Why travel far this summer? Oregon offers countless choices for a memorable “stay-cation” instead. If you’ve just moved here, we’ve listed several don’t-miss highlights that every Oregonian must visit. Looking to get off the beaten path? Read a bit further for a few lesser-known locales…
Recent Transplants – Don’t-Miss List
The Oregon Coast
Drive only a short distance from Portland and head towards the sweet smell of ocean air and saltwater taffy. “The Coast” (as we locals call it) is the perfect place to unwind and enjoy the scenery. From Seaside to Rockaway Beach to Lincoln City and Newport, you can’t go wrong exploring Oregon’s Pacific Ocean (and that’s just the north end). Hundreds of vacation rentals and sightseeing places line the route along Hwy 101. A few of our faves:
The McBee Cottages (Canon Beach) — Family and pet friendly. A little taste of Nantucket in our own backyard.
Inn at Cape Kiwanda and Pelican Pub & Brewery (Pacific City) — Lodging, food, beer and ocean views in one location. What more could you want?
Historic Nye Beach (Newport) — Head straight there after wandering Newport’s bayfront. Go for the clam chowder at the Chowder Bowl. Stay for the sunsets.
Willamette Valley Wine Country
What?! You haven’t tasted Oregon wines? We don’t believe that! But maybe you haven’t yet explored the incredible wineries and tasting rooms throughout the valley. It’s time you did! Of course, the Oregon Pinot Noir is always a top choice, but there are many more varietals to try and gorgeous landscapes to see along the way. Take for instance…
Rex Hill Vineyards (Newberg) — Just a short drive to award-winning wine (seriously they’ve been making Pinot Noirs over 30 years). Rex Hill also hosts fun events in their gardens: Summer Celebration (July 11), OMSI Stargazing Event (July 31; 7-10pm), and a Gourmet Grill Out (August 22; 5:30-8:30).
Cana’s Feast (Carlton) — Venture a bit deeper into Oregon’s wine country and sip some Tuscan inspired reserves. Enjoy bocce ball courts and stunning views. While you’re there, check out the historic town of Carlton, located just north of McMinnville.
Eola Hills (Salem) — Their Legacy Vineyard is easy to get to and offers many different wines and 160 acres of property and forest. A perfect place for picnics or a walk in the shade of native oak trees.
Central Oregon and Bend
For winter play, summer play, and anytime in between, if you’re an Oregonian now, time to get familiar with our central city. In summer go for the hiking, water sports, and high desert activities (yup, that means lava caves and wildlife). And the brand new Discovery Park is open as of June 2. If breweries and shopping call your name, look no further than downtown Bend. A café, restaurant, bakery, brewery or park is usually within arm’s reach. The food scene is killer! Here’s just a sampling:
10 Barrell Brewing
Patio at Pine Tavern
Oregon Explorers – Sumthin’ New List
Speaking of central Oregon, when was the last time you went to Sun River? It’s changed a bit. Sure you can still bike the 40 plus miles of winding paths or tee off at any one of the world-class golf courses, but have you seen SHARC? Sun River’s 22-acre aquatic and recreation center is a family’s paradise of pools, playgrounds, tubing hills, basketball courts and amphitheaters. Come on – the kid’s will LOVE it!
As long as you’re in the neighborhood, rent a fishing cabin or pitch a tent at Twin Lakes Resort located along the Deschutes Channel of the Wickiup Reservoir. The location is perfectly wedged among mountain views and lake shores. You simply won’t breathe cleaner air.
RV camping or “glamping” is more your style, check out the classically restored trailers at The Vintages near Dundee in the heart of Willamette Valley wine country. Reserve one from over a dozen of these little gems after a full day of doin’ whatever you do to have fun. This ain’t no roughin’ it either. You’ll get yummy pour-over coffee, fluffy terry-cloth robes, and comfy mattresses with high-end linens. Lounge by the BBQ pit and bring your bikes too.
Finally, explore Oregon’s own “Alps” – the Wallowa Mountains in our upper NE corner. Tucked away at the foothills of these incredible mountains is the tiny town of Joseph. A haven for art lovers (large, bronze sculptures by local artists line the main street), this hidden treasure is the gateway to Oregon’s largest wilderness area and canyons deeper than the Grand Canyon. Escape the crowds of Portland to take in summer festivals like the Nez Perce Celebration (July 17-19), Chief Joseph Days Rodeo (July 21-26), and Bronze, Beers, and Brews (August 7-8).
Okay. Okay. We’re stopping now. Sooo much to do! Sooo little time!
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