So you’re visiting Portland, OR. You’ve gone to the amazing food carts, breweries, stood in line at voodoo doughnuts, perused the biggest bookstore the world (Powell’s books), walked the winding paths at the Japanese and Chinese gardens, visited Washington Park, attended a Timbers or Blazers game , learned a little something at OMSI and danced your butt off at Mississippi studios at a concert. You’ve pretty much done it all and now you’re wanting to plan a day trip? Here is a list of my top 5 day trips from Portland.
TOP 5 DAY TRIPS FROM PORTLAND
There are so many things to do and see in and around Portland. The following list a just a few of my very favorites. I am not associated with any of the following places and the opinions expressed are 100% my own.
- Multnomah falls and the Columbia river gorge: Located about 45 min east of Portland is the amazing Columbia river Gorge. This is a can’t miss on anyone’s itinerary. There is so much more to see if you take the scenic highway through Troutdale. With its multiple waterfalls and view points it is a stunning scenic drive. If you take the scenic highway do yourself a favor and stop by Tads Chicken and dumplings (only open after 4 P.M.) Sooo yummy! If you only plan on visiting the Multnomah falls do not take the scenic highway, you will get stuck (on a weekend) and not find a parking place! Skip eating at the falls restaurant, food there is mediocre at best. If you plan to see multiple falls then take the scenic highway and end your trip in Hood river. There you can enjoy some of the glorious fruit that Oregon has to offer.
- Mount Hood: Our majestic mountain is located east of Portland about 45 min – 1 hour. There is something to do year round with summer hiking, biking and fun at the adventure park. During the winter there is all the typical snow activities which include skiing, snowboarding, snow shoeing and inner tubing. Do not miss seeing the beautiful Timberline Lodge. Not only is it a National historic landmark but you may recognize it from the movie “The Shining.”
- Oregon North Coast: The north coast stretches from Astoria to Pacific city. There are so many things to do and see that if you’re only doing a day trip choose a destination and spend the day there! Just know that it is the Oregon coast and not Hawaii so bring warm cloths and rain gear…even in summer! Having said that, the weather never stops us from enjoying our time at the coast. In Astoria you can visit the house that was used for the movie “Goonies.” Also try to eat the fish and chips at Bowpicker Fish & Chips. It is worth the wait! Seaside is very easily accessible from Portland and is an extremely family friendly destination. Walk the promenade, ride the carnival rides, take a bike out for a ride and buy the quint essential salt water taffy. A litter further south on Hwy 101 is Cannon Beach. This is the most famous beach we have here in the state because of the beautiful Haystack Rock. This was also featured in the movie “Goonies” and remains a must see destination for all of our out-of-town guests. My favorite place in the whole world to get crepes is here in Cannon beach (Crepe Neptune). Finally a little further still south on Hwy 101 is Tillamook. Yes the Tillamook from the glorious butter, cheese and ice cream you eat. Do yourself a favor and stop at the Tillamook cheese factory for a tour and a taste of the squeaky cheese! I have a couple of hidden places on the coast that I will not share because I want to keep them for myself. Tee hee hee!
- Mount St. Helens: It is a sight to behold. A reminder of mother natures power. Located about 1 hour north of Portland is the gateway to Mt. St Helens. You can travel up to the Johnston Ridge Observatory to see where the mountain blew her top or you can do my favorite thing and hike inside the lava tubes called the Ape caves. There are two trails inside the cave the lower cave and upper cave loop. The lower cave is about 3/4 of a mile in and once you reach the end you turn around and hike back to the entrance. The lower cave is for families with small children and the elderly. It is still traitorous because of the uneven floor so fragile people should not make the trek. The upper cave loop is my hike of choice. It is much more challenging and fun. Be aware that if you choose the upper cave you will have to scale a 8 foot vertical wall. Bring flash lights or a lantern and wear warm clothing, in the summer the caves can be very chilly!
- Festivals, Farms and Concerts: Maybe you didn’t know that Oregon produces some of the worlds finest Pinot Nior. There are wine tasting tours that leave from Portland, so you don’t have to drive. Just outside of Portland is an enormous amount to farms and vineyards which have all sorts of events going on throughout the year. We have an amazing Oktoberfest in a couple of cities. Mt Angel is my personal favorite but the Oktoberfest is Sandy is pretty awesome as well. In the autumn you can go to Hood River and press fresh apple cider or head out to Sauvie Island and walk though the fields of pumpkins and find your way through the corn mazes. During the summer months you would regret not catching a concert at one of the many outdoor festivals and music venues we have. One of my favorite venues is McMenamins Edgefield. There are rodeo’s, drag races and fairs all over Oregon year round.
Here you will find a comprehensive calendar that has everything going on in and around the city all year-long. I hope you enjoy yourself as much as I enjoy living here in this magical place. Happy travels.