Oregon Vacation Ideas

Oregon Vacation Ideas #1: Gearhart, a small town on the coast of Oregon, is a lovely place to visit. There is a very nice motel there, the Gearhart Ocean Inn, but I often choose to rent an entire house for myself, my kids, and my extended family. Many people have vacation homes in Gearhart, so finding a rental isn't hard. Visiting the beach is the main activity, of course.

There is a large main beach area, and a smaller more sheltered rocky beach (kind of hard to find, but ask the locals) that's perfect for the kids to play in. Neither beach is ever crowded, since Gearhart is somewhat off the beaten track.

If you're missing your latte, you can get a nice one, along with some pastries, at the Pacific Way Bakery & Cafe, on the main drag. There's also a small grocery store across the street from the cafe.

The peacefulness of Gearhart is what makes it so attractive, but if you need more excitement, Seaside, which has a boardwalk, an arcade, and numerous shops and restaurants, is just 5 minutes away.

There's also a movie theater between Gearhart and Seaside. But I suggest you just enjoy the town for what it is.

Walk around a little. There are a lot of woodsy areas. You may see a deer. - Susan from Gearhart, Oregon


Oregon Vacation Ideas #2: One of my favorite Oregon vacation ideas is located on the central Oregon coast: in Lincoln City. Lincoln County is situated about two hours from Portland, and I really enjoy the whole area; there is almost too much to do. There is shopping, fishing, crabbing, golfing, sightseeing, gambling, and famous seafood.

I personally like it because I spent a lot of my summers growing up there because my great grandfather helped build and fund a beach resort named Salishan in a town called Gleneden Beach. I have fond memories of traveling south down the beautiful Highway 101 to a little harbor town named Depoe Bay.

There are a lot of little shops here with souvenirs and other tourist memorabilia, but it is fun to eat at a restaurant called "The Spouting Horn," which has a great view of the harbor below. It is also interesting to go walking around town; see the shops and walk around the harbor. Further south is a larger city called Newport, which has a beautiful bay called the Yaquina Bay.

Here in Newport, there is the Rogue Brewery, the Hatfield Marine Science Center, the Wax Works museum, Ripley's Believe It Or Not museum, and the famous Mo's restaurant which is known for their clam chowder. Mo's is not just in Newport, they are scattered up and down the coast as well.

Moving back up north, Salishan is probably my favorite place because I love to play golf. There's an amazing lodge that sits on the opposite side of Highway 101, and guests there may play this course. The front nine are on the east side of the highway, and the back are on the west along with the beach and ocean. The beach and the Siletz bay are fun getaways, but I really enjoy eating lunch at either the lodge, pro shop, or there is a deli centered on a shopping complex with a candy store, bookstore, and a toy store.

If that was not enough, I love going to a casino called Chinook Winds. Over the years, the Chinook Indians who maintain the casino have added a hotel and took over another golf course. Near the area, is another major tourist attraction; which is to say an expansive shopping center called: Tanger Outlet Center.

Here there are a lot of clothing stores such as: Nautica Outlet, Bass Shoe Outlet, Columbia Sportswear Factory Outlet Store, Reebok Factory Direct Store, and Van Heusen Factory Outlet.

As you can see, I enjoy being at the coast and experiencing all the great things it has to offer; from great restaurants to hikes, to relaxing near a bonfire at night. The weather is great in the summer, and to someone who has never been to the beach, it is really quite an amazing experience there. - Todd from Portland


Oregon Vacation Ideas #3: The coast of Oregon is a great place to explore if you enjoy lighthouses. Here are five historical Oregon lighthouses on the Oregon coast dating back as far as 1857.
  • Ten miles west of Tillamook is the Cape Meares Lighthouse which was built in 1890 and open for self-guided tours.
  • Just north of Yaquina Bay is the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse built in 1873. It's been restored and features an interpretive exhibit.
  • The Heceta Head Lighthouse is a few miles north of Florence and operates as a bed & breakfast.
  • The Umpqua Lighthouse, south of Reedsport, offers tours and is next door to Umpqua Lighthouse State Park where you can enjoy camping and fishing.
  • The Coquille River Lighthouse has interpretive displays and is located in Bullards Beach State Park. The park has a horse camp which makes it popular for horse camp campers.

Oregon Vacation Ideas #4: If you are a history buff and you will be vacationing in Oregon you might want to look up the Applegate Trail Interpretive Center in Sunny Valley.

The Applegate Trail is one of the major routes of the early western settlers as they braved the weather, the Indians and the lack of asphalt roadways.

We have all read or heard the stories of the Lewis and Clark expedition to open a trail from St. Louis to the Pacific Ocean.

Indeed, they opened the west, enabling thousands of settlers to follow. The southern segment of the trail as it traveled through Douglas County is called the Applegate Trail.

There is much history about the settlers who used this trail and that history is all available at the Interpretive Center. The center has a rustic outer look and a modern museum on the inside and is located just a few yards from the site of the original encampment.

They have documented stories of the Applegate family, the gold discoveries and the building of the railroad. There is also a covered wagon which is historically accurate. The museum has a Fireside Theater which shows a reenactment of the early encampment by the Applegate family and other settlers. The year was 1846.


Oregon Vacation Ideas #5: When considering where to vacation in the northwest there are two things you should know about Crater Lake National Park. First, it’s an absolutely beautiful spot but it’s not for a Sunday afternoon jaunt.

Secondly, with an average yearly snow fall of over 500 inches the snow winter season is long which makes it mostly a summer visiting spot. This park is probably the most under used of the nation’s spectacular natural attractions, but it really is one of those “must see before I die” places.

The park name implies that it was a volcano and that’s exactly what happened about 400,000 years ago. A major eruption about eight thousand years ago blew the top off of the mountain and left it’s crater and time added the lake.

The lake formed inside the crater is 1,900 feet deep which makes it the deepest lake in the USA. Some of the animals that live in the park are Black Bear, Porcupine, Bobcat, Elk and Mule Deer. Summer park activities include Volcano boat cruises, swimming at Cleetwood Cove Trail and fishing for Kokanee Salmon.and Rainbow Trout. Who knows, you may even have an eagle sighting


Oregon Vacation Ideas #6: It is no secret that Oregon and the rest of the northwest have an important business investment in forestry. This investment demands the local people to be educated on the do’s and don’ts of handling trees and forests.

The World Forestry Center Museum is a non profit enterprise with the purpose of educating the public on forestry issues. The museum with its beautifully designed building is located in Washington Park in Portland.

The recently redesigned and refurbished museum has many interactive displays which present the story of how to succeed and protect the environment at the same time.

The parent organization, the World Forestry Center, oversees the operation of a few working forests which provides an arena for hands-on teaching sessions. The word “World” in the name has a specific meaning. It refers to the fact that both the Center and the Museum are seriously involved with international forestry issues and participate in seminars and international conferences on the subject.


Oregon Vacation Ideas #7: So, you're on vacation in the Portland Oregon area and you happened to drive through the town of Hillsboro and you spot a sign that says Classic Aircraft Aviation Museum. You jam on the brakes and completely change your schedule to allow an afternoon looking at classic airplanes. In fact, you just may have arrived in time for the Oregon International Air Show.

The museum is located at the Hillsboro airport and they concentrate on jet planes up through the cold war period. You will see one their prop planes, a Douglas C-47A sitting out front to greet you as you drive up.

Some of the aircraft at the museum are a BAC Jet Provost Mk, a Fouga Magister, a Hawker Hunter, F-86 Sabre, and two Douglas A-26C Tankers Most of their collections are maintained in a flyable condition.

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