Top Trip Ideas to Inspire 2017

December 9, 2016 (Updated December 14, 2016)


Need the perfect present for the holidays? Give the gift of travel.

No wrapping paper needed.

There are plenty of places in Oregon that you and your loved ones probably haven’t explored before. Or maybe you didn’t delve deep enough. Sure, you’ve visited the Oregon Coast, but have you witnessed the annual migration of thousands of gray whales? And why limit camping to summertime when we have year-round glamping destinations? Visit someplace new, experience something different and make memories for life. Travel is the gift that keeps giving.

Here are our most-read trip ideas of 2016 that will easily fill up your wish list.



6 Lesser-Known Waterfalls in Oregon

Spectacular waterfalls can be found in the Central Cascades and Coast Range — in the high desert, Oregon Coast and North Umpqua canyon — on trails and viewpoints where solitude is the norm and crowds are the exception. Discover six of Oregon’s most beautiful but lesser-known waterfalls, all featuring easy access and family-friendly trails. Read more.

(Photo credit: James Parsons)



Family Road Trip: Wacky & Weird Oregon

Sometimes when you’re road tripping with the family, the best entertainment for everyone in the car is absolutely free — and this is especially true here in Oregon. From geologic wonders to good old conspiracy fun, check out these treasures that are sure to bring out the kid in all of us. Read more.

(Photo credit: Robbie McClaran)



7 Otherworldly Stargazing Spots

Nearly every corner of the state offers unmatched opportunities for stargazing. Join a night photographer as he shares some of his favorite stargazing destinations in Oregon, from camping in the Alvord Desert to a fire lookout on Dixie Butte. Read more.

(Photo credit: Ben Canales)



A Trip to Steens, Oregon’s Secret Mountain

It seems like most people don’t know about Steens Mountain, and fewer have been. Other mountains get all the attention in Oregon. But the Steens exists in a land beyond most, and that makes all the difference. See a four-day trip to a magical, untouched mountain. Read more.

(Photo credit: Chaney Swiney)


Hiker’s Paradise in the Opal Creek Wilderness

Off the beaten path, the lush Opal Creek Wilderness features some of the last low-elevation old-growth forest that remains pristine. With at least a half-dozen trails, some alongside a Depression-era mining camp, the 35,000-acre recreation area has a lot to discover. Read more.

Photo credit: Nickie Bournias



48 Relaxing Hours in Florence

A couple slows down on the Oregon Coast in a town that has plenty to see and do — at your own pace. Whether it’s exploring the Oregon Dunes, kayaking the Siuslaw River or dining at the waterfront, this duo and their dog know how to vacation right. Read more.

(Photo credit: Curt Peters / Eugene Cascades and Coast)


Car-Free Trips to the Gorge

Leave the car behind and see the Historic Columbia River Highway, easily one of the most scenic routes in Oregon, which celebrated its centennial this year. Explore this National Scenic Area by bike or via shuttle and enjoy hassle-free travel to cascading waterfalls, hills full of wildflowers and sparkling river views. Read more.

(Photo credit: Larry Geddis)



Discover Forest Park’s Lesser-Known Trails

Urban adventurers take note: whether you prefer to walk, run, bike, call birds, spot wildlife or just find solitude in your natural surroundings, Forest Park has a lot of secrets to behold. At 5,157 acres, this lush green Portland oasis is the largest urban nature preserve in the U.S. Read more.

(Photo credit:  Justin Bailie/


Scenic Adventures with Oregon Coast Railriders

Explore the northwest corner of the state with a scenic adventure that you must pedal to enjoy. But this is no ordinary cycling adventure, rather, it’s a new form of railroading that will get your heart rate going and leave you with mile-wide smiles: the Oregon Coast Railriders. If you can sit, you can join the Railriders on their two-hour tour that begins in Bay City. Read more.




7 Fire Lookout Tower Escapes

For lovers of Oregon’s outdoors, no job is more romantic than that of a fire lookout. To live atop a mountain, surveying hundreds of miles of forest and peaks from a cozy glass hut is simplicity itself. This fantasy can still be lived out by renting one of the historic fire lookouts the U.S. Forest Service opens to the public during select months. Read more.

(Photo credit: Zach Urness)


Old Meets New in Oregon’s First Capital City

Oregon City just might be one of the prettiest little cities within a stone’s throw of Portland. A day trip to historic Oregon City — the state’s first capital and the end of the Oregon Trail — can feel like a trip back in time. You can still see the remnants of the 1800s…but with hip new taprooms next door. Read more.

(Photo credit:


Relax at the Hot Springs of Southeastern Oregon

Rejuvenate and soak up the tranquility of the remote soaking pools in Southeastern Oregon. Visitors come from all over the world to find serenity in these restorative hot springs, which range from family-friendly ponds to private cedar-enclosed soaking tubs. Read more.

(Photo credit: Sachie Yorck)


The Hidden Lives of Whales

If you’re lucky, you’ve seen it: The poetic silhouette of a gray whale lifting its peaked tail flukes high above the surf. The action lasts but a moment. It might make you wonder: what’s life like beyond the surface level for these gentle giants, and why do they migrate so far? Read more.

(Photo credit: Craig Hayslip / OSU Marine Mammal Institute)


Table Rocks, Oregon’s Islands in the Sky

If you’re looking for an outdoor adventure that will take your breath away, journey to Southern Oregon where two stunning landscape features are home to hundreds of wildflower species. The Table Rocks are unmistakable and prominent landmarks that many call Oregon’s “Islands in the Sky.” At the top of Lower Table Rock, it is easy to see that the plateau is wrapped by ancient basalt and offers eye-popping views of the valley floor below.  Read more.



Glamping in Central Oregon

Camping is often the easiest way to immerse yourself in the elements. If only you could bring along your own comfy bed and a bit more luxury — like actual walls, heat, electricity and other conveniences. Welcome to glamping. Read more.

(Photo credit: Panacea Resort)



How a Play Comes to Life

Get behind the curtains at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, where the seamless melding of creative forces have made this Tony Award-winning festival one of the most celebrated in the nation for 81 years. Yet tucked in the foothills of the Siskiyou and Cascade mountains, there’s something about the OSF experience that feels secluded and almost hidden. Read more.

(Photo credit: Jenny Graham)

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