Often referred to as “that one state above California”, Oregon has been a place invisible to most people. It rarely makes it onto anyone’s bucket list, and unless you have a relative around, chances are you won’t feel the need to make a trip to this side of the West Coast. I personally think Oregon has been completely underrated, so I compiled a list of 10 reasons why you need to visit this hidden gem of the United States.
1. Trees. Cedar, Maple, Cottonwood-you name it.
Yes, we are talking about real trees that grow in natural environments. With green leaves and hundreds of feet tall, Oregon’s bountiful amounts of trees take nature to a whole other level. It is known that Oregon is famous for its endless amounts of rain, but the aftermath of it all is what makes this place awesome. When road-tripping through the state, you are bound to end up on a one lane road driving through forests of trees. Hiking is typically through the woods. This seems like a strange phenomenon. You’ve simply got to see it in order to recognize the true beauty of Oregon’s plentiful trees.
2. Water. Salt, fresh, rain, snow water…
The list goes on and on. We’ve got water of all shapes and sizes (jealous California?) Oregon boasts dozens of rivers, lakes, and streams that allow for unlimited swimming, fishing, boating, or anything else your heart desires. Ever wanted to visit 10 full-sized waterfalls in one 7 mile hike? Oregon can help you accomplish that! Rarely is any of the water man-made, thanks to the generous contributions of places like the Columbia and Willamette River, or the ice on top of Mt. Hood.
3. Beaches from top to bottom.
Speaking of water, the Oregon beach is a little known beauty of the world. Rarely crowded, the beaches are all public here, meaning you can walk from the top of Oregon to the very bottom without trespassing through private land or paying a fee. Each beach is famous for something different. Lincoln City is the perfect place for kites and shopping. Seaside has carousels, beach volleyball and delicious ice cream. There are beaches with waterfalls pouring onto them, rivers transporting water to and from the ocean to lakes, and beaches that require you to hike up and down through forests to get to them. There is truly no place like the Oregon beach.
4. Adventure in all directions.
From land to water Oregon has the ultimate adventure in store for you. There is endless hiking, camping and bike riding all around. It is easy for those that love water to ski, kayak, surf, or go boating. For those daring folks that love climbing, rocks, trees and mountains are easily accessible for you to embrace your inner child. Adventure surrounds you in the beautiful Oregon-you’ve just got to find it.
5. People: From wild and reckless to friendly and sweet…
There’s something about the people of Oregon, though it’s hard to put in words. Oregon is full of diverse people with all sorts of ancestries. The stereotype is typically active, adventurous hippies as well as many crazy locals. Well America, you’re not too far off. Based on personal experience, most of these traits prove to be true in some form. Everyone is weird, and we are all proud of that. It’s what makes Oregon’s population different than any other.
The motto of this city is “Keep Portland Weird”, therefore people definitely strive to make it appear that way. Street performers, food trucks and antique markets line the streets during the daytime. Events are always happening. What makes us stand out, are places like Voodoo Donuts where you can buy donuts with all sorts of sexual names. We host an event called the Naked Bike Ride, which gathers more and more people each year. Many things that make Portland strange the locals may not even realize. Many people bike everywhere, eat organically and think dreadlocks and tie-dye shirts are amazing.
7. Fresh and local ingredients
Depending on the day of the week, there is always a way to get fresh food. Saturday markets will fill your belly with fruit, honey and homemade pastries. Farms out in the countryside provide berries, eggs from their chickens or milk from their cows. We even have the Tillamook Cheese Factory which has delicious ice cream and cheese made from farm animals. Even grocery stores advertise organic, local products. Even if it costs a little more, you can taste the difference, and it’s oh-so good.
8. No Sales Tax
Now this is something Oregonians really take for granted. We are the proud lone-survivor of the Sales Tax laws that exists in every other state. When you go to the Dollar Store here, you can expect to ACTUALLY pay a dollar! No tricks or hidden fees. Everything is truly “price-as-marked”.
9. City, country and everything in between
All you can dream of in Oregon typically lies within an hour or two of where you’re staying. For most people that come from the Portland area, as well as numerous other cities, the beach is to your left, and the mountains are to your right, while the Columbia River is straight up North. Not a bad deal. Talk about day trips-just pick a direction and go! You can’t go wrong.
*This is just a 5 minute walk from my house
10. People pump your own gas
This isn’t necessarily a reason to come visit Oregon, but it’s an added bonus for those that drive through. Residents here consistently shut down any and all proposals for pumping our own gas. It’s always a great feeling pulling up to a gas station and simply rolling down your window and letting the workers do the rest. Nothing to complain about there!