1. Hiking in the Columbia River Gorge.
Oregonians are pretty spoiled when it comes to nature, and a ramble in the Columbia River Gorge, or the Gorge, as locals call it, involves lots of forest, roaring waterfalls, and stunning cliff views. Given the crazy number of hiking and biking trails along this 80 mile stretch you’ll never get bored of the Gorge.
2. Local craft beer.
If there’s one thing Oregon does well, it would be brewing some kick ass craft beer. The state is home to Deschutes Brewery, Rogue Ales Brewery, Full Sail Brewing Co., to mention a few. The Pacific Northwest also happens to be the region where hops are grown in the U.S., so get used to freshly tapped beer.
3. Cruising all those scenic byways.
Oregon also has loads of scenic routes. So whether you’re headed for a rip down a canyon river gorge or a mountain drive, it’s pretty hard not to get lost on some stretch of road. The drive through Mount Hood National Forest will take you through a forest road of old-growth Douglas fir, not to mention a killer view of Mount Hood.
4. Tillamook Cheese.
You won’t be able to get enough Tillamook cheddar. Cheese and other dairy products like ice cream and yogurt are produced at the Cheese Factory, where you can even go on a cheese tasting tour. Everything is fresh from the farm as Oregonians wouldn’t have it any other way.
5. The coast.
Summer is when Oregonians head to coastal towns like Cannon Beach and Coos Bay to get out of the city and relax. However, the coast is equally as brilliant during stormy winter months. If you’re lucky you may spot some migrating whales while hiking Cape Lookout. If you have time to spare, a slow drive down Oregon’s 101 gives you a chance to find some cool hikes and see some lighthouses. Just be sure to stop often or you might miss out on something awesome, like climbing the sand dunes at Siuslaw National Forest.
6. Soaking it up in one of Oregon’s natural hot springs.
Whether it’s bathing in the wild at Terwilliger amongst freewheeling naked folks or chilling in your favorite secret spot, you’re bound to get addicted to Oregon’s thermal pools. If sharing a pool with a bunch of nude people isn’t your thing, there are also resorts like Breitenbush Hot Springs. Whatever your scene is, you’ll soon learn why rainy season really isn’t that bad at all.
7. Watching flicks in a McMenamins theater pub.
Food, booze, and movies? Yup, you’ll get too used to the idea of catching a movie while enjoying a beer and burger — all while sitting in say, an ornate domed structure originally built in the early 20th century. Sounds a hell lot better than multiplex cinema. Even though McMenamins is a local chain, each location is different. For instance, some are converted schools or churches. And while most of the films are second run, $4 ticket prices and beer is something you’d be hard pressed to find at a movie theater elsewhere.
8. Having rainforest and desert all in one state.
When people hear Oregon, they think Portland and rain. Yes, we do get a good amount of rainfall, which is responsible for all the vivid greenery here. But this all changes once you head east of the Cascades to the high desert, where sagebrush replaces Douglas fir. Yeah, we’re spoiled as hell living here.
9. Not pumping your own gas.
Call us lazy, but who wants to stand outside on a dreary day pumping gas? In Oregon, you have attendants who will do this for you. Now you have a whole extra five minutes to attend to your smartphone habit.
Mount Hood gets most of the attention since it’s close to Portland and it has the Timberline Lodge, a great spot to relax after a day on the slopes or a hike. Yet, Mount Bachelor, Three Sisters, and Mount Jefferson are equally game for a jaunt into the wilderness. That’s what you get for living within driving distance of the Cascade Range.
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