The secret’s out—Oregon is possibly one of America’s best outdoor playgrounds. In fact, it’s one of the most geographically diverse locations in the United States, home to high deserts, dense forests, many bodies of water, stretching coastline and even volcanoes.
This varied, wonder-inducing landscape and its surprising accessibility is starting to attract more intrepid travelers.
And for attendees visiting increasingly popular cities like Portland, Bend and Eugene for meetings, there are plenty of ways for groups to experience the state’s fairytale-like landscapes.
From biking in Portland to sand dune buggy tours and hikes around a national park, these are the best ways for groups to bond while outdoors in the Beaver State.
1. Unique Bike Tours in Portland
Oregon’s biggest city, Portland, is consistently in the top five most bike-friendly cities in the nation, so it’s no surprise that many of its best outdoor activities for groups involve two wheels.
Springwater Corridor, Courtesy Travel Portland
The offerings continue to get more creative. Marcus Hibdon, director of communications and public relations at Travel Portland, named cycling tours like Pedal Bike Tours, which offers unique tours of town like biking to all the best donut shops in Portland, and the “Beyond Portlandia” with Everybody’s Bike Tours, where groups avoid downtown and bike to local gems like urban farms (with goats!) as popular options.
The Meditative Garden Bike Tour from Cordilleran Tours is perhaps the most unique for Portland groups that really want to immerse themselves in the city’s natural offerings, however.
[Related: 3 Portland Food Trends]
The five-hour tour includes admission to the Lan Su Chinese Garden and the Japanese Garden, fun facts about the city’s approach to urban gardens, and “an immersion into meditative practices in a variety of different meditative approaches.” Its approach to mindfulness, exercise and sight-seeing is just the right mix of the endearing oddity of Portland.
2. Dune Buggy Tours of Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
Groups can explore Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area—the largest expanse of coastal sand dunes in North America and one of the largest expanses of temperate coastal sand dunes in the world—easily via dune buggy tours. The mighty dunes stretch across 30 miles of coastline, creating sand mountains up to 500 feet high.
Florence dune buggy, Courtesy: Eugene Cascades and Coast
For groups meeting in the nearby Eugene-Springfield metro area, the breathtaking dunes are just over an hour away, and shuttles, buses and vans can be arranged to the coast for any size of group, according to Philis McLennan, the marketing manager for Eugene, Cascades & Coasts CVB.
“The scenic drive to the coast winds through forestland, passes farms and wineries, cuts through the Coast Range and runs along the Siuslaw River, making the journey an adventure all its own,” she said.
Dune buggy tours are available through Sand Dunes Frontier and Sandland Adventures, which both offer discounts to groups of 20 people or more.