Explore the west with these best places to visit in Oregon.

Oregon is one of the nation's most well hidden treasures. With so many things to do in Oregon, you can easily spend a whole week exploring here without getting tired. In fact, some of the best places to visit in Oregon are right under your nose when you get here!

There is so much beautiful scenery to soak in once you get here. For starters, the beaches here offer a unique and rugged coastline that is like no other in the world. Not only that but there are plenty of museums for you to take advantage of as well. You can learn all that there is to know about the history of Oregon and its wildlife. Today, we are going to dive into what makes Oregon so unique. With that being said, we have rounded up some of our favorite locations and the best places to visit in Oregon. For the adventure seeker to the scientist to the history lover, we have got it all for you. Let's get started!

1. Explore Oregon with Wanderlust Tours

best places to visit in oregon - Wanderlust Tours

Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful scenery around.  In order to truly appreciate the beautiful scenery around you, you need to go out and explore it. One of the best ways to explore this is by going on a tour. Wanderlust Tours is one of Oregon's most reputable tour companies. This tour company has been taking visitors to some of the best places to visit in Oregon. For outdoor enthusiasts, taking a tour with Wanderlust Tours it's an absolute must. In fact, when it comes to the best things to do in Oregon, Wanderlust Tours is a must

Wanderlust Tours provides guests the experience of a knowledgeable guide. This knowledgeable guide will  take you on an adventure along with other fellow travellers. Do not worry though, the groups that you will be travelling in are rather small. In your group, you will be able to experience the natural beauty of Oregon with the eyes of a professional leading the way.

You can take advantage of Wanderlust Tours nearly anytime you visit Oregon. They are operational all year round and offer something for every season. If you are here during the summer months, then you will have the opportunity to canoe or kayak on the beautiful Cascade Lakes. Not only that, but you can go on a tour of an underground lava tube cave. Finally, visiting the volcanic mountain ranges here is a must. Professional guides will take you to a non active volcano if you are up for it.

If you are here during the colder months then there is plenty of travelling for you to explore as well. Enjoy the snow that Oregon has to offer through the daytime or nighttime Snowshoe tour.  Other activities you can take advantage of during the colder months are exploring the local brewery tours that happen here. Along with that, there are other seasonal events that take place as well.

If you plan on taking a trip with Wanderlust Tours, all you really have to do it's get here. Along with that, simply pack along some comfortable hiking gear and sunscreen. Lastly, be sure not to forget to bring along your favourite water bottle. Other than that, Wanderlust Tours will provide all the other necessary equipment for the adventure that awaits you.

2. Stay at Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

best places to visit in oregon - Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

Credit: Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort

If you are looking for a wonderful adventure with just the right amount of comfort and luxury,  then the next destination is for you. Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort is easily one of the best places to visit in  Oregon. This resort is a stunning 1000 acre Alpine dreamland that is situated right at 8000 feet in the mountain range.  Along with that, this resort is jam packed with everything you need. From a full service lodge to rental and repair shops. Everything you could want in a place to have fun is located right here.

If you are into skiing and hiking trails, then you will love Anthony Lakes Mountain Resort. The Alpine Trails here are Simply the best. In fact,  the trails here span a whopping 900 feet vertical drop. Not only that, but one of the longest trails here is just under two miles long. It is not just the skiing trails that take the prize. In fact, there are over 20 miles of undisturbed hiking trails for you to discover. Not only can you explore the wilderness here thanks to the trails. But with some of the trails, you will find stunning scenery that gives way to even more spectacular views of the valleys below.

It should be noted that many of the trails here, both skiing and hiking, range from intermediate to experience. If you are looking to expand your skill and ability, then this resort is the place to do so.

While this resort really shines during the winter months, there is also plenty that you can do here during the summer months as well. When the weather warms up, the chair lifts are still open. These lifts will take you all the way to the top where you can find trails that are perfect for mountain biking down. If you just want to hike around the mountain and soak in the beautiful summer scenery, then you can do that as well.

3. Relax on Cannon Beach

best places to visit in oregon - Cannon Beach

When the sun comes out and you want a chance to soak in its wonderful rays then head out to this next location. One of the best places to visit in Oregon is Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is located on one of the most majestic coasts in the world. The scenery here is simply stunning. It is this scenery that makes Cannon Beach one of the best beaches in Oregon. The rugged coastline offers views of western sunsets that are short of breathtaking.

One of the major highlights of the beach is the Haystack Rock. The Haystack Rock is a 235 foot monolith that sticks out on the beach. Not only is it beautiful to gaze out at, but it is home to many of the sea birds who are in search of a place to lay their eggs.

It is not only the beach that is magnificent, but Cannon Beach offers travelers a unique experience too. Right behind the beach, the beautiful forest beckon travelers In for exploration. The topography here is something that you can not find in many other places.

Cannon Beach has become one of the best places to visit in Oregon because of its unparalleled beauty here. When you get here, you will find that it will typically attract a healthy amount of tourists year round. Because of this, there are plenty of places for you to choose from in terms of lodging and dining. Some of the best restaurants in Oregon are located right on Cannon Beach. Not only that, but you can spend the whole day strolling through the boutique shops in the art galleries here.

One of the best ways to experience Cannon Beach is by going over to Ecola park. When you make your way through the rainforest, you can find a sweet patch of Earth on the grassy cliffs. From here, you will get stunning views of the coastline below. Pack along a picnic lunch and a blanket and come out to Ecola Park to gaze at the mesmerizing beauty below.

4. Spend a Day in Astoria

best places to visit in oregon - Astoria

This next destination is one of the best places to visit in Oregon for so many reasons. For starters, Astoria is known nationwide thanks to popular movies such as the 1985 classic “The Goonies.” Not only has Astoria made its debut on the movie scene, but it has made a mark on all the travelers who visit here as well.

Astoria has so much to offer that it is easily one of the best places to visit in Oregon. One of the main draws of Astoria is the fact that the city is alive with architecture. This architecture is not only magnificent, but it is really historical too. For example, when settlement happened on the west coast, it is here where the first buildings were put up. Not only is the history quite remarkable in this town, but you are sure to find beauty everywhere you turn.

One of the highlighting features of this city is the stunning Astoria Megler Bridge. Below the bridge, the water offers such a wonderful sight. Not only that, but there are so many activities that travelers can take part in as well. You can enjoy a relaxing day fishing. Or if you are looking for a little more adventure, then you can kayak and sail the water as well.

Next, make sure to find time to make your way up to Astoria Column. It is here on the top of the column that you will get to look at stunning views of the scenery below. The picturesque images of the ocean, the river, and the mountains in the backdrop come together to create something scenic. Speaking of Scenic, do not forget to keep an eye out for the many volcanoes of the Cascade Mountains Range. You will undoubtedly be able to see them at heights this great. The volcanic mountain range is indeed something worth photographing.

5. Visit the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

best places to visit in oregon - Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

Credit: Oregon Trail Interpretive Center

If you are a history buff, then this next location is for you. One of the best places to visit in Oregon is the Oregon Trail Interpretive Center. This center gives visitors an in depth look at one of the most iconic moments in our nation’s history; the Oregon Trail. 

The Oregon Trail was a 2,000 mile long trial that beckoned settlers to a new life out west. This trail was no walk in the park. Travelers were met with extremely harsh conditions that were life threatening. The  Oregon Trail Interpretive Center brings this history back to life by giving visitors an in depth and intimate account of what it was like.

When you get to the  Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, you can expect to find a wide range of exhibits that are simply eye opening. Visitors here can take a first hand look at some of the wagons that were used on the trail. Now, it should be noted that although these wagons are replicas, they do give you a sense of what life was like. Along with the wagons, visitors can closely examine artifacts from the trail. These artifacts include everyday necessities that were important for travelers to make it through the day while they were going on the trail.

Visitors to the  Oregon Trail Interpretive Center will also get an in depth account of what life was like not only with the environment but the with the natives too. The exhibits shine an informative light on the relationship between the natives and the settlers. This perspective will further enhance your understanding of what life was like traveling the Oregon Trail.

Along with soaking in all the neat information that the  Oregon Trail Interpretive Center has to offer, you may also want to bring along your hiking shoes. Surrounding the  Oregon Trail Interpretive Center, there are about four miles of hiking trails carved out for you. The beautiful scenery surrounding you makes it the perfect place to go to if you are looking to explore the wilderness that is such an iconic part of our nation’s history.

6. Explore the Portland Japanese Garden

best places to visit in oregon - Portland Japanese Garden

Credit: ​Portland Japanese Garden

One of the best places to visit in Oregon also happens to be one of the neatest. The Portland Japanese Garden happens to be one of the most tranquil places to go to if you are looking to spend some peaceful time outdoors.

The Portland Japanese Garden is just under six acres big. In this vast amount of space, visitors can look forward to an atmosphere that is truly relaxing. As a whole, the Portland Japanese Garden is a culmination of five different gardens. Each garden takes one theme that is found in a traditional Japanese garden. Some of the popular themes that you can look forward to in these gardens are deliberate uses of stone for design and practicality. There are also pagodas and bridges that are incorporated to highlight the tranquil theme that Japanese gardens are so well known for. 

When you are here at the Portland Japanese Garden, you can expect to be met with stunning plants. The plants the grow hear bloom at all different times throughout the year. That means that whenever you come, you are sure to find something beautiful to gaze at. Not only that, but the architecture that is housed in the gardens plays an integral role in its beauty. Whether it is the middle of summer or the start of winter, the gardens looks beautiful all year ‘round.

Portland is known for its beauty. Not only that, but it is known for its wide range of activities and attractions. The Portland Japanese Gardens is certainly one of those attractions. With so many things to do in Portland, visiting the Japanese garden is a must. Be sure not to leave it off your list as it is one of the places to visit in Oregon.

7. Visit the Hartfield Marine Science Center

best places to visit in oregon - Hartfield Marine Science Center

Another one of the best places to visit in Oregon is the neat Hartfield Marine Science Center. This Science Center is awesome for so many reasons. For starters, this is one of the best places to go to if you are looking to get a better knowledge of the ocean and all the neat creatures that call it home. Budding scientists can get an in depth understanding of what makes the ocean what it is. 

Not only do you get to explore the underwater world here, but you get a chance to understand all the preservation efforts that happen behind the scene. The Hartfield Marine Science Center gives visitors a look into the health of our oceans right now. Along with that, the Science Center arms visitors with information about how they can be the change that allows our oceans to thrive. Conserving and protecting the oceans is a big theme for the Science Center. Visitors can expect to be armed with a stronger knowledge base of how they can do their part.

Once you have grasped an understanding of the oceans and how to protect them, visitors can look forward to lots of fun. One of the best things to do here is to actually interact with some of the creatures that call this place home. Visitors here actually get the opportunity to reach out and touch some of the aquatic wildlife. You can expect to find cute sea stars in tide pools that are just waiting to be interacted with.

Along with getting hands on with the animals, there is plenty of other majestic aquatic wildlife you can see here as well. There are three tanks that come alive with ornamental fish that are simply stunning. Not only that, but there is a beautiful on site octopus that will let you watch as he gets fed.

From educational programs to day camps to family events, the Hartfield Marine Science Center has so much to offer. It is this plentiful activity here that ranks it as one of the best places to visit in Oregon.

8. Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium 

best places to visit in oregon - Coast Aquarium

Credit: Oregon Coast Aquarium

This destination is another hot spot as far the best places to visit in Oregon go. The Oregon Coast Aquarium is the premier place to go to if you are looking to get an in depth glance at beautiful ocean life. For starters,  one of the main missions of the aquarium is to teach visitors all about aquatic life. Not only that, but visitors will also learn about all the different types of efforts that have gone into trying to preserve the wildlife here. 

There are several different exhibits that you can find here. These exhibits all do a phenomenal job of highlighting the different natural habitats that exist in central Oregon. Visitors can expect to find in depths exhibits revolving around the different sandy and rocky shorelines as well as the coastal waterways.

One of the highlights of the Oregon Coast Aquarium is the large tank. What makes the tank so neat is the fact that guest can actually scuba dive it. Actually getting into the aquarium allows you to have one on one interaction with the many beautiful creatures that call the aquarium home.

Other exhibits that you should look out for include the Secrets of Shipwrecks. This exhibit allows visitors to understand how popular shipwrecks have changed the landscape of the underwater world. Visitors get the unique experience of seeing how shipwrecks have adapted to their new environment. Along with that, you will get an in depth understanding of how they have promoted new underwater ecosystems.

Lastly, another neat exhibit to visit is the Odd Water exhibit. This exhibit is exactly what the name suggests. Visitors can expect to learn all about the neat underwater creatures that are rather unusual.

From all that there is to learn and all that there is to see, visiting the Oregon Coast Aquarium is easily one of the best places to visit in Oregon. If you do plan on coming here, be sure to block off an entire afternoon or morning. You can easily spend several hours here getting mesmerized at all the neat creatures that call this place home.

9. Spend the Day in Newport

best places to visit in oregon - Newport

If you are a travel photographer, then you are going to want to make your way over to this next picture perfect town. Newport is the epitome of American scenery. It is a wonderful city that is located right on the central coast. Newport has so many things to offer travelers. It is routinely named as one of the best cities to visit. If you are traveling with children, then this could not be any more true. There are plenty of things for you to do with children here that neither you nor the kids will get bored. 

Some favorite locations for having fun include the Hatfield Marine Science Center as well as the Oregon Coast Aquarium. Here, you can learn all there is to know about the history of Newport and the beautiful creatures that call this place home. Once you are done getting your education on, it is time to go out and explore the beautiful nature surrounding you. There are plenty of sandy beaches that are perfect for lounging around on. Build a sandcastle, fly a kite, or soaked in the sun's rays. Whatever you choose, you will not miss a beat coming out to the beaches here.

Next, while you are outdoors exploring, you must make it a point to visit Yaquina Head. Yaquina Head is the home to the state's tallest and second oldest active lighthouse. This lighthouse is not only a legendary building because of its history, but it is also one of the most iconic features of Newport. 

The history behind this Lighthouse is quite unique. For starters, it was built can 1872 on a land area that was once the site of flowing lava over 14 million years ago. Not only that, but it is surrounded by a wide range of tide pools that are perfect for getting mesmerized with. Children will get a kick out of exploring the tide pools. In them, you can find creatures such as starfish, hermit crabs, and sea anemones. Without missing a beat, Newport is easily one of the best places to visit in Oregon. Be sure not to leave it off your list the next time you travel out west to this wonderful state.

Final Thoughts 

Oregon may be in the tippy top corner of the United States, but you should not the let the location scare you. If you venture off into the west and find yourself here you will be pleasantly surprised. There are so many great places to visit in Oregon that you will undoubtedly want to block off a whole week to explore. From trekking through the mountains to lounging around on the shoreline. There is something for everyone here in Oregon. Before you head out on a fantastic trip here, be sure to include some of these locations on your travel itinerary. Here's to happy travels!

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