The state of Oregon is known for the diverse landscape. You will find forests, farms, mountains, and beaches within short distances from each other. The capital city is Portland, and you will find the city full of iconic shops and boutiques. Coffee shops abound, and you will be able to sample different beers at the many microbreweries. Farm-to-table restaurants will give you a taste of local cuisine, while art and historic museums will satisfy your knowledge about the past events there.
An interesting fact to note is that the capital, Portland has more breweries than any other city in the world! You will be able to choose from 60 within the city limits.
Known worldwide is the amazing Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the USA. These are just two of the many wonderful things you will find in this diverse state.
1. Mount Hood
While Mount Hood is classed as still active, research has shown that the chances of an eruption in the next 30 years is only 5%, so this is worth seeing. The summit is11,426 feet and it is always snow-covered. This is the highest point in the state. Higher up you will find glaciers and snowfields.
The mountain is about 50 miles southeast of Portland.
This is popular with hikers and walker alike. You can take an RV to one of the many campsites in the vicinity, and stay a few days while you explore the region.
2. Metolius Balancing Rocks
These rocks are to be found near Culver. The amazing balancing rocks were only discovered when there was a forest fire burned all the vegetation.
Head for Cove Palisades State Park, which is near the Deschutes National Forest. The rocks overlook Lake Billy Chinook, and the whole area is very popular with hikers.
The formation is left from a volcanic eruption millions of years ago, with the spires being made in one eruption with the balancing rocks coming from further eruptions.
Once you have seen the rock formation, spend a day or so hiking in the area.
3. The Cascades
The Cascade Mountains contain both volcanic and non-volcanic mountains. The Cascades form a part of the Pacific Ocean’s ‘Ring of Fire’, which was a ring of volcanic mountains millions of years ago. The range stretches from British Columbia, through Washington, Oregon, and up into Northern California.
The area in Oregon is almost entirely devoted to recreation. If outdoor activity is what you enjoy, then head to any one of the many areas along the range to ski, hike, or climb.
There are many driving routes where you can admire the amazing scenery and catch a glimpse of Mount Hood. There are many small towns and villages where you can spend a night or two while you look around.
4. Neahkahnie Mountain
You will find this this trail at Nehalem. It is in Oswald West State Park.
Many superstitions abound about this area, with some people believing that there is buried treasure to be found. Many have tried, but all have failed, and if the treasure is there, it is well hidden. The Tillamook Tribe know it as the ‘Place of the Supreme Deity’. Legend has it that the treasure is guarded by the ghost of a miner killed many years ago. The man was supposedly guarding his treasure and died buried with it.
There are some areas where you can dig and hunt for the treasure, but most places are out of bounds to treasure hunters. The area is well-known for the hiking trail which is over 3 miles in length, and will take you up to an elevation of 900 feet above sea level.
This is a great place to take an RV, stay a few days while you hike the area. Who knows – you may be lucky enough to spot the ghost!
5. Timberline Lodge
The Lodge and ski area are situated high up on the iconic peaks in the area. There is a ski lift to take you up to the summit. You will be stunned by the amazing views. This area is called a ‘high alpine’ area, and beginners will be pleased to note that there is an area specifically for them.
The Lodge itself will afford you comfortable evenings with spectacular views of Mount Hood.
There is free wi-fi in the lodge, as well as hot tubs, restaurants, spas, and a heated pool for relaxing at the end of a day.
Make sure you book accommodation in advance as the Lodge gets busy in the season.
6. Columbia River Gorge
This canyon is up to 4,000 feet deep in places, and runs for over 80 miles. You can visit parts of the river at Roosevelt, Washington, and Arlington. It is a well-known area for water recreation. It is also very popular with walkers and hikers.
Canoes and kayaks are permitted, although as with water anywhere, caution is advised.
Anywhere along this river is suitable to take a picnic basket for the day, or park an RV and stay a few days while you hike around the area.
7. Cape Foulweather
This was the first landing area for James Cook, and you will find it at Depoe Bay. He found this on his way to the Sandwich Islands. The spot is about 500 feet above the coastline and there is a small parking lot at the top of the winding road leading up.
Look out for the Yaquina Head Lighthouse.
There is a campground close by, where you can hire yurts, or hook up your RV. The site has a small store for provisions, and you can access the beach that way.
The campsite is popular because of the great scenery and excellent hiking trails.
8. Paul Bunyan Statue
You will find the statue in Portland. It is dedicated to the statehood of Oregon. You will notice many statues of Paul Bunyan as you travel through Oregon, but none of them match this enormous smiling giant. He was built in 1959, and stands 31 feet high. He was erected to celebrate the 100th anniversary of the Statehood.
The statue has been repainted several times to keep it looking bright and happy.
This will only take a short while to look at, although the area merits spending a little longer looking around.
9. Mill Ends Park
This is the smallest park in the world, and it is noted in the Guinness Book of Records. You will find it in the downtown area of Portland, as you approach the esplanade.
The park is just 2 feet across, and the total area is 452 square inches.
The history of the par goes back to when a pole was removed from the street. A gentleman called Dick Fagan waited for the hole to be filled, and when it was not filled in, he took it on himself to make a park for any resident leprechauns.
Over the years the park has seen the addition of a swimming pool, and some small statues to adorn it. A small Ferris Wheel was also added.
It will not take you long to see the park, but you may be lucky to see a leprechaun!
10. Willamette Falls
You will find the falls near Oregon City. They are recognised as the second largest waterfall in the USA. The only other one that is larger is the Niagra Falls. The average flow of water is about a quarter of a million gallons per second.
The falls used to support paper mills on the banks, and you will find one of the oldest water powered plants situated there.
Fishermen love this area as it is abundant in fish of all sorts. Salmon and lamprey eels are two of the most popular attractions here.
Plan to spend at least a day along the shoreline, perhaps longer if you are a fisherman.
11. Evergreen Aviation Museum
Here you will find the home of Howard Hughes’ ‘Spruce Goose’. It is in McMinnville.
The Spruce Goose only ever flew once, when it took off from the water and flew for about one mile.
The plane was built almost entirely from laminated wood, and after the flight it was kept in a hangar for over 33 years. After Hughes passed away, the plane was displayed throughout the world, before returning to the Museum.
There are other planes in the museum such as a replica of the Wright Brothers 1903 Flyer, and an SR-71A Blackbird.
Plan to spend a day exploring the museum as there is plenty to see. There is small café where you can get a bite to eat.
12. Multnomah Falls
You will find this east of Troutdale, along the Columbia River Highway. There are two significant drops in these falls. The upper falls drop 542 feet, and the lower falls drop 69 feet.
These falls are the tallest in the state of Oregon, being 620 feet high.
If you enjoy hiking, walking, or rambling, then this must be on your list of things to do, as the area is spectacular in beauty. While there are no camping facilities, you are able to park an RV at secluded areas and stay a few days.
13. Crater Lake
When you go to Crater Lake be sure to look out for the ‘Old Man of the Lake’. It is in fact a thirty- foot tree stump which has been in the water since it was first seen in 1896. The tree stump is about 2- foot in diameter with 4 feet out of the water. You will notice that the stump has been bleached white by the weather and is splintered.
An interesting point to note is that a moss called Fontinalis which grows at a depth of 395 feet, also grows on the stump. This is the only place where the moss can be found near the surface.
Carbon dating puts the stump at 450 years old.
The ‘Old Man’ can often be seen at different places in the lake, making it seem as if he is moving around, although it has been found that the roots are in fact anchored.
While it may not take you more than an hour to see this, it is a great idea to take a picnic basket and spend a day.
14. Oaks Park
You will find this small amusement park about 4 miles south of Portland. The park is often referred to as the ‘Coney Island’ of Oregon. It is one of the oldest parks in the country which is still operational.
There are about 24 rides which are opened seasonally, and an ice skating rink which is open all the year round.
Be sure to look at the Noah’s Ark Carousel, which is the oldest wooden carousel in the state, constructed in 1912.
There is a delightful picnic area where you can have lunch on warmer days.
15. Hole in the Ground
The exact origin of the enormous crater is not known, although it is thought that it may have been partly due to volcanic eruptions. You will find it in the Fort Rock Basin, in Lake County, and it is thought to be between 13,000 and 100,000 years old.
The sides of the hole reach up to 210 feet above the land base, while the hole is almost 500 feet deep.
A point to note here is that the region is so desolate that the astronauts were taken there to do some of their training in the 1960’s.
There is an information centre at the hole, and a small café where you can get refreshments and drinks.
16. World Forestry Centre
This is located near Oregon Zoo in Portland. It was opened in 1964, with the goal being to inform people of the forests and trees of the world, and the importance of all life.
There are three sections to the centre, namely the Discovery Museum, the Magness Memorial Tree Farm, and the Johnson-Swanson Tree Farm, the latter two being working forests.
Plan to spend a full day here, there is a café where you can get lunch, before walking through the forests, and learning all about their role in conservation.
17. Astoria Pioneer Cemetery
The cemetery is found in the city of Astoria, and is dedicated to the pioneers who settled in the northwest.
You will find the cemetery on the hilltop in the neighbourhood. Because Astoria was a port city, the people who arrived there were of Swedish, Chinese, Finnish, Irish, German, and English origin. The graveyards in the area are filled with burial sites of mixed populations.
You will see the graves of some prominent leaders. Many graves were added to this cemetery as smaller cemeteries were abandoned or used to build on.
Today the cemetery is a haven of peacefulness in the busy town, it is well maintained, and may feel more like a park than a resting place for the deceased.
18. Mount Angel Abbey
You will find this Abbey near the city of Mount Angel. It is an active monastery for Benedictine monks, and was established in 1882. What is interesting is that the Abbey has its own post office, which is a post mark you will not see very often, so be sure to send a card or letter.
There is a university on site for those studying for the priesthood, and regular services, should you wish to participate.
Be sure to visit the Abbey Museum, where you will find some interesting items of taxidermy such as the calf that was born with eight legs, and the head of one of the last American Bison.
19. Kidds Toy Museum
The toy museum is to be found in Portland, right next to the family auto parts business. Frank Kidd opened the museum, to house his collection of antique toys. The museum holds over 15,000 toys, money banks, and transportation artefacts. Many of the toys date back to between 1869 – 1939.
You will find stuffed toys of all kinds from Disney characters to dolls, die cast trains and cap guns. In fact, everything a child could ever want is to be found here!
It is important that you call before arriving because it is quite small and only allows a certain amount of people in each time.
Allow a half day to see this, or longer if you have children with you.
20. Silver Falls State Park
This park is found about 20 miles southeast of Salem. It is very popular with walkers and hikers, due to the 24 miles of trails to walk along, the 14 miles of trails especially for horses, and the 4-mile path dedicated solely to cyclists.
This is the largest park in Oregon, with the Canyon Trail running along the banks of the river, and past the waterfalls.
The falls are worth seeing, as they are shaped like ampitheatres surrounding the falls, with some of the paths winding behind the water.
South Falls is the most visited area, with the fall being 177-foot high.
This is a perfect place to take an RV and stay a few nights while you explore the area.
21. Twin Rocks
These enormous rock outcrops are to be found in Rockaway Beach. They are easily found, as they are 100-foot high. They date back 25 million years and are made of sandstone.
The town of Twin Rock has many unique shops and boutiques, and it is worth spending some time here.
A point of interest here is that Twin Rocks Undersea Memorial offers a service of scattering the ashes of deceased out at sea, and they leave from the town.
22. Peterson Rock Garden
You will find this amazing rock garden in the town of Redmond. It all started many years ago when a small boy started collecting pretty stones and rocks. He began to make miniature buildings, lagoons, and bridges. The collection grew until it covered some 4 acres!
The result is an amazing park with buildings, towers, bridges, and houses all made out of coloured rocks.
Make sure you visit the small museum on site, and bring a picnic lunch. There is a delightful area where you can sit and have lunch.
23. The Hult Centre for the Performing Arts
You will find this in Eugene, in the downtown area close to the Hilton Hotel. If you enjoy going to shows of the performing arts, then make sure you check this out.
There are many restaurants close by where you can get a meal before a show, or afterwards.
Be sure to book in advance to avoid disappointment.
24. The Hat Museum
This interesting museum is to be found in Ladd-Reingold House, in Portland. The house was built in the early 1900’s. Notice the doors which are hung back to front, and the giant mermaid which is on the dining room ceiling. The last owner, Rebecca Reingold was an avid collector of hats, and the collection has over 900 of her collection, many of them her own designs.
After Rebecca passed away, the new owner opened the house to the public. Be sure to check out the Thanksgiving hat that actually sings!
The visit will take about a half day and is well worth seeing.
25. Allen Elizabethan Theatre
This is one of America’s oldest Elizabethan theatres, and it is found in Ashland. It is an open-air theatre. It is home to the annual Shakespeare Festival.
After a fire in 1947, the theatre was rebuilt and modelled on the Fortune theatre in London.
Note the different galleries and alcoves where the actors can appear.
Make sure you book your seats in advance for any show. The festival is always well-supported, so you should book tickets and accommodation in advance.
26. Tillamook Air Museum
This is in fact the largest wooden building in the world! If you are an airplane buff, then this must be on your list to see! You will find the museum in Tillamook.
The hangar used to be a former Blimp hangar, although now it houses a huge private collection of planes.
The hangar was built in 1942, and the collection includes planes from World War II. Be sure to look out for the strange plane called the ‘Mini Guppy’.
It will take a day to see all that is on display.
27. Jawbone Flats Mining Museum
This museum is found in Lyons, and is one of the last of its kind in the country. The 1920’s mining camp serves as an educational centre, aimed in preserving the forests in the area.
The mine used to produce zinc, copper, lead, and silver, but it ceased working in 1992.
The centre is now open to the public, with the original camp right where it was left. Note the rough-hewn cabins, which have been updated, and can be rented out to hikers.
Plan to spend a half day looking around the area, although you may want to book a cabin and stay a few days.
28. Prehistoric Gardens
Prepare to be astonished by the collection of dinosaurs in the rainforest! This is located in Port Orford. The collection began in 1953 when Ernest Nelson first started to make them. When his house got too crowded, he moved them to the forest and opened the area to the public.
The models are accurate and as scientifically correct as possible and you can see over 23 of them in the forest. The largest one is over 85 feet high!
Follow the trail through the rainforest, and prepare to be surprised by them when you least expect it!
29. Oregon Coast Aquarium
The aquarium in Newport opened in 1992, and sits on 23 acres.
An interesting point about the aquarium is that it was home to Keiko, the whale who played in the movie ‘Free Willy’ in 1996.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is considered to be of world class standard, and ranks as one of the top ten in the USA.
Plan to spend most of the day here. There is a café where you can get a bit to eat.
30. Japanese Balloon Bomb Memorial
You can see this monument in Klamath County. It is dedicated to the victims of a Japanese floating bomb which fell there during World War II.
The Japanese launched these bombs towards the USA, and they were supposed to cause forest fires. Only a few of them ever reached the land. One did, in May 1945, and the memorial is to remember the people who died because of it.
The Mitchell Monument as it is locally known, was named after Elsie Mitchell, who was pregnant and died in the explosion.
It will only take an hour or two to look at this, although the area has interesting shops and cafes to see.
31. The Astoria Column
This enormous tower overlooks the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria. It was built in 1926, and stands 125 feet high.
There is an observation deck at the top, although you will need to climb up the 164 steps to reach it. The column was erected by the Great Northern Railway, and is now part of the National Historic Places in the country. Note the interesting murals around it.
The climb to the observation deck is only recommended if you are healthy, and not advisable for small children. Allow a half day to see the tower, and climb up. The view will be worth it!
32. Nobuo Fujita’s Sword
You will find this interesting piece in the Brookings Public Library. It was a peace offering from a Japanese pilot to the town of Oregon, after he had bombed the area.
The sword is 400 years old, and the pilot returned to the area after the war to plant some trees. He also offered his sword as a token of friendship.
The plaque beneath the sword reads that it was offered ‘in the interest of peace and friendship’.
The library as well as the town are interesting to look around, so allow yourself a day to do this.
33. Fort Rock
This interesting rock formation is called a ‘tuff ring’, and you can find it on an Ice Age lake bed in lake County.
The edges are from volcanic rock which rises up about 200 feet. The diameter is about 4,400 feet, and the straight sides are what gives the rock their name.
This is a great place to hike, and is very well known for this. This is not too far from the ‘Hole in the Ground’, so it is a good idea to combine the two when visiting.
You can take an RV and stay a few days while you check them out.
34. Eat oysters
You will find hundreds of places in Portland where you can taste oysters. Menus will vary in shape and size of them, but basically you will find they are served on a bed of ice, with a splash of hot pepper sauce on the side.
A good tip here is to find a place that serves them during ‘Happy Hour’; as this is when you will get them at half price.
35. Cascades Raptor Centre
This nature centre in Eugene is home to over 50 different types of birds of prey, including owls, raptors, and vultures. It is one of the largest collections in the northwest of the USA.
While the birds live in captivity, they are in wooded property through the area, and seem to be in the wild. All the birds have been rescued or have become too dependent on humans to survive alone.
The centre takes in some 200 birds each year, they are then cared for until well enough to be released.
Plan to spend a day here, you can walk around and see the enormous birds close up.
36. Vista House
You will find Vista House up at Crown Point, Corbett, with a spectacular view looking down to the Columbia River. It was built in 1918 and serves as a spot where weary travellers could stop and admire the view.
It is still a unique stopping point in a journey. It is along America’s oldest highway and was the way people travelled along the Oregon Trail.
An interesting point is that the project never receives any state funding, it was funded entirely by the Multnomah County, and local school children.
Plan a stop here in any journey past it, the views themselves are worth a million dollars.
37. Pittock Mansion
You will find this Renaissance style mansion in the west hills of Portland. It was originally built in 1909 as a private home. The 46-room house on 46 acres is now owned by the city, and is open to the public.
The architecture is mostly Victorian and French Renaissance, with the most amazing views of downtown Portland.
To view the house will take a half a day, although you may want to spend longer in the gardens.
38. Tamástslikt Cultural Institute
You will find this Indian Museum in Pendleton. It is the only museum in Oregon which is run by the tribes who have lived there for generations.
This is one of the very few places where you will be able to learn about the lifestyle of the tribe over the years.
Look out for traditional artwork and ancient tools in the collections. Read about the food the people used to eat, and listen to traditional music.
Allow yourself a day to see all that is in the museum.
39. Beverly Cleary Sculpture Garden
You will find this park in Portland. Look for the three statues depicting a boy, his dog and a small girl splashing in a puddle. They are all characters in the book written by Beverly Cleary. She is a very well-known children’s author.
The author grew up in the area, and many of her books are based on the neighbourhood.
Be sure to look for the tiles around the fountain, which are all engraved with the titles of her books.
While it will not take too long to look at this, there are many more things to see in the area, so plan to spend a day there.
40. Oregon Shakespeare Festival
Every lover of Shakespeare should be sure to have this on a ‘to-do’ list. The season lasts from mid- February until the start of November, and in that time the theatre produces 11 plays on its three stages.
The theatre, which is in Ashland, saw its 20 millionth visitor in 2015. If you want to see a show, you should book in advance as seats fill quickly.
41. Erickson Aircraft Collection
You will find this aircraft museum in Madras. It is in a WWII hangar, and houses 20 old and rare planes.
You will be able to see one of the world’s biggest collection of original WWII planes in the 64,000 feet hangar.
Enthusiasts should take advantage of being able to take a ride in some of them, so be sure to ask if any planes are being flown when you arrive.
You will also see memorabilia such as bomber jackets, jeeps, and historic photos, so be prepared to spend the day there.
42. Portland Children’s Museum
This museum is in Washington Park, Portland. It is the oldest children’s museum west of the Mississippi, and the sixth largest in the world.
You will be able to see pretty much everything that was ever made for children, going back many years.
There is a café where you can get lunch before continuing with your visit in the afternoon.
43. The Fire Museum
This is located in the City Hall, in The Dalles.
The museum is very small, you could miss it if you did not know about it, but it is worth looking at.
There is a good collection of fire-fighting equipment from times past, as well as documentation about the history of fire-fighting.
Look out for the two beautifully preserved fire engines, as well as the original fire pole from the old fire station.
You will only need a morning to see this, but it is worth taking the time.
44. Museum of Science and Industry
This museum is in Portland. There are three sections to it, namely the large screen theatre, the planetarium, and the exhibition halls.
The exhibitions focus mainly of industry and technology, as well as the natural sciences. Often there are temporary exhibitions displayed. Be sure to check these out.
There is a café in the museum, so it is a good idea to spend most of the day there.
45. Western Antique, Aeroplane, and Automobile Museum
This museum covers 2.5 acres and houses the largest collection of planes and cars in the country. You will also find over 130 classic cars, motor bikes and tractors. There is a display of military vehicles, bicycles, and gliders on show, and many are still working.
The museum holds events throughout the year, so be sure to check. Allow yourself a full day here. There is a café where you can get lunch.
Allow yourself a full day to see the collection and special events which take place frequently.
46. Sea Lion Caves
You will find the preserve about 11 miles north of Florence. It is privately owned and home to marine life. It is the largest sea cave in the USA.
A point here is that this is not a zoo, it is a sanctuary, so the wildlife can go about freely. Winter months are the best to go as sea lions abound at that time.
The only way to enter the caves is through the gift shop. It may take you a half day to see the caves, although you may want to stay longer and snap some pictures of the sea lions.
47. Oregon Garden
This amazing garden in in Silverton. It covers 80 acres, with no less than 20 speciality sections. One of the sections is called the Children’s Garden, which is a great place to take youngsters.
The garden boasts some amazing plants and water features. If you take the tram ride, which is free, you will be able to listen to information along the way.
There is a visitor’s centre and a café where you can grab a bite to eat. Don’t be surprised to see events such as wedding taking place. This is the only Frank Lloyd Wright home in Oregon.
48. Haystack Rock
The rock is in Cannon Beach, you will not miss it as it stands some 235 feet high. It resembles a huge haystack, hence the name.
You can get to the rock in low tide, and be able to see many interesting animals such as starfish, crabs, and limpets in the rock pools.
Watch out for sea birds such as terns and puffins who use the rock as a nesting site.
49. Crack in the Ground
You will find this phenomena in the southern corner of the Four Craters Lava Field, which is in the Deschutes Forest, and Silver Lake.
The fissure is up to 70 feet deep at places, and runs for more than 2 miles. This is a very popular route for hikers, normally they will walk the length of the main fissure, and explore the many smaller ones along the way.
This is a good place to park an RV and hike the route during the day. Enjoy the sunsets in the evenings, as they are spectacular.
50. Coquille River Lighthouse
The lighthouse has been restored and is open in the summer months to tourists. This is one of the less well-known sites to visit, but the beach is uncombed and rugged.
There is a small jetty where you can walk out into the ocean, and there are picnic tables where you can unpack your lunch and enjoy the ocean.
It will not take more than a half day to see the lighthouse and the beach, but it is a delightful area to spend a few hours.
51. Pilot Butte
You will find this extinct volcano in Bend. It is easy to spot as it is almost 500 feet high. If you enjoy hiking, then this is somewhere you should try. There is a 1.8-mile trail around the base of the volcano, as well as a scenic road winding up and around the base.
A point to note here is that 4th July there is always a firework display in the town of Bend, so if you plan to stay, book your accommodation in advance.
52. Columbia River Maritime Museum
This museum is dedicated to the history of travel up and down the Columbia River. You will find it in Astoria.
Self-guided tours are a good way to get familiar with the exhibits, and many of the displays are interactive, so great for children.
Allow yourself a morning to see the museum and gift shop and also the café where you can get a snack.
53. Tillamook Cheese Factory
You can take a self-guided tour, which includes many samples of the delicious cheese along the way.
Make sure you do not eat before you go, as there is a great restaurant/snack café where you can get the most amazing grilled cheese toastie for lunch!
The tour will only take about two hours, but you can spend some time in the gift shop, before heading for lunch.
54. Mount Hood National Forest
This park is located in Welches. It runs from the Colorado River Gorge for more than 60 miles. You will find forest areas, mountains, lakes, and gentle flowing streams.
The views are spectacular and well worth a day trip from the city to enjoy them. There are some small towns between Portland and the Forest where you can stop for a bite to eat.
55. Hoyt Arboretum
The arboretum is in the western hills of Washington. It used to be known as Washington Park, but was renamed in 1922.
You will find over 6,000 trees and over 2,000 different types of shrub from all over the world. Many of the shrubs are endangered species. The plants are labelled so you can see the origins.
There are over 10 miles of trails, two of which are wheelchair friendly. There is a great visitor centre where you can learn more about the centre, and a delightful picnic area where you can eat lunch.
Be sure to look out for the Dawn Redwood tree, which was thought to be extinct.
56. Lincoln City Cultural Centre
You will find the centre in the middle of Lincoln City. There is an art gallery, arts auditorium, and a very well stocked gift shop. Volunteers run the centre, with local artists displaying and selling their crafts.
In the summer months the Lincoln City Farmer’s Market is held outside, while in the winter months it moves inside the complex.
Plan to spend a day there, when the market is on, as this is well worth visiting.
57. Chocolate Waterfall
You will find this in Portland. If you are a chocolate lover, then this will seem like paradise for you! It is one of the largest and oldest chocolate fountains in the world.
The fountain was built in 1991, and stands 21 feet high, dripping with 2700 pounds of chocolate.
Unfortunately, the chocolate is not to be sampled, as it is over four years old. However, right across from the fountain you will find a delightful shop called the Candy Basket, where you can buy as much chocolate as you can eat!
Look out for the ‘Oops’ section in the shop. These are candies which are misshaped, and normally sell at half price.
58. Old Portland Underground
You may also hear these called the Shanghai Tunnels. They are in Portland, and run mostly underneath Chinatown and Old Town. They were originally used to move loads from the ships to basement storage areas.
Over the years they have been used as brothels, opium parlours, and gambling dens, although now there are tours through them by reputable companies.
A tour will take you a morning or afternoon.
59. Rose Test Garden
This is a ‘must see’ for anyone who loves roses. It is in Portland, and you will be able to see over 8,000 roses. Needless to say, the air smells divine!
This is a great place to take a picnic basket, sit among the roses, and enjoy the aroma.
Make sure you check for upcoming events as these are often held in the garden.
Parking is free, and occasionally there are open air music events. Spend a relaxing morning here, and then head down to the zoo which is close by.
60. High Desert Museum
You will find this museum near Bend. It was opened in 1982, and is filled with wildlife of the area, along with exhibits of local art and culture.
The exhibits are inside and outside the museum, so be sure to take appropriate clothing.
Try to be there when the living history demonstrations take place, as these are very informative.
Plan to spend a day here.
61. Face Rock Scenic Point
The scenic viewpoint is in Bandon. The rocks along the coast have faces carved into them. You should head for the scenic lookout, which you can reach by taking the stairs. After that you can walk down to the beach.
The attraction here is the view of the rocks, as well as the caves and sea views. If possible, you should go there at sunset when the sun dips below the horizon.
You can take an RV and stay a few nights in the area.
62. Fort Clatsop
This memorial is dedicated to the Lewis and Clark Expedition during the winter of 1805/6. The encampment was made near to the mouth of the river. You will find this at the north end, about 5 miles southwest of Astoria.
While the original fortress was destroyed by fire, the new fort is a close replica of the old one.
Allow a half day to see the fort, before having a look around the town of Astoria, which is close by.
63. Lan Su Chinese Garden
This used to be known as the Portland Classical Chinese Garden. You may also read about it as the Garden of Awakening Orchards, because that is what you will find here.
The walled garden is to be found in the Chinatown area of Portland. If possible, you should try to see the garden in November, when it is filled with over 75 different varieties of Chrysanthemums of every shade and style you can imagine.
You will find there are always public tours available, and floral demonstrations. The garden regularly hosts the work of artists, so it is worth visiting.
Take a half day to look around this amazing garden.
64. Smith Rock State Park
This is a great park for walkers, hikers, or just casual ramblers. Try to get to the Misery Trail, which despite the name, has the most amazing views.
Many of the trails are only suitable for experienced hikers and climbers, so be sure you know what you are doing before attempting a rope climb.
Another thing to keep in mind is that the area is at higher elevation, and there is no water along the way. The Misery Trail will take you 2.5 hours, perhaps longer if you stop along the way for photographs.
65. Wreck of the Peter Iredale
You will find the wreck in Warrenton. At low tide you can walk out to it. The wreck is over 100 years old. The Peter Iredale was a steel barque ship with four masts that ran aground in 1906.
The wreck was never cleared due to the very soft sand, and is still where she ran aground, which makes it a very popular tourist attraction.
If you walk out to the wreck make sure you know when the tides change as currents around the wreck can be dangerous.
66. Columbia River Highway
This scenic highway runs for about 75 miles from Troutdale to The Dalles. It was constructed between 1913 and 1922. This was the first planned scenic road to be built in the USA. It is considered a ‘destination in itself’.
The original road was part of US Route 30, and now the Interstate 84 runs next to it. The scenic route is worth taking, as it was designed to pass the most scenic places along the way. You will appreciate it, even if you only drive a few miles.
67. Shore Acres State Park
You will find this park 13 miles south of Coos Bay. There are 5 acres of formal gardens, as well as a rose testing facility. Look out for the Japanese lily pond. The views of the ocean and beach are wonderful.
If you visit the park in the cooler months, it is possible that you will see migrating schools of whales.
The Christmas lights of the park last from Thanksgiving to New Year’s Eve, and are not to be missed.
68. Oregon State Hospital Museum of Mental Health
You will find this museum in Salem. If you are interested in all things medical, then head here.
The museum is dedicated to mental health, and is filled with all types of strange, outdated machines. The hospital dates back 130 years, and was used to house those with mental problems.
An interesting point here is that 60% of the inhabitants were found guilty of crimes, and were insane. The remaining 40% were supposed to be a threat to themselves only, so were locked away.
The movie ‘One flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest’ was filmed here, and you can see the rooms where it was filmed.
69. Mount St. Helens
This volcano is still considered to be active. You will find it 50 miles northwest of Portland. The volcano is called by this name because of Lord St. Helens, the British Diplomat who first discovered it in the 18th century.
Most well-known eruption was back in 1980 in which 57 people were killed. The whole area is very popular with hikers. There are many trails which give you a view of the volcano in the distance.
There is an excellent Visitors’ Centre where you can learn about the eruptions and about the area. You can also watch the ‘virtual drive’ which goes all the way up the mountain.
70. Wallowa Lake Tramway
You will find the tramway near the town of Joseph. It runs from the base of the Wallowa Valley, up to the summit of Mount Howard, which will place you at an elevation of 8,000 feet above sea level.
On looking down, you will see the Eagle Cap Wilderness, as well as the range of Wallowa mountains.
Remember to dress in suitable clothing, and check beforehand if the tram is running. Sometimes it stops due to bad weather.
Plan on spending a full day taking the tram, and then looking around at the top.
71. Sloth Centre
This small centre in Rainier is home to the largest population of captive Sloths in the world.
The centre is dedicated to keeping the animals safe and helping to keep them from becoming extinct.
Visitors can see the giant animals slowly moving around their enclosures, and learn more about these animals in the natural habitat. You will also be able to feed them.
Check out times for guided tours and note that these must be in small groups, so it is a good idea to book your visit in advance to save delays.
71. Tom McCall waterfront Park
The park is found in downtown Portland. It was named after Governor Tom McCall who pledged his support for the area.
The park is often used by joggers, and cyclists. There are fountains where you may sit and eat lunch. It gets very busy during lunch times, when workers enjoy lunch in pretty surroundings.
The Oregon Brewers Festival is held there, as well as the Waterfront Blues Festival. For both these events you should book in advance.
72. Thor’s Well
You will find this strange thing in Yachats, on the coast. It is classed as a natural wonder. You will see what looks like a great big hole into which the sea runs. It is locally known as the drainpipe of the Pacific.
It is thought it be only about 20 feet deep, but the water swirls around the edges before seeming to disappear.
This is best viewed at high tide, or in stormy weather when the waves wash over the edges. Do not be tempted to try to reach the hole as you will surely be washed away!
73. Tillamook Rock Lighthouse
This lighthouse is no longer active. You will find it 1.5 miles offshore from Tillamook Head. The lighthouse was built and completed in 1881. Shortly before it was finished, the ship Lupatia was wrecked there, and sank, with all 16 crew being lost.
At the time when it was built, it was regarded as the most expensive lighthouse to be built. It was nicknamed ‘Terrible Tilly’ because it was so risky to reach it, especially in storms.
It is privately owned and is listed as an Historic Place. It will not take long to see this, so there will be time for you to walk along the coast and enjoy the ocean.
74. Treehouse Motel
This unusual bed and breakfast is in Cave Junction. The motel is literally a giant treehouse, where guests sleep in their own rooms – in the tree.
The resort also offers such things as zip lines, riding courses, and rafting courses.
This is certainly an unusual place to stay, and is one of the only places to offer lessons in design and construction of treehouses!
75. Willamette River
If you enjoy sitting on a river bank catching fish, then you should look at this. Bring your rods, and stay a few days while you catch salmon, trout, and many other fish.
This is a great place to park an RV for a few days, relax and enjoy the outdoor life. The sunsets in the area are wonderful, and the area is peaceful. There are many small towns dotted along the banks, but it is wise to make sure you have all your provisions with you.
76. The Octopus Tree
This Spruce Tree is in Tillamook. It is not known how one tree can have so many trunks. The tree is believed to be over 270 years old, and the base of the tree is over 50 feet round.
While more trees grow up with one trunk, this one has a number of smaller trunks, making it rare.
The tree is surrounded by a fence, and you are not permitted to touch it. There is a plaque which tells you about the many theories about the tree.
It will not take too long to see the tree, although discussing how it came to be like that could take a long time!
77. Portland Saturday Market
This is known as the largest market to be continually worked in the USA. It is an outdoor arts and crafts market which takes place every Saturday and Sunday from March through December.
You will find over 400 stalls, and attracts over 750,000 visitors each year.
Plan to spend a full day here as there is so much to see and many food places where you can buy lunch and refreshments.
78. Oregon Trail Interpretive Centre
The centre hosts exhibitions of natural history, explorers to the continent, native American pioneer life, and mining settlements in the area. You will find the centre 6 miles northeast of Baker City.
There are regular events such as living history demonstrations, multimedia presentations and special events. You will also find over 4 miles of trails to follow with information plaques along the way.
Allow yourself a half day here.
79. Lost Lake
You will find this in Sisters. What is amazing about the lake is that every year, in the centre of the Cascade Mountains the lake disappears down a giant sinkhole. The lake fills to capacity during the winter months, then drains away in the spring, when it turns into a lush, green meadow.
Geologists think that there may be lava tunnels underneath, where the water runs off into, but this is speculation.
When the streams run fast the river basin fills up, but when the streams slow down and the water disappears.
80. Hot Lake Hotel
You will find this in La Grande. The hotel was featured in a television programme as being one of the ‘scariest places on earth’. Be prepared to be disturbed in the night by noises, bumps, and ghosts!
The hotel used to be a nurses training centre and flight school during WWII. During a bad winter of typhoid, the hotel foyer was used to store to bodies of infectious victims until the ground thawed and they were buried.
After that the place was turned into an asylum. The property was bought and turned into an hotel, but it seems that some of the previous residents just cannot leave!
81. Painted Hills
This unexpected display of desert colour is in Mitchell. This is classed as high desert, so you will find a brutal environment in the cold months.
Despite the cold and harsh climate, the landscape remains the attraction, with wonderful colours. These are increased in intensity after a rain shower.
This is a great attraction for palaeontologists, and if you are interested in this then, make sure you head that way. Be sure to take warm, waterproof clothing if you decide to hike.
82. Oregon Vortex
You will find this roadside attraction in Gold hill. Local residents regard the area as haunted. Natives used to refer to it as ‘forbidden’. Rumour says that horses would often refuse to pass through the area.
In 1904 a Gold Assay Office literally slid off the foundation, coming to rest at an odd angle. There are many places where it appears to be optical illusions. Sometimes two people of exactly the same height appear different.
Make sure you stop there on any journey, have a cup of coffee, and hope that it does not roll off the table!
83. Proxy Falls
These falls are very popular with photographers. You will find them in McKenzie Bridge. The falls are fed by a spring creek over a 226-feet drop.
Interestingly, there is no drainage from the two pools at the bottom. Instead they drain into the ground through the rock, because it is very porous.
You can easily hike to the falls, in fact they are less than a mile along the Proxy Falls Trail. You will find the trail open all year round, but it may be inaccessible in the winter due to snow. If you go in the winter, you may take skis, or snowshoes.
84. Kam Wah Chung & Co. Museum
This landmark preserves the Chinese culture in Oregon. You will find it in John Day. It was built in the 1870’s and used as a trading post. Later it was adopted by the Chinese community as an apothecary.
In 1952 it was turned into a museum, and today it houses one of the most extensive collections of items from Chinese immigration.
Allow a half day to see the museum and learn about the old apothecary shop.
85. The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium
If you are a sci-fi buff, then you will want to see this museum. Freaky, but fascinating it what you could call it. You will find it in Portland.
This museum is not for the faint-hearted, neither is it suitable for children. But anyone who is fascinated by weird and odd stuff should enjoy paying a visit here.
It will take a half day to see the weird place.
86. Crater Lake Park
You will find the Crater Lake National Park in the Cascade Mountains, just south of Oregon. Look out for Wizard Island, which is a cone shaped island near the western side of the lake.
There is a great drive which will take you around the lake, signposted ‘The Rim Drive’. This will give you super views of the volcanic formations.
There are many trails to hike or drive around the lake, namely the trail signposted ‘Sun Notch’, which gives you views of another small island.
Allow a full day for this trip, perhaps take a picnic lunch, and enjoy the outdoors.
87. Old Fort Road – Gravity Hill
You will find this strange phenomenon in Klamath Falls. You will notice that gravity seems to be in reverse here.
Make sure you take a bottle of water, pour it out on the road, and watch it roll uphill! Cars do the same thing here.
Locals have many reasons why this happens, and there is no scientific explanation to how or why it happens, but it draws thousands of visitors each year to try this out.
It will only take a short while to see this, but working out the reason may give you many sleepless nights!
88. Oregon Holocaust Memorial
This is in Portland, and it is dedicated to the victims of the Holocaust. The memorial is now owned by the American Jewish Committee, and is open daily for anyone who wants to reflect on the events.
Admission is free, and you should allow a half day to see this, afterwards take some time to see other things in Portland.
89. Enchanted Forest
This is an amusement park in Turner. Most of the rides are based on fairy tale stories. Look out for themed areas for Alice in Wonderland and Mother Goose.
There are rides for the older children such as the big Timber Log ride, and the Ice Mountain roller coaster.
The park is filled with amazing sculptures which are sure to delight children and adults alike.
Keep a lookout for the giant witch in a tree, and the fairies who are hidden in the garden.
Plan to spend a day here, although kids will ask you to return the next day!
90. Crystal Springs Rhododendron Gardens
These botanical gardens are in Crystal Springs, and take their name from the Crystal Springs Creek which runs through the western side of the gardens.
You will find over 2,500 different azaleas and rhododendrons in this 9-acre park. The park has delightful small lakes and fountains, where you can relax. Paved walking areas lead you on may trails through the park.
You may be able to catch a glimpse of a wedding as this is a popular venue.
Look out for wildlife such as Canadian geese, hummingbirds, and herons, to name a few.
This is a great place to take a packed lunch and enjoy the beauty of the gardens.
91. West Coast Safari Park
This is a safari park with a difference, in that you walk through the park. The park opened in 1968, and you can see animals like the snow leopards, African lions, emu, cougars, and Bengal tigers.
There is a small petting zoo for younger children, as you can learn about the captive breeding programme for the snow leopard.
Watch out for the two American black Bears, who took up residence in 2002.
92. Bagby Hot Springs
In the late 1800’s a prospector found these as he was searching for gold. He never found the gold, but did find the hot springs. He never developed them as they were remote. Now the springs are open for tours.
The spring water is channelled into the private tubs and bathhouses. The water is at a constant temperature off 136 degrees, so guests are given buckets of cold water to cool the spring water.
Be aware that there is a 1.2-mile hike to get to the springs. The views along the trail are spectacular and most people agree the trip is worthwhile, with the reward of a hot spring spa at the end.
93. Pioneer Courthouse Square
You will find this in the centre of Portland. Dozens of events are held here during the year, including many free shows during the summer months.
The square is the venue for political rallies, and demonstrations, as well as speeches, so you may find an orator at any time you visit. On a brighter note, the city has hosted and all-night slumber party there, as well as a pillow fight!
Christmas is a great time to be there, see the lights, and watch the festivities.
Check out this site for upcoming events as they are frequently held through the year.
94. Cape Perpetua
You will find this in Yachats. It is well-known for the amazing sea views along the coast. ‘Dramatic splendour’ is literally an understatement here.
The area is called ‘Devils Churn’, and visitors are awed by the churning water of the ocean.
You need to park at the bottom of the hilltop, and then hike up to the scenic spot. It is a short hike and most people can manage it easily. They view from the top will be worth it!
95.Oregon City Municipal Elevator
This is one of those odd things that will not take long to see, but leave you impressed with construction.
The elevator connects two neighbourhoods, and is the only outdoor elevator in the entire USA.
Be sure to stop at the top section and enjoy the view from the observation deck. The elevator is 130-feet high.
Surprisingly, this was included in the National Register of Historical Places, so it is worth getting a picture of it!
96. Washington Park
This park in Portland has a magnificent rose garden, miles of trails, a Japanese garden, and a zoo. There is something for every nature lover here.
You will find a free shuttle to take you to various places.
Make sure you stop at the rose garden shop to see all the products made with rose oil.
Allow yourself a full day here. There are cafes, where you can eat lunch.
97. Visit Seaside
Seaside is a town – on the coast, as you would expect. It is all you can imagine from a seaside town and deserves a visit. The promenade is great to stroll along, eat ice creams, and enjoy the ocean.
The front is filled with typical seaside shops and cafes, small souvenir places, and other seaside attractions.
Allow a full day here as there are plenty of things to see and do.
98. Cathedral Park
Portland is famous for its parks, and this one is no less special. This is in a quiet, unassuming place beneath St. Johns bridge. Once you are inside, however, all that changes. The morning sun through the mist is beautiful. The forest area makes it a cool place to walk.
You will often find events hosted there such as festivals, concerts, and jazz concerts.
There are many picnic tables where you can take your lunch and enjoy the beauty of this park.
Try to be there for the annual free Jazz and Blues event.
99. Riverside Carousel, Salem
This is one of those old-fashioned carousels, which you seldom see these days. Riverfront Park is a great place to take the kids, there is a small gift shop close by, and the attraction of the carousel.
Be sure to look out for the carousel workshop, where you can look through the windows and see the horses being hand carved.
Spend a day in the area, there are many small cafes where you can eat and buy refreshments.
100. Yaquina Bay Bridge
You will find this bridge in Newport. It is considered one of the most beautiful built bridges in Oregon. Additionally, it is one of the most photographed in the USA today.
It will not take too long to cross the bridge, but remember to stop and take pictures before heading back. You can then spend time at the Oregon Coast Aquarium, and so make this visit a full day.
There is no doubt about the fact that Oregon is a state which has something to offer every visitor. Whether you enjoy hiking and climbing, water activities or mountaineering, or relaxing on sandy beaches, there is something here for everyone.
Jill Miller is the founder of Your RV Lifestyle. Trading corporate America for the open road, Jill, along with her partner Jose, began their RV journey, making an unconventional start by wintering in New Jersey. A natural adventurer, she was motivated by a desire to explore the USA and beyond, embracing the varied landscapes, communities, and cultures across the country.
For Jill, the allure of RV living was not about material accumulation, but rather the pursuit of an adventurous, fulfilling lifestyle. A lover of golf, bicycling, hiking, and line dancing, she has carried her passions across the country, engaging with them in diverse settings. Jill’s commitment to the RV lifestyle came after years of careful research, numerous consultations with RV owners, and personal trials, including living in a rental RV.