#9 The Oregon Coast, Oregon
If you usually live in a city, the Oregon Coast and its temperate, misty, and lush climate will be a welcome break from the heat of summer. Two hours due west from Portland and you’ll encounter Tillamook, the most hiking friendly town on the Oregon Coast. There’s over a dozen great hiking trails. You’ll particularly want to check out the spectacular Three Capes Scenic Loop, which takes you through damp old-growth forests to dramatic Pacific cliffs. In addition to its outstanding hiking Tillamook is also the birthplace of Oregon’s Tillamook Cheese. Local fruit and homemade pastries make the perfect beach lunch.
Once you’ve finished head down the coast and stop in towns like the family-oriented Lincoln City, energetic Newport, and eclectic Yachats. Try to catch a tour of the Yaquina Head lighthouse (www.yaquinalights.org), and take time to stop and head to the water. The tidal pools offer an up close and personal encounter with nature, especially the formations at Boiler Bay in Depoe Bay. If you get as far south as Florence, Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area (www.nps.gov/grsa/faqs.htm) is not to be missed. The park extends forty miles along the coast, making it the largest of its kind in North America.