13 Amazing Things to Do in Oregon in the Spring

oregon in the spring
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Oregon in the spring is such a beautiful time of the year – the weather starts to get warmer and a bit drier, making it a great time to explore the outdoors. The spring also marks the beginning of the wildflower season, making for some beautiful hikes and scenic drives. It’s a hopeful time of year when locals know summer is just around the corner.

I personally love springtime in Oregon, as the beaches on the coast are less crowded, and you’ll start to see cherry blossoms blooming. Oregon has always been a fun Seattle weekend vacation for me when I need a break from the city. Who cares about a little rain – just have a solid raincoat, and you’ll be ready to explore!

Here are some of the best things to do in the spring in Oregon so you can start planning your trip.

Spring in Oregon Travel Tips

These are a few things to keep in mind when planning your Oregon spring activities.

Weather in Oregon in Spring

Spring weather in Oregon is cool and wet. While this may deter many from visiting, spring is a great time to visit Oregon. The clouds start to clear up, days get warmer, and rainy days gradually reduce to fog and drizzle. Here’s a quick look at what you can expect when visiting Oregon in spring.

Oregon in March

March brings balmy yet cool weather to Oregon, with daily average temperatures reaching 59°F. Light drizzles and fog commonly occur during this time, but heavy showers are less likely, so bring a raincoat and boots, and you’ll be fine.

The month of March is a great time to visit Oregon. The weather is suitable for taking hikes. You’ll also find gorgeous trailheads and scenic routes perfect for an Oregon coast road trip. Beachcombing is also a popular activity in March, as well as whale watching.

Oregon in April

Oregon is warmer in April, with average temperatures ranging between 40°F and 50°F. The warm weather doesn’t necessarily mean less rain, but the April showers offer a great opportunity for photography with the blooming of Japanese cherry blossoms. 

April also brings the annual Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival, the Earth Day Fair & Parade in Bend, and many other exciting events. 

Oregon in May

May in Oregon is much warmer, with cool, breezy days regularly occurring along the coast. Daily average temperatures rise, with highs peaking in the low 70s. May is an excellent time to visit Oregon if you want to beat the summer crowds but still experience good weather. This is also an ideal time to go on a Portland to San Francisco drive.

On sunny days, you’ll enjoy strolling through the Portland State University Farmers Market on Saturday. Attending events like the Brewfest in Bend is a great way to spend an afternoon in Oregon. You can then book a room at a boutique hotel in Bend for the night.

Where to Stay in Oregon in the Spring

  • The Society Hotel – This fabulous 3-star hotel is a great place to stay in downtown Portland. This hotel offers minimally decorated rooms at affordable prices and is the perfect home base to explore the best things to do in Portland. (rates start at $99 per night)
  • Campfire Hotel – Dotted with stunning boho chic decor, the Campfire Hotel in Bend is an excellent place to stay if you want to explore Oregon’s central regions. Skiing and other winter activities are popular attractions in Bend. (rates start at $136 per night)
  • Surftides Hotel – If you’re looking for a beachfront hotel in Oregon. Consider this seaside escape in Lincoln City. The 3-star hotel is dawned with cozy beach decor, an onsite restaurant, and private balcony rooms with stunning views of the Pacific Ocean. (rates start at $230 per night)

Tips for Oregon Spring Break

Oregon offers plenty of fun spring break activities. Whether you are planning on exploring the state via a road trip or just strolling through a local market, here are a few travel tips:

  • Always check weather and road conditions before embarking on a trip. 
  • Bring the right travel gear, from rain accessories to layered clothing.
  • Skip-the-line tickets allow you to beat the queues at attractions, which usually get packed during spring break and other holidays.

13 Best Things to Do in Oregon in the Spring

Here’s a rundown of all the best things to do in Oregon in spring.

1. Go Wildflower Hiking in the Rowena Plateau

Rowena Plateau
Image via Flickr: Jeff Hollett

Spring brings a treasure trove of colorful wildflowers across Oregon’s meadows and mountainous plateaus. The best thing about hiking a wildflower trail in Oregon in the spring is the pleasurable aromas that come with the hike.

There are several wildflower hiking trails dotted across Oregon. The Rowena Plateau hike is an easy, two-mile round trip trek across the plateau towards the Columbia River Gorge. Here you’ll see an explosion of blooming balsamroot sunflowers, indigo bachelor buttons, and aromatic white arrows. You can spend a weekend in Portland as your base and go explore a new hike every day.

You could also choose to do a longer trip and go on a fun weekend trip from Portland to explore the state.

Note: Picking the wildflowers from public areas in Oregon is strictly prohibited – so you can look, but don’t touch them.

2. Admire Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach

cannon beach oregon coast road trip

Haystack Rock is a major tourist attraction in Oregon. This 235-foot-tall sea stack in Cannon Beach is a stunning geological wonder nestled on the edge of the shoreline. During low tide, you can walk all the up to the basalt rock for stunning pictures. 

You’ll spot plenty of colorful sea stars and tidepool animals along the shore. Spring is also the perfect time for wild bird viewings in Oregon.

Tufted puffins, also known as the “clowns of the sea,” are most active and visible from April to July. Did you know that Haystack Rock has the largest on-shore population of Tufted puffins in the continental U.S.?

I absolutely love walking along the beach here and then either getting coffee at Bald Eagle Coffee House or lunch at Pelican Brewing, depending on the time of the day. You could also head up to spend a day in Astoria to explore multiple areas.

If you want to spend the night, you’ll love staying at Inn at Haystack Rock.

3. Attend the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

mt hood wood shoe festival tulips

While we have some pretty impressive tulips during spring in Washington, Oregon has equally beautiful ones.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is one of the biggest annual events in Oregon and one of my personal favorite things to do in Oregon in the spring. Enjoy frolicking across 40 acres of thousands of colorful tulips and over 200 acres of outdoor space dotted with vendors and activities, like wagon rides.

I was surprised by how much there was to do there when I visited, and I wish I had allotted more time to be there. You should plan on having lunch there, though, as the food vendor selection was excellent.

This festival runs from March 17th through April 30th. As one of the popular spring festivals in Oregon, it often gets overcrowded by enthusiastic tourists and TikTokers eager to capture social media content, so it’s best to arrive early.

Tip: The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival offers visitors Sunrise Entry day passes which allow you to enter from 5 am to 7 am. I highly recommend this for stunning photos!

4. Spot Gray Whales Along the Oregon Coast

whale watching tour

Every year, spring brings an exciting opportunity to watch gray whales migrating from their breeding grounds in the Baja Peninsula back to their home in the Arctic. I’ve gone whale watching so many times, and it never gets old, as it’s still a top thing to do in the Pacific Northwest for me.

During the Oregon Whale Watching Week from March 28th to April 2nd, countless whale-watching tours are available in Oregon. These tours are a great way to view these massive creatures leisurely swimming up the Oregon coast. You can read reviews to see which one fits your needs best.

If you’re not up for a tour, you can try your luck atop the sand dunes in Cape Kiwanda or grab a seat at the picnic tables in the Ecola State Park parking lot. These are great vantage spots to get a peak of the migration — don’t forget to bring a pair of binoculars for better views.

5. Take a Bike Ride Through the Painted Hills Scenic Bikeway

Painted Hills
Image via Flickr: Francis Storr

Spring in Oregon is a fantastic time to see one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon — Painted Hills. This mesmerizing natural wonder in the John Day Fossil Beds National Monument is a must-see attraction in spring, as the weather is cooler and crowds are quite low.

Admire these stunning kaleidoscopic hills via a bike ride through the desert. The multi-colored landscape boasts stunning wildflowers and scenic viewpoints where you can stop and marvel at the surreal scenery.

6. Soak in Umpqua Hot Springs

Umpqua Hot Springs

You can enjoy soaking in a handful of cliffside geothermal pools overlooking the Umpqua River. The Umpqua Hot Springs are a network of terraced pools in the Umpqua National Forest, about 82 miles from Crater Lake National Park (where it’s a blast to spend one day at Crater Lake).

You can get a day pass for as low as $5. After that, you’ll take a 0.4-mile hike to the hot springs. You’ll find several pools cascading down the cliff. The largest pool is also the hottest and has a wooden shelter above it, making it the most popular, which means you may find a few tourists soaking there when you arrive. 

As the water cascades into the other pools, the water progressively becomes cooler, and the hot springs are generally smaller, allowing only 3-4 people to soak at a time.

7. Take a Waterfall Hike

multnomah falls portland what to do

While many outdoor enthusiasts may avoid springtime hikes in Oregon due to the chances of rain, I’d like to argue that this is actually one of the best times to take a waterfall hike and the perfect day trip from Portland.

There are about 283 waterfalls in Oregon, and each of them boasts stunning natural scenery and peaceful serenity. I love my waterfall hikes in Washington, but Oregon is a close second.

Here are a few of my top favorites:

  • Toketee Falls — These are one of the most-loved waterfalls in Oregon. Surrounded by lush greenery and basalt cliffs, you’ll hike a 0.4-mile trail with about 200 steps to reach these stunning waterfalls. The upper cascade of these two-tiered falls drops about 40 feet, while the lower descent drops about 80 feet into a turquoise pool.
  • Watson Falls — If you’re keen on a more off-the-beaten-path waterfall hike in the Umpqua National Forest, look no further than Watson Falls. This is the highest waterfall in Oregon’s southwest, with a staggering 293-foot drop.
  • Multnomah Falls — As the highest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge, the Multnomah Falls drop nearly 620 feet from a rugged cliff dotted with shrubbery. There are plenty of viewpoints to see these falls in their full glory, but a walk over Benson Bridge gives you an up-close vantage point.

8. Marvel at the Cherry Blossoms in Tom McCall Waterfront Park

cherry blossoms

Spring brings a vibrant and fragrant atmosphere to Oregon, and viewing cherry blossoms is a popular thing to do in Oregon in the spring. The Tom McCall Waterfront Park in Portland is a stunning palace to take in the scenery and aromas of the blooming cherry blossoms in spring. 

With about 100 Akebono cherry trees lining the promenade, Tom McCall Waterfront Park is a social hub for both locals and tourists. It’s a great place for a picnic or a leisurely stroll.

Spend some time walking along the Willamette River to get stunning views of the cherry blossoms and numerous bridges that give Portland its nickname, “Bridge City.”

9. Attend the Brewfest in Bend

brewery tour

Washington and Oregon are constantly competing for their reputation as the best beer state (just check out all the Seattle breweries we have), but Bend easily takes one of the top spots for best places to drink beer. I absolutely love trying all the beer here whenever I visit.

Another annual spring festival that takes Oregon by storm is the lively Brewfest in Bend. Spreading across two days, Brewfest brings over 65 breweries to display their array of innovative and tasty craft beers, ciders, seltzers, and wines.

If you’re a craft enthusiast, you’ll love strolling through the vendor-lined green spaces in the Old Mill District along the banks of the Deschutes River. This event takes place from May 13th to the 14th. Check the Bend Brewfest website for more info on ticket sales.

Headed north? You’ll love all the spring activities in Seattle.

10. Stroll Through the Portland State University Farmers Market

eugene farmers market

Every Saturday, the Portland State University Farmers Market dazzles city residents with numerous stalls selling locally-sourced fresh fruits and vegetables. 

This Saturday market is hosted at Portland State University in downtown Portland. In March, the market opens its gate from 9 am to 2 pm and from 8:30 am to 2 pm in April and May. I always go there right when it opens to have the best selection, plus I love being able to talk to the vendors more about their products.

This farmers market is a great place to buy your weekly groceries, get a loaf of freshly baked bread, and enjoy a few sporadic live shows while you’re at it.

11. Explore the Lan Su Chinese Garden

Lan Su Chinese Garden
Image via Flickr: Anna Hanks

Take a break from Oregon for a bit and step into Asia by visiting the gorgeous Lan Su Chinese Garden. Dotted with traditional Chinese architecture, the garden features various native plants, ponds, a teahouse, and a shop where you can buy some souvenirs.

You can take a leisurely stroll through the gardens via an audio-guided tour, sharing quirky fun facts and the history of the place. You can enjoy several interactive scavenger hunts, photo challenges, and trivial games, which is a particularly fun thing to do in Portland in the summer.

12. Go Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley

things to do in willamette valley iris vineyards

Known for being one of the top Pinot Noir–producing areas in the world, the Willamette Valley boasts about 150 miles of fertile lands in Oregon. Wine tasting and vineyard tours are some of the best things to do in Willamette Valley, and it’s easy to see why. While it’s a bit of a road trip from Seattle, it’s worth it every time to me.

I can’t even start to list all the wineries I’ve been to there, but some of my favorites include:

  • Iris Vineyards
  • King Estate Winery
  • Stoller Family Estate

The region is home to more than 700 wineries, but that’s not all that Willamette Valley has to offer. This verdant landscape also has plenty of family-friendly activities you can do with kids, like visiting the Historic Carousel and Museum. 

13. Go Skiing Before the Snow Disappears

mt hood snowboarding 1

While skiing in spring is not as popular as in winter, visiting at this time presents a great opportunity for ski enthusiasts and snow bunnies. You can enjoy the last bit of cold-weather fun during winter in Portland

Some wonderful ski slopes you’ll find open in spring include the Mount Bachelor Ski Resort, Mount Hood, and Timberline Lodge Ski Area. (If you want to stay overnight, consider booking a room at Timberline Lodge, my absolute favorite hotel in Oregon!)

Skiing in Oregon in spring presents advantages, such as the lessened crowds making skiing much more enjoyable. You’ll also be free to show off your skills and maybe try out new ones. The warmer days are also a plus: with minimal clothing and a bit of layering, you can hit the slopes without the worry of frostbite.

Which one of these things to do in Oregon in the spring are you most excited for?

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