Attractions Nearby Salem, Day Trips and Excursions
(Salem, Oregon - OR, USA)
The fact that Salem sits on the far northwestern side of Oregon means that it is actually surprisingly close to a number of coastal towns and attractions lying on its shoreline, next to the Pacific Ocean.
Many of these destinations are ideal for day trips or longer excursions, such as Lincoln City and its communities of Oceanlake and Wecoma Beach. Also to the west of Salem and on the coast is the Bob Straub State Park, which is just under 60 miles / 97 km away and lies alongside Nestucca Bay, where it is considered to belong to Pacific City.
Those planning an excursion to the Bob Straub State Park will find that the principal attractions tend to be of a coastal nature and include fishing, hiking trails, horseback riding, picnics on the sand dunes and seasonal whale watching. Nearby, the Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Reserve may also be of interest when it comes to possible excursions.
For something altogether more urban, consider taking a day trip to the small city of Albany, Oregon, located some 45 minutes to the south of Salem and reached by driving down Interstate I-5 and passing the Willamette Memorial Park.
The tourism scene in Albany is extremely well developed and there are numerous cultural attractions to choose between. Some of the best include the Thomas and Walter Monteith House, which was actually built as long ago as 1850 and has been relocated no less than twice over the years. Downtown Albany is so full of the past that it now ranks as a National Historic District. Many annual events are staged here, such as the Willamette River Festival at the end of July, and the Northwest Art and Air Festival each August.
Closer to home and to the north of Salem, Keizer is just a few miles away and too close to really be called a day trip destination, being more of a suburb. The Keizer Heritage Museum is one of the most-visited attractions here, while the Iris Festival each May draws in the crowds, as do the Yuletide celebrations that make up the Keizer Miracle of Christmas Lighting Display.
Head further north, along Interstate I-5, and the sizeable city of Portland is a major tourist destination, with its total population comfortably exceeding half a million residents. Portland is little more than an hours' drive away and boasts some of the state's biggest and best tourist attractions, such as the Oregon Zoo, the Oregon Historical Society, the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry, and the Portland Art Museum.
Roughly 30 minutes to the northeast of Salem is the small village of Mount Angel, which boasts a noticeable German character and a hugely popular Oktoberfest event. You may also like to plan excursions into Oregon's wine country and take a tour around a vineyard or two. Alternatively, take a drive 30 minutes to the east and check out the natural wonder of the Silver Falls, where you can make the most of hiking trails, scenic picnic spots and camping sites.