From tasting fresh butter-smothered crab in Coos Bay to attending Lincoln City's Glass Float Drop Festival to visiting the Sea lion Caves just outside of Florence, Oregon offers some of the most stunning and memorable attractions for the weekend getaway enthusiast. Travel Suits You presents our favorite sites to visit.
Image: The Lakehouse Pool at Sunriver Resort, Bend, Oregon by Carissa Rogers
What was once a World War II simulation training area is now the site of quaint resort town of about 1,400 residents in Southern Oregon. Most of the training grounds were burned in 1944, but the Officers’ Club was kept and is now the Great Hall.
Charming lodge-style homes are rented out to visitors. With ideal weather close to 70 degrees, year-long activities include golfing, tennis, swimming, rock climbing, biking, and hiking. In fact, the area is renowned for its gorgeous hiking trails that caress the landscape like caramel swirls over mounds of vanilla ice cream.
Image: lincolncity.jpg by wikimedia commons
Once upon a time there were five neighboring communities who decided they liked each other so much they were more like family than friends. With that, they promptly came together and changed their name to Lincoln City in 1965. Each sibling brought unique personality to the family. One loved whale watching; another, kite flying, and all of them, a flare for the unique.
Known as the Kite Capital of the World, Lincoln City holds two kite festivals each year: one in June and another in October.
Perhaps one of the most interesting traditions around the world, the city hosts regular glass float drops, in which 3,000 hand crafted large, colorful glass orbs are hidden along the coastline for participants to find and keep.
Whale watching provides a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity for many visitors.
Image: Tony’s Crab Shack (Bandon, Oregon) by wikimedia commons
When Irishman George Bennet settled the area in 1873, nostalgia for home lead him to name the coastal town abandon, after his hometown growing up. From there, residents brought the best of their hometowns with them. The first was a cheese making operation that produced some of the finest dairy products to grace human lips. Then, cranberry farmers nourished their art form into a blossoming industry that supplies 95% of Oregon’s cranberries. Even the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers collaborated their craft and constructed a jetty along the shoreline. Due to the rich diversity of gifts brought to the land from its people, abandon has been named one of the “Coolest Small Towns in America.”
After stopping for freshly caught crab along the waterfront, make sure to meander across the street to the rows of novelty shops. Walk along the sands of Bandon beach and take a stroll over to the Coquille River Lighthouse. Bandon is also known for the surfing and kite surfing opportunities on the water. Many visitors visit the shoreline for some spectacular storm watching.
If you’re visiting in the fall, the cranberry festival is held during the second weekend in September and is well worth the visit.
Image: Astoria Oregon by wikimedia commons
Being First often means being the best, and we certainly think that’s true in this case. Astoria was the first settlement on the west United States to be permanently inhabited. It was also the first area west of the Rocky Mountains to receive a post office. Since its humble beginning, Astoria has been a popular place for visitors and celebrities alike, being the location of more than a dozen big name movies, including The Goonies, Free Willy, Free Willy 2, Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop, Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles III, and many more.
Despite its fame for beauty, Astoria astonishingly remains a small town community with close to 10,000 residents.
The Oregon Film Museum plays all movies filmed in Oregon. The site of the museum was the jail used in the opening scene of The Goonies. The Riverfront Trolley is more than 100 years old and gives rides through town along the water. The Flavel House Museum is a Victorian Mansion from 1885 that has furniture from its original time period.
Image: Portland Oregon Tourism by Pixabay
The City of Roses is named as such for its world famous rose growing climate. As the largest city in Oregon, Portland has a long and defined history. Always an important port city, Portland spent many decades in the early 1900’s with a reputation for being one of the filthiest and most dangerous cities in the world, where crime syndicates ruled. After World War II, the city’s mob life decreased considerably, and the 1960’s saw Portland become known for progressive politics instead, a culture that continues to this day. Since the 1990’s Portland has also become a tech hub, with Intel being founded there.
Portland delivers on its motto of “Keep Portland Weird,” with unique stores to visit. Voodoo doughnut whips up human shaped doughnuts filled with blood-colored jelly, served with pretzel sticks for impaling. Powells is a three-story bookstore and the world’s largest independent bookstore. The city also offers tours of the underground tunnels that were used to shanghai innocent victims into slavery in the 19th century.
Image: Town of Coos Bay, Oregon by Pacific Legal Foundation
Everything about this small town is larger than life, from big history to bigger entertainment. With just under 16,000 residents, Coos Bay is the largest coastal city in all of Oregon. Before that, it was the continuous home of Native Americans for several thousand years, including the Coos tribe. The city boasts the oldest operating machine shop in the United States, built in 1888. It also claims the state’s last surviving movie house with the original organ still in use.
The Jazz Festival takes place the last two weeks of July and brings in musicians and crowds from all over the world.
August sees the Blackberry Arts Festival, celebrating all things local, including crafts, arts, and cuisine.
Mingus Park is a botanical garden surrounding a large lake.
Canoeing and kayaking are a favorite on the waters, while four wheeling is popular on the sand dunes.
Image: Hood River, Oregon by Sam Beebe
Sitting like a gateway between two worlds, the Columbia River divides Oregon from Washington, providing a glimpse into each realm from either side of the swift waters. To the South lies the magical city of Hood River, showcasing the best of Northern Oregon landscape. What make this town a place to rival the fantasy lands of lore are the orchards, fields, trails, and rivers that surround its scenic greenery, not to mention that it’s settled at the foothills of Hood Mountain, Oregon’s tallest peak. With a winning combination of every aspect a dream destination should offer, Hood River will transport you to that otherworldly awe that so many travelers crave.
Named the “Fifth best ski town in America,” Hood River is renowned for its ideal slopes.
The area is also known as a world class windsurfing and kiteboarding location, and classes are taught on the Columbia River.
It is home to some of the most sought after hiking, biking, and kayaking in the country.
The Harvest Festival is also one of the best in the world.
Image: Bend, Oregon by Andy Melton
As the largest city in central Oregon and the fifth largest in the state, Bend is set apart as not just a stunning place to visit, but a desirable place to live. Bringing small town tourism charm together with urban living gives visitors the best of both worlds, allowing for a morning of fishing followed by the city night life without ever leaving the county line. Named by Men’s Journal as one of the 10 Best Places to Live Now, Bend’s real estate was in such high demand that the houses were at one point the most overpriced in the nation. The area is so popular that tourism is a significant industry and employment sector of Bend.
Bend is a paradise for outdoor sports enthusiasts. While providing excellent trail and paths for hiking and mountain biking, the area is also known for a few uncommon outdoor activities, white-water rafting and paragliding being some of the highlights.
Image: Sisters, Oregon by Sisters School District
Famous for its roe of novelty shops and specialty stores, Sisters, Oregon is the perfect retreat to find unique and handmade arts and crafts to help your house stand out above the mass produced decor at your local retail outlet. And what better place to shop for that special item than at the base of the Three Sisters Mountains, a set of stunning peaks aligned side by side that give the town its namesake.
With the Three Sisters Mountains nearby, horse riding trails are abundant. The middle of July holds some excitement, as both the Sisters Outdoor Quilt Show and the Glory Daze Car Show draw in crowds of enthusiasts. For the cowboy at heart, the annual Sisters Rodeo is held the second weekend in June. And for music lovers, the Folk Festival takes place the weekend after Labor Day, celebrating the art of music for three full days.
Image: Crater Lake, Oregon by Thomas Shahan
Created from a volcanic eruption that left a sunken bowl in the mountain top, this record breaking lake is world renowned for its striking deep blue water. Resting at 8,157 feet in elevation, the astounding water reaches a depth of 1,943 feet, making it the deepest lake in the United States. Because it is not disturbed by streams or rivers, the untouched waters of Crater Lake some of the clearest and purest in the world. In 1997, it broke all other records for clarity, with visibility of 175 feet in depth.
Crater Lake lies in Crater Lake National Park, where visitors can see natural wonders formed by volcanic Activities
The Pinnacle are a set of tall columns formed by hardened pumice and ash.
The Pumice Desert is a large landscape of ashy soil in which plants cannot grow.
The Pacific Crest Trail is an equestrian trail that stretches from Canada to Mexico and winds its way through the National Park.
Rim Drive is the most popular ride in the park, providing a driving experience around the entire rim of Crater Lake.
Image: Siuslaw River Bridge at Florence Oregon by wikimedia commons
Florence captures not only the mind and heart, but also the visitors who stop there. So many people have flocked to the scenic waterfront town that fully one third of the residents are retirees wishing to enjoy their days in a veritable paradise. It lies between Newport and Coos Bay on U.S. Route 101. Due to its location on the coastal highway, Florence invests resources into tourism, helping to maintain the beauty and quality of the land.
For most than 100 years, Florence has hosted the Rhododendron Festival.
Sitting along U.S. Route 101 near Florence are Sea Lion Caves, which are home to sea lions year round.
Heceta Head Lighthouse sits atop a scenic rocky coastline and offers a magnificent view of the ocean.
Image: Lighthouse at Winchester Bay, Oregon by Andrew Smith
Known as the Crab Capital of the World for its consistent and excellent crab fishing, Winchester Bay holds the distinction of being a bit of a tourism phenomenon. With a population of under 500 residents, the area is more of an outpost than a town. Despite this, tourism has steadily increased as visitors discovered the rich activities offered.
Crabbing is a major highlight when visiting the bay. The area is also well known for the sand dunes that have created a whole market for off-roading. Another attraction worth seeing is the Umpqua River Lighthouse.
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