Oregon was founded in 1859 and is known as the Beaver State of the US. Oregon is also known for its mountains, lakes, and overall beautiful scenery. Road tripping is fun, and Oregon has a bit of everything.
We can guide you through the best day trips and getaways on your road trip in this list. We cover the coast, mountains and perfect towns. 135 words each para
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
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Oregon’s coastline stretches over 363 miles, meaning there is so much for you to see wherever you are on the West coast. This scenic corridor is situated a few miles north of Brookings, near the border of California (see also ‘15 Amazing Things To Do In Fresno During Your Vacation‘). However, the coast of Oregon is a lot colder than California, so bear that in mind!
The Samuel Boardman Scenic Corridor is 112 miles long. It’s defined as thickly forested along the rugged and rocky coastline with a few beaches along the way. The 101 Highway crosses through this area, so it’s a great place to stop off and park. There are lots of ocean viewpoints and hiking trails along the rugged coastline. There are also a few bridges where you can view the seven arch rocks.
The Painted Hills
The Painted Hills of Oregon is one of the seven wonders (of Oregon, that is). The hills get their name from the brightly colored soil in the hills. The colors are due to climate changes through time, over 35 million years ago, to be exact. As the climate gradually changed into different wet and dry seasons, red and yellow mineral layers formed where the soil was rich in iron and aluminum.
Today, the hills are part of the John Day Fossil Beds monument and are managed by the national parks service. The hills are also a hotspot for scientists and paleontologists as 35 million years of animal and plant evolution can be observed in their preserved fossil layers. The hills are a perfect place to go hiking, learn about evolution and walk the trails.
The cove trail is a popular trail at the park, and it is a short boardwalk that meanders between the bright colored hills and back around. There is no accommodation near the hills, but this is not an issue if you’re road tripping. There are motels an hour away in a town called Prineville. There is, however, free camping just outside of the hills.
Bend is an excellent city for food lovers. It’s a small city located in the middle of Oregon. The city has a range of high-end or cozy restaurants, from brewery pubs to gourmet eateries. Bend is known for its food and its National Volcanic Monument, and its Lava hills and lake. In addition, there is the High Desert Museum which has an interactive mix of the Old West and Indigenous history.
The volcanic monument includes two lakes with lots of hiking opportunities. The Lava Land is a volcanic hill with molten, blackened lava on the surface. It is a sight, and there is a visitor center along with lots of trails for you to try out!
While in Bend, make sure to check out Deschutes Brewery. It’s one of the most popular places to eat in Bend, and if that doesn’t pique your interest, try Ariana Restaurant. Ariana restaurant is known for its seafood such as sea urchin risotto and scallops.
Crater Lake lies in the Cascade Mountains in southwestern Oregon. It’s a top-rated trip destination in Oregon, with its dazzling blue waters. It is 600m deep, and as a result, it is known for its dark blue water and fishing. The lake was formed from a volcanic eruption and is now the star of Crater Lake National Park.
The park was established in 1902, and Mount Mazama surrounds the lake for up to 2,000 feet. It’s a popular weekend trip in Oregon, with people from all over the state driving over.
The national park is home to some of the most beautiful hiking trails, walking through the mountains, through waterfalls, and rockery. The Mazama campsite is nearby, where you can pitch up your tent or sleep in your van. Near the lake is Cleetwood Cove, where you can depart for Wizard Island on a boat.
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is another National Park that has picturesque mountains and a beautiful river. You can walk along the river or take a hike over Misery Ridge Trail. This trail ends at a rock called ‘monkey face,’ a large, tall rock that resembles the face of a monkey. It’s pretty challenging and uphill, so be prepared to be out of breath!
Smith Rock Park can be described as a compact park with amazing and unique rock formations and views. The rocks tower above the river canyon, and it is visually similar to the rocky mountains in Utah (if you’re looking for more things to do in Utah, check out the beautiful Park City). It’s a unique place in Oregon, so a road trip to Smith Rock should be on your list! In terms of accommodation, there is the Bivy campground and several hotels and motels in the surrounding area.
Salem is the capital of Oregon and is one of the most exciting cities in the state. Not to be confused with Salem, Massachusetts, famous for its 1600s witch trials, Salem in Oregon is known for its cherry industry. In Salem, there are lots of opportunities for outdoor recreation and rich historical buildings and museums.
You can tour the gold-domed State Capitol in Salem and learn about the politics within the city. The Mill Mission Museum is popular in Salem, with impressive exhibits and art displays. After, there is Bush’s Pasture Park to have a picnic and relax. There is also Willamette Valley which is peaceful and idyllic, and beautiful for walking.
In Salem, there are more fun things to do on your road trip. There is the Enchanted Forest Theme Park for you and your family or the Gilbert House Children’s Museum for your younger siblings or children. Salem is a great place to visit on a road trip, with small-town-like countryside features and a bigger city’s attractions.
Portland is the biggest city in Oregon. It is known for its food and markets. There are many locally sourced places to eat and shop in Oregon, and it has everything you would desire for a day trip or weekend getaway. There is the forest park, one of the biggest urban parks in the US, and the Portland Art Museum, one of the oldest!
Washington Park may be the most popular place to visit in Portland, with its beautiful Japanese and Chinese gardens. Washington Park stretches to 410 acres and is known as the crown jewel of Portland.
Multnomah Falls is situated near Bridal Veil on the border of Washington. It’s a 620-foot cascade, and it’s the fifth-largest waterfall in the United States. There is a restaurant on-site, and there are several lookout points for pictures and viewing.
There is a visitor center as well as a gift shop, along with a large parking area. It is a beautiful waterfall, and there are opportunities to hike. There is a large bridge that crosses the waterfall, which is truly a beautiful view.
Cannon Beach is rated as one of the best places to visit in Oregon. The shoreline is almost 4 miles long, with dunes and tide pools along the way. Additionally, there is the Oswald West State Park nearby, where you can partake in kayaking, surfing, and more hiking. There are art galleries at Cannon Beach and an abundance of great places to eat.
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach is another reason why this beach is so famous. Haystack Rock is a 235ft sea stack and is popular among photographers and filmmakers. It’s a great place to stop off and have a walk along the beach. You can see why several films were filmed here, including The Goonies and Point Break.
Mount Hood is a beautiful large mountain with a vast lake for fishing and boating. It looks like something out of Scandinavia, and it is stunning. It has been said that the route to Mount Hood is just as beautiful as the setting itself.
The mountain’s peak is a whopping 11,239 feet, and it’s the highest mountain in Oregon. You can ski on its slopes, and you can hike along the Timberline Trail, stopping off at viewpoints. If you want to take the more scenic route, the Mount Hood Scenic Loop shows you the best parts of the trail. The reflective Trillium Lake is an excellent view of the mountain.
Sisters is named after the Three Sisters mountains. Sisters is a small city located in Deschutes County, and it is part of Bend. The 19th-century buildings give the city a warming, western feel. Sisters offers an authentic Oregon experience, with waterfalls, cabins, coffee shops, and wood-fired pizza. There is the Sahalie and Koosah Waterfall to visit nearby, with beautiful views and picture opportunities.
There is also Clear Lake, which is self-explanatory! The lake is crystal blue and is famous for camping and hiking. Sisters is the perfect place for a weekend getaway or day trip.
Newport is a mix of coastal beauty and Victorian heritage. It is a unique location in Oregon and is situated South of Portland on the west coast. It is popular for families and perfect for a short getaway! In Newport, there is the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Marine Science center, so you can enjoy having fun but educational experience.
The bayfront of Newport is renowned for its fishing industry, meaning there is a good number of oceanfront restaurants and seafood grills! Yaquina Bay is the city’s fishing hotspot, offering beautiful sunsets as well as the opportunity to camp beachside.
Lincoln city contains more than 7 miles of Oregon’s coastline. Due to the climate here, the beach is perfect for outdoor activities such as surfing and kite flying. Nearby, Devil’s Lake is ideal for boating and kayaking. Devil’s lake is big so that it can accommodate the most adventurous water sports. The city also has several beachfront hotels and beautiful resorts.
Lincoln City is known for its glass center, where people can blow glass and hunt for glass hidden along the beach. Lincoln City is perfect for a day trip, where you can hike, shop at the city outlets, whale watching, and enjoy fresh seafood along the bay!
Florence is a small coastal town south of Newport. The town is classically coastal but also has the Old Town to look around. Here, you will find art galleries, shops, and the Pioneer Museum. Florence’s most significant feature is its dunes.
They are some of the biggest sand dunes in the world! Because the dunes are so vast, it’s popular to hike and even drive across the dunes (in a vehicle suitable for the terrain). This makes it a great place to road trip and to spend a weekend. In Florence, you can ride wild horses, fish, and play golf.
Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
Like many other states, Oregon has underground caves. The national monument and preserve is a protected area in the Siskiyou Mountains in southwestern Oregon. The park is a whopping 4,500 acres and is near to the Cave Junction, where there is the Great Cats World Park. The Caves are 20 miles from Cave Junction, but this is where you will find hotels and restaurants.
The monument in the park is located at 4,000 feet in the mountains, to which you can hike and enjoy the views of the mountains. The caves cover 18km sq. and among this is the popular Oregon Caves Chateau which was constructed in 1874. It is a six-story rustic hotel in the mountains. It is also a national historical landmark as it is preserved.
Within the caves, there are guided tours for families and children and wild tours that take you along paths regular tourists would not. The caves are worth it for people who love some adventure!