Oregon is like dozens of vacation destinations rolled into one.

In addition to the natural beauty of its many landscapes, the Beaver State is home to vineyards, dazzling cities and exciting cultural events like the Oregon Shakespeare Festival. The only catch? With so many options, you can easily spend a fortune on your itinerary.

Luckily, this doesn’t have to be the case. With a little planning, you can visit Oregon on a budget. These travel hacks will help you see bucket list Oregon locations – like the Pacific Ocean, Crater Lake National Park and cities like Portland – without breaking the bank. 

Daily costs in Oregon

  • Dorm lodging in a hostel: $28
  • Basic hotel room for two: $100
  • Self-catering apartment (including Airbnb:) $110
  • Camping fees: $17 for a tent site 
  • Public transportation: $5.60 for a day pass in Portland 
  • Coffee $3–6 a cup
  • Sandwich: $10
  • Dinner for two: $50 
  • Wine tasting: $15
A cyclist rides along a path in a city's riverside park
Walk betwen major sites in Portland or make use of the local bike share schemes © Joel Carillet / Getty Images

Skip the rental car 

Save yourself the money and hassle of renting a car on your next trip to Portland. Many of the city’s top attractions are walkable from downtown, plus you’ll find bike shares and scooter rentals on virtually every corner. If you need to venture further, a day pass for Portland’s TriMet transportation system (including light rail, commuter rail and bus service throughout the metro area) is just $5.60. 

Oregon’s inter-city bus line, Point, offers affordable transportation for longer distances. The scenic Northwest route from Portland to Astoria is a popular way to get to the coast since tickets are only $18 each way. Once you arrive, downtown Astoria is walkable. During warmer months, you can take a ride on the historic riverfront trolley for just $2 a day.  

Local tip: If you’re arriving by air, catch the light rail at the south end of the PDX terminal building. 

See the very best of Oregon with our guide to the top places to visit

Visit the beach during the shoulder season 

The Oregon coast is most popular from Memorial Day through the end of September. This means lodging comes at a premium. You’ll save money if you plan your visit outside of that time frame. The weather can be quite lovely in spring and fall and the beaches are far less crowded. Even stormy winter days are beautiful on the coast when waves crash on the surf.

Purchase your lift tickets in advance 

If you’re planning a ski trip to a destination like Timberline or Mt Bachelor, you’ll save money by purchasing your lift ticket online. If your plans are flexible, search for a few different dates to find the best deal. Most of the time you’ll get a better price the farther you book in advance. Since ski season in Oregon usually lasts through April or May, there are plenty of dates to choose from. 

An alpine area covered with snow and a vast lake
If heading to Crater Lake, accommodations are cheaper in Grants Pass, Ashland or Klamath Falls © Aurora Open / Getty Images

Explore Southern Oregon 

In addition to attractions like Crater Lake National Park, Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve and the Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland, Southern Oregon is home to fantastic vineyards and wineries. Besides being an amazing vacation destination, lodging, restaurants, and activities like wine tasting usually cost less than they do in hot spots like Portland or Willamette Valley. Base yourself in Grants Pass, Ashland or Klamath Falls to save money without sacrificing memorable experiences.

Book hotel rooms or rental houses during the week 

Most hotels and rental homes are cheaper on weekdays than they are on weekends. If you aren’t tied to a specific date, try playing with booking platforms to see how much your stay will cost on different days of the week. You can put the money you save towards meals or transportation. 

Take advantage of free or discounted museum days 

Many of Oregon’s best museums offer free or discounted admission to the public regularly. Examples include free admission to the Tamastslikt Cultural Institute in Pendleton on the first Friday of every month, free admission to the Portland Art Museum on the first Thursday of every month, or $5 admission to the Omni Museum of Science and Industry on the first Sunday of every month. Free admission and discount programs are usually listed on museum websites. 

Stay in a hostel

Forge friendships with fellow travelers and save big bucks on lodging with accommodations at properties like Portland Hostel, where dorm-style beds cost as little as $36 a night. If you’re traveling to the Oregon coast, a shared room at the Seaside Lodge and International Hostel can be yours for about $50 a night. In Southern Oregon, shared rooms at Ashland Commons Hostel are as little as $28 a night.

Time your visit to Oregon just right with this seasonal guide

Two women prepare a meal at a picnic table beside an RV camper parked in a scenic tree-lined campsite
Rates for an RV at a campsite in Oregon start at $30 © Fly View Productions / Getty Images

Go camping

Oregon’s state parks are not only beautiful, they are excellent places to stay. Although prices at individual parks vary, you can generally expect to pay about $17 a night for a tent site, between $30–40 for a non-resident RV site, and about $50 a night for a yurt or rustic cabin. For exact rates, search for your dates and desired location online.

Snag a wine-tasting passport 

Tasting fees at Oregon’s wineries typically run from $15–25 a person, although they can easily cost more, depending on the winery. If you’re visiting several wineries, it can put a serious dent in your budget. The Heart of Willamette Passport offers free or discounted tastings at wineries in the Corvallis area for a one-time fee of $45. If you’re traveling with a plus one, a second passport can be purchased at a $5 discount. 

Seek out happy hours

Happy hour is hardly a new concept but the discounts are especially rewarding in a food-centric city like Portland. Find $5 cocktails and two tacos for $5 at Pig Patas Tacos or $10 chicken sandwiches with half-off bottles of wine at Radio Room. There are plenty of great happy hours in other parts of the state, too, including $6 for poutine and wings plus discounted drinks at Taproot Lounge and Cafe in Salem. 

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