Oregon is a wonderful state to be in at any time of the year because of the changing seasons and incredible natural scenery. But while springtime in some parts of Oregon is often rainy, this is still a particularly fun time to visit because of the flowing waterfalls, festivals, and stunning flowers all around. To help you plan your next trip or give you something to look forward to, here are some of our favorite things to do in Oregon in the spring.
Due to changing COVID guidelines, check local listings to make sure events, attractions, restaurants, festivals, etc. are still taking place and if there are any special protocols in place before your trip.
One of the top waterfalls in the Pacific Northwest, Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and a truly impressive sight to see in the spring. It is 620 feet tall and the most-visited natural recreation site in the Pacific Northwest. Over two million people come here for the views each year.
The water flow is strong in the spring after the snowmelt and very beautiful. The flow is usually less at other times of the year.
Although many people think of the Netherlands for tulip farms, there are some stunning ones right here in Oregon. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Farm in Woodburn is a very popular destination in the spring.
Tulips have vibrant colors in the springtime and help visitors get in the mood for the season after a long winter.
Visit Haystack Rock and Cannon Beach
Haystack Rock is a very recognizable landmark in Cannon Beach that rises 235 feet near the shoreline. You can walk up to it at low tide or photograph it from the shore at high tide.
In the spring, you can see Tufted Puffins at Haystack Rock, which is the best viewing area for the birds in the Northwest. They start nesting here in April.
There are some great restaurants and cafes near Haystack Rock that you can visit after you’ve soaked up the scenery.
Admire the Stunning Wildflowers
Wildflowers pop up all over Oregon in the springtime, which is good to know if you enjoy hiking and picnicking in beautiful areas. Some of the best wildflower hikes are at Rowena Plateau, Tom McCall Nature Preserve, Camassia Natural Area, and Tyron Creek.
Nature comes alive in various parts of the state when the wildflowers begin to bloom and really showcase Oregon’s beauty. If you love wildflowers, delay your spring Oregon trip until May because more wildflowers reach their peak then rather than in March and April.
Get in a Last Skiing Session
Even with flowers starting to bloom and the temperatures warming up in many parts of the state, skiing is still a big deal in the early spring in Oregon. There is some great spring skiing between late April and Memorial Day at Mt. Hood Meadows, Mt. Bachelor, and the Timberline Lodge & Ski Area.
Spring skiing in Oregon offers warmer days where you can literally wear just a t-shirt on some days and plenty of sunshine. Ski conditions are also good in the spring, and the slopes tend to be less crowded than in the winter.
Mt. Bachelor in Central Oregon has one of the longest ski seasons on the continent, while the Mt. Hood area offers the tallest peak in the state and usually sells discounted spring season passes.
Go Wine Tasting in the Willamette Valley
Oregon has a wonderful wine region that specializes in pinot noir, pinot gris, chardonnay, and riesling. You can visit many vineyards by dropping by, making an appointment, or joining a tour group.
Oregon-made wines are delicious and a must-try for any wine lover. Visiting vineyards is also a great way to see the stunning countryside.
A couple of the most popular vineyards in the area include Willamette Valley Vineyards and Yamhill Valley Vineyards. Many wine tasting tours leave from Portland and last for a half-day.
Take a Dinner Cruise on the Water
Oregon enjoys a lovely waterfront location, which you can experience by taking a boat ride. Whether you rent a boat yourself, join a tour, or get on a dinner cruise, every trip along the Oregon coast needs some time on the water.
Portland cruises give you a unique view of the city skyline and landmarks, while other types of cruises get you out into nature to find some peace and solitude. Some dinner cruises feature local ingredients in the dishes served and offer live entertainment onboard the boat.
Look for Whales Along the Oregon Coast
Whales can be viewed from the Oregon coast, and whale-watching tours are available to help you spot the migrating whales moving between here, Mexico, and Alaska. The whale activity really picks up in the months of March, April, and May because this is when the gray whales are migrating back from Baja Mexico where they’ve been breeding to their feeding destination in the Arctic.
Depoe Bay is the best place to watch whales in Oregon and home to the Depoe Bay Whale Watching Center. Other good spots are Ecola State Park and Cape Lookout State Park.
Browse a Local Farmers’ Market
There are many farmers’ markets in Oregon that really pick up their operations in the spring and invite locals and visitors to try locally grown foods that are healthy and delicious.
Oregon farmers’ markets offer opportunities to learn about foods that are grown in the region, support local businesses, and attend fun events that are held in market spaces.
Attend a Local Festival
There are many different festivals that typically take place in Oregon in the spring, including the beloved Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival that has wagon rides and a vineyard tasting room. The Northwest Crossing Bend Spring Festival usually occurs in April, the POW Film Fest is a Portland event in March, and various bird festivals are scheduled for April and May.
Springtime festivals are a great way to get out into local Oregon communities and connect with residents and visitors who enjoy the same things you do.
Due to changing travel guidelines, check local listings to make sure festivals are still taking place and if there are any special protocols in place before your trip.
Stop and Smell the Roses
The Portland International Rose Test Garden is a popular attraction in Portland and features over 10,000 roses. There’s also the Portland Japanese Garden across the street.
This is one of the most stunning rose gardens in the world. It is free to visit the rose garden and to also take a tour led by a trained volunteer.
May is a nice time to visit the rose garden, so plan your Oregon for late spring to get the best rose views in addition to the city views.
Get Out on a Whitewater Rafting Adventure
There are many ways to get adventurous in Oregon in the spring, including whitewater rating on an exciting river. Good rivers for rafting are the Upper Klamath, Rogue, and Owyhee. Oregon rafting is best in the spring because of the water flow and rapid conditions.
There are some great local guide companies that will take you out onto the rivers to raft safely for a full-day or half-day experience. Rafting trips often include a riverside lunch, all the equipment you’ll need, and transportation.