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Good places to visit while in Oregon?

Phoenix Az
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Good places to visit while in Oregon?

My wife and I want to go on a trip driving through Oregon and do a little sightseeing while we’re there. I’m not much of a person to go though the tour books and read the descriptions of interesting sights written by tour-guides. I enjoy more the word of mouth information. That being said, can anyone provide some interesting sights to see and places to visit? We’ll be in the state for several days in Sept. but don’t know which weeks yet. We don't have any limiting physical problems, and we don't care to do any camping.

Buford, Georgia
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1. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

High on my list for first time visitors would be Crater Lake and the coastline---at least from Brookings to Lincoln City.

Ormond Beach...
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2. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

We did a wonderful 10 day driving tour. Comments in a nutshell:

Top pick: Drive & hike around a bit in the Columbia River Gorge. Many great waterfalls (some roadside). Awesome scenery & good for pics.

2nd top pick: The coast. Wall to wall nice beaches, little seaside towns, parks and natural rec areas. Cape Lookout was a high point - walking ~2 miles out above the ocean on a rugged rocky spit of land. Also staying in many of the little towns, checking out the beaches and interesting rock formations. The extreme southern coast was superb - with wooded cliffs and natural bridges.

Honorable mention: Silver Falls State Park. Gorgeous woodsy state park near Portland with dozens of waterfalls scattered about.

Nice, but not essential: Crater Lake - Very pretty to be sure, but it's a bit removed from other interesting places to see. I'd skip it in favor of more time on the coast and around the Columbia Gorge if I was there for ~7 days or less.

Oddity: Sea of Lava. Drove for ~2 hours through this moonscape of red and black pumice. Only an occasional spindly tree here and there poking up thru the thick layer of loose rock. Interesting if you happen to be in that vicinity.

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3. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

Starting in Southern Oregon, we really enjoy the quaint, charming town of Ashland. It is home of the Shakespeare Festival, has many great restaurants and alot of uniqueness to it. There is also Lithia Park that is fun to stroll through and nice downtown area.

Portland has much to offer in the way of scenery, gardens, restaurants and shopping. A very pretty city that is called the City of Roses. There is also a very nice zoo here and the pretty riverfront with Tom McCall Park.

I would not miss spending time on the Northern Coast, our favorite area of the coast. Cannon Beach, Oswald West State Park, Seaside, Manzanita, Fort Stevens State Park and Astoria all have much to offer in the way of things to do, see, etc. Let me know if you would like more specifics on this area of the coast, we spend several weeks there a year in Seaside/Astoria area.

Have a wonderful time in Oregon and enjoy your travel research! :)

Portland, Oregon
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4. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

slabeaume says "the coastline---at least from Brookings to Lincoln City."

That's kind of limited, no?

The south coast is better than most... but not the north coast. Really, the entire Oregon Coast is a mere embarrassment of riches. I don't envy anyone who has to budget their time there.

Salem, Oregon
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5. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

Andy, what interests you??? That is the 100 dollar question, because there is a ton to see and do within Oregon.

I am a huge Silver Falls fan myself. Difinately a day trip. I find these falls a whole lot more interesting and beautiful then the Multnomah Falls. The drive is about 25-35 minutes off of I5 out of Salem.

Also, Oregon is home of about 300 wineries. I highly recommend touring wine country (Yamhill area to coast), or at least stopping at one on your way through. South of Salem is Willamette Valley Vineyards, right off of I5. Open 11am to 6 pm daily. IMHO, one of the best wineries around.

Portland is a virtual playland of stuff to do. I particularly enjoy strolling through the Pearl District. If you are a book lover, check out Powell's books, which is reported to be the largest bookstore in the world. I once spent a whole day there myself and when I left, my wallet was empty.

Historical information can be found as well, all over the place. The Gorge has some wonder history about Lewis and Clark.

Salem is home of the Capital as well as the historic Mission Mill. This was a fascinating visit for me recently (I went with my daughter for a field trip). I did not realize what a critical role the mill played durning WWII. If you spent an afternoon touring the Mill, the Capital, and walking through the grounds of Willamette University, that would fill an afternoon. On the corner of State & 12th street (down from the Mill and the Capital--a two minute walk) is Adam's Ribs. One of the most delictable southern BBQ smokehouses around. Food from there is heaven.

That's my .02 cents about the Salem area. I'll let some of the others advise you as to the coast or Portland area.

But, you gotta give us some info on what interests you!!!! I love history, good wine, and books, hence my own suggestions! ;)

Portland, Oregon
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6. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

"Andy, what interests you??? That is the 100 dollar question..."

I was gonna say, Lisa.... Oregon is almost as big as Arizona, Andy, and there are interesting sights and places to visit in every corner of it. With only "several days" you'll have to pick and choose. So, tell us a little more about what you're thinking.

Dallas, Texas
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7. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

The coast can't be missed, but I should warn you, BRING LAYERS. All the great advice warned us and we just did not bring enough and we were very cold (50's with alot of wind)on our morning walks along the beach of course it did not stop us, we went in mid September last year. I could not figure out why I couldn't buy a sweatshirt in Cannon Beach. It could be we were used to the 100 degree days in Dallas it felt like our winter. We loved the Ocean Lodge in Cannon Beach, the views were SPECTACULAR and the fireplace in the room made for a romatic stay.

Corvallis,OR
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8. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

Having lived in Oregon all my life, there are a few places that you should definitely try to visit if you have the time...

1. Astoria, IF the weather is good there are some great views from there.

2. Bend, one of OR's finest cities, lost of great stuff to do around there.

3. The Oregon Vortex, which I hear is really amazing, around Grants Pass, I haven't actually been there yet.

4. Wildlife Safari Roseburg, a little spendy, but kind of neat if you have the time.

Phoenix Az
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9. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

I appreciate all the information so far and apology for not giving you more info to work with. We are in favor of most anything for sightseeing, except camping. We don’t mind a reasonable hike to find something special like a waterfall or a special view of the ocean, mountain etc. I’m into photos, short hiking, my wife likes shopping and those little specialty stores. We enjoy some history and museums but more of the living museums – handcraft stuff ~ not so much the arts, music etc. The wine industry is interesting and good food is always on my mind. Hope that helps, and I do appreciate the insight on “special” places to visit. Again I don’t like the tour guide routes and info but more of the local secret places and things to do and see.

And thanks for everything so far :-) it's appreciated!

Oregon/Washington
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10. Re: Good places to visit while in Oregon?

Thanks for sharing your interests:) Based on those, I think the above suggestions of Mission Mill and Crater Lake are excellent. To add to those, on the south end of Bend the High Desert Museum is really good and is a must see. Right near that is Lava Lands and the Lava Cave, which are all good.

I like Silver Falls a lot, but am thinking you might like Multnomah Falls better. Mostly because SF is best when you can hike the whole thing and I think that is longer than what you want. At MF, even hiking to the very top is only 1 mile and not hard at all, plus there is small educational center there as well.

In McMinnville the Evergreen Aviation Museum is quite interesting. That makes a nice addition to all the wineries in the area.