Oregon is a special place. There’s diverse beauty everywhere from the rugged coastline to Deschutes National Forest, the Willamette Valley and Painted Hills of eastern Oregon. We’re lucky to get views of the Three Sisters Mountains while driving down the street, Mount Hood from the Columbia River Gorge (and its seemingly endless waterfalls), and we don’t even have to pump our own gas. To be fair the reasons why there’s no place like Oregon could go on forever, but these are just ten of our favorite things about this Pacific Northwest state.
1. The rugged coast
Oregon’s stretch of the Pacific coast is about as enchanting as it gets. A scenic road trip up Highway 101 will take you past everything from charming small towns to off-shore sea stacks, tide pools, sandy beaches and historic lighthouses.
2. The lush forests
Oregon is the perfect place to get lost in the woods. The state has 11 National Forests total – from Deschutes to Umpqua and beyond – with trees like mixed Confiers and Douglas-firs. They provide miles of quiet hiking trails, and plenty of campsites where you can stay the night.
3. The mountains
What’s even more amazing? Many of Oregon’s major peaks are actually old extinct volcanoes. Even after living here for awhile it’s always mesmerizing to see our highest peaks looming in the horizon – like Mount Hood, pictured above.
4. The deepest lake in the country
Have you ever seen a lake so blue and pristine? With a depth of about 1,949 feet, Crater Lake is renowned as the deepest lake in the whole U.S. The water, known for its picture perfect clarity, fills a caldera that was formed by the collapse of an old volcano.
5. The dreamy waterfalls
There’s something really magical about Oregon’s waterfalls. Maybe it’s because they’re surrounded by lush green forest. Or maybe it’s because there’s so many of them that you don’t even have to leave your car to see one. Whatever the reason, they’re always breathtaking to see. You can even find ten of them in a row on this amazing loop in Silver Falls State Park.
6. The outdoor opportunities
Not only do we have forest and mountains for hiking, but the things to do here are basically endless. You can go kayaking or canoeing on our many beautiful lakes, find world-class fishing and windsurfing by the Columbia River Gorge, or hit the slopes across our many skiing and snowboarding resorts. However you like getting fresh air and sunshine, there’s a perfect place in Oregon to do it.
7. We don’t have to pump our own gas
You can spot a tourist in Oregon when they pull up to a Chevron and get out to pump their own gas. Oregon is one of the only two states with laws prohibiting drivers from refueling their cars (the other state being New Jersey). The service was enacted as a safety concern for the public, but really it just means we get to relax and let someone else take care of the work.
8. We have a unique state flag
Considering how unique we are, it’s not surprising that Oregon’s state flag is the only one in the U.S. with different designs on each side. On the front is the escutcheon from the state seal, and on the back is a gold figure of a beaver, the state animal.
9. The beer & wine
Oregon’s climate is perfect for growing hops & grapes to make into beer & wine. The Willamette Valley is especially known for making smooth Pinot Noirs, and the variety accounts for about 73% of all grapes grown in the region. Or if beer’s more your speed, our state’s dotted with about 230 local brewing companies that serve a great variety of hoppy craft beers. (A few of our favorites: Ninkasi, Deschutes, Rogue, Widmer, and Full Sail)
10. We’re sustainable
We’re surrounded by a beautiful environment in Oregon and we know it. We don’t just recycle and compost, but we also generate renewable energy from tons of small wind turbines. It’s almost impossible to drive through the Columbia River Gorge without seeing these wind farms that help power rural homes, farms, ranches and businesses.
Why do you love Oregon? Share your favorite reasons with us in the comments below.