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Oregon

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Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Oregon

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Introduction

Multnomah Falls in Autumn

Multnomah Falls in Autumn

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Oregon is a state in the northwest of the USA. It joined the US in 1859 as the 33rd state. It borders Washington to the north, Idaho to the east and California and Nevada to the south. The coastline hugs the Pacific Ocean. It covers nearly 100,000 square miles and Salam is the capital, while Portland is the biggest city. Oregon is a state with magnificent nature, fantastic forests, hiking and the famous Crater Lake as one of its highlights.

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Geography

The mountainous regions of western Oregon, home to three of the most prominent mountain peaks of the United States including Mount Hood, were formed by the volcanic activity of Juan de Fuca Plate, a tectonic plate that poses a continued threat of volcanic activity and earthquakes in the region. The Columbia River, which forms much of the northern border of Oregon, also played a major role in the region's geological evolution, as well as its economic and cultural development. The Columbia is one of North America's largest rivers, and one of two rivers to cut through the Cascades (the Klamath River in Southern Oregon is the other). Today, Oregon's landscape varies from rain forest in the Coast Range to barren desert in the southeast, which still meets the technical definition of a frontier. Oregon is 475 kilometres north to south and 636 kilometres east to west at longest distance. Oregon is the ninth largest state, covering 254,810 km2). The highest point in Oregon is the summit of Mount Hood, at 3,426 metres, and its lowest point is sea level of the Pacific Ocean along the Oregon coast. Crater Lake National Park is the state's only national park and the site of Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S. at 592 metres. Oregon claims the D River is the shortest river in the world, though the American state of Montana makes the same claim of its Roe River.

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Cities

  • Beaverton
  • Bend is a fun ski town/rafting town with a good nightlife.
  • Corvallis
  • Eugene
  • Gresham
  • Hillsboro
  • Hood River is funky tourist town with great wind surfing and fun breweries.
  • Medford
  • Portland is considered one of the most popular cities in America.
  • Salem, the state's capital.
  • Springfield

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Sights and Activities

  • Crater Lake National Park

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Events and Festivals

  • Gold Beach Brew & Art Festival (07 Sep 2013 - 07 Sep 2013) - 40+ Craft brews, plus music, art, food, all at The Event Center on the Beach, in Gold Beach, Oregon. Always the Saturday after Labor Day. Located on the Pacific Ocean and the Rogue River. Plenty of nearby hotels withing walking distance. Address: The Event Center on the Beach, Gold Beach, OR 97444, Phone: 541-490-1593, Hours: Noon to 10:00pm, Price: $10 adv, $15 the day

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Weather

Oregon's climate varies greatly from the western and eastern regions of the state. An oceanic climate (also called "west coast marine climate") predominates in Western Oregon, and a much drier semi-arid climate prevails east of the Cascade Range in Eastern Oregon. Major factors determining Oregon's climate include the large semi-permanent high pressure and low pressure systems of the north Pacific Ocean, the continental air masses of North America, and the Cascade mountains. Oregon's population centers, which lie mostly in the western part of the state, are generally moist and mild, while the lightly populated high deserts of Central and Eastern Oregon are much drier. Precipitation in the state varies widely: the deserts of eastern Oregon, such as the Alvord Desert (in the rain shadow of Steens Mountain), get as little as 200 mm annually, while some western coastal slopes approach 5,000 mm annually. Oregon has a wide range of temperature extremes throughout the state, varying from a low of -48 °C to a high of 48 °C, though these record temperatures are rarely experienced. The temperature in the Willamette Valley is mild compared to the desert regions of the state, with high temperatures at or above 32 °C occurring only five to fifteen times per year, and low temperatures below zero are similarly infrequent. The hottest area of the state is the southwest; Jackson County is the warmest place in the state during summer.

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Getting There

By Plane

Portland International Airport (IATA: PDX, ICAO:KPDX) has numerous connections to other states and cities in the United States and destinations further away, for example to Canada and Japan. The budget airlines Southwest Airlines, Frontier Airlines and Jet Blue Airways operate out of this airport.

By Train

The Amtrak Cascades (Multiple Departures Daily, 10 hours 25 minutes) links Vancouver in British Columbia, Canada and Seattle, with Portland, Salem and Eugene in Oregon.
The Coast Starlight travels between Seattle and Los Angeles, via Portland and a number of other places in Oregon.

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Getting Around

By Car

Many international rental companies have a wide selection of rental cars and these include Hertz, Avis, Dollar, Thrifty, Enterprise, Budget and Alamo/National. Most companies will require you are at least 25 years of age, although younger people might be able to rent cars at slightly higher rates and with some insurance differences as well. A national driver's license is usually enough, but an additional international one is recommended. Also note that it usually costs more to include lots of other extra things. For example extra drivers, GPS, the first full tank, SLI (Supplemental Liability Insurance), PAI (Personal Accident Insurance, usually covered already at home), road assistance/service plan, and drop-off costs for one-way rentals.
If you want to book a car, it is recommended that you book your car before arriving in the USA. This is almost always (much) cheaper compared to just showing up. Also, try and book with a so-called 'broker', which usually works together with a few or many car rental companies and can offer the best deal. Some examples include Holidayautos, Holidaycars and Sunny Cars. Some of the cheapest deals to book from Europe, includes Drive-USA, which also has a German version.

For more information and tips about renting cars and campers, additional costs, insurance, traffic rules, scenic routes and getting maps and fuel it is advised to check the USA Getting Around section.

Oregon has a number of National Scenic Byways which offer a great way to explore the state crossing beautiful landscapes. Mostly, there are lots of national parks, state parks or monuments along the way and it's generally a better alternative than the faster but boring Interstate Highways.

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Sleep

Hotel and Motel Chains

There are dozens of hotel and motel chains, ranging from budget to top end. Allthough they are not the most charming accommodations, they usually have a very decent midrange service with good rooms and are generally good value. At least you know what to expect and in some cases they are either the only or the best option in the area. Some of them include:

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Contributors

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Oregon Travel Helpers

  • FINALLYTHERE

    Live in Portland, OR - love hiking and the outdoors, as I travel I find out how special Oregon is in terms of wilderness and hiking grounds - a passion, I will gladly share about Oregon with those who are interested.

    Would love to help, pass on good information and experiences

    Ask FINALLYTHERE a question about Oregon

This is version 21. Last edited at 8:33 on Dec 27, 12 by Utrecht. 22 articles link to this page.

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