Best Time To Visit Oregon
Visit Oregon: Where There’s Always A Great Time
Someone asked me the other day: “When is the best time to visit Oregon?”
I’m not trying to be biased or anything, but it’s ALWAYS the best time to visit Oregon! But, I understand that everyone has their preferences for an ideal Oregon vacation. Your preferences determine when it’s the best time of the year to visit the Beaver State. Whether you want to stroll the beaches along the coast, ski the freshly powdered snow on Mount Bachelor, or hike through Oregon’s many state parks, there’s a great time for embarking on these adventures.
You will find below a guide I have compiled for the best times to visit Oregon. I have done my best to categorize the preferences and the best timing for those preferences. I think you will find that Oregon has something fun going on for every season!
What’s the best time of year to visit Oregon?
1. If you want to avoid the large crowds:
If you prefer to visit the Beaver State when the crowds have dispersed, then you should plan your trip for the months of November through January. Since most vacationers visit the state during the warmer months, there is plenty of breathing room during these months. You can stroll the beach (with a coat, of course) with hardly a person in sight!
By choosing to travel to Oregon during this time of the year, you will also save a ton of money on airfare, room, and boarding. It’s the cheapest time of the year to travel to Oregon from anywhere in the country. However, I do recommend packing a raincoat, rain boots, and an umbrella. Much of Oregon, specifically the western side of the state, encounters a lot of rain during this time of the year.
2. If you are seeking cold weather sports and adventure:
Perhaps you are dreaming of skiing on the slopes of Mount Bachelor or Mount Hood and know very little about the weather in the Pacific Northwest. Many folks who live in warmer areas of the country often think that you can find snow year-round in colder regions. (Believe me, I have known a friend or two who has packed up their snowboarding equipment, traveled to their destination, and discovered that the chilly sport is not plentiful throughout the year. I don’t want you to be THAT person.)
In Oregon, the snow starts piling in around December and is usually plentiful for snow sports and adventures by January. However, the peak winter season for skiing and snowboarding in Oregon is during the months of February through April. This is when you will find the most action at the ski resorts and the freshest white powder you could ever want! While the rest of Oregon is quiet during this time of the year, the ski resorts are full of action, hustle, and bustle.
My personal favorite ski resort in the Beaver State is the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort. It is located roughly 20 miles west of Bend in Central Oregon. Since Bend is the largest city in Central Oregon, it makes for a convenient vacation place on Mount Bachelor! If you wish to take a break from sliding down the powdery slopes, take a drive into Bend for a touch of the city life. (The city has some of the best brews in all of Oregon, by the way.)
Furthermore, Mount Hood is convenient to the city of Portland where the best coffee EVER can be found.
3. If you want to experience the wine tasting in the vineyards of Willamette Valley:
In my personal opinion, the best time of the year to visit Willamette Valley for incredible wine tasting is during the harvest season: September through October. While it is always a spectacular time to visit Wine Country, there is a special vibe during the harvest season. Most of the winemakers allow you to taste their superb wines outdoors on their classy verandas and garden patios that overlook the picturesque vineyards. ( I especially enjoy my Oregonian wine tasting right before sunset!) The natural beauty of the Oregonian vineyards during the months of September and October are gorgeous with the vibrant color changes in the leaves and how the sunlight gleams off the yellows, oranges, and reds.
Furthermore, the outdoor temperatures are utterly fantastic with the average high being around 75 degrees in September and 65 degrees in October.
Lastly, being able to observe the vineyard farmers out in the fields harvesting clusters of grapes while sipping on a glass of Pinot Noir brings the experience into full circle. To me, it just makes the wine taste even sweeter. The appreciation for their hard work so you can enjoy a glass of wine in one of the most beautiful places in the country is something special to me, and I believe it would be for you.
So yes, hands down, the best time to visit the Willamette Valley specifically for wine tasting is September and October. You will thank me later.
4. If you want to go hiking, biking, beach strolling, boating, and swimming:
If you desire to visit Oregon for hiking, biking, swimming, beach strolling, fishing, boating, and more, the best time to go is from June to September. These are the warmest months of the year and the driest months of the year. During this time, you will see more sunshine and blue sky days that are perfect for photos.
If you wish to hike the rocky boulders of the state, plan your trip to Central Oregon. In this portion of the state, they see over 300 days of sunshine per year, with most of those sunny days being from June to early October. In areas such as Bend, you will see a mix of high desert terrain and lush green forest. (Bend sits on the geological border between the high desert region and the Deschutes National Forest.) Hikers LOVE this part of the state as there is so much to choose from in terms of endless outdoor adventures.
A favorite place to go biking is around Portland and on the biking trails around Mount Hood. Even during the summer months, you can see the tall white peaks of Mount Hood that look absolutely brilliant underneath a bright, blue, summer sky. In my opinion, some of the best biking trails are around Mount Hood during the summer months. The lush colors of summer gleam like colors on a painting out there. You should totally check it out.
What’s the best time to visit the Oregon Coast?
The best place to walk along the beach during the months of June to September is the infamous Cannon Beach. Everyone flocks there to view Haystack Rock which proudly made its Hollywood appearances in the movies, The Goonies and Twilight. The temperatures are perfect for beach strolling and the summer crowd at Cannon Beach is nothing like that of Florida and California beaches. You actually have some breathing room!
Furthermore, Cannon Beach is the perfect place to take your pets and have a lovely picnic with the whole family!
5. If you wish to visit Oregon on the lowest budget possible:
If Oregon ever did have a low season when prices are at the bottom and the amount of vacationers are at its lowest, it would have to be during the months of November to January. This is right after the summer peak season, right before the snow sports season, and at the beginning of the state’s rainy season.
The rains really begin to set in during early November. This means the snow won’t be packed enough for skiing and snowboarding until, at least, late December. Therefore, this can only mean that the least amount of visitors will be in Oregon during these three months. And when there aren’t as many visitors to the Beaver State, the prices for lodging, traveling, and other activities won’t be as high, either.
When is the best time to visit Central Oregon?
If you choose to visit the city of Bend in Central Oregon, be sure to take advantage of the sights at Smith Rock State Park. And while you are at it, partake in the amazing rock climbing opportunities! If rock climbing isn’t your thing, explore the superb hiking trails. After a day of outdoor fun, drive back into town and taste some of the best craft brew beer your taste buds have never experienced. You will find the most unique flavors in Bend at the lowest price of the season. (Even better? Oregon doesn’t impose a sales tax on its consumers. That’s a win-win if you ask me!)
When is the best time to visit Portland Oregon?
If you choose to visit the city of Portland, you MUST try their coffee! I’m really not trying to brag on this state or exaggerate its incredible qualities: It truly offers the best of nearly everything! Hence, this is why I am constantly trying to persuade you to visit this amazing state. You will not be able to get enough of it.
Back to their coffee…
Portland is well known for its coffee and serving it with creamy pictures that make you salivate until you get you a mug of it. I highly recommend these two coffee shops when exploring the city of Portland: Tov Coffee and Tea and Keeper Coffee Co.
Not that I haven’t already said this, but you will thank me later. In fact, while you are visiting Portland and searching for a hot cup of coffee, do me a favor and ignore Starbucks. You can venture back to them once you return home.
6. Let’s take a month-by-month view of some things to do in Oregon. Check it out below:
January: The perfect time to visit if you’re on a budget
January is on the edge of the low season which means that the crowds will still be fairly low and prices aren’t a match for the high season. January is also the tail end of the Pacific Northwest’s rainy season. So, whatever you do, please don’t forget the rain gear! You will want an umbrella, rain boots, and a rain coat.
It is the only time of year where you can participate in or watch the Eagle Cap Extreme Sled Dog Race in Joseph, Oregon. It’s a lot of fun!
February: Very few crowds and great travel deals
While it is still chilly in Oregon during the lovers month of February, that doesn’t prevent the roses from emerging from their winter hibernation. In Portland, you can visit the International Rose Test Garden to view the earliest rose blooms of the season. The rainy season produces the prettiest rose buds you will ever see.
Another fun event that is specific to the month of February in the Beaver State is the Portland Seafood and Wine Festival otherwise known as Oregon Winterfest. It occurs three hours east of Portland in the city of Bend. You should check it out!
March: Spring break crowds and unpredictable weather
As spring starts to tease you with days of warmer temperatures and breaks in the dreary cloud cover, you can enjoy more exciting events. On the Oregon Coast, it marks the beginning of whale watching season. March, in particular, is when the Oregon Whale Watching Week is hosted. Folks gather together to observe the migration of whales back into the state’s coastal waters.
You may also want to know that during the month of March, the town of Ashland hosts the Oregon Chocolate Festival. In my personal opinion, this may be the most important festival for the entire year!
April: Small crowds and unpredictable weather
April is still on the rainy side in Oregon; however, many flowers are blooming and flourishing during this time of the year. Therefore, you may be interested in checking out the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn, Oregon. Located due south of Portland, you will feel as if you just walked into Holland with their tulip paradise! You can enjoy over 200 acres of nothing but tulips. It literally looks like a sea of red and yellow with thousands of blooming tulips showing out for all to enjoy.
May: Rainy season is almost over
During the month of May, Bend hosts its annual Brew Fest. You have already seen me mention how Bend offers the most unique craft brews in all the country. Well, if you visit this charming central Oregonian city during the month of May, you can partake in the most incredible brew festival EVER. The festival offers beer tasting packages for as low as $40. It contains over 65 unique flavors of beer that you cannot find anywhere else in the country. If you are a craft beer lover, be sure to visit!
June: Early summer means less crowds but unpredictable weather
Things are just starting to warm up in Oregon during the month of June. I highly recommend checking out the Portland Rose Festival. It is held every year in Portland during June and is intended for bringing people out to the city for a weekend of fun. You will enjoy several rose parades, walking through the city’s infamous rose garden, and countless other fun activities.
July: Great weather and lots of activities but big crowds
During the month of July, take a drive to the outskirts of Portland to the small town of Sherwood and have a little fun at the Robin Hood Festival. You will see folks dressed up in medieval costumes and watch others compete in the international archery competition. It’s one of the most unique festivals in all of Oregon!
August: The best weather and peak summer crowds
If you are an outdoorsy, athletic person, look no further than Bend during the month of August. You will want to participate in the Cascade Lakes Relay where you can lace up your sneakers and run the race! Don’t worry, you will be awarded some of the best craft brews for reward!
September: Kids go back to school but the weather is still good
Ah, September, The month when warm air is still plentiful but the heat of summer is behind you. I recommend exploring the Wallowa Mountains in the northeastern portion of the state. There is an area there known as, “Little Switzerland”. You can probably guess from its nickname that it has some incredible views!
October: The start of the Oregon rainy season
If you’re up for a bit of scare, walk through the Bella Organic Farm’s Haunted Corn Maze in Portland. It is the exciting place to be during harvest season! (You might even leave with a basketful of veggies and fruits.)
November: Winter is here so expect snow and storms
If you are an avid reader or writer, the Portland Book Festival during the month of November is a must-see place. You will find workshops, books galore, author book signings, and more.
December: Great time for winter sports and indoor activities
With the crowds being much lower in the month of December, you must check out the Portland Night Market. Here, you can stroll the streets with your favorite person while enjoying the live music, drinks, and food. The culture and vibe will leave you wanting more! It’s the perfect date night, in my opinion.
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