Lost Girls’ Guide to Oregon

Oregon — By on July 25, 2012 at 9:47 am
By Jennifer Manis
Special to the Lost Girls
Oregon, an often overlooked travel destination, is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise for those who know better. From the gorgeous Cascade Mountains, to the expansive coast of the Pacific Ocean, to the sand dunes of Florence, Oregon has much to offer those who posses a great love for the outdoors. Whether you want to ski the mountains, quad your way through the sand dunes, hike the Pacific Trail, or white water raft one of the many rivers, Oregon is the place to be.
Oregon is a green minded and environmentally-friendly state in the Pacific Northwest. Surrounded by the coast and the Cascade Mountains to the west and the desert and Hell’s Canyon to the east, Oregon is a very diverse place with plenty of stuff to do. The western part of the state is very green, covered in forests and gaining around 69 inches of rainfall a year. There are also Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor to the north and east for scenic beauty as well as recreational fun. Separating Washington from Oregon is the Columbia River and the southern border boasts beautiful mountain ranges. Whether you are looking to lay out on the sandy beaches, take a tour of the wine country, be an outdoor adventurer or just spend the day shopping at Saturday markets, local shops, and malls, Oregon can be the perfect getaway.

See and Do

The Pacific Coast Trail – Fasten your hiking bootstraps and step out onto the Pacific Coast Trail. This trail actually extends from Mexico to Canada but is especially spectacular throughout Oregon. Expanding from North to South through Oregon this trail is mostly all wooded, passing through prominent landmarks such as Crater Lake, Mt Hood, and the Columbia Gorge. In addition to enjoying its extensive beauty, hikers pass behind waterfalls, through dense forests, and small lakes and ponds till they finally come to the Washington/Oregon border and cross the Bridge of the Gods.

Mt. Hood – Whether it‘s winter or summer there is always something to do at Mt Hood. In the winter time, grab your snowboard or skis and hit the slopes. If you’re a night owl try out SkiBowl and ski under the stars and moon. In the summertime grab your mountain bike and pedal your way through the many scenic trails.

Windsurfing and kite boarding in Hood River– Considered the windsurfing capital of the world, Hood River is packed with windsurfing and kite boarding newbies and seasoned pros. Join the dozens of other colorful sails on the Columbia River with kite boarding and windsurfing lessons from some of the locals.

Surfing and Scuba Diving the Pacific Ocean – Make sure to put on a very thick wet suit and jump into the waters of the Pacific Ocean. For all the surfers out there, grab your board and join the dozens of other surfers catching waves. Oregon waters can be a slightly tricky place to dive but can be perfect for those who like a little bit of a challenge. Those who do venture into Oregon water will reap rewards in the form of untouched beauty. Some of the sea life divers come across are octopus, red snapper, sea lions and occasionally Orca whales.

Winchester Bay – One of the numerous sand dunes in Oregon, Winchester Bay is considered to be one of the best places to ride your ATV or quad. It also boasts lots of beauty due to it’s location near the coast and the forests. If you have the need for speed, rent a quad and head to the dunes. Afterwards, head to a local seafood restaurant near the water and make sure to take some clam chowder and fresh salt water taffy before you head home.

Portland– After all of this outdoor activity head over to Portland for some of the best street food in the world, according to US News Travel. Almost any ethnic food one can think of can be found amongst these street vendors. Not only is it great tasting and new, but it’s also light on the wallet. Broaden your horizons and try something you’ve never tried before; my personal favorite – nutella covered waffles. Or you can head over to Voodoo Doughnuts and try out a maple bacon donut.

You can also…

  • Visit Multnomah Falls and possibly hike to the top of the falls.
  • Shop at the local stores along the coast
  • Pick up fresh flowers and craft items from local artists at the Saturday market in Portland.
  • Attend a Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Oregon.
  • Visit the Pine Mountain Observatory in Bend and discover nebulas and stars you never knew existed.
  • Check out Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S. and one of the deepest in the world.
  • Go on a wine tour through the beautiful Oregon Wine Country.
  • Learn how they make cheese at the famous Tillamook cheese factory.

Keeping It Cheap

Hostels can be as low as $16 per night in Oregon. If you can forgo the privacy of your own private hotel room and stay in a hostel your money will take you a lot further. For more information on hostels in Oregon, visit http://www.hostels.com/oregon-state/usa
When visiting Portland, forego the rental car as long as possible, the Max Light Rail will take you almost everywhere you want to go.
If you’re going to do any shopping make sure to keep it in Oregon – there’s no sales tax.

Stay Safe

Like any other place, Oregon does have areas that vacationers and tourists should avoid. Always be careful in the downtown area of any major city. Use your common sense, if you get a bad feeling about a place, trust your instincts.
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    1 Comment

  • Ahem…it’s the Pacific Crest Trail, not the Pacific Coast Trail, though there is the Oregon Coast Trail, which does run the length of the state of Oregon along the coast, for the most part.