclectic neighbourhoods, vibrant arts scene, and thriving food culture, Portland is a must-visit destination for any traveller exploring Oregon. Start your day with a visit to Powell’s City of Books, the largest independent bookstore in the world, before exploring the quirky shops and cafes of the Pearl District. Stroll through the lush gardens of the International Rose Test Garden and admire the city skyline from the iconic Portland Japanese Garden. 

Be sure to sample Portland’s renowned food and drink scene, from food carts serving up global cuisine to craft breweries pouring hoppy IPAs and barrel-aged stouts. 

Explore the city’s vibrant neighbourhoods such as Alberta Arts District, Hawthorne, and Mississippi Avenue, where you’ll find street art, live music, and local boutiques at every turn. Whether you’re a foodie, an art lover, or simply seeking adventure in the city, Portland has something for everyone to enjoy.

5. Smith Rock State Park: A Climber’s Paradise

For outdoor enthusiasts and adrenaline junkies, Smith Rock State Park is a must-see destination in Oregon. Located in Central Oregon and only a drive away from Oregon State University, this rugged landscape of towering rock formations and deep river canyons offers world-class rock climbing, hiking, and wildlife viewing opportunities. 

Challenge yourself on the park’s famous climbing routes, such as Monkey Face and the Dihedrals, or hike along scenic trails that wind through juniper forests and along the banks of the Crooked River. 

Be sure to visit during sunrise or sunset for breathtaking views of the rock formations bathed in golden light. Whether you’re an experienced climber or a novice hiker, Smith Rock State Park is sure to leave you inspired and in awe of nature’s beauty.

6. Willamette Valley: Wine Country Wonderland

Escape to the rolling hills and fertile vineyards of the Willamette Valley, Oregon’s premier wine country destination. With its cool climate and diverse terroir, the Willamette Valley is renowned for producing world-class Pinot Noir, Chardonnay, and Pinot Gris wines that rival those of Burgundy and Champagne. 

Spend a day touring wineries and tasting rooms, where you can sample award-winning wines, meet passionate winemakers, and enjoy panoramic views of the valley’s picturesque landscapes. 

Make sure to explore charming towns such as McMinnville, Newberg, and Dundee, where you’ll find farm-to-table restaurants, artisanal shops, and cosy bed and breakfasts. Whether you’re a wine aficionado, a food lover, or simply seeking a relaxing getaway in the countryside, the Willamette Valley offers the perfect blend of rustic charm and refined elegance.


Oregon is a state of boundless beauty and adventure, with must-see places that will leave you inspired and in awe of the natural world. Whether you’re exploring the pristine wilderness of Crater Lake National Park, wandering the streets of Portland’s eclectic neighbourhoods, or sipping wine in the rolling hills of the Willamette Valley, Oregon offers something for everyone to discover and enjoy. 

So pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to embark on an unforgettable journey through the Beaver State – where every corner reveals a new wonder and every moment is filled with possibility. Oregon has so much within its borders, and you should take advantage of everything this incredible state has to offer. 

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