15 Best Things to Do in Benton County, OR

Benton County, OR
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Are you looking for a vacation spot with a rich history and breathtaking natural spaces?

If you are, Benton County is the perfect place for you.

Benton County is the fourth smallest county in Oregon, with a humble land area of 679 square miles.

What it lacks in size makes up for its many parks, nature preserves, and museums.

These places let you explore this beautiful county’s history, biology, and culture.

Not sure what to do?

Check out the 15 best things to do in Benton County, Oregon!

Enjoy Beautiful Scenery at Mary’s Peak

View of Mary’s Peak
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Mary’s Peak is the perfect place to go hiking because of the variety of trails with scenic views of the ocean and nearby mountains.

Mary’s Peak is the highest point in Oregon’s Coast Range, with a height of around 4,100 feet.

It has several hiking trails, including Meadowedge Trail, East Ridge Trail, North Ridge Trail, Summit Trail, and Tie Trail.

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Each trail offers hikers different panoramic angles of the magnificent Pacific Ocean and the beautiful Cascade peaks.

The peak is also a well-known campground with several campsites among Douglas, noble fir, and western red cedar trees.

Each campsite has its picnic table, campfire ring, and vault toilet.

Other recreational activities include bicycling, nature viewing, and outdoor learning,

Mary’s Peak is about 25 miles west of the city of Corvallis via US-20 W and OR-34 W.

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Enjoy a Relaxing Afternoon at Chip Ross Park and Natural Area

Chip Ross Park and Natural Area is another site in Corvallis that offers unique open spaces for people to relax and enjoy the afternoon.

Located at NW Lester Avenue, Chip Ross Park and Natural Area have a 1.5-mile hiking trail through the pristine oak woodlands.

The natural area boasts majestic views of Corvallis, the Willamette Valley, the Coast Range, and the Cascade peaks.

The park is an off-leash area, so your dog can freely enjoy the open space and interact with nature.

The place is perfect for bird watching as acorn woodpeckers and other birds often fly through there.

Picnic tables are available at the Lester Avenue trailhead if you like to go picnicking.

With a fantastic atmosphere and scenic views, there’s no doubt that Chip Ross Park and Natural Area is a must-stop for people to enjoy a peaceful afternoon.

See the Knights at Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire

Knights at Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
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Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire is a one-of-a-kind entertainment center with knights, archers, and more!

Established in 1995, Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire offers an incredible experience to visitors as they venture into the realm of the medieval era.

One of their most popular attractions is the Knights of Mayhem’s jousting event featuring Captain Charlie Andrews.

Knights at Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
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Another well-known attraction is the magnificent horseback archery of the Cascade Warriors.

The park also entertains in the form of stage plays, street dances, and blind juggling!

Come down to Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire and grab a turkey leg as you immerse yourself in the era of the knights!

Knights at Shrewsbury Renaissance Faire
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Play Disc Golf at Willamette Park and Natural Area

Willamette Park and Natural Area is the biggest park in Corvallis, with a significant area of 287 acres.

At Southeast Goodnight Avenue, Willamette Park and Natural Area are other fantastic park for the community to enjoy the outdoors.

It boasts a unique open space, beautiful meadows, and playing fields for everyone to run around and explore freely.

There are several hiking trails and walking paths if you wish to go hiking.

Additionally, the park features an 18-hole disc golf course for Frisbee enthusiasts or those who want to try out the game.

Stop by Willamette Park and Natural Area for a beautiful and relaxing time in the city.

Have Fun Swimming at the Osborn Aquatic Center

Osborn Aquatic Center isn’t your typical boring community pool.

Situated in downtown Corvallis, Osborn Aquatic Center boasts four lovely pools for people of all ages.

They have two indoor pools open all year round, so you don’t have to worry about not being able to go swimming for some months.

Their Small Therapy Pool is perfect for people who wish to go on a dip during the cold season, with its temperature kept at a constant 91 degrees Fahrenheit.

Their Olympic-sized 50-meter pool has a max depth of 13 feet which is ideal for those who want to go swimming and diving.

Their outdoor pools are open during summertime, with its Outdoor Lap Pool and its famous Otter Beach waterpark.

Osborn Aquatic Center is located on NW Highland Drive, north of Garfield City Park.

Observe Beautiful Geese at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge

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Go on an incredible wildlife viewing adventure at Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge.

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is a 530-acre wetland habitat featuring picturesque sceneries and fantastic opportunities to observe wildlife.

The nature reserve is home to various animals, including the dusky Canada goose and other birds during the cold winter.

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Refuge shelters with informative signs are on display so that you can learn about the animals there.

The fantastic views are great for nature photography, so bring your camera and take a snapshot of its beauty.

Ankeny National Wildlife Refuge is easily accessible, located on Beuna Vista Road S, Jefferson, Jefferson County, Oregon, 47 minutes from Benton County.'

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Meet Friendly Reptiles at Brad’s World Reptiles

Brad’s World Reptiles is a great place to learn about our cold-blooded and scaly friends.

Brad’s World Reptiles was founded by herpetologist Brad Tylman who wanted to raise awareness about the beauty of reptiles.

The facility is home to over 1,000 animals!

They offer several tour and exhibit packages, each with its unique adventure into the reptilian world.

They have tours that let you learn about animals living in the desert, rainforest, and more!

You can also request to have a custom exhibit tailored to your preferences.

This once-in-a-lifetime reptilian experience is only available at Brad’s World Reptiles on Northwest Highway 99, Corvallis.

Learn about Corvallis’ History at Corvallis Museum

Corvallis Museum is an excellent stop in the city of Corvallis because its galleries showcase the city’s rich history.

Located at Southwest 2nd Street, Corvallis Museum features exhibits from the Benton County Historical Society’s collection.

The collection comprises items such as artworks, artifacts, textiles, specimens, and more!

The most prized collection in the museum is the Horner Collection which features John B. Horner’s archeological findings.

You can tour the museum or book a 45-minute sampler tour.

Stop by Corvallis Museum now, and greet Bruce the Moose as you enter the city’s premier museum.

Sip Wine by the Countryside at Monroe Hills Wineries

Wine tasting has never been more exquisite than at Monroe Hills Wineries.

Monroe Hills Wineries offers visitors a unique wine-tasting experience as it is home to four family-owned wineries.

These are Dragon’s Vineyard, Bluebird Hill Cellars, Sweet Earth Vineyards and Winery, and TeBri Vineyards and Lavender.

Each of these award-winning wineries has its unique flavor and experience.

However, they all have the same fantastic atmosphere of rural Benton County.

They are also less than ten minutes from the county center, so you can immediately go to the next one after trying out the first winery.

Check out Monroe Hills Wineries, located on Larson Road near the town of Monroe.

Take a Peek at Benton County’s Past at Philomath Museum

Front view of Philomath Museum
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Philomath Museum is another Benton County museum featuring artifacts that let you take a peek at its past.

Like Corvallis Museum, Philomath Museum exhibits items from the Benton County Historical Society’s collection.

One of their most famous collection is the Cockrell Quilt Collection which showcases quilting styles and techniques from the Revolutionary period to the Civil War era.

Front view of Philomath Museum
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They also have a unique exhibit called the Meola Family Movies, a series of 16mm silent movies shot by the Meola Family.

Learn about Benton County’s past by visiting Philomath Museum on Main Street, Philomath.

Check Out the Commander’s House at Fort Hoskins Historic Park

Fort Hoskins Historical Park is one of Benton County’s most treasured historical sites.

Fort Hoskins Historical Park was formerly known as Fort Hoskins.

It was initially established in 1856 to monitor the new coastal Indian reservation.

In 1991, Benton County bought the site, which opened to the public in 2002.

The park features amenities, including restrooms, picnic areas, and more.

They boast excellent self-guided trails that let you explore the park’s history, observe its vegetation, and check out the fantastic views.

They also have a shelter with educational interactive displays, making learning about the park fun!

Visit Fort Hoskins Historical Park at Hoskins Road, Philomath, to see Benton County’s history.

Walk through the Wetlands at Jackson-Frazier Wetland

View of Jackson-Frazier Wetland
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Jackson-Frazier Wetland is a community park in Corvallis that offers visitors an incredibly unique park experience.

Situated on Northeast Lancaster Street, Jackson-Frazier Wetland’s main highlight is its 3,400-foot wooden boardwalk.

This boardwalk winds through the wetlands letting you closely observe the area’s unique flora and fauna.

Wetlands at Jackson-Frazier Wetland
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Speaking of animals, the park is home to a wide variety of birds, so expect to hear a lot of chirping.

The park has picnic areas, scenic views, and a fantastic atmosphere.

Check out Jackson-Frazier Wetland and go on a journey through the wetlands.

Wetlands at Jackson-Frazier Wetland
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What’s better than riding a carousel? It’s riding an ANTIQUE carousel!

The Albany Historic Carousel & Museum lets you experience the fun and excitement of riding on a carousel full of historical significance.

Located on West 1st Avenue in the city of Albany, Oregon, the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum features no ordinary carousel.

Their carousel, donated by Dentzel Carousel Corporation, has over 50 hand-carved animals operated via an antique mechanism.

The mechanism is made of antique parts such as its wooden gear tooth, mirror panel, and motor.

As you ride the carousel, you’ll experience riding a vintage carousel.

Get ready to take a historic trip on a historic carousel at the Albany Historic Carousel & Museum.

This place is in Linn County, Oregon, 38 minutes from Benton County.

Dive into Albany’s Origins at the Monteith House

The Monteith House is a memorial for the pioneers who established the city of Albany, 37 minutes from Benton County.

Located on Southwest 2nd Avenue, the Monteith House was home to brothers Walter and Thomas Monteith.

They were originally from New York but were drawn to Oregon’s beauty and resources.

They decided to move there via the Oregon Trail.

They soon discovered a great spot near the junctions between Calapooia and the Willamette Rivers.

In this spot, they built the Monteith House, a historic building previously used as a home and a community center.

Currently, the house is a museum that contains historical items of the Monteith brothers during their years in the city.

The museum offers tours, events, and other things to make you enjoy your stay as you learn about the city’s rich history.

Gaze Upon the Majestic Falls City Falls

The name may seem repetitive, but Falls City Falls is a majestic piece of art formed by Mother Nature.

Situated on Parry Road, Falls City Falls is the treasure of Falls City, Polk County, Oregon, 36 minutes from Benton County.

Words cannot describe how magnificent this body of water is, especially when you observe it up close.

The area is the premier destination for relaxation in the community.

People also enjoy going for a dip in the safer areas of the falls.

During your stay, you’ll undoubtedly feel the calming ambiance as you hear the mighty yet soothing roars of the waterfalls.

Final Thoughts

Benton County is one of Oregon’s hidden treasures with its unique take on recreation and exploration.

As you venture into this lovely county, you’ll see the exceptional beauty of Mother Nature with its scenic views and unique natural formations.

You’ll see just how rich its history and culture are in the county seat of Corvallis and other nearby cities and towns.

Enjoy the region’s greatness as you experience the best things to do in Benton County, Oregon.

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