And when you tell people you’re off to Oregon, some might struggle to place it on a map of the US, let alone name its attractions.
But after spending a week touring the state – between California and Washington on the West Coast – it’s hard to think of a better year-round destination offering just about any type of break you could want.
Within moments of disembarking at Portland Airport you’ll encounter one of this notoriously cool city’s many wacky attractions.
The terminal’s bright green carpet with red and blue flashes – intended to represent Oregon’s natural beauty – has become something of a social media sensation.
“Portland is a year-round destination offering just about any type of break you could want”
Tens of thousands of visitors have uploaded snaps of their feet on the cheery floor covering to Instagram using the hashtag #pdxcarpet.
The city’s unofficial slogan is Keep Portland Weird, with laid-back locals allowed to walk the streets naked and buy cannabis from state-regulated shops.
But if you’re too shy or well-behaved for that, there’s still lots to see including eye-catching public artworks, beautiful parks and murals dotted around the compact city centre.
The official Keep Portland Weird mural is a must for snaps, and is over the road from Voodoo Doughnuts, one of America’s best bakeries.
We tried a Homer Simpson-inspired treat, which was bright pink and encrusted with sprinkles, before a brisk walk to the Portland Art Museum.
Don’t miss the Native American galleries if you visit. Oregonians are proud of their heritage, and you’ll see clothing or furniture inspired by these beautiful geometric designs everywhere you go.
Another thing you’ll notice in Portland is the lack of big fast-food chains.
It is the birthplace of the independent food cart, with about 600 dotted around the city serving top-quality grub at reasonable prices.
I loved the Thai chicken and rice from Nong’s Khao Man Gai, on the junction of SW Alder St and SW 10th Avenue, and Mexican food from nearby El Taco Yucateco.
Local foodie Brett Burmeister’s website – foodcartsportland.com – offers a round-up of the best spots.
The Columbia River Gorge
And if you’re after something more formal, the city has plenty of top-notch restaurants too. Argentine eaterie Ox, in the Boise-Eliot area, served the best steak I’ve ever had.
We stayed in the trendy but comfy Ace Hotel, right by the city’s best boutiques, bars and restaurants.
Most Brits love shopping in the US, and Oregon has no state sales tax, meaning it offers some of America’s cheapest retail therapy.
Although it would be easy to spend all your time in Portland, the city is just a few miles from some of America’s most breathtaking scenery and exhilarating outdoor activities. My trip to Oregon kicked off with a four-day loop of some the state’s best scenic spots.
Our guide Kieron Weidner, who runs First Nature Tours, drove us along the stunning Columbia River Gorge.
Timberline Lodge Hotel and ski resort is around an hour outside Portland, and its exterior is instantly recognisable as The Overlook Hotel from horror film The Shining.
The 1930s building sits at the base of snow-capped Mount Hood and offers almost year-round skiing, snowboarding and snow-shoeing.
A couple of hours drive from Timberline is Smith Rock National Park, where huge, jagged rocks jut out from a sun-soaked landscape that enjoys mild mid-winter weather. Former Wild West town Bend is a trendy base from which to explore it as well as Mount Batchelor, another nearby ski resort.
There you can also take an exhilarating husky dog ride through the snowy Oregon Trail of Dreams for around £70 per adult or £35 per child.
Kieron also took us to the spectacular Sea Lion Cave, near Florence on Oregon’s rugged Pacific coast, where the animals gather in huge numbers during the winter months. En route, you’ll pass through Springfi eld, which inspired The Simpsons TV programme.
Show creator Matt Groening grew up there and the city now has a colourful mural of Homer, Marge, Bart, Lisa and Maggie, which is great for photos.
If you fancy a final dose of Americana on the way back to Portland, spend a night at The Vintages Trailer Resort in Dayton, where you can stay in a luxury silver Airstream mobile home – and sample award-winning Pinot Noir from one of the nearby vineyards.
Bon Voyage offer an 11-day Oregon holiday using the new Delta non-stop flight from London Heathrow to Portland, car hire and 10 nights’ accommodation from £1,895 per person (based on two sharing).
Accommodation includes: Timberline Lodge, Mt Hood; The Oxford Hotel, Bend; River House Inn, Florence; The Vintages Trailer Resort, Willamette Valley and Ace Hotel, Portland (three nights).
To book, visit bon-voyage.co.uk or call 0800 316 0194.