Fantastic road trips from Portland – fun day trips or weekend getaways from the city
If you are looking for some wonderful day trips or getaways from Portland, Oregon we have you covered for some fantastic road trips from Portland. Just outside the metropolis is some of the most spectacular parks, natural landscapes, rivers, waterfalls, wineries and other amazing places to visit.
Hard to believe that a short drive from downtown will get you to snow covered peaks like Mt. Hood, gorgeous waterfalls and trails like Multnomah falls to amazing coastlines like Cannon Beach and to university cities like Eugene, Oregon.
Use this easy guide to help to discover many beautiful, quirky and one-of-a-kind places to explore outside of Portland and you’ll want to visit all of these fantastic places.
The best road trips to visit from Portland, Oregon
These road trips can be a short two-hour trip or you can even extend it out to a leisurely weekend adventure to experience the areas better and without the day trippers coming early or later in the evening.
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
A very easy day trip that you can do or even extend it out for a nice weekend getaway is the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area with so many fabulous places to explore around the gorge area and just outside. Fabulous attractions to visit around the gorge include Multnomah Falls which is easily less than 35 minutes to get to. The drive through the gorge area and visits to cool vista points like Bonneville Dam and the Vista House and on to cool towns like the Hood River or further to the eastern parts of the Columbia river all the way to the Tri-Cities in wine country.
Explore the Hood River, wine, beer and foods
The Hood River along the Columbia is a feast for fresh fruits and vegetables, craft beers and amazing vineyards around the loop segment of the Hood River. If you are a fan of fantastic orchids, farmers markets craft beers and wines, the Hood River loop better known as the Fruit Loop is the place to go and participate in a variety of lavender fields, U – pick orchards, and winery tasting rooms. Spring is a popular time to visit with lovely wildflower and fruit tree blooms all around the area along with summer and fall berries to apples and other fruits and fantastic celebrations with events that draw in visitors from around the region and area states.
Less than a 90-minute drive to the coastline on Highway 26 westbound to Highway 101. One of the most popular beach areas to visit in Oregon, Cannon Beach has unique rock formations and an expansive beach and spend the day outdoors and enjoying the ocean air. Popular things to do here include visiting the huge rock called Haystack Rock which is a massive sea stack that towers the entire beach area and is fun to walk close to or enjoy a gorgeous sunset. Visiting the town of Cannon Beach and then drive north to Ecola State Park and Arch Cape is also a fun way to extend the visit and do some outdoor hikes around the park and coastal areas.
Visit the scenic town of Astoria
Right on the mouth of the great Columbia and the expansive opening, the town of Astoria is scenic and fun to explore. Astoria is less than two hours from Portland on the I-5 and US-3o0W and a completely different place and slower pace than the big Portland metropolis and is knicknamed “Little San Francisco” for it’s views, quirky downtown, trolleys and Victorian appeal and delicious seafood. This scenic gateway to the Columbia river opening to the ocean sits perched on a hill and riverfront area with panoramic views of the river, bridge and riverfront area. Top things to explore in Astoria include walking the downtown district with its Victorian homes and buildings, exploring the Columbia River Maritime Museum, check out the unique Uniontown neighborhood, visit the grand Astoria Column or enjoy the fun Astoria trolley that put puts around the waterfront area.
You can also cross the bridge into Washington and explore some of the cute towns on the coastline at Ilwaco and Long Beach City.
Visit to Tillamook
The cheese capital on the western coastal area of Oregon, Tillamook Bay are where an English cheddar cheesemaker brought his techniques to revive the fledgling dairy industries in the area and perfected the Tillamook brand that is known nationwide. Over 171,000 pounds of cheddar cheese are produced here and over one million visitors come to visit the cheesery and surrounding areas. With scenic pastureland to coastal areas, you can drive through the beautiful Three Capes Scenic Drive where Tillamook begins and ends at the coastal areas of Tillamook bay.
A visit to Mt Hood
Less than a 75-minute drive from Portland from I-84 East bound and then to Hwy US – 26 when you get to Government Camp. This is the most accessible part of Mt. Hood and easiest drive from Portland. With many magnificent hikes, waterfalls and lakes to enjoy, you can spend an entire day outdoors or even extend it to a longer getaway. Popular things to do around Mt. Hood includes visiting the Mt. Hood Cultural Center, drive the Mt. Hood Scenic Loop, visit the historic Timberline Lodge or do some fun skiing at the Mt. Hood Meadows Ski Resort. Of course being outdoors and hiking is where it’s all at and you should check out the popular trails like Trillum Lake loop, Mirror Lake or Lost Lake and even the Old Oregon Trail route.
Check out more details to visiting Mt. Hood here for more information and their event calendar.
Visit to Mount St. Helens
Mount St. Helens is one of the most dramatic places in Oregon to visit and the National Volcanic Monument. The main visiting area here is Johnston Ridge Observatory which is about a two-hour drive from Portland on I-5 North to WA 504E or Mt. St. Helens NE to Castle Rock. Top things to do in the area include visiting the Johnston Ridge Observatory, Coldwater Lake, the Science and Learning Center or really be outdoors and enjoying the spectacular trails at the Boundary trail, Harry’s Ridge Trail or all the scenic trails around Coldwater Lake. You can find out more information on the park and hiking here for more details.
Visit the University town of Eugene, Oregon
Located in the heartland and the University Ducks, Eugene has fantastic restaurants, arts and galleries, fantastic brewery scene and outdoor parks, hiking and water fun with the confluence of the McKenzie and Willamette Rivers. Summer-time brings farmers and flea markets, outdoor events and festivals and so many other reasons to be out exploring and enjoying the scenic landscape around the city. Located on the southern end of the Willamette Valley, Eugene is the gateway to many fantastic world class wineries to explore and enjoy some of the local wines and visiting these tasting rooms on a fun wine country road trip.
If you are into museums check out the local favorites at The Jordan Schnitzer Museum of Art at the University campus, the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, the Science Factory for children or the Oregon Space and Air Museum.
Visit to Seattle
A fun urban getaway, Seattle is a direct shot north on Highway I-5 around three hours and a fantastic day trip to explore the downtown area, cool neighborhoods and fun attractions. If you want to have an extended getaway then you can do more than just the quick highlights to include Pike Place Market area, Space Needle, Chihuly Art and Glass, the cool Museum of Pop Culture, the Seattle aquarium. If you’re into more exploring local and quirky things, grab a coffee at the Original Starbucks, blow some gum and stick it at the gum wall, a fun market at the Fremont Flea Market and other farmers market or how about checking out the Boeing Museum.
There’s a lot of cool and fun things to do around the city that would fit any fussy travelers check list of fun activities and you can do it in a day trip or even longer.
Road trip to the Long Beach Peninsula
The Long Beach peninsula is a fantastic weekend getaway and a wonderful road trip from Portland. Almost off the beaten and hidden this peninsula is rugged, forested with gorgeous coastlines to explore, bike, hike or kayak and do some fun watersports. The towns of Ilwaco, Long Beach and Oysterville are quirky, fun and really give you a sense of place whether you love fishing villages and seafood, long beaches you can actually drive on and family friendly places to discover to cool Victorian inspired villages just waiting for you to walk around.
The Long Beach area is unspoiled, natural and still one of the treasures to visit just across the bridge to this magical peninsula in Washington.
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Conclusion on Road trips from Portland
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Hope you can visit Portland and these cool attractions just outside of the city!