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Why Roadtrip in Oregon?
If you’ve never been to the Pacific Northwest, you’ve probably had someone share the common stereotype of the region with you: “it rains a lot there”. This refrain may ring true during the winter months but one of the best-kept secrets of this region is how untrue that statement is during the best road tripping seasons of the year.
When traveling through Oregon during the summer months, expect minimal rain, maximum sunshine, and ample opportunities to adventure diverse climates. A trip through Oregon offers something interesting for every type of traveler.
The foodie will find some of the top restaurants in the country, offering up hyper-local cuisine. The drink enthusiast won’t be disappointed by the vast selection of craft breweries and award-winning wines. The outdoor adventurer can choose between stunning hikes, exceptional mountain biking, all types of water sports and everything in between. By beginning your road trip in Portland, OR, you’ll be able to hit all of the best Oregon has to offer.
When you begin your trip by flying into the PDX airport, you’ll be passing through the top-rated airport in the United States. Renting a car at the airport is simple and efficient and will allow you to begin your road trip immediately upon arrival.
Make sure to spend a day or two in the Rose City, as you will find some of the top rated restaurants and cocktail bars in the country here. Hop on a rentable scooter or bike and cruise through one of the most pedestrian-friendly cities to explore what each neighborhood has to offer.
Columbia River Gorge
The drive to Hood River, OR is not exceptionally long but with stunning views of Mt. Hood and Mt. Saint Helens on either side of you, you’ll want to ensure you have enough time to fully take in all the scenery. While driving through this region, be sure to stop at one of the many waterfalls or swimming holes along the route, as this is a great way to enjoy the natural beauty of the area and stayed refreshed during your drive. Book a cute cottage in Hood River and plan an activity with one of the many adventure outfitters or just enjoy a day exploring the historic river city.
The High Desert
The drive to Bend, OR takes you through Mt. Hood National Forest, offering up some more amazing hiking trails to explore. Once you make it to Bend, OR, why not begin your tour of the city by participating in the Bend Ale Trail, which includes nationally renowned breweries like Deschutes Brewery, Cascade Lakes Brewing Co. and Bend Brewing Co.
A stay at the McMenamins Old St. Francis School in downtown Bend provides a quirky and entertaining setting for your time in the Mt Bachelor mountain town. The hotel includes a soaking pool for you to relax in after the long hard days of brew tasting. A drive down to Crater Lake National Park is well worth it, as it is one of the more resoundingly beautiful spots in the State of Oregon.
As you drive west, you’ll meet the Willamette Valley Region, which is home to hundreds of award-winning wineries. The Willamette Valley Wineries Association provides an interactive map that includes many of the wineries in the corridor, making it easy to plan your wine tour.
There are also many wine touring companies that you can sign up with, alleviating any of the stress that may come with planning or driving during your wine country experience. The wineries start in Eugene, OR and go up back to Portland but staying in Eugene or Corvallis, OR will allow you to easily head further west to enjoy the extravagant beauty of Oregon’s Pacific Coast.
As you make your way up Hwy 101, you’ll experience breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean and, depending on what time of year you go, may even get to enjoy whale watching. You’ll pass through plenty of sleepy fishing towns on your way to Astoria, OR. Be on the lookout for handwritten signs indicating different seafood catches of the day.
Pulling into any of these road-side stands will give you the opportunity to interact with the locals of each community while also allowing you to try some of the freshest and cleanest seafood the US has to offer. There are plenty of beaches to stop at, with the most notorious being Cannon Beach. Be sure to stop here for a necessary photo-op.
A nights stay in a bed and breakfast in Astoria allows you immerse yourself into the easy-going lifestyle of the coast before heading back towards the urban wonderland of Portland, OR.
A Full Oregon Experience
Because Oregon’s climate is so unique, a road trip is one of the best ways to experience the state and all its wonders. Passing along the rivers, around the mountains, through the high desert, and up the ocean coast will give you ample opportunity to reconnect with the natural world.
The residents of Oregon have incorporated these landscapes beautifully into their daily lives, allowing you to appreciate these environments through food, drink, and cultural activities. Your road trip will surely be one to remember, with memories to fuel you through life post-vacation.
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