Do you love a good road trip? We do! Portland is a cool city to explore, but there is so much more to explore nearby.
Within a few hours, you can get a variety of amazing landscapes, beautiful beaches, and tons of waterfalls. If you have more time, check out our best weekend trips from Portland with over a 3-hour drive.
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Last Updated: October 23, 2023
15 Popular Day Trips from Portland Oregon
53000 East, Historic Columbia River Hwy, Bridal Veil, OR 97010, map
Oregon has over 200 waterfalls throughout the state. Multnomah Falls is the tallest and easily the most famous in the state. Elowah Falls and Oneonta Falls are also close to Multnomah. Beyond that, the Columbia River Gorge has beautiful views and many other waterfalls to explore.
2. Willamette Valley
Portland is technically within the Willamette Valley area that stretches 150 miles and is home to roughly 70 percent of Oregon’s population. In this case, we’re referring to the region where there are over 500 wineries, which makes for a great day trip. Drink responsibly! ;)
This is the largest state park in Oregon and has one of our favorite hikes in the area. It’s a relatively easy hike, and you can see 10+ waterfalls on one hike! You can even walk behind four of them. After seeing the easy ones in the Columbia River Gorge, we always recommend this hike next.
Trillium Lake Rd, Government Camp, OR 97028, map
Trillium lake is a great spot for fishing and camping, but the highlight is how calm and reflective the lake is. You get a perfect mirror image of Mount Hood, and I almost felt vertigo as if I was going to fall into the sky. If you go in the winter, the lake is completely covered in snow, and it’s a popular beginner snowshoe hike.
5. Bagby Hot Springs
These natural hot springs have always been a popular spot and the wait time can vary depending on when you go. They are open for 24-hour use and there are three bath houses at the site. There isn’t a road to the hot springs, so you have to hike 1.5 miles to get there.
6500 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Mosier, OR 97040, map
Rowena Crest is one of the most popular photography spots in the state. It has beautiful views, an iconic road photo, and a couple easy hikes.
7. Hood River →
Distance: 63 mi / 1 hr 5 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Hood River Valley Fruit Loop, Hood River Waterfront Park, Western Antique Aeroplane & Automobile Museum
What to Eat: Apple Valley BBQ, Pfreim Family Brewers, Lake Taco
Hood River is a great stop if you’re driving along the gorge or a great destination for a day trip too! There are great restaurants and breweries in town, you can spend time along the waterfront, or take the Hood River Valley Fruit Loop for wine tasting and fruit picking.
8. Cannon Beach
This is one of the most popular beach towns on the coast of Oregon and is best known for Haystack Rock. It’s a popular destination and can get pretty crowded. If possible, try going during the week.
9. Cape Lookout State Park
Distance: 80 mi / 1 hr 35 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Cape Lookout State Park, Jacobsen Salt Co, Tillamook Cheese Factory
What to Eat: Tillamook Creamery, Tacos La Providencia, Old Oregon Smokehouse
Cape Lookout gives you a great view of the ocean and easy access to the beach. It’s a popular spot for camping, beach combing, and paragliding, and you might even spot a whale or two! You can also enjoy the hiking and walking trails.
10. Astoria →
480 Industry St, Astoria, OR 97103, map
Astoria is located near the mouth of the Columbia River and best known as the filming location of The Goonies. We’re going next weekend and I still have yet to see the movie! It was initially a logging and fishing town but has become a larger tourism city. It’s also a port of call for cruise ships.
Fun Fact: Short Circuit, Kindergarten Cop, Free Willy, TMNT III, and Into the Wild are just some of the other films shot in Astoria.
11. Mount Hood
Mount Hood is one of those places that remind you how small you are in the grand scheme of things. There are 12 named glaciers and it’s surrounded by beautiful, green forests. During the winter, there are 6 ski areas near the mountain, and it’s also a popular mountain to summit. If you’re looking for a place to stay, check out Timberline Lodge, which is a national Historic Site.
12. Breitenbush Hot Springs
53000 Breitenbush Rd SE, Detroit, OR 97342, map
We have yet to visit, but our friend loves this place! These hot springs are located within a retreat and conference center that is a worker-owned cooperative. Besides the hot springs, there are more than 20 miles of trails, a lodge, guest cabins, and more!
13. Mount Rainier
Sunrise Park Rd, Ashford, WA 98304, map
Distance: 140 mi / 2 hr 15 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Paradise, Grove of the Patriarchs Trail, Silver Falls Trail
What to Eat: Summit House Restaurant, Alpine Inn Restaurant, The Snorting Elk Cellar
If you love the National Parks like us, you should visit Mount Rainier. It offers spectacular mountain views, summertime wildflower meadows, and tons of hiking trails. The peak is often covered in clouds, so if you find a moment where you can see it, take it all in.
If you are a rock climber, you definitely need to make a trip to Smith Rock. There are amazing climbs with picturesque views. Even if you don’t climb, it’s worth visiting just to see the beautiful landscapes. Misery Ridge trail is a popular hike there.
15. Bend, Oregon
750 NW Lava Rd #160, Bend, OR 97703, map
A lot of folks who think Portland is growing too big too fast turn to Bend for solace. Bend is a great getaway if you want to be active, but also, if you’re just looking for a spot to relax and have a great beer. You can rock climb, stand up paddle board, hike, or head to a brewery. It’s home to Deschutes Brewery named after the river that runs through the city. If you’re looking for something more local, try Crux Fermentation Project.
Map of the Best Day Trips from Portland
Best Places to Stay in Portland
Have you been to any of these spots? What other day trips from Portland have you done?
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“Discovery consists not of seeking new lands but in seeing with new eyes” – M. Proust
Esther + Jacob
Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.