Oregon is one of the most charming states in the U.S., lying between Washington, Idaho, and California. From awe-inspiring waterfalls, majestic beaches, snow-capped mountains to forbidden wilderness, Oregon has all a tourist could ask for. Whether visitors arrive through Newport or Portland airport, they are guaranteed to have an unforgettable adventure in this state on the Pacific west coast.

01Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Multnomah Falls and foot bridge in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Oregon

As the Columbia River crisscrosses the Cascade Range, it leaves behind a mark of waterfalls on the gorge, the tallest of them being Multnomah Falls. Visitors are awed by the crystalline water contrasting sharply against the backdrop of deep green marshes in the background. The area is a beehive of activities such as hiking, camping, and biking. Punchbowl Falls are very popular with locals, so make sure to check it out.

02Hood River

Mount hood and hood river city

Hood River is a small town spread along the Columbia River Gorge. Visitors are awed by the magnificent waterfalls, carved by the river as it snakes through basalt rocks and Mt Hood lurking in the background. The sprawling grass fields make it the perfect setting for sightseeing and outdoor activities. A trip to Hood River is not complete without a panoramic view of the Colombia River at Vista House on Crown Point.

03Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach Landscape, Oregon USA

Cannon Beach is popular for its vast stretches of sand and jagged coastline. Visitors will be quick to notice the Haystack Rock, an imposing granite rock in the middle of the beach. Tourists can also sample the local culture and delicacies on the numerous boutique shops and hotels in the small town. For the discerning explorer, the enchanting Tillamook and Escola State Park offer a chance to experience scenic landscapes and wildlife.

04Crater Lake National Park

wide angle view of Crater Lake form the top of Watchman's Peak, beautiful landscape in Oregon

Crater Lake is an awesome caldera at the roof of Mount Mazama. The picturesque site is home to one of the deepest lakes in the world. Visitors marvel at the pristine beauty of deep blue water. The more adventurous engage in other activities such as hiking, bike riding, and skiing. The more adventurous sightseers can access the site via Rim Drive, which passes just a few meters from the lake.

05Mount Hood National Forest

Majestic View of Mt. Hood on a bright, colorful sunset

Standing at 11,239 feet above sea level, Mount Hood is the tallest mountain in Oregon. Visitors drive 20 miles off Portland to view the majestic scenery extending from the Columbia River Gorge to the Olallie Scenic Area. Mount Hood is the most distinctive landmark in the state with snow strips scattered around its rugged peaks. The picturesque Timberline Trail awaits hiking enthusiasts.

06Bend

An Aerial View of the Old Mill District in Bend, Oregon

Located to the east of the Cascade Rand, Bend is a small high desert city in central Oregon. The city is popular for its scenic sites and numerous outdoor sporting activities including rock climbing, fishing, hiking, skiing, and mountain riding. Visitors can enjoy rafting runs on the Deschutes River, explore the Newberry and Lava Butte volcanic outcrops, and ski at the Mount Bachelor Ski Area.

07Smith Rock State Park

Smith Rocks State Park, a popular rock climbing area in central Oregon

Smith Rock State Park is a world-renowned climbing destination located a few miles from Bend. Hiking enthusiasts can explore over 1,000 bolted climbing routes within the canyon region. However, the area is also frequented by photographers and mountain bikers who come to enjoy the high desert climate in the cold months. Smith Rock is a popular hiking trail leading to the Misery Ridge overlooking the Crooked River.

08Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

The beautiful Secret Beach in Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

The corridor is a 12-mile park stretching from Gold Beach to Brookings that features some of the most beautiful coastal scenery in Oregon. Visitors can access it from U.S. 101 and the Oregon Coast Trail. The standout features include rock outcrops, pristine beaches, and naturally beautiful coastal scenery. Look out for popular sites such as Arch Rock, Indian Sands, and Lone Ranch Beach, which is the star attraction.

09Silver Falls State Park

Behind North Falls Cavern, Silver Falls State Park, Oregon

Silver Falls State Park embodies the reputation of Oregon as the waterfalls central. It's a 30-minute drive from Salem that hosts the Trail of Ten Falls, a precarious hiking path located beneath the waterfalls. The trail is nationally famous for the spectacular hike through dense forest, rocky canyons, and a winding creek. A walk through the trail is not for the faint-hearted, but it is the price to pay for the chance to pass under South Falls.

10Willamette National Forest

Skyline Trail Willamette National Forest High Elevation Mountain Landscape

Willamette National Forest is the most extensive forest in Oregon, covering almost two million acres of land. Explore the diverse vegetation in this natural haven on the western side of the Cascade Mountains. However, categorizing the area as a forest does not do justice to the plethora of landscapes including volcanoes, waterfalls, mountain peaks, and hot springs. Star attractions include the Dee Wright Observatory, Three Sisters Wilderness, and Salt Creek Falls.

11Hells Canyon

Hells Canyon National Recreation Area

Hells Canyon is a wilderness area located in the Wallowa-Whitman National Forest and is the deepest canyon in the U.S. Its designation as a protected area means that there are no tarmacked routes into the Canyon, but people can reach it using off-highway vehicles. People who find their way there will be rewarded with an otherworldly view of the canyon and chance encounters with wildlife. For the physically active, a myriad of activities such as backpacking, fishing, and hiking awaits.

12Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve

Oregon Caves National Monument, Oregon fdastudillo / Getty Images

For extreme adventurers, Oregon offers a range of subterranean attractions in the form of marble caves. The monument is located deep in the Siskiyou Mountains and is only accessible during tours provided by the National Park Service. Visitors can take guided tours for families or indulge in wild expeditions into caves that are outside the regular tourist route. You can relax after the adventure by taking hiking trips through the thick coniferous forest above the cave.