The Oregon top ten bucket list of places: have you been to them all?

Need some Oregon vacation ideas for the best places to visit in Oregon? How about an awesome place to explore to break out of the daily grind? With so much beauty in Oregon and so many exciting things to do here, it’s certainly not easy making a list of Oregon places to visit. While we couldn’t of course cover it all, I think we did a pretty good job here highlighting some of the best parts about our state.

1) Mount Hood

Travel Portland

Mount Hood By Extreme Oregon (With Permission)

When people think of ski resorts in Oregon, they often think of Timberline Lodge and Mt Hood Meadows.  Not a lot of people realize just how much Mt. Hood has to offer year round however.  Sure, you can’t ski or snowboard year round, but in the summer there’s an adventure park with over 20 attractions, including: zip lines, bungee jumps, obstacle courses, rock walls, go carts, mountain biking, hiking trails, mini golf, disc golf, batting cages, and a tree top ropes course to name a few.  Let’s also not forget about visiting Trillium Lake and hiking throughout the Mt. Hood wilderness area.

2) Wildlife Safari

Visit Oregon

Wildlife Safari by Wes Dickinson via Flickr

The Wildlife Safari in Winston Oregon is an amazing place to visit whether you’re an adult or taking your family.  This place isn’t just a zoo, it’s a safari experience.  Get more information about the park here.

3) Sea Lion Caves

Sea Lion Caves By Tony Cyphert via Flickr

Sea Lion Caves By Tony Cyphert via Flickr

Not many people know that Oregon is home to America’s largest Sea Cave, and that this Sea Cave is home to hundreds of wild sea lions.  Sea Lion Caves is truly a magical experience any time of year.  If you want to visit, look at their page first to see prices and learn some interesting information and history of the caves.

4) Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake Extreme Oregon

Crater Lake National Park By Extreme Oregon (With Permission)

When people across the US think about Oregon, they think of the Oregon Trail and Crater Lake.  In fact, many thousands of visitors from other states and countries come to Oregon every year just to visit Crater Lake and take in the stunning vistas.  A lot of people take a leisurely drive around the Rim Drive in summer, but don’t realize how much there is to do inside Crater Lake National Park.  There are waterfalls to see, trails to hike, fishing and camping opportunities, and interpretive visitors centers.  Don’t forget to visit the pinnacles.  If you want to stay for a few days, you can branch out your exploration to the nearby Union Creek area, the Diamond Lake area, or take a drive along the Rogue-Umpqua Scenic byway to view dozens of beautiful waterfalls.

5) Silver Falls State Park

Silver Creek Falls Extreme Oregon

Silver Falls State Park By Extreme Oregon (With Permission)

If you’ve never been to Silver Falls State Park then you’re missing out.  Maybe you just don’t want to walk behind a 177 foot waterfall, enjoy the lush forested scenery, swim in blissfully cool waters, or take a hike around the moderate 7.2 mile Trail of Ten Falls.  While it can be crowded in the warm months, this is an ideal place to get out and just enjoy nature.  There are also camp sites, picnic areas, and horseshoe pits.

6) Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum

Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum By Ed Blerman via flickr

Evergreen Aviation And Space Museum By Ed Blerman via flickr

Have you ever heard of the Spruce Goose, the largest wooden airplane ever made that flies?  I bet you didn’t know this historical plane (also the subject of the movie the Aviator) resides at the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum in McMinnville Oregon.  This is one of the coolest museums in Oregon and you’re sure to have a great time.  If you’re on the coast, you may also want to consider checking out the equally cool Tilamook Air Museum.  Or if you really love airplanes and want to see both museums in one day, they are only an hour and half drive from each other.

7) Oneonta Gorge

Oneonta Gorge Extreme Oregon

Oneonta Gorge By Extreme Oregon (With Permission)

Oneonta Gorge is one of those secret hidden beautiful places in Oregon that isn’t really a secret anymore. It can be crowded in the summer, but it’s well worth the visit if you don’t have children with you.  Go on an adventure and hike through the cool waters of Oneonta Gorge to see the waterfall at the very end.  Be sure to bring your camera (if you can waterproof it) and wear clothing you don’t mind getting wet up to your chest.  As always, remember that hiking or exploring is done at your own risk.

8) OMSI

OMSI by Fabi Dorighello via Flickr

OMSI by Fabi Dorighello via Flickr

The Oregon Museum Of Science And Industry is a super awesome interactive museum for kids, located in Portland.  The exhibits change several times a year, so it’s worth going back every few months to see what’s new.  From the physics of skateboarding, to the miracle of birth, and exhibits that allow you to create your own invention, this is sure to be a hit with your entire family.  Whenever we go we are never able to make it through the entire museum in one day as it is so big and there is so much to do and see.  Your best bet is to go on a weekday and avoid weekends as it can get crowded.

9) Oregon Coast Aquarium

Oregon Coast Aquarium by OCVA

Oregon Coast Aquarium by OCVA via Flickr

There is so much to do and see on a vacation on the Oregon coast, but your vacation wouldn’t be complete without stopping by the Oregon Coast Aquarium in Newport.  After all, where else can you get kissed by a sea lion, shake hands with an octopus or sleep with the sharks?  The aquarium has many interesting and educational exhibits but also offers behind the scene tours (including diving in some of the tanks), and programs aimed to give children ages eight through adult a hands on experience.  Be sure to check out their page to plan your visit, check schedules of behind the scene tours, and see pricing of the different programs.

10) Painted Hills

Painted Hills Extreme Oregon

The Painted Hills By Extreme Oregon (With Permission)

Yellow, gold, black and red.  That’s what you’ll see when you visit Oregon’s Painted Hills.  The hills are composed of heavily eroded volcanic ash layers, and show like a rainbow of colors.  There are three units in the John Day Fossil beds, where the painted hills are found, and because the three units are spread so far apart it’s recommended that you take at least two days to visit if you plan to see them all.  It is possible to see all three units in one day if you get a very early start.  Visit their page to learn more about the incredible history of this beautiful place before you go.

How many of these places have you been to?  What would you include on your own personal top ten list of places to visit in Oregon?  Let us know in a comment or on Facebook.

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