Oregon's best getaways: The most romantic destinations around the state – OregonLive.com
Ignore the grey skies and drizzling rain, Oregon is a place for lovers.
And whether you and your partner are lovers of the outdoors, of upscale urban dining, of skiing or of wine, there’s a perfect romantic getaway somewhere out there for you. But which romantic getaway is the best in the state? What is the ultimate destination to snuggle up with your sweetheart?
We’ve cobbled together a list of staff picks, which range from the coast to caves to the big city. Agree? Disagree? Come back tomorrow to cast a vote in the reader’s choice for Oregon’s best romantic getaway.
1. Hood River
What makes an Oregon destination romantic? Stunning landscapes, good food and drink, and somewhere beautiful to stay the night. That’s what we think at least, and few other cities in Oregon feature such a confluence of those qualities as Hood River. Nestled into the scenic Columbia River Gorge at the base of Mt. Hood, only an hour east of Portland, the small city makes for a perfect romantic getaway.
You can find a great meal at farm-to-table Celilo, scenic waterfront restaurant Riverside or gourmet delicatessen Boda’s Kitchen, but Hood River might be an even better place to drink. Beer drinkers have a three-peat of epic proportions with Full Sail Brewing, Double Mountain Brewery and Pfriem Family Brewers all downtown; wine lovers can head off to any of the 30 Columbia River Gorge wineries; while fans of cider can visit the whopping 11 cideries in Hood River Valley.
You can walk off all that food and drink on the many gorgeous trails in and around Hood River, including hikes up Mt. Hood, treks to find wildflowers in the Columbia River Gorge, and paths for runners and cyclists alike. Alternately, you can stay inside and relax at the historic Columbia Gorge Hotel, ritzy Columbia Cliff Villas or rustic Bigfoot Lodge B&B. The key word for romance here is options – and Hood River delivers in spades.
2. Cannon Beach
Of all the cities on the Oregon Coast, Cannon Beach might just be the most romantic, with a bevvy of nice hotels and restaurants that are ideal for a quiet trip for two. You can stay at the Stephanie Inn, where kids 12 and younger are not allowed, and have an elegant dinner at Newmans at 988. Of course, the real romantic draw is the allure of the coast itself: most notably the iconic Haystack Rock and beautiful Ecola State Park.
3. Oregon Caves and Chateau
If it’s natural wonder that heats up your love life, look no further than the Oregon Caves National Monument, a beautiful marble cave system formed by rainwater from the ancient forest that lies above it. You can find stunning formations inside the cave, and rare plants and animals in the nearly 4,500-acre park around it. Upping the romance is the Oregon Caves Chateau, a 1930s-era lodge on site, complete with a stream that runs through the middle of the dining room.
4. Wine Country in Carlton
With three primary wine producing regions and more than 600 wineries, there are a lot of ways to dive into Oregon’s internationally-recognized wine country. You might find a perfect little paradise, however, in Carlton, home to nearly 50 wineries and tasting rooms just west of the main Newberg/Dundee drag. The downtown Winery Lofts are a ritzy alternative to hotel lodging, just around the corner from The Horse Radish, a great wine and cheese bar with live music on the weekends.
5. Natural Hot Springs
Oregon’s a veritable well of natural hot springs, offering a warm romantic respite on a chilly winter day. You can find a neat series of rustic and built-up hot springs in the National Forests along the Cascade Mountains, but another batch dots the desert landscape of southeast Oregon as well. Just a heads up: Many of the more rustic hot springs are clothing optional.
Astoria is Oregon’s first city, and aside from Cannon Beach, is one of the best towns for romance on the coast, offering amenities aplenty for a couple in love. Find wildflowers up on Saddle Mountain, try some local fine dining or head out of town on a cruise along the Willamette River. And if you’re really looking to go all out, stay the weekend at the Cannery Pier Hotel, which boasts a panoramic view of the Columbia River and the in-house Cannery Pier Hotel Spa, all within walking distance to the upscale Bridgewater Bistro for dinner.
7. Timberline Lodge
Forget it as the exterior for the Overlook Hotel – Mt. Hood’s Timberline Lodge is one of Oregon’s most iconic mountaintop destinations. Built in 1935, and today a National Historic Landmark, the remarkable lodge is situated a whopping 5,960 feet up the mountain, offering an unbeatable close-up view of the peak and access to a year-round ski area. Stay in one of Timberline’s historic lodge rooms or opt for a luxury condo, both close to Timberline’s fine dining and drinking establishments.
For a little big-city romance, look no further than Portland, Oregon’s premier urban destination. Stay at an upscale downtown hotel or rent a tiny house on the east side of the Willamette – either way, be sure to take advantage of one of the best culinary scenes in the country: Let our most recent list of Portland’s 101 best restaurants be your guide. Portland also boasts spectacular natural beauty at the interconnected Forest and Washington Parks, home of the International Rose Test Garden, Portland Japanese Garden and more.
9. Oregon Shakespeare Festival
There are few resources for real romance – in all its complexities – than in the works of William Shakespeare, and few places better to get a good Shakespearean fix than the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland. The festival runs from February through October, showing modern takes on the Bard as well as riveting original works. Ashland itself has a lot to offer, from a downtown full of local shops and restaurants to the forested 93-acre Lithia Park.