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Sweet Travels: Tualatin Valley, Oregon

Searching for your next great adventure? This Sweet July series taps top travel enthusiasts to share first-hand insight into their ventures across the country and world, so you know exactly what to expect and how to prepare once you book your ticket. Wishing you safe—and sweet—travels!

Today: Jeannette Ceja shares her top tips for vacationing in Tualatin Valley, Oregon.

Located just outside of Portland, Oregon is Tualatin Valley, a hidden gem of a region where there’s much to be discovered. If you’re heading here from Portland or a different city, the best way to get around would be by car. A road trip will allow ample time to explore Tualatin Valley’s picturesque vineyards, wineries, and farm-to-table restaurants. Don’t miss the historic hotel with its own ghost log! 

As a first-time visitor to this region, I was impressed with all the activities and the different cities to explore. Here are the top experiences I suggest you add to your next visit.

Dining: 

For A Budget: Local Beer And Food Spots

This region is home to a wide variety of dining options. First, stop at Diversity Cafe for breakfast or lunch, where the menu includes everything from pancakes and French toast to steak and eggs, and vegan options—and prices start at $8. Next, browse the food cart scene in Beaverton and taste Oregon beer or sausages at Loyal Legion.

For A Splurge: Farm-To-Table Dining At & Wine Tasting Experiences

If you head south towards Wilsonville, you’ll find The Kitchen at Middleground Farms, home to a women-owned, farm-to-table dining experience and special events including “Dinners in the Garden” on Saturdays and a hands-on cooking lesson with Chef Kate Johnson. The prices here range from $90 to $190, depending on the experience.

Another must-add to your itinerary is a visit to a local winery. Consider Raptor Ridge Winery. If the vast selection of red, rosé, and white wines aren’t enough to wow, the views alone might inspire a visit.

Raptor Ridge Winery
Raptor Ridge Winery

Lodging

For A Budget: Airbnb Homes 

Looking for an affordable alternative to a hotel stay? Check out Airbnb’s options. Especially for group travelers, there are homes in Beaverton, for example, that accommodate up to five guests and start at a little more than $100 a night.

For A Splurge: A Historic And Rumored Haunted Hotel

Situated in Forest Grove, check out the McMenamins Grand Lodge. From the outside, this property may appear ordinary, but the interior is anything but typical. You’ll find dim lighting, colorful-themed hallways and guest rooms, antique photos from its “previous residents,” a movie theater, a ghost story log, and weekly live music. The hotel even has a secret room on the third floor. Nightly standard rates range from $155 to $225 a night.

McMenamins Grand Lodge
McMenamins Grand Lodge

Adventure

For A Budget: Wander In Nature

If you like hiking or going for scenic walks, check out the local parks and surrounding nature like Henry Hagg Lake with different trails, most of which are free to access. 

For A Splurge: Ziplining In The Forest

In Gaston, the best place to experience nature and adventure all in one is at the Tree to Tree Adventure Park. Here, you can go ziplining quite literally from tree to tree in the surrounding forest. There’s always staff around to safely guide you along the way. The cost for this experience starts at $89.

Tree to Tree Adventure Park

What To Pack

No matter what season you go, I recommend checking the weather forecast a few days prior, as you might experience a chance of rain. For example, when I visited in the springtime, there were sunny and rainy moments on the same day. 

Pack layers of warm clothing, rain boots, and hiking boots to be prepared for any adventures. If you are looking for face masks or the perfect outfit accessories on this trip, check out the Latina-founded brand Second Wind.

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