Oregon state in the Pacific Northwest is thought of as a crunchy-granola eco-friendly type of place: Its population is progressive and "green-minded," known for walking and bicycling to work and embracing public transportation. Oregon is also literally green, as the forested Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood attest. It's a diverse place, though, with sandy beaches, microbreweries and an award-winning wine growing region. In the eastern part of the state, you'll come across desert land and Hells Canyon, a deep, deep river gorge.
The city of Portland emerges from the forest with its parks, farmers' markets, and vibrant art scene -- it's hard to miss Portlandia, an enormous hammered copper sculpture in the Cultural District. Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge pull visitors from the city with the 600+ feet drop of Multnomah Falls waterfall. Take the kids to A.C. Gilberts Discovery Village, in state capital Salem, a quirky interactive museum with both indoor and outdoor exhibits.
Eating and Drinking
You can practically trip over them, there are so many brewpubs in Oregon, but Rogue in Portland incorporates its brews into its sauces and bread-based dishes too. A laid-back vibe pervades Eugene, but you can still dine fine at Adam's Place on fresh, seasonal fare, such as a plate of Northwest artisanal cheeses. Oregonians love their local Dungeness crab -- so much so they added it to their official state symbols list in 2009.
In the winter, hit the slopes at night in Mt. Hood's Ski Bowl or under a technicolor blue sky at Bend's Mount Bachelor. Sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and lakes, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area is known for its hiking, fishing and canoeing but riding the dunes on a buggy is especially popular. Class IV and V rapids await fearless rafters on the Owyhee River, in Eastern Oregon.
There's nearly 363 miles of Oregon coastline to explore, but the Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor's little crescents of sand form some of the prettiest, most secluded and least visited beaches. Oregon's climate is especially hospitable toward award-winning pinot noirs -- sample a few at some of the 200 wineries dotted about the Willamette Valley in north-western Oregon.