Getting your fill of the vast ocean, flowing rivers, hot springs, and breathtaking waterfalls in one state is possible if you hop on your car and go on an epic Oregon road trip. There are 362 miles of landscapes and waterscapes, with an outstanding balance of vast coastline and lush forests and mountains across the state. Oregon is beyond beautiful, and it’s about time you explore what the state has to offer you. So checkout our sampling of best Oregon road trip destinations.
Whether you’re living in or near the state or coming in from afar, there are a lot of worthy attractions you need to include in your Oregon driving tour itinerary. Here are a few of the top getaways in the Beaver State that will help you admire the heart and soul of the place and its people. If you want to know about some pocket-friendly spots, go through the checklist of affordable Oregon travel.
- 10 Best Oregon Road Trip Destinations
- Cannon Beach – Haystack Rock & More Coastal Oregon
- Hood River – Oregon’s Watersports Paradise
- Willamette National Forest – Oregon’s Pools & Natural Spas
- Crater Lake National Park – 3rd Deepest Lake In The World
- High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway – 127 Miles Housing Several Oregon Destinations
- Mount Hood – Kayaking, Hiking, Nature Watching & More!
- Bend, Oregon – Craft beers, Small breweries, & Distilleries
- Oregon Sand Dunes – Diversity At Its Best
- The Painted Hills – Painted Cove Trail
- Smith Rock – Beautiful Sunrise & Sunset, En Route Destination
- Ready to get up close with Oregon?
10 Best Oregon Road Trip Destinations
Here are the 10 best Oregon road trip destinations. In this Beaver State, there is no shortage of activities. You can Enhance your appreciation of nature when you get to Oregon!
Cannon Beach – Haystack Rock & More Coastal Oregon
Cannon Beach is a famous coastal town in Oregon, and for a good reason. The area feels a bit touristy but charming nevertheless, thanks to the cedar shingle houses that line the streets. You can reach the town by driving the 25-mile way down Highway 101 from Astoria. You can hike at Ecola State Park and take a photo of the iconic sea stacks to keep memorabilia of its stunning beauty.
If you want to explore more, Haystack Rock has some fantastic sights like the tide pools littered with sea critters you can see only when the waters are low. There’s also a viewpoint at the state park that overlooks the coast, giving you a perfect panorama of the sea stacks. It is one of the best west coast honeymoon destinations in the US, so couples will love this destination. If you are planning a honeymoon trip, never miss this out on your itinerary of Oregon road trip spots.
Hood River – Oregon’s Watersports Paradise
Windsurfers agree that the Hood River is a prime place to get on an adventure or learn how to (enroll at Big Wind for one of their classes for beginners!). There are several activities to try and enjoy while you’re here: kiteboarding, water skiing, stand up paddle-boarding, or kayaking across the river. There’s also whitewater rafting to do, although it’s already up north Hood River in Washington.
An extra treat for taking this pitstop comes in the form of award-winning artisanal beers. pFriem Family Brewers offer flavorful beverages that will delight your palate. Full Sail Brewery’s IPA is another notable brew you need to try when you’re in town.
Willamette National Forest – Oregon’s Pools & Natural Spas
Going to the Willamette National Forest is a must for nature lovers, and it’s not just because it ‘s filled with raw, untouched beauty, but also because there is more than meets the eye. Only one hour and thirty minutes’ drive away from Eugene, this park will both relax and amaze you. This place is on almost all of the Oregon road trip spots itineraries.
Take a hike to the Cougar Hot Springs and take a dip on its five rock-walled pools—much like a spa, but better because it’s right outdoors. Also check out the Opal Creek Pools, one of the 10 best swimming holes in the US.
There’s also the Tamolitch Falls that boasts the bluest waters, which looks too good to be real (but it is). The spring-fed pond below will surely cool you down even on a hot summer’s day. It’s a refreshing dive down, and the views are amazing!
To make the most of this road trip, make a quick stop at Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls, which are just 10 minute hikes away from each other. Each waterfall has its defining characteristic, so park down at Sahalie and walk south to Koosah to see why they’re Instagram-friendly.
Crater Lake National Park – 3rd Deepest Lake In The World
What makes Crater Lake National Park unique is that the lake nestles inside a sleeping volcano, which is why it’s an extraordinary scenery at Crater Lake that you need time to take in. It’s one of the highlights of any Oregon road trip, with how close you get with nature and the adventures you can take along the way.
The Crater Lake is the third deepest lake in the world and the deepest in the country at 1,949 feet depth. This lake is purely fed by snowmelt and rainwater, which gives it the distinct, clear blue quality of the waters.
For an uninterrupted view of the crater, head to the overlook at the Rim Village Center or Watchman’s Overlook to the east that will give you a closer observation of Wizard Island.
High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway – 127 Miles Housing Several Oregon Destinations
A 127-mile route will take you across High Desert Discovery Scenic Byway, where you can pass through the Masher National Wildlife Refuge. The wetlands are home to diverse wildlife, which you can observe from the observation deck of the Masher Lake. You will found an abundance of Oregon road trip spots on this route.
You can head on to Frenchglen after that first stopover and book a room at the Frenchglen Hotel and try to fish for trout at the town’s fun fishing spots. The Catlow Valley and Steens Mountain Wilderness will complete your byway drive, giving you a glimpse of the bighorn sheep and wild horses teeming across the vast landscape.
Mount Hood – Kayaking, Hiking, Nature Watching & More!
With Portland as your starting point, take the thrilling road trip to Mount Hood using a vocational rental and taking Interstate 84 to Bonneville Dam. Journey to Mount Hood and get lost in the sights while cruising down the road. For the best view, get to the Lost Lake at the Mt. Hood National Forest. Be sure to get a full tank of gas for your 4-wheel drive because it’s about to be challenging—but the destination is more than worth it!
There are accommodations at the Lost Lake Resort, but you can also just do a day tour and hike around the lake. You can also kayak to the middle if you want a more up-close experience of the lake, with Mount Hood as your majestic backdrop.
Before you stop at Lost Lake, there’s a Lavender Valley right outside of Parkdale, Oregon, where you are free to roam around the fields and take gorgeous snaps. There are also goodies to buy like lavender essential oils, soaps, sachets, and fresh lavenders.
Bend, Oregon – Craft beers, Small breweries, & Distilleries
Bend, Oregon is not too small or big of a township, making it the perfect residential area in the state. The homey charm of the town makes it attractive to tourists who want a taste of life in Bend. You can do a bar crawl while you’re here because craft beers, small breweries, and distilleries abound the place. If you’re curious about a popular alternative to beer, Humm Kombucha serves great-tasting kombucha on tap that you definitely should try.
While you’re in town, don’t forget to visit Drake Park, where a riverside stroll can get you primed for a hefty and healthy dinner ahead. You can also have a look at fun activities like hiking and biking to do on a day-trip to Sisters right at the Oregon Cascade Mountain Range foothills.
Oregon Sand Dunes – Diversity At Its Best
The Beaver State is blessed with such a rich mix of sea and land, and it even has sand dunes in Florence to complete the scenery. There’s a stretch of undulating dunes spanning miles, which could be your playground if you want to zip up and down. You can rent a quad bike and do a solo, tandem, or four-person ride and have unlimited adventure driving the ATV.
The Oregon Sand Dunes run for around 40 miles between Florence and Coos Bay, which is part of the Oregon South Coast. Some exhilarating drop-offs and drifts can get you airborne if you’re not careful—so watch out for it, and most importantly, have fun!
The Painted Hills – Painted Cove Trail
For your Oregon road trip, a stopover at the Painted Hills is a fitting addition to your itinerary. This iconic landscape is part of the Oregon Desert and takes about three hours if you’re coming from Mount Hood. It’s located in the rural part of the state, which means that you need a full tank and some snacks on the ready. Once there, take the Painted Cove Trail and watch the color mesmerize you and take a deep breath at the Painted Hills Overlook and witness how grand Mother Earth is.
You can drive around Painted Hills if you’re not up for walks, but be careful not to go past the approved trails to avoid damaging the precious landscape.
Smith Rock – Beautiful Sunrise & Sunset, En Route Destination
Another eastern Oregon road trip that’s worth your time is the Smith Rock State Park. It’s 40 minutes away from Bend and is only an hour from Painted Hills—you can visit both landmarks on a single road trip. However, you’d want to go to Smith Rock at sunrise or sunset to get away from the harsh midday sun. If you’re a serious climber or hiker, spending a couple of days at the state park would go so well for you!
Ready to get up close with Oregon?
Get some good stretches before you get on with your Oregon road trip, and make sure your car or rental is ready for the road! Pack extra clothes and some of your gear if you’re planning to go all-out on the outdoor activities the state offers. There’s no shortage of what activities you can do in the Beaver State, including meeting the people who keep the cities and towns alive. Enrich your appreciation of nature and all its undying charm when you get to Oregon!
Hope our sampling of Oregon road trip destinations helps you plan an amazing vacation in the western region. If you’re also interested and looking for road trip destinations in the midwest part, Ohio road trip destinations might be one of your best driving tours.
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