With a reputation that precedes it, Portland has got a thing or two to prove. But instead of following the masses, why not head out of town to see the sights so achingly hip you’ve probably never even heard of them.
Take in the scenery as you drive past Columbia River Gorge, 1,243 miles long and the second largest river in the USA.
You can hike, bike, kayak or raft your way along it, or in the cooler months, ski and snowshoe. Crown Point is the perfect setting to view all around from up high. Some 773 feet up, it’s the remains of a lava flow from nearly 17 million years ago. Vista House, originally built as an observatory, provides Crown Point’s welcome rest spot in the disguise of an architectural gem.
Wine buffs know that the best American Pinot Noirs come from Portland, and some of the best Portland Pinots come from Dundee.
Named after the Scottish birthplace of the man who established the Oregon Railway, there are over 40 different vineyards and wineries to visit.After all that tasting, wind down the Willamette River in a kayak or canoe, taking in the cottonwood, alder and dogwood trees, while keeping your eyes peeled for a Red Tail Hawk. To get even closer to birds, take a balloon ride.
Skiing in the mornings; golfing and eating in the afternoon: That’s a typical winter’s day in Mount Hood.
When it’s warmer, rafting, camping and fishing provide the morning activity. All sounds rather pleasant. But most come here for something more creepy: Timberline Lodge, better known as the exterior of the Overlook Hotel from Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining. At 11,240 feet (though no one can agree on its height) Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest mountain and thought to be Oregon ‘most likely to erupt’ volcano, so you wouldn’t want to get stranded up here. Without or without Jack.
2 hours 10 minutes
After all that greenery, why not a bit of desert? Head to the Warm Springs Indian Reservation, a 1,019.4 square mile area occupied by Wasco, Tenino and Paiute Confederate Tribes.
Learn more about Oregon’s American Indian culture at the Warm Springs Museum, which includes interactive exhibits around Wasco culture and traditions. At the Kah-Nee-Ta resort you can immerse yourself even further. Stay in an authentic hand -painted teepee, take part in salmon bakes, drumming and storytelling sessions, enjoy the hot springs, fish or tour the rivers, all guided by locals from the Confederate Tribes.
2 hours 20 minutes
So called after its 28 miles of beautiful, sandy beaches, Long Beach, Washington is one of America’s favourite beach towns.
But it’s also known for the bizarre museum exhibit that is Jake the Alligator Man. A mummified half-man, half-alligator (allegedly) on display at the Marsh Free Museum on South Pacific Avenue. Bought by the Marsh family in 1967 for $750, Jake is said to have been found in a Florida swamp. Jake has something of a cult following locally, so expect to see local bumper stickers bearing his name.
2 hours 20 minutes