Oregon is an amazing state with both wild beauty and urban sophistication. It's hard to go wrong choosing Oregon for your vacation spot this year, and with so many things to see and do, it's difficult to narrow them down to just ten. Even so, there are some places in Oregon that simply outshine the others, which is why they made the list of top rated tourist attractions in Oregon.
The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is home to the second highest waterfall in the United States. Multnomah Falls is just one of the spectacular sights you'll see as you follow the Columbia River through the awe-inspiring Cascade Mountain Range. You can camp at one of the many campsites and hike and bike the trails for days.
Crater Lake is a must-see on your tour of Oregon. Located in the southwest portion of the state, this lake formed in the caldera of an extinct volcano, Mount Mazama, and has a depth of 1935 feet. The cliffs of the caldera rise 2000 feet above the lake. The scenery is spectacular, and in the right season, you can traverse the rim for the entire 33 miles by car. Also, visit Wizard's Island via cruises from Cleetwood Cove.
Mount Hood is arguably the most iconic Oregon landmark. Its impressive elevation of 11,239 feet makes it the tallest mountain in the state. Mount Hood National Forest is the perfect place to visit year-round as it has amazing hiking trails, cabins and camping areas, and four ski areas. It is also close to Portland, making it a perfect day trip.
Cannon Beach is a popular beach in Oregon where huge monolith-esque rocks jut out of the surf. Hay Stack Rock might be the largest single rock of its type in the world, making it a spectacular landmark and photo opportunity. Cannon Beach is close to the Seaside resort and Astoria, making it an ideal place for beach-lovers everywhere.
You can't talk about Oregon without talking about Portland. Portland is an excellent place to begin your adventures, as it is close to the Willamette Valley, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, and Mount Hood. Try a wine tasting tour in the Willamette Valley or explore Portland's underground tunnels and learn about Portland's seedier past. While you're there, don't forget to visit Washington Park, which hosts the Oregon Zoo, the International Rose Test Garden, the Portland Japanese Garden, and the Portland Children's Museum.
Appeal to your inner spelunker and visit the Oregon Caves National Monument. You'll be amazed at the marble caverns and their colossal beauty. The National Park Service runs the Ranger-led Discover Cave Tour, Candlelight Cave Tour, the Kids and Family Tour, and for the adventurous, the Off-Trail Caving Tour.
If you're looking to do some extensive hiking along a view that just can't be beat, check out the 382 miles of the Oregon Coast Trail. It follows the coast from the California border in the south all the way up to the mouth of the Columbia in the north. You'll hike along the beaches and occasionally along US 101 when there's nowhere else to walk.
Newport is a fishing village that has converted itself into an incredible beach resort town. It sits on Yaquina Bay in the middle of Oregon's west coast, and its Victorian charm is smoothly combined with modern conveniences. While there, visit the lighthouses, enjoy spectacular seafood, wander the historic bayfront, go whale watching, and check out the Oregon Coast Aquarium.
The Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area covers 40 miles, stretching from the Siuslaw River in the south to the Coos River in the North. The sand dunes are part of the Siuslaw National Forest and are an impressive testament to the power of wind and water erosion. They hold the title of North America's largest expanse of dunes. With peaks towering 500 feet above sea level, it's easy to see why this is a popular place to visit.
It's hard to imagine a prettier place than Willamette National Forest. This vast forest along the west side of the Cascade Range encompasses 1.7 million acres. It's packed with incredible mountains, rivers, and volcanoes. You can visit Salt Creek Falls, which is the second highest waterfall in Oregon, visit Dee Wright Observatory, and hike the myriad of trails this forest has to offer.