The Pacific Northwest has endless places to explore, and we love how Portland is in close proximity to the waterfalls, mountains, wine country, beaches, and more. If you only have a day, you can check out 15 best day trips from Portland Oregon. You can make any of these into weekend trips as well, but we added destinations with slightly longer drives to this post. Everyone has 52 weekends a year, so we hope that you’ll take full advantage of them and go explore!
Click the links to get more detailed info on each location.
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Last Updated: May 17, 2020
With four regions, you can explore the Pacific coast, alpine areas, terminate rainforest, or drier forest all in one park. Check out the Hall of Mosses to see some incredible mossy trees or hit the Hoh Rainforest trail and explore deeper into the park. Don’t forget to enjoy the coasts! One of our favorite beaches is Second Beach.
Pro Tip: The area does get rain frequently so be sure to have a rain jacket handy. If you venture outside of the park, you can visit the northwestern most tip of the lower 48 states at Cape Flattery, or if you’re a fan of twilight, you can visit the town of Forks, which was where the movie was set.
2. Florence, Oregon
Distance: 170 mi / 2 hrs 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Sand Master Park, Jessie M. Honeyman Memorial State Park, Sea Lion Caves
What to Eat: Waterfront Deport Restaurant, Bridgewater Fish House and Zebra Bar, The Hukilau
Where to Stay: Best Western Pier Point Inn (mid-range), Quality Inn Florence (mid-range), Le Chateau Inn (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
Located along the central Oregon coast, the landscape in Florence looks completely different than Astoria and the Northern Coast. The beach has massive 200-foot dunes. If you’re up for some adventure, try sandboarding the dunes! It’s where sandboarding was invented and you can meet the person who invented it!
Pro Tip: Nearby, you can check out the sea lion caves, go horseback riding along the beach or Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua just 30 minutes north.
This is one of Oregon’s 7 wonders. A weekend getaway at John Day Fossil Beds will feel like exploring another planet. You will see bluish clay, unique formations, and volcanic ash in shades of red, yellow, purple, and green, and don’t forget fossils from creatures that used to inhabit the area. Read our Complete Painted Hills Guide, Photo Diary, and the Ultimate John Day Fossil Beds National Monument Guide.
Distance: 174 mi / 2 hrs 40 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Pike Place Market, Chihuly Glass Sculpture Museum, Gasworks Park
What to Eat: Chuck’s Hop Shop, Tsukushinbo, Taylor Shellfish Farms
Where to Stay: Loews Hotel (luxury), Kimpton Hotel Monaco (mid-range), The Paramount Hotel (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
Seattle is one of our favorite weekend trips from Portland. People often forget that Seattle is only a 2.5-hour drive away, which makes it easy to stop even for the day to sightsee. Since there is plenty to do in the city, we recommend spending a whole weekend.
Pro Tip: If you’re into museums, there are over 40 in the area. Here are some of the ones we checked out!
5. North Umpqua River
Distance: 196 mi / 3 hrs 5 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Toketee Falls, Umpqua Hot Springs, Fly Fishing
What to Eat: Beast Burgers, The Atom Bistro, Little Pizza Paradise
Where to Stay: Hampton Inn & Suites (mid-range), Holiday Inn Express (mid-range), Best Western Garden Villa Inn (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
The waters of the North Umpqua River are beautifully turquoise and green. It’s also known for its fly-fishing. There is a 31-mile stretch that is set aside exclusively for the fishers, meaning no kayaks or rafts. If you’re not much of a fisher, there are a ton of waterfalls in the area, big leaf maples (amazing during the Fall), and plenty of trails to explore.
Pro Tip: Check out the popular Toketee Falls and the Umpqua Hot Springs! The 108-degree pool is perched at the cliff’s edge to give you an amazing view.
6. Yakima, Washington
Yakima produces 77% of all hops grown in the United States. It’s an agricultural town but still offers up and coming breweries, restaurants, and there are eight wineries in town. During the summer, people often hike, mountain bike, or go tubing. During the winter, the city is covered in snow.
Pro Tip: On the way from Portland, make a pitstop at the Maryhill Stonehenge. It’s a replica of England’s famous Stonehenge. In the mood for ice cream? Stop by Crazy Cow in Valley Mall and say hi to our friends Peter and Stephanie. We’ve tried all the flavors there! Also, if you love sparkling wine, our friends recommend Treveri Cellars. It’s their favorite.
7. Woodinville, Washington
Distance: 187 mi / 2 hrs 55 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Wineries, Molbak’s Garden + Home, Sammamish River Trail
What to Eat: Gyro Express Mediterranean Grill, Woodinville Cafe, Barking Frog
Where to Stay: Willows Lodge (luxury), Courtyard (mid-range), Hampton Inn & Suites (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
This is a favorite day trip for many Seattleites. The Woodinville area has over 100 wineries and tasting rooms. There are also 8 microbreweries, distilleries, and cideries in the area, and 26 restaurants! That’s a lot of food and alcohol!
8. Whidbey Island, Washington
Distance: 205 mi / 3 hrs 40 min – inlcudes a ferry (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, Deception Pass, Cama Beach State Park
What to Eat: Oystercatcher, Whidbey Pies Cafe, Currents Bistro
Where to Stay: Captain Whidbey (luxury), Best Western (mid-range), Auld Holland Inn (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
Whidbey Island looks more like a New England beach town rather than the PNW. Enjoy the pebble-covered beaches, walk around the small towns, or enjoy the ocean views. Fort Ebey State Park is a great place to explore the island’s natural beauty and there are a ton of trails to hike.
Pro Tip: Coupeville makes the best home base. The central location makes it easy to explore the north and south side of the island, and it’s the second-oldest town in Washington!
Distance: 282 mi / 4 hrs 40 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Rim Drive, Boat Tours, Hiking
What to Eat: Crater Lake Lodge Dining Room, Beckie’s Cafe, Diamond Lake Junction
Where to Stay: Edgewater Inn Shady Cove (mid-range), Sleep Inn & Suites (mid-range), Dawson House Lodge (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
If you love national parks, this is the weekend trip for you. This is Oregon’s only National Park. It is the U.S.’ deepest lake at 1,943 feet and ranks as the ninth deepest lake in the world. It was created when a volcano collapsed into a giant caldera. You can hike around the rim to enjoy the views of the lake or hop in for a cool dip.
During the winter, they have fun snow activities, but it can be hard to access, so be sure to check their site for current conditions. During the summer, the park can get quite crowded, so book accommodations early. Fall is one of the best times to visit since the snow will be gone and the crowds will have tapered out.
Distance: 290 mi / 4 hrs 45 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Cascade Loop Scenic Byway, Diablo Lake, Ross Lake
What to Eat: Marblemount Diner, Mondo, Miga Asian Cuisine Restaurant
Where to Stay: River Run Inn (mid-range), Hotel Rio Vista (mid-range), Sumas Mountain Lodge (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
The North Cascades National Park Complex is made up of North Cascades national Park, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area. If you’re not much of a hiker, there are plenty of beautiful views and short hikes, or you can gear up and leave civilization for the weekend.
11. Leavenworth, Washington
Distance: 288 mi / 4 hrs 25 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Waterfront Park, Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, Icicle Creek
What to Eat: Munchen Haus, Watershed Cafe, Andreas Keller German Restaurant
Where to Stay: Icicle Village Resort (mid-range), Bavarian Lodge (mid-range), Hampton Inn & Suites (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
This Bavarian-themed town brings in people from all over the PNW. There is lots of shopping and eating for those looking for a lazy afternoon, and it has easy access to a lot of outdoor activities too. We were just here this past weekend to climb, but we already can’t wait to be back.
If you boulder, Leavenworth has some great spots to climb!
Pro Tip: For the beer lovers, don’t forget to come back during Oktoberfest or for Christmas when it’s decked out for the holidays.
12. Oregon Caves National Monument
Distance: 294 mi / 4 hrs 50 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Cave Tour, Hiking Trails, Eight Dollar Mountain Botanical Area
What to Eat: Taylor’s Sausage Country Store, Rosie’sInferno Wood Fired Pizza, Diggin’ Livin’
Where to Stay: The Lodge at Riverside (mid-range), Riverside Inn (mid-range), Best Western Grants Pass (budget), Search Airbnbs Nearby
Although the caves are the highlight, don’t miss the hiking trails, the Historic District, the scenic drive, and grab a milkshake at the Chateau. You can even hunt wild game.
Pro Tip: Winter storms can block the park highway, so if you visit then, be sure to check the conditions. Otherwise, it is usually mild.
13. Cape Flattery, Washington
Visit the northwesternmost point of the contiguous United States. There are plenty of short hikes to amazing views of the rugged coastline. Explore different pullouts and views while you’re there or spend some time in Olympic National Park.
14. Vancouver, BC, Canada
It’s really easy to fill a weekend in Vancouver, BC. You can explore the town and eat good food anytime of the year. During the summer, they have open air night markets to enjoy. If you’re looking for something a bit more touristy, the Capilano Suspension Bridge is a popular spot. We still need to do more exploring in the city and hopefully will put together a 101 bucket list for Vancouver soon!
Head to the southwest corner of Oregon to enjoy this unique state park. It runs 12 miles along the coast and is lined with thick forest and a few small beaches. Hike along the steep cliff lines and awe at the off-shore rock formations. The few beaches they have feel secluded and on slower days, it makes you feel like you’ve found a secret spot all to yourself. Check out our guide to the park here. Want to do the whole Oregon Coast? Read about our ultimate Oregon Coast road trip with all the best stops.
More Weekend Trips from Portland Under 7 Hours
- Newberg, OR (20 mi / 35 min / map)
- Hood River, OR (63 mi / 1 hr 10 min / map)
- Gearheart, OR (81 mi / 1 hr 25 min / map)
- Astoria, OR (95 mi / 1 hr 45 min / map)
- Eugene, OR (109 mi / 1 hr 45 min / map)
- Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, WA (119 mi / 3 hr 10 min / map)
- Smith Rock State Park, OR (142 mi / 2 hr 50 min / map)
- Tacoma, WA (144 mi / 2 hr 15 min / map)
- Mount Rainier National Park, WA (151 mi / 2 hr 35 min / map)
- Sisters, OR (152 mi / 3 hr 40 min / map)
- Bend, OR (175 mi / 3 hr 5 min / map)
- Wallowa, OR (306 mi / 5 hr 5 min / map)
- Spokane, WA (352 mi / 5 hrs 35 min / map)
- Redding, CA (420 mi / 6 hrs 50 min / map)
- Boise, ID (431 mi / 6 hrs 50 min / map)
Map of Best Weekend Trips from Portland Oregon
Which of these are on your radar next? What are the best weekend trips from Portland you’ve taken?
See More Ideas for Portland
“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, which is one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found both 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.