From vast high deserts to lush alpine forests, Oregon is home to countless amazing places to explore. Whether it’s hiking under waterfalls, taking a drive through the rolling hills of wine country, or visit some of the Beaver State’s most cherished natural wonders, these 13 unforgettable Oregon day trips will make your summer complete:
We’re aware that these uncertain times are limiting many aspects of life as we all practice social and physical distancing. While we’re continuing to feature destinations that make our state wonderful, we don’t expect or encourage you to go check them out immediately. We believe that supporting local attractions is important now more than ever and we hope our articles inspire your future adventures! And on that note, please nominate your favorite local business that could use some love right now:
13. Explore the Columbia River Gorge.
Located along the northern border of Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge is a magical landscape full of dramatic views, hiking trails, and breathtaking waterfalls.
12. Visit a lighthouse on the Oregon Coast.
Unknown to many, Oregon is home to numerous beautiful, historic lighthouses that dot the rocky shore of the spectacular Oregon Coast. Here's a photo of Heceta Head Lighthouse, located near Yachats, which happens to double as a bed & breakfast.
11. Hike the Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park.
One great day trip activity for anyone feeling adventurous is to take a hike on the legendary Trail of Ten Falls at Silver Falls State Park. This 8 mile trail winds through a stunning, forested canyon, passing (and sometimes passing behind) stunning waterfalls along the way.
10. Take a peaceful drive through Oregon's wine country.
The Willamette Valley is a beautiful expanse of rolling hills where you'll find miles and miles of bucolic scenery. There are lots of scenic country roads that weave through the area (including Sip 47 and HWY 99W) passing vineyard after vineyard. Wine lovers can take a self-guided tour, stopping by tasting rooms and wandering through vineyards along the route. If you'd like a little more structure, you can also book an excursion on one of the many wine tour shuttle services.
9. Wander down the dusty streets of a ghost town.
Did you know that Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state? Exploring ghost towns (respectfully, of course) is an unforgettable experience that will bring the past to life. Arguably, Oregon's coolest ghost town is Shaniko, which was once the "Wool Capitol of the World", and which even to this day is full of fascinating abandoned buildings including a blacksmith, a jailhouse, town hall, a hotel, and more.
8. Explore the Wallowa Mountains.
Located in Northeastern Oregon, this stunning mountain range is positively magical. There's so much to do and see in this dramatic landscape, including hiking, sightseeing, riding a gondola to the top of a mountain, swimming in Wallowa Lake, and more.
7. Take a coastal drive along Highway 101
The Oregon Coast is stunning from top to bottom. That's why taking a road trip along OR Highway 101 is always a fun activity. You can do the whole thing or just a section, stopping at beautiful beaches, seaside towns, state parks, and more along the way.
6. Take a rewarding hike through the woods to the magical Bagby Hot Springs.
Bagby Hot Springs is a beautiful, rustic hot spring bathhouse where you can relax in carved wooden tubs full of hot mineral water, located deep in the Mt Hoot National Forest. There's a short hike from the parking area to get there.
5. Experience the Painted Hills.
Located in Oregon's high desert is an amazing hidden gem. The Painted Hills, part of the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument, is a natural wonder consisting of ancient, colorful hills. Numerous short trails and boardwalks wind through the delicate scenery. It's truly a sight to behold.
4. Trek through Smith Rock State Park.
Located in the high desert of Central Oregon, Smith Rock State Park is a one of a kind Oregon destination. This stunning state park is full of amazing, rocky scenery and is a fabulous place for hiking, camping, and especailly rock climbing.
3. See Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach.
Cannon Beach is easily the most iconic place on the Oregon Coast. This lovely stretch of sand, sea, and sky is home to the massive Haystack Rock (which you may recognize from the movie The Goonies). Cannon Beach also a perfect place for a beach day, and is located adjacent to a charming small town that shares its name.
2. Hit the slopes at Mt Hood.
Mt Hood is not only Oregon's tallest mountain, it's also one of the state's most beloved locations. There are three ski resorts located near the summit and the terrain will impress any snow sport enthusiast. For those less inclined to ski or snowboard, you can also visit the historic Timberline Lodge or take a scenic walk through wildflower fields in the warmer months.
1. Take in the spectacular sights at Crater Lake.
Crater Lake is one of the most spectacular locations in Oregon, and perhaps in the world. Located in the caldera of an extinct volcano, it's the deepest lake in the country, and its pure waters have a startlingly blue hue.