During this time of social distancing and stay-at-home orders, it’s natural to feel a pull to the great outdoors. There’s something rejuvenating — even healing — about a ray of sunshine hitting your face through a canopy of moss-covered trees or listening to the waves crash against a rocky shoreline. While non-essential travel is currently restricted, it’s still possible for you to explore Oregon’s outdoor offerings from the comfort and safety of your home. Here are several videos and live cameras that can transport you virtually. We hope that these moments of inspiration and education will help you plan future travel around our state, when it’s safe to do so.
For Flower Fans
While public gardens are closed, spring blossoms remain undeterred. Hoyt Arboretum in Portland is posting virtual tours and preschool walks. Check its Facebook page for the latest videos. Portland Japanese Garden is offering “60 Seconds of Serenity” videos on its Facebook page and YouTube channel. Lan Su Chinese Garden in Portland has posted a “30 Seconds of Calm” video featuring elements of its garden, and The Oregon Garden in Silverton has shared this video tour of its 80 acres of specialty gardens.
Videographers Nick Fisher and Michael Bendixen of OPB’s “Oregon Field Guide” have beautifully documented wildflowers in bloom at four locations in the Columbia River Gorge. Watch as Mother Nature unfurls her beauty in the shadow of Mt. Hood.
For Wildlife Watchers
While the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport is temporarily closed, you still can check up on the creatures who call it home. Click here to view the live shark, otter or seabird cameras. Also, check out the online educational resources for kids, available in conjunction with the Oceanscape Network.
The Oregon Zoo has a collection of fascinating videos, which kids in particular will enjoy. Meet tiny goats, watch a condor chick hatch, learn about a pond turtle’s fight for survival and more on the zoo’s YouTube channel and Facebook page. After every live video, your kids can click here for at-home activities.
Sea Lion Caves — America’s largest sea cave — is home to hundreds of sea lions, but the animals aren’t always present. During the spring, most of the sea lions move to the rookeries outside the cave for breeding and birthing and remain there through the summer. However, you may be able to spot a few stragglers on the cave’s live camera.
Cascades Raptor Center in Eugene is sharing “Moments of Calm” from its resident raptors on its Facebook page during the wildlife hospital’s closure.
For Nature-Area Enthusiasts
It’s the perfect time to discover more about the various protected ecosystems around the state. Watch a video about accessible adventures available at Newberry National Volcanic Monument in Central Oregon. Learn more about the habitat work being done at Malheur National Wildlife Refuge and Summer Lake Wildlife Area in Southern Oregon.
In addition, you can check in at Crater Lake National Park via three live cameras.
For Beach Bums
Wondering what the weather looks like at the Coast? KGW has live cameras installed in the following locations: Astoria, Cannon Beach, Pacific City and Newport. KOIN has Seaside and Lincoln City cameras; KPTV cameras are stationed in Seaside, Lincoln City and Newport. KATU has one live camera in Lincoln City. In addition, Surfline is tapped into cameras at the top surfing beaches up and down the Coast.
Area hotels and campgrounds have cameras at the Coast, too: The Lanai at the Cove in Seaside, Tolovana Inn in Cannon Beach, Ocean Inn in Manzanita and Cape Kiwanda RV Resort in Pacific City. Drop in online and then consider making a future reservation so that you can take in that same view in person.
Travel Oregon has produced a 20-minute video that shows the perfect Oregon sunset along the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. The sound of lapping waves is a bonus. Take a moment to stop, breathe and soak in the spectacle.
For Snow Lovers
Missing the slopes? Visit the state’s largest ski resorts for a peek at the remaining snowpack: Mt. Bachelor, Mt. Hood Meadows and Timberline Lodge.
For Armchair Travelers
Looking for some travel inspiration? Now’s the perfect time to be doing a little research. Check out Travel Oregon’s YouTube channel, and watch videos about future travel destinations and the people you’ll meet along the way. It’s also a good time to get caught up on episodes of “Grant’s Getaways,” hosted by fifth-generation Oregonian and outdoors journalist Grant McOmie. And tune in to Central Oregon’s new eight-episode series, “Adventure Calls,” to explore the people and places that make the region special.
If you’re looking to visit some of Oregon’s more remote locations, check out the Bureau of Land Management’s YouTube channel for videos on places like Jordan Craters, Leslie Gulch, Owyhee River, Steens Mountain Wilderness and more.
For virtual road trips, OPB has compiled some of its most popular stories in a series of videos along the Oregon Coast and Cascade Mountains. Many of the videos are episodes from “Oregon Field Guide.”
Finally, here’s a list of Oregon-made podcasts for your listening pleasure.