The Willamette Valley is full of diverse and exciting things to do, which is why I keep visiting year after year. If you’re starting to plan your vacations for next year, consider Willamette Valley. Here are the top 10 things to do in the Willamette Valley in 2021.
What to Do in Willamette Valley in 2021
You’ll want to check these activities out!
1. South Willamette Valley Food Trail
There’s no shortage of delicious food in the Willamette Valley, so foodies will want to check out the South Willamette Valley Food Trail. You can take this self-guided tour to taste world-class wines and enjoy the food at farm-to-table restaurants. While Willamette Valley is known for its Pinot Noir, the food trail gives you a chance to try other types of local wines as well.
2. Car-Free Travel: Willamette Valley by Train
One of the many reasons I love traveling in Europe is that you can get almost anywhere by train. You can recreate this feeling without having to book a flight to Europe, as Willamette Valley has a train as well.
Amtrak Cascades can take you from Seattle to Eugene so you can just sit back and relax. This is one of the more unique things to do in Willamette Valley.
3. Covered Bridges Tour
One of the things that surprised me the most during one of my Willamette Valley trips was how many covered bridges there are in the area. These are absolutely beautiful and so rare to see on this side of the United States. You can follow this guide to see where some of them are.
There are 51 covered bridges in Oregon, which is more than any other state west of the Mississippi. Out of those 51, 33 of them are in the Willamette Valley.
A little history for you – wooden bridges were originally created so they would keep truss timbers dry. Covering the bridge also prevented the wooden bridge from rotting so it could last at least 80 years. This is in comparison to a typical uncovered wooden bridge lasting about 10 years.
Once bridges started to get built out of concrete and steel, there was no need for covered bridges any longer. However, legislation was established in 1987 to make sure these stayed preserved.
Looking to extend your Oregon stay? There are plenty of things to do in two days in Portland.
4. Enchanted Forest
Have you ever been to an enchanted forest before? Now you can when you visit the Willamette Valley. This outdoor theme park is 20 acres and is one of the best things to do with kids in the Willamette Valley.
Young children can run around exploring the forest, while older kids will love going down the log ride. There’s also a storybook lane, rides, slides, and even a haunted house.
5. Truffle Hunting
Fall and winter are the ideal times to visit if you want to go truffle hunting. With the help of a dog, you’ll roam through the forests while looking for truffles. If you want to join numerous other truffle lovers, you can visit from January 23-26 and February 14-16 for the yearly Oregon Truffle Festival.
6. Fiesta Mexicana
Did you know there’s a large Latin community in the Willamette Valley? If you visit in August, you’ll want to attend the Fiesta Mexicana festival. This festival is one of the biggest Latino celebrations in the state.
You’ll experience Latino art, community, food, music, and culture when you attend. There’s also a lively parade you won’t want to miss.
You’ll want to add this to your bucket list for Willamette Valley in 2021. You can stay for the weekend or go on a day trip from Portland.
7. Flower Festivals
You don’t need to go to the Netherlands to see tulips when the Willamette Valley has an impressive display themself. I went to this last year and plan on going back every year to get amazing photos.
There are a variety of different flower festivals around the state, including in Woodburn, Newberg, Keizer, and Canby. You’ll want to go in the spring to see the beautiful colors and enjoy the other festivities such as local food and crafts that are available.
8. Oregon Country Fair
Head to the Willamette Valley from July 10-12 to experience the Oregon Country Fair. This is a fun way to spend a summer weekend trying local food, talking to local vendors, and enjoying the entertainment. This takes place in Veneta, which is 15 miles west of Eugene.
9. Hot Air Balloon Ride
No visit to the Willamette Valley is complete without going on a hot air balloon ride. There’s truly no better way to take in the beauty of the area and get some stunning photos. The early wake-up call is more than worth it as you ascend into the air and watch the sun rise over the Willamette Valley.
You can also combine a hot air balloon tour with a wine tour. That way you’ll get amazing pictures and get to taste some of the best wine in Oregon.
10. Tipi Village Retreat
For a unique stay in the Willamette Valley, book a few nights at Tipi Village Retreat. You’ll have the chance to stay in teepees in the woods in this serene setting.
They’re surprisingly warm and come with down comforters, rugs, and sitting chairs. The setting also makes for a great getaway with friends.