GREAT AMERICAN VACATION
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Most visitors arriving by plane fly into Portland, site of the state's largest airport. Smaller regional airports are based in Eugene, Medford, and Bend. A smaller number of visitors arrive by Amtrak, which has major service connecting Portland, Salem, Eugene, and Klamath Falls with San Francisco, Seattle, and Spokane, or by Greyhound bus, with stops in most major cities and towns.
If traveling by car, major interstate highways connect Oregon with Washington, Idaho, and northern California, making it easy to include the state as part of a regional Pacific Northwest road trip to Seattle, Vancouver, and environs. Interstate 5 is Oregon's major north-south freeway, and Interstate 84 cuts east-west across the state from Portland through the Columbia Gorge and southeast toward Boise, Idaho. Other major roads through the state, all of them offering plenty of beautiful scenery, include U.S. 101 up and down the coast, U.S. 97 north-south along the eastern edge of the Cascade Range, and U.S. 20 and U.S. 26, both of which run east-west from the coast through the Willamette Valley, over the Cascades, and across the state's vast eastern interior.
The only destination within Oregon that's genuinely easy to visit without a car is Portland, which is served by a superb public transportation system that includes buses, streetcars, and light rail. The city's attractive, safe downtown is also easy to navigate on foot. If you do bring a car to Portland, you'll find the driving relatively easy—parking can be pricey at downtown hotels but is otherwise cheap and easy to find outside the immediate city center. A car can be useful for exploring nearby points of interest or making day trips to the Willamette wine country, Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, and the coast.
Beyond Portland, it's possible to get by without a car in relatively compact cities and larger towns like Ashland, Bend, Eugene, and Salem, but many key attractions in these areas lie farther afield, and a car is ideal for exploring. To reach and explore most of the state, including the beautiful coastline and the rugged, sparsely populated central and eastern portions, a car is a necessity.