Top Oregon Destinations To Visit This Summer

Summertime is almost here and you know what that means? It’s time to get your RV out and ready to enjoy. But first things first: you need to decide where you want to go and what you want to do. Make this the summer that you head out on your dream vacation and visit a place you’ve never been to before.  If you need a suggestion, take into consideration Oregon, the ninth largest state in the U.S. It exemplifies the beauty and wildness of America’s Pacific Northwest. Although there are many cultural venues in Oregon worth exploring, it’s the state’s diverse landscapes that draw many travelers. From rugged shorelines and thick verdant forests, to towering volcanic mountains, Oregon’s natural scenery is breathtaking. Be sure to visit these top Oregon destinations, if you are planning a trip anywhere this year.

Top Oregon Destinations for a Summer Vacation

Bend, Oregon

Bend, Oregon. Top Oregon Destinations
Bend, Oregon. Flickr: vis-a-v. / CC BY 2.0

With a mixture of national forests, rivers, and dry plains, Bend sits roughly in the center of Oregon. The city’s High Desert Museum has tons of informative displays about arid regions to the northwest. Locals here also love participating in outdoor activities that include rafting trips on the Deschutes River, exploring the volcanic landscape of Lava Butte, and skiing (if you go during the winter seasons). Smith Rock is also another popular place to visit for rock climbers.

Believe it or not, during the summertime, this place can reach temperatures up to 95 degrees. If you decide to explore Bend and go rafting, making sure you take lots of water and sunscreen with full or broad UV spectrum protection. You won’t regret bringing these items to help you stay hydrated and protect your skin.

Cannon Beach

Cannon Beach. Top Oregon Destinations
Cannon Beach. Flickr: Marcin Chady / CC BY 2.0

Named after a cannon that washed ashore after a shipwreck years ago, Cannon Beach is one of the most popular seaside resorts that stretches 300 miles along the Oregon coast. It’s located just 80 miles west of Portland and has grown into an upscale resort filled with restaurants, boutique shops, and art galleries. Astoria is another popular resort for visitors that lies 20 miles north of Cannon Beach, near the Columbia River.

While exploring Cannon Beach, be sure to check out the Cannon Beach History Center, a museum that brings a small, yet important part of history to life by featuring an authentic Native American longhouse.

The best part about Cannon Beach is 235-foot high Haystack Rock, the largest of the monolithic rocks that dots the shoreline. The rock also provides a nesting ground for seabirds.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls. Top Oregon Destinations
Multnomah Falls. Flickr: bryanmsims / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

This magnificent and memorable waterfall is located on the Oregon side of the Columbia River Gorge. To avoid crowds at top Oregon destinations, visit the falls sometime during the midweek and go hiking, even in the pouring rain. If you wear the proper gear, the experience will be a fun one, with the waterfall roaring at full bore during the hike and a nice relaxing lounge area waiting for you upon completion.

The best experience here isn’t just viewing the Multnomah Falls, though. It’s the network of trails that can be reached hiking to the top of the waterfall and traveling through a loop of 5.7 miles to view four more waterfalls. This hike does require a steep climb and might not be best for young children or older adults.

It’s difficult to deny that Multnomah Falls is a tourist trap – that’s just what happens when easy access and natural beauty collide – but with a little effort, it’s possible to experience a real adventure without the crowd.

Portland, Oregon

Portland Evening. Top Oregon Destinations
Portland Evening. Flickr: Aaron Hockley / CC BY-NC-ND 2.0

Who would have thought a city that was once known to have one of the most dangerous ports in the world with organized crime and racketeering could turn things around and become so beautiful? The city is very conscious of its effect on the environment and is one of the greenest cities in the country. Most people who live here cycle more than they drive and participate in almost all outdoor events. This city is a mix of scenic landscape, bustling neighborhoods, microbreweries, distilleries, and countless attractions.

If you’re traveling with small children and tired of sitting in the car or RV, consider staying somewhere west of Portland. This will position you closer to Washington Park for outdoor activities, while still being able to experience the trendy boutique the city has to offer.

“Keep Portland weird.”

Still craving adventure? Well, here are seven bucket list things you can do in Portland:

  • Visit Mill Ends Park, the smallest park in the world.
  • Eat a bug sundae at the Freakybuttrue Peculiarium that’s topped with real maggots. Dead ones, of course.   
  • Smell the roses at the international Rose Test Garden.
  • Watch a roller derby match that’s filled with hard hits.
  • Get lost in Powell’s Bookstore.
  • Drink liquor in detention at McMenamins Kennedy School, an old elementary school.
  • Eat a Voodoo donut.

Oregon is a beautiful state that’s filled with countless places to visit. So don’t be afraid to put down your device in order to enjoy the scenery at these top Oregon destinations. As a traveler, don’t expect instant gratification. Oregon is a place that’s calm, laid back, and easy-going. Just be sure to enjoy your stay. 


Thanks for checking out this article. What some other top Oregon destinations visitors should explore? Feel free to leave a comment below.

About Herman Davis

H. Davis loves taking advantage of the sunny weather outside. If you can’t catch him online, you might be able to catch him out playing football with friends or cheering on the Denver Broncos. Follow him on Twitter at @Davis241. Thanks!

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