Did you know that February 14 holds extra-special meaning in Oregon? It’s not just the day we show our love for one another — it’s Oregon’s birthday. And Feb. 14, 2020 marks 161 years since the Beaver State was founded. We think Oregon has never looked better. No matter whether you’re celebrating your own birthday, a friend or family member’s, or just looking for an inspired list of trips across Oregon designed for maximum fun, we’ve got you covered. Start planning now, or forward immediately to your favorite friend and party planner. (You’re welcome.)
High-Desert Hijinks: Central Oregon
With an acronym that stands for “Soul, Community, Planet,” SCP Redmond is the name of the newly renovated historic Redmond Hotel — a hip new high-desert base camp less than 20 miles north of Bend. Situated in the vibrant downtown Redmond area, you can shop to your heart’s delight and celebrate at the newish steak- and seafood-centric Brickhouse and Porter Brewing Co., which focuses on English cask ales with a dog-friendly patio and well-stocked bar. Nine miles north, head out early or later in the day, hop in the car with a buddy and go climbing or hike the trails at Smith Rock State Park — especially lovely and tranquil in the winter. Make sure to dress in layers, carry the 10 Essentials, stay on designated trails and spread goodwill to those you meet. Or take in the sights and sounds of Redmond along the 7.8-mile out-and-back Dry Canyon Trail, a paved trail that winds through the area’s volcanic canyon walls, city parks and natural areas. Fly in to the Redmond Municipal Airport for a quick trip.
Glamping by the Bay: Oregon Coast
If tent camping isn’t your thing and RV parks don’t sound like a fun escape, you may be intrigued by Bay Point Landing in Coos Bay — a “modern camping resort” on the wild and uncrowded Southern Oregon Coast. More like a rustic hotel on the beach, you and your pals can glamp in an Airstream complete with a full bathroom, TVs, a kitchenette, queen or twin beds, and a patio with an outdoor fire pit. The property provides tools for clamming in the bay, which means you can take part in the cool new pastime called clamping (clamming/camping). For a bit more indulgence, you can also book one of the site’s sleek cabins with more luxury amenities, overlooking the water. Fly in to the Southwest Oregon Regional Airport in Coos Bay for a quick trip, and explore the ocean-to-table restaurants, breweries, markets and tasting rooms along the self-guided Wild Rivers Coast Food Trail when you’re not chilling by the water.
Epic Adventures: Eastern Oregon
If you’re in the mood for an epic road trip, a venture to the southeastern corner of Oregon may be in order. Spring and fall are the best times to visit, avoiding the peak heat of the summer, since the landscape is very dry and exposed. Stay at the newly renovated Historic Central Hotel in Burns, a 1929 hotel that now features 12 boutique rooms with handcrafted touches and Prohibition-era names like “Swanky Digs,” “Gold Digger” and “The Bootlegger.” Take a leather-crafting class at Alden’s School of Leather Trades, and spend a luxurious day soaking at Crane Hot Springs nearby. Find ideas for hiking trails, food, drink and other activities like mountain biking in our First-Timer’s Guide to Steens Mountain and Adventurers’ Guide to Southeastern Oregon.
Food and Spirits Galore: Portland Region
Part food and drink party spot, part community hostel, KEX Portland is designed for fun-seeking visitors looking to be in the midst of the buzzy urban district. As the first KEX property outside of Iceland, it’s a hub for travelers of all ages in Northeast Portland’s Lloyd District — close to concerts and sporting events at the Moda Center — with on-site food and drink as well as live music and lounging space. The hostel’s lobby restaurant, Dóttir, offers Nordic dishes like braised lamb smørrebrød and flatbreads, as well as a serious cocktail lineup. While you’re exploring Portland’s east side, sip your way through the small-batch artisan tasting rooms that make up Distillery Row. You won’t go hungry as you explore the city’s walkable and bikeable neighborhoods, with Portland’s famous food-cart scene offering plenty of noshing opportunities along the way.
A River Paddle and Wine Touring: Willamette Valley
It’s hard to choose a place to stay for wine tasting in the Willamette Valley, since there are hundreds of great spots with a variety of tasting rooms, dining and other activities within arm’s reach. If you’d like to get off the beaten path, head to the little town of Independence, 12 miles southwest of Salem, and check into the beautiful new Independence Hotel. With views of the Willamette River, you and your pals can raise a glass to the big day on the rooftop deck or riverside patio, enjoy a soak in the hot tub, and take a float or paddle down the river; you can rent a tube or kayak at Riverfront Park, steps from the hotel, in the summer months. A few miles south of Independence, hop on the Buena Vista Ferry (free for pedestrians) for a quick but scenic trip across the river. Get your wine-tasting game on at any of the fabulous wineries nearby. About 30 minutes south, the all-women team at Airlie Winery near Monmouth welcomes groups (including pups) to bring a picnic and enjoy their vino beside their patio, deck, pavilion and tranquil pond on the scenic property. Don’t forget to bring some back to the room.