Are you planning a trip to the Pacific Northwest and want to explore the most beautiful places in Oregon? Keep scrolling to find out which places in Oregon are worth a stop!
This list of the most beautiful places in Oregon was written by PNW family travel expert Marcie Cheung and may contain affiliate links, which means if you click on the link and purchase the item, I will receive an affiliate commission at no extra cost to you. All opinions remain my own.
As a Seattle-area native, our family loves doing easy weekend trips to Oregon. It’s so close but there’s a slightly different vibe to the state that keeps us coming back.
Oregon is home to some of the most beautiful beach towns on the West Coast, cities as quirky as they get, and natural landscapes that range from forests to snow-capped peaks and high deserts.
As if that weren’t enough, the Beaver State has a world-class coffee and craft beer scene, not to mention it has become an example of sustainability. The art scene here is fantastic as well, with plenty of museums, art galleries, and exhibitions being hosted all over the state by local artists.
When you put everything together, Oregon pretty much becomes the perfect destination for an incredibly varied trip.
If it’s your first time visiting, you may be wondering what there is to do in the Beaver State. So we created a list of the most beautiful destination in Oregon that includes just about everything that needs to be on your itinerary!
The Most Beautiful Destinations in Oregon Worth Seeing
No list of the most beautiful destinations in Oregon would be complete without including Portland. It’s the largest city in the state and one of the most interesting ones in the world!
My kids started visiting Portland as toddlers. We’re constantly in awe of how many cool things there are to do in this city.
In recent years, Portland has become a hub for creatives and art lovers who enjoy expressing themselves freely. Moreover, the city has earned fame thanks to its conservation efforts, which have ranked it as a highly eco-friendly city!
As if that weren’t enough, Portland is known for its excellent coffee. Coffee shop culture is huge here, so you can expect to spend a large portion of your itinerary sitting at cafés.
Craft beer, incredible restaurants, and plenty of parks are also part of what this unique (and somewhat quirky) city is all about. And don’t get me started on the beautiful Portland Japanese garden.
Located just an hour away from Portland, Lost Lake is one of the most beautiful destinations in Oregon for those who love nature.
The setting you’ll find here is as idyllic as it gets. The lake is located in the middle of an insanely charming forest and towered by Mount Hood, which is the state’s most iconic natural landmark. The lake reflects the mountain at certain times of the day, creating a truly delightful scene!
As for what to do at Lost Lake, there’s plenty on the menu, especially during the summer months. Boating, kayaking, canoeing, and hiking in the forest are just a few of the activities you can enjoy here.
Camping is another favorite. But if you’re not into sleeping outside, there are plenty of cabins available as well.
I suggest staying at Lost Lake for at least a night because it’s one of the best places in the USA for stargazing.
Pillars of Rome
If hidden gems are what you’re after, Pillars of Rome is a pretty great place to visit.
Tucked away in the high desert of the southeastern side of the state, the Pillars of Rome are a series of gigantic rock formations and pillars. They can measure up to 100 feet in height and create a scene that looks as though it belonged in ancient Rome.
Located on Oregon’s coast, Cannon Beach is one of the most charming seaside towns the state has to offer.
Not only is the beach a treat to visit during the warmer months, but Cannon Beach is also known as a destination where you can combine tons of fun-in-the-sun activities with outdoor experiences.
All around Cannon Beach, you’ll be treated to panoramic views of the ocean, plenty of waterfalls, and tons of hiking trails, especially at the nearby Ecola Point State Park.
Historic Columbia River Highway
The Historic Columbia River Highway is considered one of the most beautiful places to see in Oregon for several reasons.
It offers breathtaking views of the Columbia River Gorge, including vistas of the river and scenic overlooks.
The highway passes by several beautiful waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls, which is one of the most photographed waterfalls in the country. Visitors can stop at each waterfall to take photos and explore the surrounding trails.
Columbia River Gorge
Columbia River Gorge is a deep canyon that was carved out by the Columbia River thousands of years ago.
These days, the gorge and the region around it have become a destination that offers a wide variety of activities. The area boasts over 90 gorgeous waterfalls. So hiking in search of a few of them is a must on your itinerary (don’t miss out on visiting Multnomah Falls, which is 620 feet tall!).
Moreover, the Columbia River Gorge Natural Scenic Area is also a major producer of wine. You’ll find plenty of vineyards and wine estates all over. Chardonnay, Pinot Noir, Tempranillo, and Syrah are all produced here.
You’ll also find a wide array of organic and farm-to-table restaurants in the are. This makes it a wonderful destination for a peaceful getaway.
Oregon Coast Trail
The Oregon Coast is home to some of the most stunning coastal landscapes in the United States. It features more than 360 miles of rugged coastline, sandy beaches, towering cliffs, and stunning rock formations.
There are also several adorable Oregon Coast towns worth visiting along the way.
Along the coast is the Oregon Coast Trail also called the OCT.
The trail offers a range of outdoor activities, including hiking, camping, fishing, and wildlife watching. There are also opportunities for kayaking, surfing, and other water sports along the coast.
From whale watching to exploring tide pools, the Oregon Coast Trail offers unique experiences that cannot be found anywhere else in the world.
The Oregon Coast Trail is a must-visit destination for nature lovers, outdoor enthusiasts, and anyone seeking a unique and unforgettable travel experience.
Crater Lake National Park
Home to the deepest lake in the United States, Crater Lake National Park is located in the heart of the fascinating Cascade Mountain Range. It was created as a result of an ancient volcano that crinkled thousands of years ago.
As a result, the landscape you’ll find there is as gorgeous and unique as it gets. Simply getting to stand by the lake and enjoy the views is reason enough to visit this nature destination in Oregon. But there are things to do within the park that can easily keep you entertained for days on end.
Scenic driving around the rim is one of the most beautiful ways to explore the park. However, make sure not to leave without enjoying other activities as well, including hiking, swimming, boating, and more.
Smith Rock State Park
Smith Rock State Park is a popular place to visit in Oregon for outdoor enthusiasts, rock climbers, hikers, and anyone seeking stunning natural beauty and rich cultural history.
The park has several hiking trails that offer stunning views of the surrounding landscapes. These include the Crooked River, the volcanic rock formations, and the snow-capped Cascade Mountains in the distance.
Smith Rock State Park is also home to towering rock formations, deep canyons, and stunning vistas, making it a popular destination for photographers and nature lovers.
Hidden away in the Deschutes National Forest somewhere in the Cascade Mountains, Suttle Lake is an extremely idyllic alpine lake surrounded by snow-capped peaks and forests.
Here, you’ll find a plethora of hiking trails both around the lake and within the forest. All of them provide wonderful opportunities to spot animals such as Bald Eagles and ducks.
If you’d rather focus on water activities, though, you can go swimming, boating, sailing, and more.
Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway
The Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway winds through some of the most stunning landscapes in Central Oregon. These include volcanic peaks, alpine lakes, and dense forests.
The byway offers breathtaking views at every turn, making it a popular destination for photographers and nature lovers.
A few top photo spots along the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway include Sparks Lake, Mount Bachelor, Devils Lake, and Proxy Falls.
Ecola State Park
Ecola State Park is widely considered one of the most beautiful places in Oregon. The park is located on the northern Oregon coast. It offers a variety of stunning natural features, recreational opportunities, and scenic views.
Here you’ll enjoy panoramic views of the Pacific Ocean and the rugged coastline, which is dotted with sea stacks, arches, and tidal pools.
The views are particularly stunning from the park’s vantage point on Tillamook Head, which provides unobstructed views of the coastline.
Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
Painted Hills and John Day Fossil Beds is one of the most interesting landscapes you’ll find in Oregon, especially when you consider the scenery here is all about the desert.
This striking national monument is divided into two sections. The first one, Painted Hills, is a place where you’ll feel as though you were transported to a different planet.
Here, you’ll find a series of hills that come in all shades of colors, ranging from orange, red, gold, black, and more.
Moving onward to the other side of the park, you’ll find John Day Fossil Beds. Here you’ll find a world of prehistoric goodness, quirky rock formations, and some of the best views the rocky desert of Oregon has to offer.
Silver Falls State Park
Silver Falls State Park is one of the top places to visit in Oregon for photographers. That’s because of all the stunning natural beauty.
This park is home to ten breathtaking waterfalls, ranging in height from 27 to 177 feet. The falls are surrounded by lush greenery and provide numerous opportunities for capturing stunning landscape photos.
The park’s Trail of Ten Falls is a 7.2-mile loop trail that takes hikers past ten of the park’s waterfalls. This trail provides numerous opportunities for capturing unique and stunning photos of the waterfalls from different angles.
The park is beautiful year-round. In the fall, the park is surrounded by colorful foliage. In the winter, the waterfalls are often surrounded by ice and snow, providing unique photo opportunities.
Mount Hood is the highest mountain in Oregon and is part of the Cascade Range, which stretches from British Columbia to Northern California.
You won’t believe the stunning views of the surrounding wilderness, including old-growth forests, glaciers, and alpine meadows. It’s packed with scenic hiking trails.
Mount Hood can be seen from miles away and is particularly beautiful during sunrise and sunset.
The summer snowfall attracts visitors from all over the country. This is a must-see destination for anyone visiting Oregon.
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area
Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a photographer’s paradise, with a variety of unique and beautiful photo spots.
The lookout at the top of Cape Perpetua offers panoramic views of the coastline and the forested hills, making it a great spot for landscape photography.
Thor’s Well is a natural saltwater fountain that shoots water up into the air as the waves crash against the rocks. It’s a unique and impressive sight.
Devil’s Churn is a narrow channel in the rocks that fills with water during high tide. It creates a dramatic display of waves crashing against the rocks.
Whether you’re interested in landscape photography, wildlife photography, or macro photography, you’re sure to find plenty of great photo opportunities at Cape Perpetua.
Many don’t know it, but the state of Oregon has a pretty cool wine scene. McMinnville is one of the best destinations to head to in order to explore it.
This charming town is located only 30 miles away from Portland and boasts dozens of wine-tasting rooms within its downtown. All around its outskirts, you’ll also find a plethora of vineyards perfect for a day spent tasting wine and learning about the viticulture history of the area.
Aside from tasting wine and eating everything at the many farm-to-table restaurants in town, McMinnville is also an extremely historic city. This is where you’ll find plenty of beautiful turn-of-the-century buildings. Many of these now house restaurants, coffee, shops, art galleries, and more.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm
This farm features over 40 acres of vibrant tulip fields in a variety of colors that create a gorgeous backdrop for photos. It’s a popular tourist destination for families.
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm holds an annual Tulip Fest each spring, which draws visitors from around the world. The festival includes a variety of activities, including wagon rides, wine tasting, hot air balloon rides, and live music.
The vibrant colors and picturesque scenery of the tulip fields provide numerous opportunities for stunning photos. Visitors can capture photos of the fields, the flowers up close, and the surrounding countryside.
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm is a must-visit destination for anyone seeking stunning natural beauty, family-friendly activities, and a unique experience in Oregon.
Willamette National Forest
The vast Willamette National Forest, located in western Oregon, offers many attractions and activities for tourists visiting the Pacific Northwest.
It’s home to many beautiful waterfalls, including Proxy Falls, Sahalie Falls, and Koosah Falls. I recommend hiking to the falls, taking in the scenery, and enjoying a picnic lunch.
There are also several hot springs in the forest, including Terwilliger Hot Springs and McCredie Hot Springs. These offer a relaxing soak in natural hot water surrounded by the forest.
Sea Lion Caves
If you love wildlife and want to experience the best Oregon has to offer in terms of marine life, Sea Lion Caves is a wonderful place to do just that.
The caves were formed some 25 million years ago. Today, they are considered one of the longest caves systems in the United States.
While that is reason enough to visit them, what makes the extremely unique and gives them their name is the fact that, during the winter and fall, the caves turn into the home to a colony of Stellar Sea Lions. Visitors can see dozens of them on the rocks during their visit!
Newberry National Volcanic Monument
Located in central Oregon, the Newberry National Volcanic Monument covers over 50,000 acres of volcanic landscapes, including lava flows, cinder cones, and lava tubes.
The Lava River Cave is a mile-long lava tube that can be explored on a self-guided tour. The cave stays a cool 42 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it a great place to escape the summer heat.
But that’s not all! Paulina Falls is a beautiful waterfall that drops 80 feet into a volcanic canyon. And Paulina Lake is a stunning alpine lake with clear blue water and great fishing.
Hood River is considered one of the prettiest places in Oregon. It’s a popular destination for visitors seeking beautiful natural scenery, outdoor activities, and a charming small-town atmosphere.
Hood River is located in the Columbia River Gorge, and it offers stunning views of the river, the surrounding mountains, and the Hood River Valley.
The area is particularly beautiful during the spring and fall. This is when the orchards and vineyards in the valley are in bloom or changing colors.
Visitors can take scenic drives or bike rides through the valley to see the fruit trees and grape vines in bloom.
Boardman State Scenic Corridor
The Boardman State Scenic Corridor in Oregon is definitely worth a visit for tourists who enjoy scenic natural beauty, hiking, and outdoor recreation.
The corridor is located on the southern Oregon coast and stretches for 12 miles along Highway 101, between Brookings and Gold Beach.
Along the drive, you’ll see stunning coastal views, rocky headlands, and hidden coves, as well as dense forests of Sitka spruce and western hemlock.
Know as the “Alps of Oregon”, the Wallowa Mountains are found in the Columbia Plateau in the northeastern part of the state. They are made up of the highest peaks in Oregon. A visit here is perfect for those who love nature and history.
Hiking here is an absolute dream. Most summits provide views of the high desert to one side and Hells Canyon to the other.
Aside from hiking, you can also take up the chance to road trip the region. There are plenty of small towns, alpine lakes, and working ranches dotting the way. Plus there are ghost villages that are completely uninhabited today!
Most towns you’ll find along the way are extremely charming. Great stops to make include Enterprise and Joseph. Both of these are known for their artsy vibes, hand-crafted beer scene, and chocolatiers.
Oregon Caves National Monument
Oregon Caves National Monument is considered one of the most beautiful destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
The monument features an intricate system of marble caves that have formed over thousands of years, creating stunning and unique geological formations, including stalactites, stalagmites, and flowstones.
The caves are surrounded by a beautiful old-growth forest and are situated on a mountainside, providing stunning views of the surrounding landscape.
Best Places to Visit in Oregon FAQ
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is a popular attraction located in Newport, Oregon, known for its impressive collection of marine life and exhibits. One of the highlights of the aquarium includes the Passages of the Deep exhibit, where visitors can walk through an underwater tunnel surrounded by sharks, rays, and other fish.
The Oregon sand dunes are located along the coast of Oregon, stretching for about 40 miles from Florence to Coos Bay. This area is known as the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area and is one of the largest expanses of coastal sand dunes in North America.
The Hatfield Marine Science Center is an educational and research facility located in Newport, Oregon, that is dedicated to exploring and understanding the marine environment. It has touch tanks where visitors can interact with live sea creatures such as starfish and sea anemones.
Amazing Places to Visit in Oregon Wrap Up
These are some of the best places to visit in Oregon for families, couples, or solo travelers. Many of them offer cool hiking and biking trails or other outdoor recreation.