Oregon is a very open minded and lovely state in the US. It's capital city is Portland and here you will find plenty of great hostels and a range of different things to do, especially of the alternative nature. Get among the many markets here, stop in on the worlds largest book store and get lost among the shelves, or take in one of the spectacular parks scattered throughout the city. Make sure that you definitely stop in on the Grotto and Washington Park. If the weather is rubbish, then there are quite a few interesting museums that you can take in as well.
Pendleton is a great place to get a hostel if you are planning on doing some very thorough investigation into the Walla Walla wine region. While it is not overly easy to get here without a car, it is worth your while in wine season. Thoroughly recommend spending a couple of days chilling out at a hostel here and taking in the beautiful farm lands and if you have friends you can even divide up designated driver duty. Also out this way you can travel to the Mount Hood National Forrest for some beautiful hiking and to get among the outdoors. Oh and to work off all of the wine!
To get around Oregon, you will ultimately need a car to experience some of the national parks and state parks within the area. There are not too many hostels in these regions. The hostels are mainly scattered in towns along Highway 5 running down into California. The Greyhound bus will frequent many of the major towns along the highway as it heads south and you can use this to get around if you don't have your own car, just double check that the bus will actually stop in the destination of your hostel. If it is a busy time of year make sure that you also book your bus in advance.
If you want to drive the Pacific Coast Highway, know that the only hostel along the coastline in Oregon is at Seaside in the northern part of the state. There are no other hostels along this route down into California but if you are driving it so that is something to keep in mind when budgeting for your trip through Oregon.
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The town of Bend is great with first class slopes nearby and big city amenities with a small town feel. It's a touch of Colorado in the Pacific Northwest without the high prices. You can get here from Portland or Eugene by bus in about 3 hours. There also an Amtrak shuttle from a stop about an hour away.
Portland... it isn't a big tourist destination really, but there may be no better example of the ideal small American city. It's a young town and the locals are some of the most genuinely friendly people you'll find anywhere. It has a lively downtown and nightlife. And it's surrounded on all sides by great outdoor …
Eugene is a great city, filled with personality. The hippy-ness gets to me a little sometimes, but other than that, I have a wonderful time in Eugene.