If you’re on the hunt for a great travel destination, there are loads of reasons to visit Portland, Oregon. From beautiful green spaces to a thriving art, music and food scene, this vacation destination offers a fun mix of activities and attractions. If you’re looking for some ideas for some romantic plans, check out our Portland getaways guide. When you’ve seen all you want to see within the city, it’s time to explore a little further out. Discover ten scenic day trips just a short drive from the City of Roses.
On summer weekends, many Portland locals head to Barton Park, in Boring, Oregon. The town is southeast of Portland, towards the foothills of the Cascade mountains. Located along the Clackamas River, this recreational area attracts tubing and rafting aficionados as well as anglers. Abundant amenities include pretty picnic areas, horseshoe pits, volleyball courts, a softball field, a boat ramp and more than 100 campsites. Contact Bob Toman Guide Services to book a fishing charter day on the river.
Drive Time from Portland: 35 Minutes
Located 50 miles south of Portland, Willamette Valley is the place to go for wine lovers. The area features more than 150 vineyards, and the cool climate and rich soil make an especially good formula for pinot noir and pinot grigio grapes. Traveling through the lush, green countryside, you can find tasting rooms of all kinds, from wine caves and country barns to Tuscan-style villas. Our favorite Willamette Valley vineyard, both for their famous Pinot Noir, as well as their gorgeous estate, is Sweet Cheeks Winery & Vineyard. Their tasting room is open from 12pm-6pm daily. They recommend calling ahead to reserve your tasting, as they often fill up and may have to turn away walk-ins.
Drive Time from Portland: 55 Minutes
While you’re touring the Willamette Valley, stop at the little city of McMinnville, Oregon. With a walk downtown, you’ll discover loads of charming shops, galleries and delicious eateries, and with hundreds of vineyards nearby, it’s not difficult to find a wine tasting room. For more fun, check out the downtown farmers market on Thursday’s from May through October. For a fun day with the family, head on over to Wings and Waves Waterpark. They’ve got a wide selection of waterslides, and a huge wave pool. After your day of splashing, dry off and walk next door to the Evergreen Aviation and Space Museum.
Drive Time from Portland: 1 hour
Silver Falls State Park
Just southwest of the Willamette Valley, Silver Falls State Park offers a hiking experience like no other. A moderate seven-mile trek through lush forest takes hikers by 10 magnificent waterfalls, five of which stand higher than 100 feet. Along parts of the route, you’ll even wander behind the pouring sheets of water and through moss-covered caverns. More things to do in this state park include biking, fishing, swimming, picnicking and camping. For waterfall lovers, this park is an absolute must for your trip.
Drive Time from Portland: 1 Hour 15 Minutes
The 60-mile journey from Portland to Hood River, Oregon, is as wonderful as the destination. The drive takes you east through the Columbia River Gorge, and a stop at Multnomah Falls promises plenty of beautiful photo ops. Multnomah Falls is the tallest waterfall in Oregon, dropping an incredible 620 ft to the rocks below. Downtown Hood River features historic buildings, tree-lined streets and lots of local shops, restaurants and galleries. If you’re an outdoor enthusiast, the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Range offer many opportunities for hiking, biking and water sports. If you need to refuel after a day of adventuring, Sixth Street Bistro is our favorite local establishment. The Chipotle-Honey Glazed Crispy Chicken Sandwich is an absolute must-try.
Drive Time from Portland: 1 Hour 10 Minutes
If you’re looking for a Pacific Coast experience, drive 80 miles northwest of Portland to the town of Cannon Beach. Start with a delicious meal and craft cocktail at Gatsby’s Oceanside Speakeasy & Steakhouse, and then hit the coastline. To spot puffins and cormorants, head to Haystack Rock, a majestic natural attraction located just two miles south of town. Travel further south to Oswald West State Park for great hiking, and find nine miles of coastline for shelling, surfing and picnicking just north of Cannon Beach at Ecola State Park.
Drive Time from Portland: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
Situated 97 miles northwest of Portland on the Columbia River, Astoria, Oregon, is packed with small-town appeal. Visitors and locals call this village “Little San Francisco” for its quaint hillside neighborhoods. For an enjoyable history lesson, stop by the Flavel House Museum, and catch the best views in town with a climb up the Astoria Column. Find fishing boats, freighters and sea lions while walking the riverfront, or take a fun tour on the town trolley. If you’ve made your way to this town to pay homage to the 80’s classic, The Goonies, you’re going to want to Visit The Goondocks. You can take a self guided tour to all of the locations made famous by the movie.
Drive Time from Portland: 2 Hours
For an immersive Pacific experience, head to Newport along the central coast where two iconic lighthouses have guided ships since the 19th century. Shops, restaurants and plenty of attractions make Newport a lovely family weekend destination from Portland. Visit the Oregon Coast Aquarium, science centers and shoreline to absorb all that Newport has to offer. If you’re looking for some seafood to take home to cook in your rental, Chelsea Rose Seafood has the freshest pacific tuna that you can purchase directly from the boat right on the docks!
Drive Time from Portland: 2 Hours 25 Minutes
Pack up the skis or the hiking boots and go explore Mt. Hood. This incredible mountain and wilderness area offers many scenic views of alpine lakes and waterfalls. There are many options in the region for vacation cabins and condos to suit your needs. While you’re in the town of Government Camp, check out the Mt. Hood Cultural Center & Museum. You will learn all about Mt. Hood’s history, as well as about early pioneering in Oregon, and the first skiers to ever ski this mighty mountain.
Drive Time from Portland: 1 Hour 25 Minutes
View the bluest blues on a weekend trip to Crater Lake National Park. The 270-mile trip is well worth it to witness the splendor of this lake and hike the trails around it. This once massive volcano, collapsed on itself 7,700 years ago, to create the crater we now see. With a depth of 1,949 ft, this is the deepest lake in the United States, and 9th deepest in the world! You can hike or snowshoe around the rim, or hike down to the lake on the Cleetwood Cove Trail. Boat tours are available in the summer, which will take you to Wizard Island, one of the two islands on the lake.
Drive Time from Portland: 4 Hours 20 Minutes
Get Out and Explore Oregon
On a vacation to Portland, you’ll find plenty of enjoyable attractions, and just when you think you’ve seen it all, the surrounding area offers even more. You will never run out of things to do while visiting this incredible area of Oregon. Whether you’re looking for incredible scenery, amazing adventure, or just some great food and drink, the greater Portland area has it all. Start planning your next trip now.