From hot air balloons and equestrian wine tours to antique shops and treetop zip lines, visitors experience a different side of the valley by thinking outside the vines.
Change your vantage point and see the sights from high above as you float over miles of vineyards, farmland, and pastoral countryside in a colorful hot air balloon. Vista Balloon Adventures take you soaring over the valley to see breathtaking views of the region’s towering volcanoes and the Willamette River carving its way through the landscape.
For a truly memorable experience, Equestrian Wine Tours in Carlton offers guided horseback wine tours through the hills of Dundee. No riding experience is required, but a healthy sense of adventure and desire for a good time is recommended.
Does the thought of pedaling from one world-class winery to the next in the fresh air, under wide open skies sound enticing? Cruise along country lanes with Pedal Bike Tours, winding through vineyards, hazelnut orchards and century-old farms.
See the valley from a bird’s eye view as you fly across AVAs in a helicopter. Tour DeVine by Heli transports guests to local wineries in an exciting aerial experience.
For art enthusiasts, the Lawrence Gallery in McMinnville offers an art scene that rivals the wine scene. The century-old building showcases elegant exhibits by modern masters such as Dali and Picasso.
Discover the vintage side of the valley, too. Uncover forgotten treasures as you wind your way through old furniture and collectibles at Lafayette School Antique Mall or at Wine Country Antiques in Newberg.
Families and Thrill Seekers
The Tree to Tree Aerial Adventure Park in nearby Gaston offers a giant playground in the trees with aerial ropes courses, treetop obstacle courses, and zip lines for exhilarating experiences. Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum, home of the famous Spruce Goose, the world’s largest airplane, is not just for airplane or history buffs. It’s a place to explore the fascination of flight and be inspired by the inventors and pilots who made it possible.
If the idea of jumping out of a 747 and launching yourself down a series of water slides excites you, then Wings and Waves educational waterpark at the Evergreen Campus is the place. It’s more than just zippy water slides and wave pools–kids have fun while learning in the hands-on museum, using water rocket launchers, climbing aboard the submarine, and into the astronaut-training fitness stations.
When a day trip isn’t enough, book a night at the Vintages Trailer Resort. Halfway between Dundee and McMinnville, a fleet of seventeen retro trailers from the 1940s to the 2000s are situated for great vineyard views. Updated and outfitted with antique furniture, sleek Airstreams are a blast from the past and enjoyable for families and patrons of any age. A pool, hot tub, and outdoor lawn games add to the summer fun. With an adjacent dog park, the resort invites you to bring your furry friends, too.
Planning a wedding or reunion? Step back in time with a gathering in The Old Schoolhouse in Newberg. Situated amid a picturesque hazelnut orchard, the building and grounds have been lovingly restored to celebrate the rich history of the area and its place in the community.
The Perfect Picnic
Pack a basket and head to one of the valley’s sprawling, green parks. Just outside of Newberg, Champoeg State Heritage Area offers groves of old-growth oak and historical sites linked by eight miles of bike paths, while Bald Peak State Park is the spot for the best panoramas, especially at sunset. Other picturesque spots include Roger’s Landing in Newberg, Yamhill Locks in Lafayette and Chehalem Valley Paddle Launch in Dundee, where boaters and paddleboarders frequently put in at the Willamette River. While many wineries allow picnic lunches, those looking to sip and sup outdoors should call ahead to ask to reserve a scenic spot.
Play at a Winery
Wondering what to do while wining and dining? Wineries in the Willamette Valley offer experiences other than just tasting. Put down your glass and pick up a Frisbee for the disc golf course at Stoller Family Estate or bowl on the bocce courts at Ponzi Wines. At Trisaetum, owner James Frey spends eight months of the year making wine and the rest making art for the tasting room’s 1,500-square-foot gallery. A former photojournalist, Frey turned to painting in his 20s and fills the gallery with wine-inspired works, incorporating soil, grape skin and other textures into each piece.