Willamette Valley is known as the place to go wine tasting in Oregon. They particularly specialize in Pinot Noir, and it’s always fun to get away for a weekend in this area. However, there are many more things to do in Willamette Valley besides just wine tasting. From where to eat to what to do, here’s a travel guide to Willamette Valley.
Willamette Valley Lodging
There are plenty of hotels to stay at for your Willamette Valley lodging, but I recommend staying somewhere unique. I stayed at both of the following places and enjoyed them for different reasons.
The Vintages Trailer Resort
This is one of the best places to stay in Willamette Valley that also provides a great spot for photo-ops. The Vintages Trailer Resort is located in the middle of the Valley, so it’s a good base for exploring all weekend.
It feels like you’re stepping back in time as you drive in and see the rows of vintage trailers. I recommend spending at least one night here, as it’s one of the more offbeat things to do in Oregon.
Each one is uniquely decorated on the outside and has a surprisingly large amount of space inside. There’s a mattress that is extremely comfortable, robes to walk around in (always a plus when I stay somewhere!), pour-over coffee from the morning, and a table and couch to sit at.
Each trailer also has a cruiser bike that you can take around the RV park. When it’s warm outside, you can even cook outside by using the propane grill.
There is a toilet and a shower in each trailer, but to be honest they’re extremely small. Luckily, you’re able to walk to the pool house to access full-sized showers and mirrors to get ready. The front desk doubles as a gift shop where you can buy accessories, alcoholic beverages, and food.
Tipi Village Resort
For a completely different experience, stay at Tipi Village Resort. If you love the outdoors and being away from it all, you’ll enjoy staying here. It’s located about 30 minutes northeast from Eugene in the woods, so you’ll be able to enjoy the peace and quiet out there.
There’s a variety of places to stay, but the most unique ones are the seven tipis on the property. They’re surprisingly large inside and have plenty of space to walk around. You don’t have to worry about being cold either, as there are plenty of blankets to keep you warm. At night you can join your group around a fire and roast s’mores.
Where to Eat in Willamette Valley
There are plenty of Willamette Valley restaurants to choose from during your trip. Here are some of my favorite.
After traveling in Latin and South America, I always crave authentic food from there but find it hard to go to places that do it well. Pura Vida makes every dish from scratch and uses fresh ingredients, so you’ll want to stop at this Willamette Valley restaurant during your vacation. I loved the fish taquitos and vegetable empanadas (something I’d been looking for for months after my trip to Argentina!).
Okay, this isn’t actually a Willamette Valley restaurant, but Voodoo Doughnuts is one of the most iconic places to stop at when you’re in Oregon. They have a shop in Eugene, so make sure you stop here for breakfast/a snack/any reason at all. One of my favorites is the Voodoo Bubble with Double Bubble gum on top, but you can’t go wrong with any of them. Never have I had one that I was disappointed with.
George + Violet’s Steakhouse
If you want to treat yourself to a nice dinner out, stop by George + Violet’s Steakhouse. This is in the Eugene-Springfield area and is a new restaurant that used to be in an old bar. It was converted into a place that specializes in local produce and grass-fed beef from Oregon. Make sure to save room for dessert!
I happened to come here on the night of their grand opening and they had a fun kick-off party going on. I loved how unique this bar was, as it used to be a church before it turned into a beer hall. They kept some of the lighting and the stained glass windows, which gives it a beautiful look. There are also a variety of small Willamette Valley restaurants in the back, a bar outside, and a whiskey bar. This is a fun place for a group of friends to hang out at night or on the weekend.
Things to Do in Willamette Valley
While wine tasting is probably one of the most popular things to do in Willamette Valley, there’s much more than that.
Silver Falls State Park Hike
This is a beautiful hike and can easily be a short or long hike depending on what you’re feeling like. You can park by the South Falls and walk the one-mile route down to the base of the waterfall. I love that you can actually walk behind the waterfall, making for a rare type of photo-op.
If you want to get a workout from Silver Falls State Park, go on the full 2.6-mile Maple Ridge Loop to see another waterfall before returning back to your car. This is one of the more scenic things to do in Willamette Valley on your trip.
Spencer Butte Hike
If you’re looking for a short yet challenging hike, visit Spencer Butte. It’s a little over two miles roundtrip and has an elevation of 2,000 feet. You’ll walk through the woods until eventually getting to the top, where you’ll have beautiful views of the Willamette Valley and Eugene. This is also a good place to take a snack and water break if you need it.
Did you know there used to be almost 500 covered bridges in Oregon? Many of them were built in the early 1900s and have unfortunately dwindled down to only about 50 bridges that remain as working bridges. Make sure you add this to your list of things to do in Willamette Valley! I hadn’t seen many before but was obsessed with each one that I drove by.
Here are a few in the area along with the addresses if you want to find them for yourself. You can get a full list of bridges here if you’re really into them.
Hoffman Covered Bridge
Hungry Hill Road, Scio, OR, 97374
Gilkey Covered Bridge
Goar Road, Scio, OR, 97374
42300 Oregon 226, Scio, OR, 97374
Eugene Saturday Market
From April until the end of November, you can visit the Eugene Saturday Market every Saturday. The vendors will be out no matter what the weather is, and with over 150 different vendors, there’s a huge selection to choose from. Most of them get there by 10 am, so I recommend going early before it gets crowded.
In addition to produce, you’ll find local jams, honey, cheese, crafts, and more. There’s also a small square that sets up food trucks with everything from Thai food to pizza when you’re ready for lunch. I loved that there were so many families there that knew each other and were having a blast hanging out. Live music also plays to provide entertainment when you need a break from shopping.
There’s nothing I love more than adorable small towns, which is why Silverton needs to be on your list. You could easily spend a day here walking around looking at the murals, grabbing coffee, shopping for antiques, and even seeing a movie.
Speaking of coffee, I loved stopping by Silverton Coffee Station. This cafe looks like it used to be in an old car repair shop, which gives it a fun feel. Once you order your coffee, you can sit outside and enjoy the flower shop or buy some to take home.
Oregon Garden Resort
The Oregon Garden Resort has a hotel, restaurant, and lounge that’s right next to the Oregon Garden. The garden is a beautiful place to walk around during a sunny day. There’s also a spa you can visit, which is one of the more relaxing things to do in Willamette Valley. They have an outdoor pool, hot tub, lounge to relax and sip tea in, and services like facials, massages, and manicures/pedicures available.
Willamette Valley Wineries
While there are many things to do in Willamette Valley that don’t involve wine tasting, it wouldn’t be a full experience if you didn’t stop at a few wineries in the area. The Willamette Valley Pinot Noir is very popular in the area, but you’ll have a variety of reds and whites to choose from at most places. There are many Willamette Valley wineries to choose from, but here are several that I enjoyed.
The Oregon Wine Lab
I was lucky enough to meet the owner of the wine lab and loved how much passion he had for every wine he made. Something I thought made his wine stand out is the fact that he uses caps instead of a corkscrew. To be honest, I had always thought caps were just a more convenient way to serve wine when you’re somewhere, such as camping, and don’t want to bring a wine opener.
He told me that this method is actually so all the wine will have a consistent flavor, aka the taste he intended it to have. Some of my favorites here were the Pinot Gris and the dry Riesling.
This is a beautiful Willamette Valley winery that’s set in a French-inspired villa. After doing a few tastings in their tasting room, grab a glass of your favorite wine and head outside. I loved sitting on the bench and taking in the view of the vineyards below.
King Estate Winery
One of the more famous Willamette Valley wineries, King Estate has over 1,000 acres of vineyards (or two miles of wine). Set on top of a hill, you’ll have gorgeous views of the area when you come here. I recommend doing a tour so you can go behind the scenes and see how the production line comes together from start to finish.
After the tour, grab a table either inside their restaurant or outside on the patio for dinner. They have 30 acres of orchards and organic gardens that they use to produce the organic, seasonal ingredients that are found on the menu. While everything I had was delicious, I recommend getting the hazelnuts as an appetizer and the salmon as your entrée. Make sure to check out their dessert menu, which is often based on what’s in season.
This post was sponsored by the Willamette Valley Visitor’s Association, but all opinions are my own.