It's hard to pick any one state in the US to be the most beautiful. In fact, almost every state is stunning with a wide range of beautiful natural attractions and well-designed man-made attractions. A state in question is Oregon. Oregon is a beautiful state with stunning natural and man-made architectural wonders. However, most tourists tend to bypass it for the larger more touristy states in the US. If you are planning a trip anywhere this year, take a few minutes to consider these top 10 places to visit in Oregon.
As the name suggests, Crater Lake developed in a crater caused by an extinct volcanic caldera. The almost exactly circular lake is fed by rainwater and this has resulted in a stunningly clear lake bed. The intensely blue water is a photographer's dream and it is a beautiful place to camp, hike or relax during a hot summer. The lake is surrounded by towering peaks of Mount Mazama and lava cliffs that create a panoramic backdrop and two tiny islands located right in the middle of the sapphire-blue waters. For a better view, tourists are encouraged to drive around the lake on the circular Rim Drive road that surrounds the lake and provides an overview of the beautiful lake.
The Columbia River meanders through the Cascade Mountain Range and the area surrounding it is truly gorgeous. This area is referred to as the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and it is truly spectacular as it showcases several natural waterfalls and gorges. The 292,500 acre area runs from the mouth of the Sandy River right up to the Deschutes. The area offers hiking, biking, camping and several outdoor sports for locals and tourists. The area is also famous for the beautiful Multnomah Falls. Waterfalls are always gorgeous, but the Multnomah Falls on the Columbia River are truly stunning. The waterfalls split into two different falls spread out over two levels, and this makes it the tallest waterfall in Oregon. The waterfall is traversed by a footbridge that is popular with photographers as a backdrop for special events. Summer is the best time to visit the area.
Mount Hood is one of the highest mountains in Oregon reaching an impressive 11,239 feet in height. The Mount is surrounded by verdant forest extending from Columbia River Gorge to the Olallie Scenic Area. The forest is more than 1,067,043 acres in size and it is one of the most visited spots in the country. More than four million visitors traipse the 170 recreation sites inside the forest. The most popular areas include Timberline Lodge, Trillium Lake, Rock Creek Reservoir, and the Old Oregon Trail. The forest also has eight official designated wilderness areas that are a must-visit for their unique biodiversity, natural scenery, flora and fauna.
Beaches are standard in appearance, with sand and water but Cannon Beach has to be seen to be believed. The beach is truly stunning with powder sand beaches and looming coastal rocks located near to the beach. Water sports are offered on the beach and the resorts located close to the beach also offer a range of activities. One of the coastal rocks is called the Haystack Rock and is protected under the Oregon Islands National Wildlife Refuge as it is a marine sanctuary for several unique sea creatures. The beach is surrounded by resorts and the closest town is Seaside which is a popular tourist town. The town of Astoria is also located close by and is historically significant for being the location of the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park.
Running for over 65 miles through central Oregon, the Cascade Lakes Scenic Byway has become known for its outstanding beauty and diverse scenery as well as the host of recreational opportunities that it offers. You will be awe-struck by the surroundings as you head across this route, with volcanic scenery and stunning alpine lakes. When it comes to recreational activities, there is no shortage of things to do. This is an area that has become hugely popular for activities such as fishing, camping, hiking and boating amongst other things. If you want to get really up close and personal with nature this is an experience that is not to be missed.
The small coastal city in Lincoln County, Oregon is a delightful place to visit, as it has so much to offer. Once named one of the top ten coolest small towns in America, this is a place where you will find plenty to do as well as beautiful surroundings and scenery to take in. You can look forward to attractions and activities to suit all ages when you come to this destination. The Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is a must for those who love natural beauty while the Wave Gallery and the Earthworks Gallery are excellent choices for art lovers. There are many wonderful places to relax and soak up the natural beauty of this place including Devil’s Churn, Yachats State Park and Smelt Sands State Park.
Located in Clatsop County, Oregon, Astoria is a naturally beautiful destination that sits at the mouth of the Columbia River. When you visit this town you will find plenty to keep you busy, which means that you can enjoy a combination of natural beauty and relaxation along with fun, adventure and excitement. When you come to Astoria you should definitely pay a visit to the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum and the historical Fort Clatsop National Memorial. You can explore history at the Flavel House Museum or enjoy spending time with the kids at the Lightship Columbia. There are some great open areas to relax in here too, such as Fort Stevens State Park or the Lewis and Clark National and State Historic Parks.
The Oregon Coast Aquarium is located in Newport and the busy tourist town brings a huge amount of visitors to the aquarium. The 23-acre facility is one of the best aquariums in North American with four main exhibits spread out over the facility. The Aquarium is open all through the year and it hosts special tours and encounters, visitor trips, field trips, and even private events on the premises. The private tours are particularly impressive as visitors are guided by an aquarium employee in up-close and personal interactions with octopi, seals, and sea lions. However, events and tours do change regularly and visitors are advised to check the website and book in advance.
Wallowa Lake was created by Pleistocene glaciers and this accounts for it being dammed by moraines. The moraines begin below the surface of the water and extend upward for 900 feet creating natural damming walls on all sides of the lake. This also accounts for the lake water being startlingly clear and blue. Apart from being a geological example, the lake is a great place for a holiday as it is surrounded by resorts and holiday homes. During season, visitors can enjoy fishing and water sports on the lake and hiking, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, sightseeing, camping, and biking in the rugged backcountry. Due to the forests surrounding the lake, the backcountry tends to change dramatically in the winter. Visitors can use the four-person tram to travel to the top of Mount Howard and enjoy alpine meadows, and forests of Douglas fir, Ponderosa pine, Aspens and Cottonwoods.
Almost every visitor to Portland is urged to visit the impressive Portland Japanese Garden. This was the very first garden of its kind in the US and it is famous for its unique Japanese layout spread out over 5.5 acres. The garden has five major sections that are highly popular with tourists and locals. The flowering of cherry trees in particular is one of the most beautiful days in the Garden with locals and visitors flocking to the Garden to enjoy the fragile flowers and the heavenly fragrance wafting through the gardens.