BLOG: Best Outdoor Getaways in Oregon
When you are finished exploring the Coos Bay area and want to discover more of Oregon, here is the best of what our great state has to offer.
Oregon is an outdoor adventurer’s dream destination, from rugged trails and jagged mountains to sparkling lakes and scenic coastlines. This West Coast state offers rugged volcanoes, lush forests, wild rivers and cascading waterfalls – providing endless opportunities for outdoor adventure.
Fort Stevens State Park
This beautiful park sits where river, forest and sea meet along Oregon’s most rugged coast. Situated in its far northwest corner, it is an idyllic destination for hikers, surfers, history enthusiasts and wildlife enthusiasts alike.
Hikers will also appreciate its miles of trails that wind through spruce-hemlock forests, wetlands, dunes, and the shore pine area at Coffenbury Lake. One standout attraction for hikers is Peter Iredale Shipwreck; an iconic four-masted steel sailing vessel that washed up on Coffenbury Beach’s sandy shore in 1906 and can still be spotted today by riding along nearby bike paths close to its site. Plus, Coffenbury Lake Park serves as an ideal birding hotspot offering glimpses of bald eagles, sea lions, & various marine and land birds!
Start your trip off right in Hood River, an adorable and hip town known for beer and windsurfing (not to mention several breweries), making it the ideal launchpad for Gorge adventures. Explore Float the river, or indulge yourself with an overnight stay at Timberline Lodge from The Shining (a historic building used as a filming location!).
Then go south to Diamond Lake. Nestled within Umpqua National Forest, Diamond Lake offers year-round outdoor adventure. Just north of Crater Lake, it provides camping by the water’s edge or hiking the nearby trails, while winter brings snowmobiles for accessing over 300 miles of groomed snowmobiling trails.
It provides anglers with an abundance of fish species, with crystal-clear waters making spotting your catch an easy feat. Though fishing opportunities abound throughout the year, peak times of attraction include summer when rainbow trout thrive due to bug hatches; or fall when fishing tends to slow down and temperatures begin to decrease.
For those seeking some more action, Diamond Lake provides plenty of kayaking and paddle boating opportunities, with local businesses renting gear. Or take it easy at one of the lakeside picnic areas where stunning landscapes await!
Willamette Valley Wine Country
Pinot noir lovers from around the world flock to Oregon’s Willamette Valley to sip its celebrated wines. But the region also offers plenty of other activities to complement your wine-tasting itinerary.
Whether you want to explore on foot or saddle up, there are plenty of opportunities to take in the beauty of Willamette Valley. Take a walk along the 7.2-mile Trail of Ten Falls at Silverton State Park, where you’ll gaze up at 10 spectacular waterfalls. Or enjoy a brisk hike or leisurely stroll through Rotary Nature Preserve at Tice Woods, where soft surface trails skirt ponds, wetlands and upland forests.
In addition to wine tasting, you’ll find many family-friendly attractions in Willamette Valley. Visit a local farmer’s market to stock up on fresh fruits, veggies and meats at the numerous vendors. You’ll also find plenty of places to go shopping for souvenirs and other local artisan goods. From jams and cheeses to truffles and chocolate, local craftspeople are mastering their trades. Shop for these unique offerings in McMinnville and Newberg.
When the sun goes down, you’ll find a variety of live music, dance parties and other special events taking place at wineries and restaurants throughout the region. Check the winery calendars before your trip to learn about events that are happening during your visit.
Of course, no trip to wine country is complete without a glass of Pinot or two. Sample the wines of Willamette Valley at dozens of vineyards. Some of the best wineries in the Willamette Valley include Soter Vineyards near Turner (where you can reserve a private seated tasting with pairings), Eyrie Vineyards, one of the first pinot producers in Oregon, and Domaine Serene Winery.
To increase your chances of finding a table with vineyard views, visit during the week and make advance reservations. If you’re serious about wine, consider joining a wine club at your favorite Willamette Valley winery. Membership comes with benefits including exclusive tastings and event invites as well as a selection of wines delivered to your doorstep throughout the year.
If you’d like to see Willamette Valley from the air, there’s no better way than to ride in a hot-air balloon. The sweeping vistas of farm fields, vineyards and mountain ranges are unrivaled. Vista Balloon Adventures provides scenic tours over farms, hills, the Willamette River and 10 volcanic peaks on clear days!
Oregon Sand Dunes
Oregon Dunes are an extraordinary, otherworldly combination of forest, ocean and desert that stretch for 40 miles south from Florence to Coos Bay. This incredible ecosystem offers hiking, playing in the sand, and wildlife watching; plus it’s an off-road vehicle enthusiast’s playground!
The John Dellenback Trail offers an unforgettable experience atop the dunes. Although hiking up these sweeping, grass-speckled dunes is strenuous, you’ll feel as if your footprints were the only ones there for miles!
Beginning your trip at Honeyman Park OHV Staging Area is ideal, then follow one of several trails leading through shore pine and spruce forest onto an open sand dune in the park’s tallest dunes. Be on the lookout for wooden posts painted blue at the top of each dune to mark your route – and don’t be intimidated to explore further off!
The dunes provide an important refuge for birds and plants alike, such as sand verbena, bunch grasses, lupine flowers and native frogs. Please adhere to posted restrictions – such as no dogs on most trails during nesting season — and consider volunteering with an environmental group in pulling invasive plants that threaten this delicate ecosystem.
Crater Lake National Park
As Oregon’s only National Park, the main draw is its iconic lake, but there are other ways to appreciate this natural treasure. Explore tide pools filled with marine life or discover its rocky coastline for endless exploration opportunities.
Head next to Crater Lake National Park, Oregon’s only national park and one of its most spectacular natural wonders. Crater Lake boasts one of the deepest volcanic lakes in America with azure waters sacred to Klamath tribes. Catch either sunset or sunrise from its rim while keeping an eye out for Thunder Eggs: small rocks covered by quartz interior.