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Travel Guide North America USA Western United States Oregon

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Introduction

God Bless

God Bless

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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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Regions

  • Portland Metropolitan Area
  • Central Oregon - With broad vistas of the Cascades to the west and the High Desert to the east, offering year-round outdoor activities.
  • Mt. Hood and Columbia Gorge - High waterfalls, steep precipices and high winds along the Columbia River make the Gorge a destination for sightseers and windsurfers alike.
  • Eastern Oregon - Sparsely populated desert plains and rugged mountain ranges offer remote solitude with some unique surprises for intrepid explorers.
  • Oregon Coast - The state's spectacular rugged coastline is lined with plentiful public beaches and cozy coastal towns ideal for beach-combers and curio shoppers.
  • Southern Oregon - Old-growth forests, world-class fishing, breath-taking waterfalls, and an emerging wine region are some of this region's diverse attractions.
  • Willamette Valley - Metro centers offer artistic, musical, and cultural diversions, while open farmland and numerous wineries provide ample tasting opportunities for food and drink connoisseurs.

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Cities

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Sights and Activities

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake, Oregon

Crater Lake, Oregon

© All Rights Reserved LordGibil

Crater Lake National Park is a United States National Park located in southern Oregon. Established in 1902, Crater Lake National Park is the fifth oldest national park in the United States and the only one in the state of Oregon. The park encompasses the caldera of Crater Lake, a remnant of a destroyed volcano, Mount Mazama, and the surrounding hills and forests. The lake is 592 metres deep at its deepest point, which makes it the deepest lake in the United States, the second deepest in North America and the ninth deepest in the world. The lake's water commonly has a striking blue hue, and the lake is re-filled entirely from direct precipitation in the form of snow and rain. The 33-mile Rim Drive encircles Crater Lake, giving varied perspectives of the lake, rim, and surrounding terrain. Open only during the summer from late June to mid-October, there are many overlooks with interpretive signs. The only access to the lake itself is by steep trail to Cleetwood Cove, where boat tours of the lake are offered.

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Events and Festivals

Holidays

  • New Year’s Eve - The US celebrates the outgoing of the old year and incoming of the New Year quite dramatically. Every state boasts its own parties to ring in the New Year, but none is more extravagant than New York’s Time Square, which sees people overflowing into the neighboring restaurants, bars, parks, beaches, and neighborhoods.
  • St Patrick’s Day - March 17 celebrates the US’s large Irish population. Many cities around the country boast boisterous parades and Irish-themed parties, especially New York and Chicago, where the river is dyed green. Be wary of the drunkenness that dominates as this is definitely a party-day.
  • Memorial Day - Memorial Day is an important holiday throughout the United States, but not for crazy festivities. Parades commemorating wartime heroes are often held and the day is also the ‘unofficial’ start of summer. Most visitors follow the crowds to parks and beaches, which are capped off with informal BBQs.
  • Independence Day - Also known as the Fourth of July, Independence Day celebrates the US’s break from the British during the 18th century. Barbecues, street parties, beach trips, and weekend getaways are commonplace to appreciate freedom.
  • Halloween - Halloween is a fun holiday on October 31 for all generations to dress up in costumes and relive their youth. Children walk around the neighborhood trick-or-treating for candy, while adults attend parties. Other seasonal events include haunted houses, pumpkin farms and carving, and corn mazes.
  • Thanksgiving - On the fourth Thursday in November, Thanksgiving is held in almost every home in the US. Tourists will have a hard time finding anything to do as the country essentially shuts down in observation. A typical Thanksgiving meal consists of turkey, stuffing, mashed potatoes and pumpkin pie commemorating the original Pilgrim’s feast at Plymouth Rock.
  • Christmas - On December 25, Christians celebrate Christmas as the pinnacle of their calendar by attending church and opening gifts from Santa Claus. Almost everything shuts down to promote family togetherness. The northern regions hope to experience a “white Christmas,” with trees and festive lights blanketed by snow.

Sport

  • Super Bowl Sunday - the world’s most watched sporting event and one of the highest grossing TV days of the year, Superbowl Sunday is a spectacular extravaganza. Held the first Sunday in February, the Superbowl is the final playoff game between the NFL’s top two teams. The venue rotates every year around America, yet the local parties seem to remain. Pubs, bars and restaurants are great places to enjoy the Superbowl or locals throw their own parties with different variations of betting.

Others 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.

By Car

Oregon has numerous roads into the state from its neighbours:

  • From California, the only freeway is Interstate 5, which taken north from Shasta crosses the Siskiyou Mountains and into the upper Willamette Valley and most of the state's largest cities. If traveling to the Oregon Coast, U.S. Highway 101 is a more scenic option connecting California's northern coast with Oregon's. To the east side of the Cascades, U.S. Highways 97 and 395 offer good quality roads to access Central and Eastern Oregon.
  • From Washington, the most common entry is across the Interstate 5 and Interstate 205 bridges in the Portland Metropolitan Area. There are several other crossing points along the states' shared Columbia River border for regional travelers, including the impressive causeway on U.S. Highway 101 at the mouth of the Columbia River in Astoria. Further east, if coming from Spokane or Yakima areas, Interstate 82 crosses into the state near its northeastern corner. A very scenic route also exits along the Columbia River on US Hwy 12 (north end) and US Hwy 730 (south end). This joins Interstate 84 in eastern Oregon.
  • From Idaho, Interstate 84 is the primary way into the state, crossing the Snake River at Ontario and continuing across the Blue Mountains and through the Columbia Gorge into Portland. Additionally, U.S. Highways 20 and 26, which enter the state near Nyssa, offer routes across the middle of Eastern Oregon, cross the Cascades and Willamette Valley, and terminate at the Oregon Coast. Several smaller roads cross the border for local access.
  • From Nevada, there are limited options due to the sparsely populated nature of the Great Basin region. U.S. Highway 95 is the largest road to cross the border, but is in fact primarily a route from Central Nevada into Western Idaho. To access most of Oregon by way of Highway 95, it is necessary to use Oregon Route 78 to cut over to U.S. Highway 20 or to use Nevada and Oregon Route 140 to access Southern Oregon destinations. From most of Nevada it is more convenient to use routes through California to get to Oregon.

By Bus

Greyhound and Boltbus offers connections to other states and into Canada.

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Getting Around

By Train

Three Amtrak routes are available for traveling around Oregon, all of which meet at Portland Union Station. The Coast Starlight stops in Portland, Salem, Albany, Eugene, Chemult, and Klamath Falls. The Cascades runs buses as well as trains through the Portland–Eugene corridor with additional stops in Oregon City (by train) and Woodburn (by bus). The Empire Builder follows the Columbia River on the Washington side and stops in Bingen (across the river from Hood River) and Wishram (a few miles upstream from The Dalles).

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.

By Bus

Greyhound directly serves communities along Interstate 5 (Corvallis, Eugene, Grants Pass, Medford, Portland, Roseburg, Salem, and Woodburn) and Interstate 84 (Baker City, Hood River, La Grande, Ontario, Pendleton, Stanfield, and The Dalles).

Oregon Point offers lots of services throughout the state as well.

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Eat

Smoked salmon is a typically Oregonian dish that has been eaten here since pre-Columbian times.
Food carts have become a popular alternative to restaurants in Oregon cities.
Oregon is known for its berries, especially cranberries and marionberries (first bred in Oregon). The Oregon grape is the state flower but, while edible, it is not commonly eaten.

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Drink

From the coastal hamlets to the valley cities to the remote towns of the high desert, Oregonians drink, and proudly. Because of the growing wine and microbrewery industries in the state which produce drink of world-class quality, having a tipple and touring beverage facilities is a popular pastime for Oregon residents and tourists alike. It is occasionally joked that one cannot throw a cat in the city of Portland without hitting a bar (though one shouldn't: the PETA people there can be touchy and rather humorless, especially regarding the hurling of cute little kitties), while most other towns of any appreciable size have at least two places in which one can imbibe. Yes, the drinking culture here is strong, and if you like to pickle your giblets then you'll be in heaven.

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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

as well as lhammer610 (3%), Lavafalls (3%), Peter (1%)

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

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