Cannon Beach may be the most iconic image travelers have in mind of Oregon, but there is so much more to see and do in this state.
Above the sunny state of California sits Oregon, also known as the “Beaver State”; Known for its rugged coastlines, fresh seafood, and scenic natural scenery, Oregon is a must-see for travelers seeking a relaxing, nature-filled getaway.
Tourists flock to the North Oregon Coast to enjoy Cannon Beach, whether it’s to admire Haystack Rock or to dig their toes in the powdery sand of the beach. Cannon Beach is also located in the tourist town of Astoria, which is full of restaurants, resorts and shops. As beautiful as the region is, Oregon offers an eclectic mix of other landscapes and activities to suit any traveler.
After a busy day at Cannon Beach, travelers should plan their Oregon itinerary to experience these top-rated tourist attractions in the state. From peaceful national parks to urban art exhibits, Oregon offers tourists a cultural experience with a chance to explore its natural landscape!
8 Crater Lake National Park
- Site: Crater Lake, OR
Crater Lake National Park is located in southwestern Oregon and is nestled in the Cascade Mountains. There are a ton of activities to do around this national park! Head to Cleetwood Cove and take a ferry to Wizard Island. Visitors can also take their rental cars and drive around Rim Drive for a panoramic view of the lake, possessing a deep shade of blue. Along the way, drivers and passengers can admire the backdrop of Mazama Mountain and lava cliffs. Tourists should also visit Rim Village, which is only accessible by car (and during warmer periods).
7 Columbia River George National Scenic Area
- Site: Hood River, OR
Tourists heading to Portland should experience this gem of the state. Located between Oregon and Washington, the Columbia River George National Scenic Area is home to many scenic waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls. Visitors can spend the day hiking (or biking) along the Columbia River or spending a few nights in area camping. This area runs through the Cascade mountain range, so visitors will have plenty of opportunities to photograph its natural landscape, from bubbling rivers to lush foliage. The Columbia River George National Scenic Area is a must-see destination no matter what time of year tourists visit Oregon.
6 Silver Falls State Park
- Site: 20024 Silver Falls Hwy SE, Sublimity
Travelers who can’t get enough waterfall scenic spots must see Silver Falls State Park. Boasting over 9,000 acres of land, the park is also known for its extensive walking, biking and horseback trails. Silver Falls State Park is the largest park in the state and is often referred to as the “Jewel in the Crown” in Oregon. Visitors looking for waterfalls should visit the Southern Falls along the Ten Falls Trail, known for its majestic 177 foot statue (you can even walk behind it)! Activities like camping, picnicking, horseback riding, and RVing are also available at Silver Falls State Park.
5 Portland Japanese Garden
- Site: 611 SW Kingston Ave, Portland
The Portland Japanese Garden provides a tranquil space for visitors. Tourists can participate in cultural activities like tea ceremonies. The range of gardens also features artistic displays mixed with the peaceful sounds of nature, including koi ponds and gently flowing mini waterfalls. Visitors can admire the architecture of Portland’s Japanese Gardens, from its Minka houses to its wood-paneled exhibits. The gardens are considered a little corner of Japan in Oregon; in fact, former Japanese Ambassador Nobuo Matsunaga considered it “the most beautiful and authentic Japanese garden in the world outside of Japan.”
4 Thor’s well
- Site: Highway 101, Yachats
The chasms are terrifying sights, showing us the true power of nature. Although Thor’s Well is considered a sinkhole, it is a popular tourist attraction due to its beauty. Also known as the “Drainpipe of the Pacific”, Thor’s Well is so powerful it looks like it drains a sea of water! This wonderful natural wonder is found on Cape Perpetua, attracting thousands of tourists each season. Curious travelers should be careful when approaching Thor’s Well; this 20 foot chasm is so mighty that it is capable of dragging people into its mighty violent ocean torrents!
3 Oregon Coast Aquarium
- Site: 2820 SE Ferry Slip Rd, Newport
In bustling Newport, tourists can visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, which features 23 acres of exhibits devoted exclusively to aquatic life. From seals to starfish, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a must-see and is often considered one of the state’s top tourist attractions. Visit this world-famous aquarium with a travel companion to spot turkey vultures or gaze at a giant Pacific octopus. Travelers can even book an interactive experience at the aquarium, from petting moon jellies to learning how the facility takes care of its more than 15,000 aquatic animals!
2 Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Nature lovers rejoice: this 54,000-acre park is home to a vast array of lakes, forests, an obsidian field and a caldera to reward the senses. At Newberry National Volcanic Monument, enjoy a refreshing hike on Trail of the Molten Land or take in panoramic views of Lava Butte (with a nearby museum). The monument also has a Visitor Center for Lava Lands where tourists can learn about the active volcano present in the park (and which is roughly the size of Rhode Island)! Located in central Oregon, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument is a must-see for travelers heading to The Beaver State.
1 Oregon National Sandhill Recreation Area
- Site: 855 US-101, Reedsport
Visitors who thought Oregon was all oceanic and lush foliage will be pleasantly surprised when they visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area. Located in Reedsport, this recreational space is the alone place along the coast of the state which is blessed with sand dunes. Thanks to the magic of wind, water and geology, Oregon’s sand dunes are perfect for thrill-seeking tourists. Take a bumpy ride through this desert area aboard an all-terrain vehicle or paddle the coast. Lucky visitors may even spot birds or local wildlife while visiting the dunes.
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