With tourist hotspots California and Nevada bordering to the south, Oregon is one of the United State’s unsung gems. What the Beaver State lacks in fame though, it makes up for with spectacular vistas and natural beauty. Sure, Oregon isn’t as widely known as it’s more talked-about neighbours to the south – or Florida for example – but not many of the USA’s 50 states are as easy on the eye.
Home to 6000 lakes, 112,000 miles of waterways and 30 million acres of forests, Oregon is a nature lover’s paradise. With Hells Canyon having more depth than the Grand Canyon, Crater Lake being the States’ deepest body of water and the Klamath Forest National Wildlife Refuge being home to 1000 majestic bald eagles, Oregon seemingly has it all.
With hundreds of miles of contrasting coastline, Oregon is the heart of Route 101 – one of the most scenic road journeys anywhere on the planet – stretching the entire length of the US east coast. Many will start this from northern California and drive up from Brookings in the south of Oregon, heading up past Gold Beach, Port Orford, Brandon and Winchester Bay. Passing through the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area, north leads towards Newport and Lincoln, where one can then turn off to head to state capital, Salem. Heading further towards Washington state, you encounter Rockaway and Cannon Beach before exiting north of Astoria and completing one of the world’s truly astonishing driving experiences.
Away from the dramatic cliffs and windswept beaches of Route 101, Oregan’s biggest city Portland is a relatively small metropolis when compared to the likes of New York, Los Angeles and Chicago, but it’s 650,000 inhabitants enjoy excellent transport links and a vibrant atmosphere. 90 minutes away is dormant volcano, Mount Hood – the highest vantage point in the state and home to incredible hiking and annual wintersport opportunities. Another highlight in this area is Multnomah Falls; an amazing spectacle of two waterfalls cascading water from over 180 meters into the nearby Columbia River with a picture-postcard bridge joining the two gorges together.
Getting to Oregon is relatively straight forward from Europe as passengers can arrive in Portland direct via Amsterdam or by connecting at a variety of US cities. Lisa Chamberlain from Travel Oregon, says: “There are no non-stop flights to Oregon from the UK, but connecting flights available through San Francisco, Seattle, Chicago and most east coast destinations into Portland. You will need a car to get around most of Oregon although Amtrak does operate a service through some of the major cities.
“We tag on very nicely to any California holiday and in fact San Francisco is probably the airport most visitors to Oregon are flying into from the UK. We have tried to position our self as a viable option for those looking for a true American experience.”
Those who are looking for quirkier options on your travels, you will be pleased to hear that Oregon has more ghost towns than any other US state. Additionally, while you really need to a car to experience the best of Oregon, it is mandatory to let a gas attendant fill up your tank and it is one of five states which doesn’t add sales tax to your shopping bill. All this aside, Oregon is a fantastic destination with something for everyone.
For more on the attractions of Oregon, visit the Travel Oregon website.