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Sustainable Travel Experiences in the Willamette Valley

By Matt Wastradowski

Over the past decade or so, the rise of Instagram, TikTok, and other social media platforms has made far-flung destinations feel more accessible than ever—and has changed how we all experience travel and tourism. At the heart of that change are travelers who embrace the concept of sustainable, eco-friendly tourism. According to the Center for Responsible Travel, a nonprofit that advocates for thoughtful travel practices, more than half of all global tourists want to travel more sustainably going forward—and roughly two-thirds expect businesses, attractions, and overnight stays to offer accommodations that reflect their values.

Our businesses already welcome visitors with sustainably minded and regenerative-focused offerings and services including cutting-edge agricultural practices at renowned wineries, farm-to-fork eateries, and lodges that plant trees for every overnight stay.

So as you plan your next trip to the Willamette Valley, here’s a look at how some of our businesses are working hard to help you have a positive impact with regenerative experiences.

Nestled in the heart of Oregon Wine Country, Inn the Ground is one of the Willamette Valley's newest B&Bs. Amenities include floor-to-ceiling windows for plenty of natural light, high-definition TVs, comfortable bedding, and tours of the on-site regenerative farm—where agricultural practices are employed in concert with what’s best for the environment.

The Westfir Lodge sits in the Cascade Range—where it hosts an on-site yoga room, grows fruits and vegetables at a small farm nearby, and more. The lodge even plants a tree in the surrounding Willamette National Forest for every overnight stay. Learn more about Westfir Lodge and its commitment to regenerative and sustainable practices.

Just outside Dayton, Stoller Family Estate has been a regional pioneer for more than 30 years. Stoller was the Pacific Northwest’s first winery to produce solar energy, hosts one of the largest remaining oak groves in the Willamette Valley, employs low-impact farming practices, and shares the beauty of its surroundings through drone-shot videos, augmented-reality displays, and other interactive experiences. Pinot noir and chardonnay are just a few of Stoller’s most popular wines.

Near the southern edge of the Willamette Valley, King Estate Winery is the largest Biodynamic-certified vineyard in the United States. The winery emphasizes biodiversity by generating fertilizer on the farm, limiting external pest and weed controls, and even acting as a release site for orphaned and rehabilitated raptors from the nearby Cascades Raptor Center. Take it all in from a hilltop tasting room that overlooks farms and hillsides.

Just south of McMinnville sits Maysara Winery, a family-run, Biodynamic-certified winery that pours pinot noir, pinot gris, rosé, and other popular selections. The winery uses holistic farming practices that showcase the Willamette Valley's terroir and environment where the grapes were grown.

Sitting between Corvallis and Eugene, Antiquum Farm is a Biodynamic winery that offers private tastings to share not just the farm's wine—but a glimpse at how it's produced. Seated tastings and farm tours are available (with reservation) on weekends—and include encounters with the livestock that graze on (and help maintain) Antiquum’s vineyards and broader farm.

Curious about biodynamic agriculture and winemaking? Check out our round-up of five great biodynamic wineries in the Willamette Valley.

The Willamette Valley’s farmers, producers, and restaurateurs pioneered the modern-day farm-to-table food movement—and have even helped form several farm loops and food trails to connect visitors with fresh, seasonal fare. Here are a few innovators who make that locally minded ethos a core part of their mission.

Enjoy grass-fed pork, beef, and eggs from Tabula Rasa Farms in the midst of Oregon Wine Country. The sustainable, self-sufficient farm raises its animals naturally and respectfully—all without synthetic pesticides or chemicals—and sells its bounty at Marketplace Source Farms.

Canby's TMK Creamery has earned plaudits for ground-breaking practices that include providing transparency about where its cheeses come from, taking care of its land and animals, and even using leftover whey to produce a quality sipping vodka that it calls "cowcohol". Visitors can taste TMK’s cheeses at an on-site store and tasting room, pick up a bottle of “cowcohol” to enjoy back home, and even take a self-guided tour of the farm to see how it’s all done.

A key part of regenerative travel entails leaving a place better than you found it. That may look different to everyone—and might mean supporting wineries that are stewards of the land, staying the night in a lodge that grows its own food, or even taking tours with local outfitters—thereby keeping your dollars in the community and supporting mom-and-pop endeavors. Here are a few fun ways to have a positive impact on your next trip to the Willamette Valley.

Cascades Outdoor Center visitors can easily enjoy outdoor recreation all year long through mountain bike shuttles, rafting and kayaking tours, guided hikes, snowshoeing outings, and more; best of all, these experiences are all led by friendly, knowledgeable guides. 

Want to roll up your sleeves and get involved—or support an organization that’s doing just that? See what's new with Cascade Volunteers, a nonprofit that works to protect and conserve the Willamette National Forest through volunteer opportunities, educational programs, engaging events, and more.

Explore the Willamette Valley's celebrated wineries, cultural attractions, and more with First Nature Tours—a regional outfitter that provides professional guide services and small-group tours to destinations throughout the Pacific Northwest. Learn more about Kieron Wilde, the founder and "chief expedition leader" of First Nature Tours.

Your adventure begins with the official Willamette Valley Travel Guide. Request your complimentary printed guide or download a digital guide today.

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