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I just came back from a whirlwind tour through the state of Oregon. In the span of 8 days we traveled almost 2500 km, visited 8 cities, passed through many more, relaxed on 4 beaches, and visited numerous national and state parks. We also ate a lot. That’s a lot of driving and memories being made!
There were a couple key things that we knew we wanted to do:
- We wanted to see the Oregon Coast.
- We wanted to go on the sand dunes.
- We wanted to explore Crater Lake.
- We wanted to do lots of eating in Portland.
So with those 4 criteria in mind, we planned our ultimate Oregon experience. We wanted to limit the amount of driving we would do between places so that we can maximize our destinations. I’m excited to share these highlights from my trip, but I’ll be writing more about each attraction and experience in depth in the weeks to come.
Note: This post contains affiliate links, meaning if you book or buy something through one of these links, I may earn a small commission (at no extra cost to you!). Read my full disclosure policy here.
Have you ever noticed that the state of Oregon looks kind of like a piece of toast? My tour guide in Portland said something about it and now I can’t unsee it.
Here is a quick overview of our route and what I would different if I were to do this again.
Day 1: Driving to Portland
Driving from Vancouver to Portland was relatively uneventful. We wanted to get to Portland as quickly as possible. We stopped briefly in Olympia to check out the capitol building and meet up with Samantha and Yeison of My Tan Feet who were visiting. It’s always so awesome to meet other travel bloggers!
In Portland, we had a meal at the famous Pok Pok, checked out a bar arcade before getting some doughnuts from the famous Voodoo doughnuts.
Day 2: Portland to Seaside
After a delicious brunch and a quick stop to buy my new GoPro, we were off to the coast! I had been to Seaside once briefly and really wanted to see more of the town. I was a bit disappointed by the city and it didn’t live up to my memories of it. We had a terrible dinner experience that night which ended up ruining our experience in this city.
We took a quick detour up to Astoria and visited the Astoria column, saw some sea lions and met the loveliest person at Visitor Information. She recommended we take the drive out to see the Peter Iredale Shipwreck and I’m so glad we did. Hands down one of the coolest things I did this whole trip.
Day 3: Seaside to Lincoln City
Leaving Seaside and going to Cannon Beach was like a breath of fresh air. The fog had burned off, the sun was out and it was even warm. We had a beach morning and left as the wind was picking up and the fog was coming back in.
A quick stop in Tillamook to visit the Tillamook Cheese Factory and learn about all things cheese making is a great rest stop. Plus, cheese samples! Working in the food manufacturing industry, this stop was really fascinating to me.
In Lincoln City, we didn’t do too much except hang out on the beach. We built a bonfire despite the high winds. Hurray for outdoor skills! It was ridiculously cold and the wind didn’t help. I eventually hid back in our hotel room because it was way too cold.
Day 4: Lincoln City to Florence
This portion of the drive was the most beautiful of all of our coastal drives. As you turn corners you’re greeted with breathtaking views after breathtaking views.
We had wanted to stop along the way to see the sea lions, but when we pulled up we were informed that the elevator down to them was broken and we couldn’t go. The cameras they had in the caves didn’t show many of them so maybe they weren’t around anyways (that’s what I’m going with to make myself feel better). I was really looking forward to seeing them! It just means I’ll have to go back and do the trip all over again.
Day 5: Florence to Roseburg
This was the day we went on our sand dune tour which was the most exhilarating thing to do and would recommend everyone to go for it.
While they make it sound like an extreme experience, there are only one or two drops that make you get that stomach in throat feeling. Otherwise it’s just a really fun ride and be prepared for sand. Sand everywhere in places you would never expect it to be. Seriously! A MUST!
Day 6: Roseburg to Eugene via Crater Lake
Our sand dune guide the previous day suggested we stop along the way to Crater Lake at Toketee Falls which ended up being a massive detour. We went too far, got lost and when we eventually found the falls, we realized how stupid we were in missing the sign for it. It’s right off the highway!
Crater Lake was an amazing experience and stunningly beautiful. I’ll just leave you with this image.
The drive to Eugene that night was pretty eventful. We drove through a fire zone. As we got closer and closer the air got thick with smoke and you couldn’t see the sky. I was worried for a moment that they wouldn’t let us through. The highway was open though.
As we drove past a ranger stop you could see lines and lines of firetrucks and firefighters resting from tackling the fire. It was a very surreal and humbling moment.
Day 7: Eugene to Portland
The drive from Eugene to Portland was uneventful. With no sales tax in the state, we stopped briefly at Woodburn Outlets so I could buy a windbreaker (seriously, should have gotten this before going to the coast), and then hit up the fantastic food carts of Portland.
I went on a walking tour of Portland before having a fantastic elk burger. To cap off the night? One last visit to Voodoo Doughnuts of course.
Day 8: Driving home
Saturdays in Portland mean a visit to the Saturday Market which was filled with artisans selling their fare. After that it was time to head back to Vancouver.
A trip to Trader Joe’s to stock up and we were on our way. Sort of. Traffic was terrible the whole way and what should have been a 6-hour drive, morphed into an 8 hour one.
So there you have it, a quick overview of my 8 days in Oregon. I really had a fantastic time exploring the state and it has so much to offer. There is still so much more of the coast to explore and one day I’d love to take the time and keep driving down Highway 101 into California. I’ve only visited 2 of their self-proclaimed 7 Wonders of Oregon and if these two were any indication of what else is to come, then I can’t wait to see the rest!
Have you been to Oregon? What were some of your highlights? If not, where would you like to go?