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The beach, the mountains, the big city or small towns Oregon really does have it all. Planning a vacation the whole family will enjoy can be challenging, but Oregon makes it easy by having so many options. There are so many unique things to do in Oregon, you can keep yourself busy for days on end.
Unique Things to Do in Oregon
A trip to the Snow
If it is the winter wonderland that you seek, then try a ski vacation. There are a number of ski villages in Oregon, but I would recommend Mt. Bachelor ski village for a family vacation. They offer all the usual amenities, and it’s located close to the town of Bend, Oregon which can offer some variety if you need a day away from the slopes.
There is lots of accommodation available in Bend as well, and this might be a good option if you want to divide your time between mountains. Mt. Bachelor is the closest, but Hoodoo is cheaper and boasts deeper snow and a larger variety of runs as well as night skiing. There is no shortage of mountains from Mt. Hood to Bachelor and a number in between.
The region offers a whole host of winter activities including horse-drawn sleigh rides, sledding, and snowmobile lessons, in addition to skiing, snowboarding, and more extreme snow adventures.
If the snow is not something for you then consider this area in the summer for some fantastic hiking, biking, fishing white water rafting.
The Oregon Coast
The Oregon Coast is absolutely breathtaking. While it may not boast a warm and tropical climate, the vistas of the Pacific Ocean are truly awe-inspiring. Along the Oregon Coast, you’ll discover numerous charming seaside villages and towns where you can find accommodations, fishing charters, galleries, shops, delectable handmade salt-water taffy, and even award-winning clam chowder.
Don’t miss the chance to visit the remarkable aquarium in Newport or the renowned cheese factory in Tillamook; both are well worth your time. If you plan your trip in advance, you might have the good fortune of witnessing one of the captivating kite festivals or exciting sand castle competitions. Feel free to indulge in sailing adventures or simply spend your days beachcombing for beautiful sand dollars and driftwood.
Don’t forget to make a stop at Thor’s Well while you are there!
Portland Oregon is a beautiful city. Perched on the edge of both the Columbia and Willamette rivers, it is green and alive with all kinds of arts and culture. There are too many attractions to cover it all, but I have listed my top 7 family activities in or around Portland.
Portland Saturday Markets
The nation’s largest weekly open-air markets. There is row after row of stalls selling creative arts and crafts, clothing, jewelry exotic foods, and live music. There is something for everyone!
The Oregon Zoo
The tropics, the rainforest, the African desert. All are represented at the Oregon Zoo. Located right near the heart of downtown, it is easy to get to and offers a lot.
Lloyd Centre Ice Rink
Oregon’s largest shopping mall also offers an ice rink. Surrounded by 200-plus specialty shops and food vendors, there is something to amuse almost everyone. Contact Lloyd Centre ahead of time for a schedule. They offer discos, and other themed skating at various times in the week.
Oregon Museum of Science and Industry (OMSI)
OMSI is a huge, science-based playground for kids. They can experience an earthquake, tour a submarine, and visit the planetarium. There is more to do than time to do it, and they might learn something in the process.
Catch a glimpse of Portland’s past at Pittock Mansion. Located on the West side of Portland in the hills, Pittock Mansion is a museum of Portland’s history, and a beautiful piece of architecture surrounded by stunning views and gorgeous gardens. A great place for a picnic!
Oaks Amusement Park
This old-fashioned amusement park has go-karts, roller coasters, skating, and rides. Take a picnic or have a corn dog. This family-friendly environment is lots of fun and not too overpriced.
Even if you aren’t interested in the climb to the top…it is very worth the 30-mile drive up I84 to see the historic Multnomah Falls. They have a fantastic gift shop and a caf for your eating pleasure. The view from the top is remarkable, but even the view from the bottom is awe-inspiring.
Other Unique Tourist Destinations In Oregon
These unique tourist destinations are all within a day’s driving distance from Portland, Oregon, and are suitable for friends and family of all ages. However, each spot requires light to moderate hiking capabilities.
The Pacific Northwest, Oregon
Oregon is full of natural beauty. From lakes to mountains to a gorgeous Pacific Ocean coast, Oregon proves it really has a lot to offer both the passing visitor and lifelong resident. However, there is much more to Oregon than a mountain range and the coast. Across the Rockies lay a vast high desert that was once the scene of massive geologic turmoil.
Central and Eastern Oregon tell the story of volcanic eruptions, epic floods, and a host of natural, geologic phenomena that have washed over the state before the first pilgrims even set foot on Plymouth Rock. Lake Creek Rock slides, the Crack in the Ground, and the Vortex of Oregon are three unique outdoor destinations in Oregon that are both fun to visit and ponder over and also serve to tell a piece of the tale of Oregon’s tumultuous past.
Lake Creek Rock Slides
About 25 miles west of Junction City, Oregon, along Highway 36 in southern Oregon is Triangle Lake. Nestled in the lush Suislaw Watershed, Triangle Lake offers fishing, swimming and natural beauty. What is unusual about Triangle Lake lay about a half mile south: Lake Creek Falls. Hidden off the main roads is a 100-foot long natural water slide, formed centuries ago by volcanic activity and landslides.
Visitors can slide down the obsidian water slide with little discomfort and are deposited safely in a swimming hole at the end of the formation. The Lake Creek Falls Rock Slide is a unique and fun natural tourist destination in southern Oregon.
Crack-in-the-Ground, Christmas Valley, Oregon
As natives often note, the eastern half of Oregon might as well be its own state. Cross over the mountain pass and immediately the crisp, green forests, and misty, mountainous beauty is replaced by rolling brown hills, cliffs of pillow basalt, and hot, dry weather. But don’t be fooled, the arid landscape is rife with interesting places to see. One of those places is the so-called Crack in the Ground.
This natural formation is 2 miles long and goes as low as 70 feet below the ground. Located in the Four Craters Lava Field of central Oregon near Christmas Valley in the Deschutes National Forest, this gigantic volcanic fissure offers a fun hike on a hot day. Going within the Crack, visitors note that it is as much as 10 to 15 degrees cooler than it is above the Crack. Walking along the interior, visitors can observe different rock types, colors, and various unusual vegetation. Near the Crack in the Ground is also Hole in the Ground, another fun stop in the Lava Fields.
The Vortex of Oregon
Lastly is the Vortex of Oregon. Not much is truly understood about this unusual tourist stop in Southern Oregon, except that it is really weird. At the Vortex, visitors experience a variety of visual and perceptual phenomena. Located in Gold Hill, Oregon the Vortex was transformed into a popular tourist stop in 1930 when the “House of Mystery” of built on top of it. Read more about the weird stuff that happens on the Vortex of Oregon.
Painted Hills, Oregon
The Painted Hills are located near the tiny town of Mitchell, Oregon. This is one of my favorite places in Oregon to photograph. The hills are recognizable by the unique strips of tan, red, black, and orange. These hills are created out of a diverse collection of leaf, animal, and other fossils that reach 39 million years old.
The Lake Creek Rock Slides, the Crack in the Ground, the Vortex of Oregon, and The Painted Hills are just three of many unique outdoor tourist destinations that Oregon has to offer. Check out more weird stuff in Oregon.
A trip to Oregon will only provide one difficulty…finding time to do it all!