When is the best time to visit Oregon?
Much like you can’t judge a book by a cover, you shouldn’t judge Oregon by its nickname. Between being home to Crater Lake (the deepest lake in the U.S.) and a beautiful stretch of Pacific coastline, the Beaver State does not disappoint when it comes to sights and scenery. It has a reputation for receiving a lot of rain, and while it does rack up more precipitation than many other states, the chances of you getting wet really depend on where in the state you’re going and when. For example, the coast can receive more than 100 inches of precipitation whereas desert areas in eastern Oregon may only receive 10 inches of precipitation a year.
- Spring (March – May): Late March to early April is the best time for seeing the cherry blossoms in Portland, so if that is on your agenda, you’re golden! Across the state, expect average highs in the 50°s – 60°s and lows in the 30°s – 40°s. Showers are fairly common (4-7 inches of rainfall in April), and while they’re not necessarily a daily occurrence, it would be hard to visit in spring and not catch a shower or two.
- Summer (June – August): Keep in mind that the temperatures vary depending on where you are in the state. In July and August the average high for Medford is 88°F while it’s 70°F inside Crater Lake National Park. The average lows are 51°F and 40°F. June is slightly cooler, and in all three months, expect the evenings to be cool enough that you’ll need a light jacket. August can be pretty hot in southeastern Oregon where it can reach 100+°F, but it’s also the optimal time to photograph wildflowers at higher elevations.
- Autumn (September – November): If you’re visiting the coast, then September is a great time to go. The weather is warm, the crowds have thinned out, and there is less rain than you’ll experience in October when the rainy season begins. In Portland, October usually has an average daily high of 64°F and a low of 45°F with about 2.7 inches of precipitation. The coast has similar temperatures, but receives twice as much precipitation. By November, the highs will have dropped to the 50°s and the lows could get down to freezing.
- Winter (December – February): Temperatures may be lower, but so are room prices—especially along the coast, so considering a winter vacation to Oregon may not be such a bad idea if you’re on a budget. Statewide, January average daily highs are in the 40°s and lows are in the 30°s. Skiing is popular, especially in the Cascades, and in Crater Lake National Park, park rangers lead show-shoe walks on the weekends. But keep in mind that many of the park’s seasonal roads will be closed in the winter because on average, the park receives 44 ft. of snow a year and most of that falls in winter.
What to Pack on Your Oregon Vacation
Congratulations on deciding to visit Oregon! (Hopefully, you’re booked on our Crater Lake Adventure Vacation.) If you’re wondering what to bring, below are a few essentials to get you started on your packing list.
What to Pack for Your Oregon Vacation
- Rain Gear
Oregon has a reputation for being rainy because it is. But Oregon residents don’t let a little rain stop them from enjoying the great outdoors so neither should you! Regardless of when you’re planning to travel in Oregon, one of the first things to go in your bag should be a rain jacket. If you’re camping, you’ll also want to pack waterproof bags and shoes.
- Warm Clothes
It may seem obvious, but you’d be surprised at how many summer travelers think that they can get away without packing a warm layer. Even in the dead of summer, the evenings are cool enough to require long sleeves and pants, so plan accordingly!
- Closed-toed shoes
Even if you’re just planning on visiting the coast in the height of summer, it’s a good idea to bring closed-toed shoes because evenings can be quite cool. And they’re a must for backcountry hiking in Crater Lake National Park! At higher elevations, it’s not uncommon to see snow in July.
Travel Tips for Visiting Oregon
When it comes to travel tips, sharing is caring, so we’re happy to pass on a few pointers on how you can best experience Oregon.
1. Summit for Spectacular Views
Although it’s a strenuous hike, the trip to the top of Mount Scott Summit in Crater Lake is well worth the effort. It pays off with the farthest-reaching views in Crater Lake National Park, and trust us when we say you won’t encounter any crowds or tour buses up here at 8,000+ ft.
2. Go Rogue
Yes, the Columbia River Gorge in northern Oregon is beautiful, but there’s also an amazing river in southern Oregon that should not be overlooked. It begins near Crater Lake and winds 215 miles southwest where it meets the Pacific near the town of Gold Beach. Rafting the Rogue River is definitely a highlight on our Oregon adventure vacation itinerary!
3. Tasting Time
Oregon is a must-do/taste for wine-lovers, and if you’re planning on taking any winery tours, don’t plan a winter trip! Keep in mind that most wineries are open seven days a week in the summer and on weekends in the spring and fall. Your taste buds are in for a treat!