16 Things Oregon is Known and Famous For

Oh, Oregon. Take a trip here and I promise you won’t be disappointed. Oregon is a beautiful state in the Pacific Northwest, a magical place that hardly feels like it’s part of the U.S.

Oregon is famous for its amazing natural wonders like Crater Lake, Mount Hood, and Cannon Beach. It’s also the home of Nike, Portland, and thousands of llamas. Sound interesting enough for you?

Let’s take a look at the 16 things Oregon is known for. 

1. Crater Lake

Gorgeous Crater lake on a summer day

There are a lot of beautiful places in Oregon, but Crater Lake would have to be my favorite.

With a depth of almost 2,000 feet, this lake is the deepest in the country. Since the water comes only from rain and snow melt, it’s also one of the cleanest and clearest lakes in the world. The stunning blue color is truly unbelievable.

Crater Lake was formed 7,700 years ago when a violent volcanic eruption caused Mount Mazama to collapse into itself. Now, you can enjoy the beauty of this unique formation.

Whether you choose to view it from the comfort of the Scenic Rim Drive or dare to take a dip in the chilly waters, there are endless ways to enjoy this natural wonder. 

2. Mount Hood

Mount Hood in Oregon

Speaking of volcanoes, Oregon has one stunning and potentially dangerous one: Mount Hood. It’s considered the Oregon volcano that’s most likely to erupt.

I know that sounds scary, but it turns out the actual odds are only between 3 and 7%, so I’d say it’s worth the risk.

Mount Hood is the highest mountain in Oregon, towering over the state at over 11,000 feet tall. The many ski areas, lodges, and hiking trails make it an attractive place to visit year-round. 

3. Cannon Beach

Summer sunset at Haystack Rock, an iconic monolithic rock at Cannon Beach in Clatsop County, Oregon, USA.

Another one of Oregon’s wonders is its stunning coastline. Take a drive down highway 101 and you’ll experience some of the state’s best scenery. One of the most notable, of course, is Cannon Beach.

This sandy beach is known for its dramatic rock formations that serve as homes for local birds like puffins. Nearby tide pools and coastal meadows are home to even more interesting species. Even when the sun’s not shining, there’s plenty to see here.

4. The Goonies

The famous "Goondocks" or "Goonies" hillside neighborhood in Astoria, Oregon, United States.

Lovers of this 80s classic will recognize Cannon Beach from the film’s final sequence. While Cannon Beach was featured prominently at the end of the film, most of it was actually shot on location about 30 miles north in Astoria. This quaint town served as the backdrop for the infamous quest for One Eyed Willy’s treasure.

You can still visit some of the filming locations, including the county jail, the state park where the Fratelli’s had their hideout, and the houses of some of the characters. 

5. Oregon Trail

A settlers wagon on the Oregon trail

Another piece of 80s culture that Oregon is known for is the popular Oregon Trail video game. This strategy game enlisted players to go on an adventure via covered wagon, making important survival decisions along the way to hopefully avoid dreadful fates such as dysentery. 

The game, of course, was based on the actual Oregon Trail. In the early- to mid-1800s, a 2,000-mile trail stretched from the Missouri River to the Oregon valley. It was an important trade route for settlers, farmers, miners, and ranchers. 

6. Lewis and Clark

The Lewis & Clark Monument, the 15-foot bronze monument features Meriwether Lewis and William Clark and Clark's Newfoundland dog, Seaman in Frontier Park, St Charles, Missouri, USA
Editorial credit: Malachi Jacobs / Shutterstock.com

Before the establishment of the Oregon Trail, much of America was still undiscovered by foreign settlers. Meriwether Lewis and William Clark changed that with their overland expedition. They set out from the Mississippi River Valley in 1804 and arrived in the Columbia River Basin a year later. 

Their team explored Oregon County for nine months and left a lasting impact. In honor of their expedition, there’s even a university in Portland named after them. Lewis & Clark is a private liberal arts college known for its stellar academic reputation and contribution to sustainability efforts. 

7. University of Oregon

Eugene, Oregon, USA. Autzen Stadium aerial image
Editorial credit: Manuela Durson / Shutterstock.com

Another famous college in Oregon would have to be the University of Oregon. Located in Eugene, this school’s claim to fame is its dedication to research and athletics. Their original mascot was the Webfoots, but was officially changed to the Ducks in 1978. 

While the Ducks are well-known in many sports, their football team is the most famous, recognizable by their innovative uniforms. With flashy neon colors and eye-catching designs, the team always makes a statement on the field.

8. Nike

Nike logo

A main reason for the Ducks’ cutting-edge look is their partnership with Nike. This popular athletic brand was started here in Oregon and has their headquarters right outside Portland in Beaverton.

The company was started by University of Oregon track star Phil Knight and his coach Bill Bowerman. They started by distributing shoes for a Japanese company before pivoting and making their own. With the help of amazing products and clever marketing, this small business grew into the sportswear behemoth we know today. 

9. Portland

portland sign

We can’t talk about Oregon without talking about its most famous city: Portland. While Salem is the capital, Portland is what Oregon is most known for. But don’t call it just your average city. Portland marches to the beat of its own drum.

Built on an extinct volcano, Portland is known for having a quirky personality. The comedy show Portlandia was inspired by all the interesting and offbeat characters you’ll find around town. While the show pokes fun at the city’s bookstores, art scene, and obsession with birds, locals will agree it’s not far from the truth. 

10. World’s Smallest Park

Mill Ends Park, the world's smallest park. Mill Ends Park was dedicated in 1971.
Editorial credit: Michael Gordon / Shutterstock.com

Like something out of a Parks and Recreation episode, Portland is home to the World’s Smallest Park. Mill Ends Park, located in downtown, is a small, circular park that measures just 2 feet in diameter.

The park, of course, is not much to look at. In fact, it’s not even large enough to stand in. But it’s a local attraction that has seen many improvements, including a tiny swimming pool with a diving board for butterflies, statues, and a miniature Ferris wheel. 

11. Voodoo Doughnuts

box of voodoo doughnuts

Portland has a lot of delicious food, but none is more iconic than the popular Voodoo Doughnut shop. Their signature pink boxes are always a good sign that a scrumptious bite will be in your future.

Started in 2000, the brand now has nine locations in five different states across the country. With unique and delicious flavors like Grape Ape, Bacon Maple, Mango Tango, and Ring of Fire, it’s no wonder this place always has a line around the block.  

12. Tillamook cheese

The Morning Star ship replica is seen at Tillamook Creamery, the Tillamook Cheese Factory's visitor center and a popular tourist attraction on the Oregon Coast.
Editorial credit: Tada Images / Shutterstock.com

Another delicious food that started in Oregon is Tillamook cheese. When European settlers first arrived in the Tillamook Valley in 1851, they found that all the rainy weather was great for growing grass and raising dairy cows.

Now, over a hundred years later, the Tillamook County Creamery Association is still going strong. You can visit their creamery to see how they make their famous cheese and sample some of their decadent ice cream. 

13. Llamas

llama in oregon

Dairy cows aren’t the only animals that thrive in the Oregon weather. The state is known for having the most llamas in the U.S. In fact, 25% of the American llama population lives in Oregon. 

You can get up close and personal with these furry friends at the many different llama ranches across Oregon. You can also go on hikes with the llamas, as they are ideal pack animals and trail companions. 

14. Hiking

Multnomah Falls and autumn foliage, Oregon

Whether you bring a llama or not, there are tons of amazing hiking opportunities in Oregon. Alpine lakes, waterfalls, sweeping vistas, beautiful wildflowers, and impressive gorges all await you in Oregon.

From the rocky coastline to the eastern canyons, this state has some of the most beautiful hikes in the country. Depending on your fitness level and desire for adventure, there’s something for everybody. 

15. Tide pools

Strawberry Hill Wayside Oregon USA

There are many beautiful sights to see when you gain elevation, but there are also stunning views right at sea level. The many tide pools of the Oregon coast are home to unique sea creatures of various colors.

Purple urchins, orange sea stars, and green anemones are just some of the amazing things you’ll see in the shallow waters. There are many tide pools along the rocky coast, but some of the best can be found at Arcadia Beach and Yaquina Head. 

16. Lighthouses

Heceta Head Lighthouse 

We’ve talked a lot about the Oregon Coast, probably because it’s home to some of the state’s most interesting sights. Its unique geography and rocky cliffs make it quite the challenge for local boat captains, so you’ll find 11 different lighthouses scattered along the shore. 

The lighthouses are a mix of public and private, historic and modern. One of the most popular ones to visit is Heceta Head, which features a bed and breakfast where you can enjoy views of the mighty Pacific Ocean. 

the portland, oregon skyline with mount hood in the distance

Oregon is a unique state with personality and plenty of amazing things to see. We’ve touched on the things Oregon is famous for, but I’m sure there are also some hidden gems out there. What are your favorite things about Oregon? Share with us below.

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