The Beaver State has been routinely ranked among the best states in the US. This is not surprising, considering Oregon’s perfect blend of remote Pacific beaches, lush green mountains, semi-arid deserts, and adventures galore in between.
From chasing its over 300 documented waterfalls to soaking up the beauty of the Columbia River Gorge, here are the top 3 places to visit in Oregon today.
Around 162 miles from Rip City (or Portland), moving towards the central Oregon region lies the charming town of Bend. This tiny city is nestled by the Cascade mountains straddling the Deutsches River. It is home to around 100,000 residents, a burgeoning craft brewery scene and a line of restaurants serving up local fare.
Its big brother, Portland, may overshadow it with its terrific hipster and crunchy behavior. But Bend is famed for its breathtaking natural setting featuring volcanic landscapes and endless activities for outdoor lovers and adventure seekers. And as one of the fastest-growing cities in the country, its metropolitan-meets-mountains lifestyle makes it the go-to town for everyone.
Whether you’re into nightlife, mountain climbing, volcano hiking, camping, white-water rafting, paragliding or skiing, this darling little mountain city packs it all for you.
As the epicenter of the central Oregon region, you’ll have different options for getting to Bend. Depending on your starting point, the quickest way to get to Bend is by flight. The closest airport to downtown Bend is Roberts Field Airport (RDM) at Redmond. This airport is a 20-minute drive away from Bend town and is served by six airlines; United Express, Alaska Air and American, Delta, Allegiant and Avelo Airlines.
Another top choice for getting to Bend by air is flying to Portland PDX, roughly a 3-hour drive away. PDX is often several hundred dollars cheaper to fly into. This could save you a little money to rent a car, which you’ll need at Bend, anyway.
Besides flying, Bend has highways coming from all directions. Thus, driving to this central region is another welcome idea. The beautiful sceneries along the way will make endless stops, further adding to your adventure.
You can also travel to Bend by train, thanks to Amtrak. This intercity train and bus services provider has a daily train that connects Los Angeles and Seattle. If you’re traveling to Bend by train, you can disembark at Chemult station and take an Amtrak bus to Hawthorne bus station in Bends.
Astoria is a picture-postcard city sitting at the northwest corner of Oregon, right at the mouth of the Columbia River. According to the US Census Bureau, this town is home to approximately 10,000 residents. It is just a stone’s throw away from the Pacific ocean, Portland, Seattle, and Washington. The latter is on the other side of the Columbia River and is connected to Astoria by the majestic 4.1-mile Astoria-Megler Bridge.
Astoria town is a haven for history and culture buffs alike. It was established by Jacob Astor and his crew as a fur-trading outpost and was a significant winter encampment for Lewis and Clark.
There are plenty of things to do in Astoria. This city is surrounded by nature and exudes history and culture, creating a perfect mix of family-oriented attractions like the Astoria Column, the Astoria Riverfront, the Columbia River Maritime Museum and the Flavel House Museum. Its position along the Pacific coast also opens up more options for road trips to other must-visit cities in this region.
Astoria has an airport- the Astoria Regional Airport- but has no airline flights. To get to Astoria by air, you’ll need to fly into Portland PDX airport, around 96 miles away. From PDX, you can rent a car or take a tram or bus.
From your downtown hotel in Astoria, you’ll realize that most shops and restaurants will be within walking distance. However, you’ll need to catch the Riverfront Trolley or use the bus system to get to most of the attractions as they are quite a long distance to walk. Astoria has several taxi and shuttle service companies connecting its neighborhoods besides.
Portland reigns as one of the best places to live in the Beaver State. For visitors, this town is a haven for all types of travelers, from outdoorsy folks to cyclists, eco-activists, hipsters and vegans.
As it’s also called, the City of Roses is among the largest and perhaps the most popular metropolis in Oregon. This is a laid-back city lying south of Vancouver, Washington, near the confluence of the Columbia River and Willamette River. It does not enjoy the Pacific sea breeze. Still, its proximity to two popular beach towns means that you’ll be soaking up the dramatic Oregon coastline in around 90 minutes.
Portland is famous for many things- and this is expected of a city that lives by the slogan “Keep Portland Weird.” Popularly considered the unofficial motto of the Rip City, this is a call to support the local businesses as they make Portland stand out. But over the years, this motto has evolved into an all-encompassing mantra that embraces expressionism, individuality, art and a free-spirited lifestyle.
What makes Portland weird today include its strong beer scenes, hundreds of miles of bike trails, rose bushes and must-try foodie experiences. The city is also defined by its live music venue, larger-than-life arts, donut shops, bridges and oh-so-lovely old Victorian homes.
The easiest way to get to Portland is by flying into Portland Airport (PDX). This is an international airport served by over ten airlines, including American Airlines, Delta, Condor, Frontier, IcelandAir, Ethiopian and Hawaiian Airlines.
Other options for getting to Portland include driving and taking the Amtrak. Amtrak has four trains serving Portland: Amtrak, Amtrak Empire Builder, Amtrak Coast Starlight and Amtrak Cascades. The main train station is Union Station, around 0.4 miles from downtown Portland.