Visiting the United States? There are 50 states in all.

Oregon, a state in the Pacific Northwest, is known for its lush forests and dramatic coastline. The state’s natural beauty is a big draw for tourists, but scenery isn’t the only local attraction.

Portland — Oregon’s largest city — has an offbeat culture best captured by the slogan “Keep Portland weird.” Business attire is rarely worn in the city, and a thriving arts scene combined with plentiful bike paths, bookstores and coffee shops reinforce Portland’s aura of laid-back cool.

Further south is Salem, the state capital, where wine lovers can follow the Salem Wine Trail. Eugene, a university town, is home to the Cascades Raptor Center, a nature center and wildlife hospital.

Award-winning restaurants and annual food festivals make Oregon a top destination for gourmets. Portland has the largest number of breweries of any city in the world. And because Oregon lacks a state sales tax, shoppers can find bargains.

U.S. map with Oregon highlighted (State Dept./J. McCann)
(State Dept./J. McCann)

Pristine waters

Mountains and trees surrounding blue lake (Ray Bouknight via Flickr)
(Ray Bouknight via Flickr)

Crater Lake National Park, located in the Cascade Mountains in southwestern Oregon, has the deepest lake in the United States. The lake, formed 7,700 years ago when a volcano collapsed, is surrounded by Mount Mazama and towering lava cliffs.

Gorgeous getaway

Bridge crossing over waterfall in forest (Michael Matti via Flickr)
(Michael Matti via Flickr)

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area spans northern Oregon and boasts numerous waterfalls, including Multnomah Falls.

Coastal playground

People walking along beach with large coastal rocks (Shutterstock)

Northwest Oregon is the site of Cannon Beach, with powder sand and jagged coastal rocks. The largest is Haystack Rock.  The resort towns of Seaside and Astoria are nearby. In Astoria, the Lewis & Clark National Historic Park commemorates the two explorers’ 1804–1806 expedition across the western United States.

Urban oasis

Creek running though Japanese-style garden (Laurascudder/Creative Commons)
Portland Japanese Garden (Laurascudder/Creative Commons)

The grounds of Portland’s Washington Park encompass the International Rose Test Garden, where new rose varieties are developed, and the Portland Japanese Garden, with different sections including a pond garden, a tea garden and a sand and stone garden. Also within the park are the Oregon Zoo and the Portland Children’s Museum.

Mountain landmark

Snow-capped mountain reflecting in lake (Courtesy of Oregon's Mt. Hood Territory)
(Courtesy of Oregon’s Mt. Hood Territory)

Mount Hood reaches 3,425 meters, so it’s the highest mountain in the state. It is surrounded by the Mount Hood National Forest, located 20 miles east of Portland. The forest is among the most visited sites in the United States, drawing 4 million people annually to ski, hike and camp.

Learn more about Oregon and the other 49 states. If you need a visa to visit, here’s how to get one.