Oregon is an absolutely stunning part of the west coast and all it takes is one day there to see that. While cities such as Portland get most of the attention, the capital of the state, Salem, often gets ignored as many seek out its many hip and funky small towns. While Salem might not boast much in the way of what travelers might expect, they're also likely to be surprised by what it does offer, each thing more unique than the last.

There's something for foodies, something for intrigued museum-goers, and even something for those who love nature. The best part? It can be seen in just a few days and most of it can even be explored in one day - making Salem a must-add part of any Oregon itinerary.


Cascades Gateway Park

This 100-acre park can be found on the southeast side of Salem and is home to a lot more than just hiking. Although that is a large draw to this park, visitors can also find an 18-hole disc golf course, the Walter L. Wirth lake, and a fenced-in dog park within.

On the lake, visitors can enjoy various water sports such as fishing, kayaking, and paddleboarding. Various picnic areas and a playground can also be found here, making the park adult and family-friendly.

Deepwood Museum And Gardens

The Deepwood Estate has been in Salem for over 120 years and serves as a favorite for locals and tourists alike. Visitors can take a guided tour anytime between Wednesday and Saturday, where they'll learn about the history of the estate and its grounds. The estate is also host to special events in Salem and with five acres of greenery and gardens surrounding this Victorian-style home, it's a place of beauty, relaxation, and nature.

Willamette Heritage Center And University

Willamette University was founded in 1842, making it the first college established on the west coast. Since then, the university has only grown its reputation, drawing people from all over to walk through its hallowed halls.

An art museum has also been established here and visitors can learn about the university, its beneficial events, and its history.

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Enchanted Forest Just Outside Of The City Limits

While the Enchanted Forest isn't in Salem, it's not a far trip from the city. With only a 20-minute drive, visitors can find themselves face to face with a fairytale-style homework, coinciding with Oregon's natural beauty and flora.

Visitors won't need to visit a national park for this type of beauty; Enchanted Forest gives way to the natural landscape of Oregon's forests and is fun for everyone, of any age, featuring fantastical rides, comedy and theater shows, and live music.

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Willamette Valley Cheese And Salem Wine Trail

For adult travelers, who could say no to award-winning cheese and a wine stop? The Willamette Valley Cheese Company and Salem Wine Trail are exactly the type of place everyone needs for a bit of quiet contemplation and delicious eats. The Oregon Honeywood Winery is the oldest in the state and offers a scenic landscape as well as scenic pathways through the Cherry Hill Vineyard.

For those seeking more artisanal beverages, Aengus Ciderworks isn't too far of a trip from Oregon Honeywood Winery, so once visitors have had their fill of wine tastings and cheese, they can head on down to learn about the process of cider making. For those looking to plan their trip around the Salem Wine Trail, there are plenty of options for accommodations, whether it be a long weekend or an entire week's stay.

Next: 10 Unique Things To Do In Oregon