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Top Things to do This Fall

Published: September 01, 2021


It's a well-known local secret that fall is one of the best times in the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region. Bright red, orange and yellow leaves contrast against Oregon's signature evergreens, and crisp, cool and sometimes wet days are often matched with an equal number of clear, sunny skies.

Students return to the University of Oregon and the air is buzzing with fresh excitement. It's harvest time on the South Willamette Valley Food Trail and vineyards in wine country are moving from harvest to crush and preparing for Cellar Season. With families focused on schooling, this is one of the best times to catch beautiful days on the Oregon Coast and in the Cascade Mountains with fewer crowds.

This is a great time to plan nearby road trip and explore the region. Pack layers, your camera and get ready for a season of enticing culinary offerings, autumn hikes and holiday shopping. Here's our guide to what's happening across the region this season.

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Oregon Fall Foliage

Fall Leaves by Colin Morton

Colorful fall leaves on the University of Oregon campus in Eugene.

Photo: Colin Morton

Oregon is a destination for fall foliage seekers who come to see the stunning colors set against a backdrop of dark evergreen. Fodor's included the Willamette Valley in its recommended ten "Great Fall Foliage Trips Across the Country"

In a typical year leaves peak mid-October, depending on elevation. Track the progression of colors across the state and share your colorful fall snapshots and own leaf-spotting tips on our Facebook page. Combine autumns color with exploring covered bridges, fall hikes and jet boat tours.

Back to School

Back to school still looks different this year but the premise is the same: focus on learning! To augment "distance learning"; "pandemic pods" with tutoring; homeschooling; or small group, in-person instruction with pandemic protocols; local organizations are offering creative programs that inspire learning—now you have an excuse (not that you needed one!) to visit the Sea Lion Caves, hike Mount Pisgah or visit the Cascades Raptor Center. Tap into local resources to round out your children's curriculum while enjoying family time.

Oregon Bounty & Harvest Season

Fall is a fun time to be a foodie! Farmers' markets are still robust with fruits and vegetables and local chefs present autumn-inspired menus. Wildcraft with berry picking and mushrooming. Gather apples and pears from your yard to contribute to local cideries. Fish the mountain rivers for Steelhead and enjoy clam chowder on the coast. Seasonal flavors infuse beer, spirits and coffee offerings. And of course, there are all the baked treats.

Fall on the Oregon Coast

Fall on the Oregon Coast brings a mix of cool, damp days and days filled with bright sunshine. From gaming at the casino to shopping along Bay Street, Florence offers plenty of fun memories in the fall – rain or shine. Order a cup of tea or bowl of warm chowder and stroll Historic Old Town Florence or walk the beach looking for agates. Plan a coastal staycation, stock up on good books and cuddle up by the window to storm watch.

Fall in the Mountains

Mountain biking in Oakridge is still glorious and fishing is fabulous on both the Willamette and McKenzie Rivers. Soak in hot springs, roast marshmallows in the fire ring outside your cabin, search for mushrooms and enjoy the changing fall foliage. 


Halloween events get spooky with corn mazes, haunted houses and haunted hikes. Take the kids trick or treating at the mall or at special "trunk" or treat.

Holiday Shopping

Oakway Center Holiday Mural

Photo: Melanie Griffin

Skip Amazon and shop local stores and vendors —either safely in person following pandemic protocols or online with curbside pick up or delivery. Re-discover the holiday spirit with winter decorations.

More Fall Frolics

Author: Taj Barnhart Morgan

Taj Barnhart Morgan is the Director of Content Strategy for Travel Lane County. A journalism graduate from the University of Oregon, Taj has two decades of special event management and hospitality marketing experience in San Diego, CA and Maui, HI. Passionate about mothering, and back to her Oregon roots, she is discovering the Eugene, Cascades & Coast region all over again through the eyes of her daughter.