Top Ten Cheap Vacations

Willamette Valley, Oregon (instead of Napa Valley, California)
Field of flowers in Willamette Valley, Oregon
A field of dahlias in the Willamette Valley (Wikimedia Commons)

3. Willamette Valley, Oregon
Not only is Willamette cheaper to visit than Napa Valley, it's also incredibly easy to get to—most wineries are 45 minutes to two hours from Portland. On the banks of the Willamette River, the valley is home to more than 200 wineries and is one of the best pinot noir–producing regions in the world. Plus, most are boutique producers, with fewer than 3,500 cases per vintage and limited distribution—so to taste them, you'll have to visit yourself. Terms like sustainable, biodynamic, and organic got you confused? Take a sustainable wine tour that will visit three or four sustainable wineries to learn about the different facets of eco-friendly wine production in the valley. If you plan your trip for early May, go to the Indie Wine Festival, a two-day event that features 40 craft wineries that have been prejudged by sommeliers, journalists, and winemakers, served up with some small bites from Oregon's top chefs. Then take a hot-air balloon ride to give you a bird's eye view of the terrain.
Oregon Travel Guide
Coastal Scenes Photo Gallery

Published: 25 Mar 2009 | Last Updated: 15 Sep 2010
Details mentioned in this article were accurate at the time of publication


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