Most visitors bound to the Pacific Northwest for pleasure purposes come in summer. Then the valleys are sunny, the beaches less blustery and the roads snow free. But if your work schedule is making summer Oregon travel difficult, you’ve come to the right place. We’re here to tell you the best places to aim for based on the season. Of course, we’re no guaranteer of weather, but with a little luck you just might find this state your dream vacation year-round.
Winter can definitely be dreary in these parts, particularly along the northern Oregon Coast where it tends to rain for days on end. The solution? Take your Oregon travel inland to the state’s mountainous backbone. Find two major ski resorts, Mount Bachelor and Mount Hood, as well as numerous snow play parks and national forest open to those equipped with snowshoes or cross-country skies. We also like Crater Lake National Park a lot in winter; as one of the snowiest spots in the Northwest you can expect to find the roads closed, but adventurous sorts with the right cross country gear get scenery and fresh powder for reward.
By the time winter blows itself out and spring wildflowers begin to bloom, a different set of outdoor enthusiast emerges from hibernation. Whitewater rafting season usually kicks off across the state around April, and lower elevation trails open to hikers as ski resorts shut down for the season. Spring is also a fine time to consider tackling outdoor activities in the Portland metropolitan area, from golf to downtown meanders.
Summer can be downright pleasant in the Willamette Valley, as farmers markets open for business and beaches get almost warm enough for basking (though folks, that water stays chilly year-round). Do catch an outdoor performance at the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland if you can, and spend at least one night camping under the stars somewhere along a stretch of the Pacific Crest Trail.
Mother Nature can be fickle, but overall, fall can be one of the best times to visit this pretty state. There’s less fog along the coast, the smell of harvest is in the air and summer crowds are gone. Spend some time wine tasting, beach combing or visiting places like Hells Canyon, which can get mighty hot in the middle of summer. For a mix of good autumn atmosphere and historic charm, head for small communities near Salem, Oregon, such as Silverton.