6 Must-See Day Trips from Portland

Portland is known for the food and beer, but there is so much beauty right in the backyard of Portland. Portland has great greenery and tons of gorgeous waterfalls, and within a few hours you can be at mountains or the beach. There is so many cool things to do in Portland, you can easily fill your time in the city, but we recommend you take a day trip to explore more gorgeous scenery. The next time you are in Portland, check out our favorite day trips from Portland.

Day Trips From Portland

Time from Portland: 40 minutes

The Columbia river separates Oregon and Washington. Plenty of gorgeous waterfalls and multiple hikes, including Horsetail Falls and Dog Mountain. Visit Oregon’s tallest waterfall, the famous Multnomah Falls, which falls from 620 feet. Not far away is Hood River, known for the windsurfing and wineries. The Columbia River Gorge has some of the best hikes in all of the Pacific Northwest!

Best time to visit:  Any time is great, although winter can be icy. We personally think the best time to visit Multnomah Falls is early fall (mid September to October) because its less busy and has great fall colors. Multnomah Falls in October is very beautiful with the leaves changing colors!

Tip: Visiting the Columbia river gorge can be very busy. The best time of day to visit Multnomah Falls is early in the morning. If you plan to hike the falls, get there early to find parking.

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6 day trips from portland Multnomah Falls Columbia River Gorge Oregon
Multnomah Falls photo credit: www.travelphotoadventures.com

Time from Portland: 1.5 hours

With more than 9000 acres, Silver Falls State Park is the largest state park in Oregon. Silver Falls has 10 waterfalls spread out over 24 miles of trekking paths, 14 miles of horse trails, and a 4 mile bike lane. There is a lodge to stay the night at Silver Falls or if you’re feeling adventurous, book a campsite to truly enjoy the beautiful outdoors. Silver Falls are the best falls in Oregon (in our opinion).

Best time to visit: May through October when the weather is drier and warmer. While the summer generally means dry weather, sometimes that means the falls aren’t as flowing. The best time to visit Oregon waterfalls would be mid fall or late spring, if you can get a dry day. You will see some pretty falls when its been a little rainy.

Tip: Hike the Trail of Ten Falls, which takes you to four waterfalls that you can walk behind, including the famous South Falls.

If you’re feeling up for the challenge, try Salem’s River to Ridge relay race

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Time from Portland: 1.5 hours

The Oregon Coast has everything from fishing in Astoria to one of the best golf courses in the world, at Bandon Dunes Golf Resort. There is plenty to see and do along the 363 miles of coastline. Astoria is home to the 125-foot Astoria Column, where you can find breathtaking views. Plenty of spots along the coast to hike and camp. If you’re looking for campsites, some of our favorites are Cape Lookout State Park in Tillamook and South Beach State Park in Newport.  Catching Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach at sunset is magnificent. If you’re traveling with kids, the Oregon Coast Aquarium is a great spot, located in Newport.

Best time to visit: July through September is the warmest and driest time of the year, but also the busiest. Prices drop after Labor Day weekend. If you are okay with rain, the coast can have some great storms in the offseason months.

Tip: The weekend is a popular time for locals to head to the coast, if you can avoid heading there on a Friday night or Saturday morning, you’ll have less traffic.

Where to Stay: If you are bringing your dog, the Agate Beach motel offers a great location, friendly staff, and beautiful views.

Check out our Oregon Coast post for more in-depth things to do and places to stay

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6 day trips from portland haystack rock oregon coast
Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach  Photo credit: flickr.com
  • Rock climb in Bend

Time from Portland: 3 hours

Bend is home to Mt. Bachelor, one of the top ski resorts in the Northwest, where you can ski, snowboard, snowshoe, or even sled dog race. There are so many great breweries in Oregon and Bend has more than 30 breweries. There’s also every outdoor activity possible, including cycling, hiking, and rafting. Just outside of Bend is Smith Rock State Park, one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, according to Travel Oregon, a beautiful place to hike and rock climb.

[irp posts=”2597″ name=”Is The View From Smith Rock State Park Worth The Hike?”]

Best time to visit: Central Oregon has 300 days of sunshine a year, but summer is obviously the warmest weather, especially if you are looking for outdoor activities like stand-up paddle boarding, hiking, or rock climbing. If you’re looking for snow, winter months are best.

Tip: Because of high altitude and clear air, nighttime temperatures average 30F to 40F below daytime highs.  Evenings are generally cool, even in the summer, requiring sweaters or Columbia Women's Switchback II Jacket, Harbor Blue, M.

Where to Stay: If you want to stay close to the breweries and restaurants, downtown Bend is the best location. Wall Street Suites is an adorable hotel (and welcomes dogs!) close to the action, with a fire pit and bikes for the guests to enjoy.

Check out these awesome landscapes while in Oregon

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6 day trips from Portland Smith Rock State Park Oregon
Smith Rock State Park Photo credit: www.flickr.com

Time from Portland: 40 minutes

Oregon has more than 400 wineries, but the most concentrated area is Dundee. On a clear day, you should have a nice view of the Willamette Valley. Pinot Noir is the signature grape of the valley. The willamette valley wineries is a quick day trip from Portland but there are plenty of hotels and bed and breakfasts to stay after you have filled up on wine. If you’re visiting in the spring, make sure to visit the Wooden Shoe Farm for some wine and gorgeous tulips.

*Where to drink, sleep, and eat in the Willamette Valley

Best time to visit: If you need sunshine, plan for summer but this is also the busiest time. Spring, although it can be rainy is better if you looking for less people.

Where to Stay: If you want to have a unique glamping experience in the middle of Oregon’s Wine Country, we recommend booking a night at The Vintages Trailer Resort. The Vintages have renovated airstreams that are all decked out and the perfect spot to enjoy some wine.

Tip: Dundee is also a great place to take a hot balloon ride, at Vista Balloon Adventures

The Tualatin Valley is home to some awesome wineries and outdoor adventures 

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Wineries to visit Willamette Valley Oregon

Time from Portland: 1.5 hours

On a clear day you can see the snow-capped mountain from miles away. Mt. Hood is the only ski area in North America that is open 12 months out of the year, which means you can visit the mountain in the summer if you’d like! But don’t worry if you aren’t interested in skiing, Timberline Lodge, which was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1977,  is a wonderful place to sit by the fire, and has some great views! There are also tons of campgrounds and lakes that make up the Mount Hood National Forest. A day trip to Mount Hood is super quick and definitely worth the drive!

Best time to visit: Depending on the snow, ski season generally starts around Thanksgiving through March or April. If you’re looking for winter day trips from Portland, the mountain is perfect!

Tip: During the winter months, you’ll have to have a sno-park permit ($4/day), which allows you to park in plowed parking areas on the mountain.  You can also take the Mt. Hood Express which runs from the city of Sandy to Timberline Lodge.

Book a night at Mt. Hood

6 days trips from portland Mt. Hood Oregon
Mt Hood and Trillium Lake Photo credit: travel.nationalgeographic.com

Additional trip that we think requires more than a day: Crater Lake

Day Trips from Portland Oregon including Mt Hood, Bend, Oregon Coast Silver Falls Fittowtravel.com

There are so many great places to visit in the Pacific Northwest, it was really hard to narrow our list down. These are just a few of our favorite day trips from Portland at the moment.

Do you have any favorite trips that we missed?

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52 Comments

  1. It’s so cool how many different types of scenery you can see so close to Portland. The Bend and Oregon Coast intrigue me the most. I’ve been wanting to get to this area, so thanks for sharing this info!

    1. Oregon is so beautiful! You will have a great time! Even if you just visit the beach, there is so much to see along the coastline you will have fun. Hope you get some good weather when you visit!

  2. Even though the photos of winter look great, I guess like you mention the best time would be autumn with all the nice fall colours. Anyway, it’s clear there are lot’s of nice things to do in the area of Portland 🙂

    1. Good, I hope you can make it! Oregon is truly beautiful and summer is gorgeous! There are plenty of waterfalls to see and hikes from all levels! Hope you have a great visit!

  3. Silver Falls State Park is one of my favorite places on the West Coast. It’s such a gem and it’s NEVER crowded. Well, maybe, but I’ve never seen it crowded. Great list!

  4. 10 waterfalls spread out over 24 miles, that’s pretty amazing! I still haven’t explored the west coast of the country, so I love posts like this. What time of year do you think is best to visit?

    1. The West coast is the best 🙂 It really depends on what you are looking to do. It can rain a lot here winter and spring, but some people like that. For outdoor activities summer or fall are best. I personally love the summers, because it’s usually in the 80’s and sunny! Hope you can visit the pacific northwest soon!

  5. What about pick fruits at the Fruit Loop or visit Herman the Sturgeon? You made us miss our days in this area (2009)!

  6. I love PDX and have been at least a dozen times, and I’ve also done most of these day trips. Columbia River Gorge is an all-time favorite, and I will forever cherish memories of the Oregon coast road trip hubs and I did before we were married. So much to see in that area!

  7. As a Portlander, I fully support this list! I would add Oneonta Gorge, Angel’s Rest (also in the Gorge), Hood River (which you did mention, but I think deserves its individual love), and Opal Creek, one of my most favorite places in the world. Great list guys!

  8. I LOVE everything water related so these are so cool! Oregon is also one of my 12 states left to visit until I hit my golden 50th state. Thanks for giving me some awesome adventures to remember Oregon by. I’m definitely saving this for later! 🙂

  9. Very interesting places. I only visited Portland for a few days and I couldn’t visit them but definitely will do so when I go back 🙂

  10. With beautiful pictures and recommendations on the best times of year to visit (which is great feature), you have done an amazing job providing 6 day trips from Portland. I love to travel, and will have to check these out!

  11. I’m headed to Portland for my first trip on March 22. Looking forward to eating my way through the city but I had more time, I would enjoy any of these 6 day trips. They all look spectacular! Never heard of any of them before now either.

  12. I just moved to Portland a few months ago and I’m happy to say that I have done these all – except skiing! That along with snow-shoeing I will have to try next year. Portland is such a great homebase for a lot of adventures.

  13. Awesome scenery in and around the Mt Hood areas. The mountain itself is a beautiful sight as you drive around the territory. There is so many places to see and so many things to do and experience. Highly recommend staying in the quaint town of Welches as your home base for exploring the many outdoor activities and attractions that Mt Hood territories can offer.

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