With a world-class local art scene, foodie delights on every corner, and one-of-a-kind boutiques, it’s easy to see why Portland is widely considered amongst the hippest cities in the US.
When you’re looking for something a bit different, there are lesser-known spots and hidden gems dotting the lush landscape of the Pacific Northwest.
Grab your camera and hiking boots then head for these ten places to visit in Oregon (that aren’t Portland).
Crater Lake National Park
At nearly 2,000 feet deep, Crater Lake holds the title for the deepest lake in the US. Located in Crater Lake National Park in the depth of the Cascade Mountains, this lake is actually in the depth of what was a 12,000-foot tall volcano.
The volcano is now long gone but Crater Lake and the hot springs that dot the regions make this national park a favorite weekend escape for locals.
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach
The dramatic rock formation at Cannon Beach is one of the state’s most iconic sites. Legend has it that the 235-foot tall sea stack is amongst the tallest on the planet.
To get up close and personal with the famous rock, visit the beach during low tide (it’ll be closed off and often guarded during high tide).
Sisters (The City)
I am head over heels for the Old West/rustic charm of Sisters, Oregon! The historic 1880s architecture and small-town hospitality of this little town at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains create an atmosphere that you won’t find in Portland.
Wander the main street and stop by Sisters Coffee Company for a fresh brew in a lovingly restored cabin. Fill up on locally made pickling at Sisters Meat and Smokehouse then keep exploring the other charming local shops.
The Wineries of Willamette
Did you know that there are a whopping 700 wineries between Portland and Eugene?
The Willamette Valley is famous for its Pinot Noir, and you’ll also find world-class Pinot Gris, Pinot Blanc, Riesling, Chardonnay, Gewürztraminer, and other premium picks.
The locals claim that their Pinot Noir is the best in the world. Plan plenty of time to sample the wine, soak in the gorgeous vistas, and decide if they are right.
The Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
You’ve probably stumbled upon pics of this stunning corridor on Instagram. Between Brookings and Gold Beach, Highway 101 turns into an endless photo-op filled with hidden beaches and dramatic rock formations.
While you’ll be spoilt for choice, be sure to stop at the Natural Bridge viewpoint. You’ll find a view of the renowned arch rocks.
The Painted Hills
You’ll easily see why these famous hills are listed amongst the Seven Wonders of Oregon. This geological site is marked with dramatic splashes on rich clay, bronze, sandstone, and amber shades of earth.
You’ll feel like you’re wandering Mars as you explore the otherworldly terrain of John Day Fossil Beds National Monument. If you have time, you can dig deeper into the 40 million years of history at the local learning centers.
Welcome to the town that dairy built. From aged cheddar to premium ice cream made with berries picked right outside of the door, Tillamook is the ultimate roadside eatery.
The Tillamook Creamery offers free self-guided tours that will bring you through their century-long traditions.
And, you can keep eating your way through town at the ocean-to-table restaurants around the quaint little town.
In the mood for something a bit spookier? Rumor has it that Oregon has more ghost towns than any other state. In the so-called Wild Wild West, you’ll find the villages that time forget.
For the best snapshot of times gone by, make your way to the well-preserved streets of Shaniko. Once the wool capital of the world, you can still find the old hotel, jail, and school still standing.
Florence + Sea Lion Caves
The famous haunt of countless local sea lions, the network of caves and caverns located just north of Florence are a must-visit. This place is at its peak during the winter when sea lions are lounging on their winter breaks.
Regardless of when you go, you can find hundreds of sea lions just hanging out any given day of the year.
Located a quick 11-mile drive from Florence up Highly 101, this area is also famous for its marine bird scanner.
Set beside the Deschutes River beside the towering Cascade Mountains, Bend is a dream destination. Get back to nature as you wander the lush meadows, ski the snowy slopes, and kayak the sparkling lakes.
A prime year-round destination, this lovely little town has an impressive array of craft breweries, wineries, and even cider houses.
If you have time, you could definitely make a weekend of it.
A favorite coastal destination for centuries, Newport is known for its colorful sea life, impressive natural beauty, and quirky attractions.
From the striking Yaquina Head Lighthouse to the fascinating sites of the Oregon Coast Aquarium and Undersea Gardens, there is so much to see and do in this unique seaside spot.
As you’re exploring the great outdoors, remember to respect the environment and leave no trace. Let’s preserve all its beauty for the generations to come!
Inspired to check out more off-the-beaten-path definition? Check out The Best Wildlife Destinations in the World!