Moon Oregon guidebook

Moon Oregon – Book Review

A new guidebook recently arrived at my doorstep courtesy of Moon Travel Guides. A California-based publisher founded in 1973, Moon continues the time-honored tradition of listing points of interest (POIs) like restaurants, hotels, and attractions (along with an address, phone number, hours, and pricing) in its travel guidebooks. Such details may seem unnecessary when traveling with a smartphone. But venture out into rural regions — or anywhere off the beaten path — and you’ll be glad to have printed maps, directions, and a few good restaurant recommendations when the signal drops to zero. 

Inside Moon Oregon

As an old-school paper map and guide kind of traveler, I appreciate Moon’s commitment to the trusty guidebook format. In contrast, competitor Lonely Planet rewrote the rules in 2023 — celebrating its 50th anniversary with a radical redesign. Gone are the detailed POI entries, replaced by “experiences” meant to capture the essence of each destination. It’s too early to tell if this risk will pay off for Lonely Planet. Reviews of the new guides have been mixed. Some readers love Lonely Planet’s experimental new direction; others loathe it. If you’re looking for a more traditional travel guidebook in 2024, Moon’s are among the best. 

Moon Oregon

Moon Oregon covers the entire state, from Portland and the Oregon Coast to Central, Southern, and Eastern Oregon. Its 488 pages are filled with relevant travel tips, detailed maps, and color photos. The book is well-organized, with a clean and user-friendly layout. It combines classic guidebook style with up-to-date content — a tried-and-true formula highlighting the best of each destination.

Moon Oregon book

One of my favorite features is Moon Oregon’s often fun, always informative sidebars. These read like mini travel stories, each focused on a unique aspect of Oregon’s history and culture. “The McMenamins Empire, Explained” (p. 59) offers a quick rundown of the popular Portland-based brewpub chain. There are sidebars about “Food Carts in Portland” (p. 77), “The Simpsons in Springfield” (p. 173), and “Building a Beach Campfire on the Oregon Coast” (p. 225). Moon Oregon doesn’t shy away from the state’s troubled past, with thoughtful entries on “How Japanese Immigrants Shaped the Hood River Valley” (p. 111) and “Oregon’s Racist Founding” (p. 452). 

The Author

Matt Wastradowski is the author of several Moon guides, including Moon Pacific Northwest Hiking, Moon Oregon Hiking, and Moon Columbia River Gorge & Mount Hood. As a freelance travel writer, he’s contributed to Willamette Week, Portland Monthly, and Travel Oregon (to name just a few). Matt’s unbridled love for Oregon shines through in everything he writes — from books and magazine stories to a blog post detailing 1,859 Ways to Celebrate Oregon’s Birthday.  

Matt is also my friend. We met in Salem, Oregon at a travel writing conference in 2017. We’ve since hiked in the North Cascades, brewery-hopped from Portland to Bellingham, and sampled our way around Yakima’s Fresh Hop Ale Festival. When I used Matt’s Columbia River Gorge & Mount Hood guide to plan a 2022 trip to the region, it was almost like having him along for the ride as my personal tour guide.  

Moon Oregon guidebook

Moon Oregon is the Oregon guidebook we need in 2024. Meticulously researched and written by a Beaver State enthusiast, it’s a modern guide for the modern traveler. I’m already using it to plan my next Oregon excursion. You should, too. 

Thanks to Moon Travel Guides for providing my review copy of Moon Oregon.