Portland offers endless opportunities for excursions outside the city, thanks to its location. Here are the best Portland, Oregon day trips.
What are the best day trips around Portland?
The best day trips from Portland Oregon are Sauvie Island, Astoria City, Hood River, Columbia River Gorge, Cannon Beach, Mount Hood, Willamette Valley, Eugene, and Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival. Most of these destinations are open for visits all year round.
One of Portland’s greatest strengths is its strategic and convenient location.
It’s situated between snow-capped mountains, world-class nature parks, lakes and beaches, small towns and other major cities, hot springs and waterfalls, local markets with fresh food, rich cultural heritage and hundreds of hiking trails.
So, if you are looking for a change of scenery or you want to escape the frenetic city life, you have plenty of day trip options to choose from around Portland.
And the good news is that all these amazing day trip destinations are within a few minutes’ drive from the city.
However, with so many incredible day trip destinations within arm’s reach, deciding where to go can prove to be a challenge.
But, we’ve already made things easier for you. In this article, we’ve narrowed the list down to 10 of the best Portland, Oregon day trips.
Sauvie is situated 10 miles north of downtown Portland. Driving here will take you approximately 30 minutes under normal traffic conditions.
So, if you are looking for a quick getaway to the city to clear your mind and get in touch with nature, then this Oregon Portland day trip is one of the best.
Also known as Wapato Island, it’s one of the largest river islands in the country. And, there are several things to do on this island.
First, you can hike the Oak Island Nature Trail, where you can stroll through 500-year-old black-capped chickadees and white oaks.
The area is also home to majestic bigleaf maples and Douglis fir trees.
Apart from hiking, you can also paddle on some of the lakes in the area, pick your own fruits at the U-Pick Farms, sample locally grown fresh produce, swim in one of the swimming holes or simply relax on the beach.
You can also visit the smallest lighthouse in Oregon or go birdwatching around Sturgeon Lake. Simply put, this island has something for every visitor, regardless of where your interests lie.
Founded in 1811 by John Astor, Astoria is renowned for its long fur-trading and fishing history.
It’s nestled between the Pacific Ocean and the Columbia River, making it the perfect spot for those looking to go on a day trip from Portland, Oregon.
Here, you can visit the Astoria Column monument perched on a hilltop, where you can enjoy panoramic views all across the area.
The monument also has unique murals, showcasing the area’s rich history.
There’s also the Columbia River Maritime Museum, where you can learn about the area’s fishing, military and trading history.
If you love hiking, then the area around Saddle Mountain offers some of the best hiking experiences in Portland.
The city’s downtown district also has a couple of attractions like the Oregon Film Museum, Liberty Theater, and the Voodoo Room.
Also, there are numerous restaurants, canneries, waterfront attractions and Victorian-era homes. As you can see, Astoria is packed with historic, natural and cultural attractions. And, it’s only a two-hour drive from Portland, Oregon.
A list of Portland Oregon day trips can’t be complete without mentioning Hood River.
Located between the Cascade Range and the Columbia River Gorge, at the foot of Mount Hood, this quaint, charming town, packs quite a punch for adventure seekers and outdoor lovers.
Unlike most of the other areas of Oregon, Hood River experiences sunny weather and strong winds.
And, with the abundance of water bodies in the area, Hood River is the ideal destination for various types of watersports.
They include paddleboarding, kiteboarding, kayaking, windsurfing, and jet-skiing. In fact, most windsurfers consider Hood River the windsurfing capital of the world.
Apart from water sports, this town also attracts bikers, campers, hikers and winter sports lovers. There’s also the season Hood River Fruit Loop, where local farms open their doors to visitors.
During the visit, you will go on a self-guided tour and explore fruit farms and stands, as you soak in scenic views all around.
So, if watersports are not your thing, you have plenty of other things to do in this area.
Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the most beautiful places in the U.S. It has been designated the largest National Scenic Area in the country.
And it’s easy to see why, once you visit and drive through it.
This gorge stretches for approximately 80 miles, featuring more than 90 scenic waterfalls.
It’s also home to some of the most stunning landmarks in Oregon, including the renowned Crown Point viewpoint.
Some of the popular activities here include hiking and biking along the Post Canyon Mountain bike trail, driving along the Historic Columbia River Highway or paddleboarding and windsurfing at Hood River. Also, you can visit Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s tallest waterfall.
You can then capture some photos as you marvel at its beauty.
The area is also home to a wide range of wildlife, including bald eagles, gray wolves, grizzly bears, the Canada lynx, and bull trout.
Depending on when you visit, you may also be lucky to catch the salmon swimming upstream from the ocean.
If you feel you’ve had enough of the gorge, you can head back to town. Here, you can sample local cuisines at some of the town’s restaurants or visit Full Sail Brewing for beer tasting.
If your idea of a day trip entails spending time on the beach, then Cannon Beach should be on your bucket list.
This lovely coastal town is located approximately 80 miles from Portland, in the northwestern part of Oregon.
It’s known for its breathtaking Pacific Coast shoreline. National Geographic has named it one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world.
Due to its popularity, this beach tends to be quite crowded, especially during the summer. But, its proximity to numerous other attractions in the area means it’s still one of the best Portland Oregon day trips.
There’s the 2,500-acre Oswald State Park, which has hundreds of miles of hiking trails.
Nearby is the Ecola State Park, where you can photograph the majestic Haystack Rock.
This park also offers several year-round recreational activities such as hiking and sightseeing as well as family and couples’ picnics.
Arcadia Beach is also nearby, known for its stunning rock formations, jutting out of the water.
You can also explore some of its tide pools during low tide. You can also check out Hug Point, where you can explore a sea cave and hidden waterfalls.
Rising approximately 11,250 feet, Mount Hood is Oregon’s highest mountain. And, you can see its peaks from almost anywhere within the state.
It’s situated around 75 miles to the southeastern side of Portland.
The entire journey will take you approximately an hour and a half from downtown. And, you will enjoy some of the most picturesque views along the way.
Mount Hood is within the Mount Hood National Forest. If you love hiking, there are more than 1,000 miles of hiking trails in this forest, waiting for you to explore.
During your hike, you will also come across several waterfalls, hot springs, and wild rivers. Other activities in the forest park include camping, biking, and fishing.
And, the fun doesn’t stop when winter checks in.
There are several winter skiing resorts in this area, including Cooper Spur, Ski Bowl, Mount Hood Meadows and Timberline, just to name a few.
If you are a wine lover, then a visit to the Willamette Valley should feature in your Portland Oregon Day trips list.
This valley is home to more than 700 wineries. In fact, you can find more than two-thirds of the state’s wineries here. And, most of them are within a few minutes’ drive from downtown Portland.
Also, more than eight viticulture areas have been designated in this area, thanks to its unique terrain and cool climate.
Whether you prefer red or white wine, you can find it here. Furthermore, some of the best Pinot Gris and Pinot Noir varietals come from this place.
Some of the popular wineries to visit in the area include Trisaetum Winery, Rex Hill Winery, Adelsheim Winery, Soter Vineyards, Chehalem Winery, Domaine Drouhin Winery, Willamette Valley Vineyards, Penner-Ash Wine Cellars, King Estate Winery, Sokol Blosser Winery, and Willakenzie Estate.
While Willamette is mainly known for its vineyards and wineries, the area is also a paradise for various outdoor activities like mountain biking, hiking, birdwatching, and watersports.
There are also a couple of fine-dining eateries around the area, where you can sit down for a meal, after an entire day of exploring the valley.
Eugene is a delightful town located approximately 109 miles south of Portland. It’s more laid-back and slower, compared to Portland.
So, if you are looking to slow things down for a couple of hours, then you should drive south to this town. The journey is approximately two hours.
Lying along the banks of the Willamette River, this picturesque town is renowned for its thriving arts industry and unique outdoor attractions.
You can visit Mount Pisgah Arboretum, where you can take a stroll among the trees as you breathe in fresh, untainted air.
The University of Oregon also calls Eugene home. Here, you can check out the Jordan Schnitzer Museum Art, where you can browse through its outstanding selection of Asian art.
Also, there’s the Museum of Natural and Cultural History, where you can learn more about the city’s origins.
While in this town, you should also check out Kesey Square, lined by several restaurants, food trucks, and cafes, all serving some of the most delicious foods from the region.
If time allows, you can also visit Hult Center, where you can enjoy music and theatrical performances.
Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is held yearly in the town of Woodburn, located around 31 miles south of Portland.
It attracts visitors both from Oregon and from other states, who come to see its stunning display of flowers.
During this festival, you will have an opportunity to explore more than 100 tulip varieties, spread across over 40 acres.
The tulips are displayed in wonderful reds, yellows, purples, pinks and oranges.
Apart from taking videos and pictures of the flowers, you can also go on a Tulip Tour Train or unwind at the Wooden Shoe Vineyards Tasting Room to enjoy locally produced wine.
Also, you can book a picnic lunch, offered at one of the gardens used for weddings and special events.
There’s also a children’s play area, where your little ones can partake in different fun activities. Also, there’s on-site food, prepared using ingredients grown from the farm.
Some of the items on the menu include wood fire pizza, donuts, chicken, lattes, and Mexican food.
And when the day comes to a close, you can buy some potted bulbs, cut tulips or merchandise to take home. The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is held between March and April.
- Portland is conveniently located as a jumping-off point for day trips
- You can hike, explore beaches, visit museums, or partake in watersports
- These day trip destinations are within a few minutes from downtown Portland
- You will enjoy the best views during summer and spring