TRAVEL > NORTH AMERICA > UNITED STATES > OREGON
Oregon caters to outdoor enthusiasts. This state has a diverse landscape of mountain peaks, dense forests, rolling hills, valleys, deserts, water ways and ocean vistas.
Photo by peter bucks on Unsplash
The northwestern state is renowned for its artsy, laidback atmosphere, coffee culture, award-winning microbrews and Pinot Noir wines.
Portland, the largest city (and my childhood hometown) in the northwest, is home to a vast and diverse selection of quality restaurants, representing both local and global cuisine, as well as great cafes and breakfast hotspots.
Nestled into the far north of the Willamette Valley (pronounce: “will-AM-et”), the “Rose City” overlooks the Willamette River that cuts through it. This river connects to the Columbia River, then in turn feeds into the ocean. The city is the perfect hub from which to connect to the outdoors.
Green and Lush
Just east of the Portland are majestic Multnomah Falls in the Columbia River Gorge, where the Columbia River slices through the Cascade Mountains along Oregon’s northern border, shared with Washington.
Surf and Tide Pools
Along the far western edge, follow Highway 101 from Astoria in the far north down the entire 400-mile coastline of the Pacific Ocean. The Oregon Coast is home to fascinating sea life found in tide pools and open waters, home to seals and barking sea lions.
Get mesmerized watching migrating whales or by fierce ocean storms. Visit quaint beach towns and lighthouses. Fly kites or dig for clams on the beaches. Ride dune buggies in the sand dunes. Explore the beauty of thick, coastal rainforests. The Oregon Coast has an array of dramatic views and outdoor experiences for all ages.
Divided by the Cascade Mountain Range, which runs north and south, the more populous western third receives plenty of precipitation throughout year to maintain lush, dense greenery.
Seen for miles on either side of the range are its white-capped mountain peaks: the northern most Mount Hood looks at Mount Jefferson to its south; the Three Sisters stand together in Central Oregon; and then in Southern Oregon sits the 8,000-year-old caldera of Crater Lake, now the deepest lake in North America. To their east, the more sparsely populated eastern two-thirds is sunnier, and thus drier, with several points of interest, wide-open vistas, and high deserts.
Photo by Pam Riches on Unsplash
Images come to mind of pioneers who moved west along the dusty Oregon Trail, past the Snake River, which now creates the border with Idaho. Millions of years of geology are exposed in the Painted Hills found in its soil layered in hues of red, gold, yellow and black. Prehistoric plants and dinosaur remain can be found in the nearby the John Day Fossil Beds and appeal to our inner paleontologist.
A magnificent day trip from Portland, Oregon
An exquisite cultural experience is found at the Lan Su Chinese Garden in downtown Portland, Oregon. This classical Suzhou-style walled garden has a series of events and activities happening daily. Visitors can take in a tour of the gardens; enjoy authentic Chinese tea and teacakes in the Teahouse; listen to music; attend festivals, workshops and lectures; experience classical Chinese art forms of poetry and calligraphy; participate in Tai…