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10 Best Day Trips From Portland

Located beneath the shadow of Mt. Hood, Portland, OR is a beautiful city known for its open green spaces, riverfront views, and indie vibe. While there are plenty of fun activities to do in Portland, you may be looking for a change of scenery outside of the city limits. If this sounds like you, you’re in luck. We compiled a list of the 10 best day trips from Portland that you can take today. From wine tasting to waterfall exploring, there are a ton of unique and exciting day trips that are sure to keep you occupied. 

1. Mt. Saint Helens

Approximate distance: 75 miles
Estimated travel time: 2 hours

Mt. Saint Helens is an active stratovolcano located in the Cascade Range in southwestern Washington. The volcano erupted on May 18, 1980, one of the largest recorded in North American history. Today, Mount St. Helens is a National Volcanic Monument filled with numerous activities to do and explore. Some favorites include Johnston Ridge Observatory, Ape Cave, and Spirit Lake.

2. Seaside, OR

Ecola state park

Approximate distance: 80 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

Known for its lively beachside atmosphere, Seaside, OR offers many exciting activities, such as checking out Ecola State Park, a state park filled with sweeping views of Oregon’s coastline; walking the Historic 1.5-mile Promenade, or going golfing at Gearhart Golf Links. It takes roughly 1 hour, 30 minutes to get to Seaside, OR, and is about 80 miles from Portland making this the perfect day trip from Portland.

3. Willamette Valley

A vineyard

Approximate distance: 50 miles
Estimated travel time: 1 hour

Willamette Valley is a wine-producing area and is located roughly 50 miles from Portland. The area became an ideal place to produce agriculture due to the Missoula Floods which carried rich soil from Eastern Washington to the area. To get to Willamette Valley from Portland, you can drive about 1 hour, 20 minutes south. There are many things to do such as wine tasting at Beaux Frères, Brooks Vineyard and Winery, or Colene Clemens Vineyards; visiting the Benedictine Brewery, or just taking a scenic drive. 

4. Tillamook, OR

Tillamook

Approximate distance: 75 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

If you are looking for some fun and excitement take a trip to Tillamook, OR. Located roughly 1 hour, 30 minutes west of Portland, Tillamook, OR is named after the region’s indigenous Tillamook tribe. It is known for its many beaches and has a strong dairy and fishing industry. Things to do in Tillamook include, checking out Cape Lookout State Park where you can go camping, visiting the Tillamook Creamery where you can try delicious food and yummy ice cream, or grabbing a drink at de Garde Brewery.

5. Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area

Seaside cliffs

Approximate distance: 95 miles
Estimated travel time: 2 hours

If the idea of relaxing by Pacific Beach, sand duning, or grabbing a flight of beer at Pelican Brewery sounds fun to you – then go to Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area. Located approximately 100 miles and 1 hour and 50 minutes southwest, this day trip from Portland is a sandstone headland that you’ll never get bored exploring. In order to get to Cape Kiwanda, you must trek up a large dune where you will be rewarded with sweeping views of the Oregon Coast, twisting rocks, and crevices. 

6. Mount Hood 

mount hood with a lake in front of it

Approximate distance: 70 miles
Estimated travel time: 1 hour, 50 minutes

About 1 hour, 30 minutes from Portland, Mt. Hood is a wilderness area and serves as a backdrop to Portland. It is a dormant volcano with 11 glaciers located at its peak. Roughly 80 miles east of the city, many people go to Mount Hood for outdoor activities like skiing at Mt. Hood Meadows, Timberline Lodge & Ski Area, or Mt. Hood Ski Bowl; hiking trails including Mirror Lake Loop Trail or Trillium Lake Loop Trail, and mountain biking trails like the Sandy Ridge Trail System. With easy access to the outdoors, it’s no wonder Mt. Hood is one of the best day trips from Portland. 

7. Smith Rock State Park

Smith rock state park

Approximate distance: 145 miles
Estimated travel time: 3 hours

Located roughly 3 hours from Portland in central Oregon’s high desert, Smith Rock State Park is known as the birthplace of modern sports climbing. There are around 1,500 routes and several areas that climbers can enjoy, most notably Christian Brothers, The Dihedrals, The Marsupials, and Rope-de-Dope. If climbing isn’t your thing, many people like to visit Smith Rock to run, hike, or camp.

8. Bend, OR

A beautiful waterfall

Approximate distance: 180 miles
Estimated travel time: 3 hours, 20 minutes

Just 3 hours and 20 minutes and 160 miles southeast of Portland lies Bend, OR. Bend, OR is known for being a brewery town with many favorites including Deschutes Brewery, 10 Barrel Brewing Company, and Bend Brewing Co. If beer is not your thing, you can go whitewater rafting, relax at Sunriver Resort, or visit nearby Crater Lake National Park.

9. Waterfall Alley at the Columbia River Gorge

Multnomah Falls

Approximate distance: 30 miles
Estimated travel time: 40 minutes

Located nearly 30 miles east of Portland, Waterfall Alley at the Columbia River Gorge has over 90 waterfalls. The Columbia River Gorge is a beautiful river canyon and is the largest National Scenic Area in the United States. Some popular waterfalls include Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls, and Multnomah Falls. If you plan on going on this best day trip from Portland, make sure you plan for approximately 40 minutes of travel and get there early, especially on the weekends as the parking lot can fill up. 

10. Seattle, WA

Pike place market

Approximate distance: 175 miles
Estimated travel time: 3 hours

Known as The Emerald City, Seattle, WA is nearly 180 miles north of Portland. While both Pacific Northwest cities, there are a lot of differences between Seattle and Portland such as population size, infrastructure, and city vibe. Nevertheless, if you find yourself in Seattle, some fun things to do include visiting the Space Needle, purchasing fresh produce at Pike Place Market, or watching a Mariner’s Game.

 

Source
10 Best Day Trips From Portland is written by Ryan Castillo for www.redfin.com

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