Who doesn’t like to spend their free time outside? No hands? We thought so… therefore with adventure in mind we put together the top five-day trips from Portland Oregon, with a town or brewery pop-in here and there along the way.
Columbia River Gorge – Hood River
If you’re only in Portland for a day and want to explore outside the city or looking for a fun outdoor adventure to add to a Portland, Oregon weekend trip, Columbia River Gorge is a beautiful scenic drive about an hour outside of the city.
Start your journey by hiking up Multnomah Falls. Its a relatively short distance to the top of the 620-foot waterfall and awesome to get the view looking down vs. the typical tourist postcard view.
By now you’ve heard of the Fruit Loop Trail known for fresh farm stands and wineries along the Columbia river and Mount Hood, you are not going to be short of local, fresh yums on your day trip. We recommend grabbing lunch at River Daze Café. Sure, it seems like an average sandwich shop, but average it is not! Served on house-made bread and topped with vegetables from the restaurant’s own organic farm. The pastrami sandwich — a beautiful mess of a thing with the ideal distribution of meat, sauerkraut, and Mama Lil’s pepper-tinged mayo — it should not be missed.
Thrill-seekers, take note: The Columbia River Gorge is home to some of the best windsurfing in the world. The gorge begins just 30 miles (48 km) east of Portland, boasting waterfalls, hiking trails and striking river vistas. At the heart of it all, the churning Columbia River is a world-renowned windsurfing spot where experts seek killer rides.
The Gorge is also an excellent place for beginners to learn how to windsurf. In Hood River, 62 miles (100 km) east of Portland, many rental shops, outfitters and guides offer equipment and lessons. “The Hook,” an enclosed lagoon in Hood River, is a safe place to learn away from the Columbia’s punishing currents.
And if it is extraordinary wine you are after. Our stand-out favorite is Hiyu Wine Farm not only for the vino, but Hiyu prides itself on producing everything it serves fromtasting flights of four to six natural wines, to dishes like eye-round steaks from its own Dexter cows, served with nettle, lovage and alexanders pesto.
After all that exercise, you deserve it!
A little further up from the Columbia Gorge and Hood River on the Mount Hood Scenic Loop is Mount Hood.
The closest whitewater rafting and kayaking to Portland, Oregon, on Mt. Hood Territory’s seven rivers and more than 40 lakes. Let’s Go!
Rivers emptying into the Columbia River Gorge offer some of the most exciting whitewater rafting adventures in the Pacific North West.
Best Rafting Runs near Hood River
- Deschutes River: The Deschutes is one of the most popular rafting rivers in the Northwest, and the Lower Deschutes has several runs that can stretch from half a day to a 5-day excursion.
- Hood River West Fork: At its best November-April, the Hood River West Fork is narrow at the put-in but builds to almost non-stop Class III-IV rapids along the way.
- White Salmon River: The White Salmon and the Little White Salmon both have mouths on the Columbia River Gorge’s Washington banks north of Hood River. Both have rafting runs suitable for all levels, but children under age 10 are excluded from many tours.
- Wind River: The Wind River in SW Washington sports some of the most treacherous and thrilling whitewater in North America; Class IV, IV, and V rapids are common along one brief stretch.
Pro Tip: These are experienced trip recommendations but hire a certified river guide regardless.
After a long day on the water head you’ll be hungry. For dinner, make a special trip to Carson and visit the Back Woods Brewing Company. Sure they have one in Portland, but the piping hot pizza and cold beer (Timber Beast and Copperline Amber respectively) hit different after a day on the river!
There are so many fun things to do in Cannon Beach, Oregon, it has made our list of one of the Top Five Day trips from Portland. Cannon Beach is a stunning sandy beach that is also home to the gorgeous Haystack Rock. Here you can dip your toes in the water, have a relaxing picnic or bonfire,check out the breweries and galleries, and explore the surrounding state parks.
About 90 minutes west of Portland, Cannon Beach is directly on the Pacific Ocean. Movie buffs flock here for the nostalgia of films such as Twilight, Point Break and our favorite… Goonies.
Start your day by grabbing some Daytrip CBD Infused Sparkling Water at your local New Seasons because this will be a day filled with nature.
Your first stop is Ecola State Park is a beautiful Oregon state park that covers 9 miles of coastline between Cannon Beach and Seaside. There are tons of hiking trails here that lead to incredible panoramic views of the Pacific.
About an hour and a half from Portland is the little city of Tillamook. And no this post isn’t just going to be about cheese.
Start your day picking up a refreshing Daytrip CBD-infused Sparkling Water, your favorite crackers, some fig spread, some marcona almonds, and some olives to pack a little picnic and head to the Tillamook Creamery. (I did say it wasn’t ONLY going to be about cheese – but trust us, cheese is the hero in this adventure).
The Tillamook Creamery dishes out 160,000+ pounds of cheese a day and you can go on a self-guided tour where you learn about their history and cheese making process.
Then grab your goodies and enjoy an easy two-mile hike through Cape Lookout State Park. Be led through giant spruces and red cedars discovering colorful wildflowers, wildlife and more than 150 species of birds. Traverse all the way to Cascade Head and Cape Meares, sit down and enjoy a picnic.
After lunch pop into the Cape Meares lighthouse for some panoramic views.
At daytrip we love a roadtrip almost as much as we love our refreshing beverages so hop in the car, crank the tunes and take a few hours or a full day to drive the 40-mile-long Three Capes Scenic Loop, one of the Oregon coast’s most dramatic stretches. Connecting Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda, the scenic loop passes through nearly every geologic and natural coastline feature. You’ll find rugged rocks and towering sea-stacks, sand-dunes, secluded beaches, and spruce or Sitka forests to explore. Stop often and enjoy the sites. One of which is Munson Creek Falls. Tumbling an impressive distance of 319 feet, Munson Creek Falls is the tallest waterfall of its kind in the Coast Range. To see it, drive to the Munson Creek Falls State Natural Site, and take the short trail winding along Munson Creek leading to a panoramic view of it.
Make your last stop be Pelican Bay Brewing, located centrally in the town, for some dinner before you head back to Portland.
Sure, it rains. A lot, some might say. But you know what that rain means? It’s basically always beautifully green and lush. So don’t count Seattle out when looking for the perfect 'Daytrip' from Portland (which to be fair – also rains – so don’t judge.)
In this Seattle city guide you’ll find inspiration from the locals on the best things that the Emerald City has to offer.
Start at Pike’s Place Market right when it opens (meaning – get there by 9 am) when you’ll have to deal with drastically smaller crowds, and you’ll have more time and space to interact with the vendors at the market. Flowers, fish, spices, vegetables, honey – the list is nearly endless. We recommend upping thte experience by taking a tour with a local chef!
Then head off on the Seattle Monorail for the Space Needle. The Space Needle was built for the 1962 World’s Fair and has since become the city’s icon. With only one day in Seattle, don’t worry about going to the top, we will get a better view of the city later today. Instead, just head to the Seattle Center and spend some time enjoying the view from the park.
Stop for some lunch at Taylor Shellfish and Oyster Bar. It wouldn’t be Seattle without stopping by of Eater Seattle’s 38 essential restaurants and an extension of one of the country’s premier oyster farms. A glass of Washington wine alongside an array of local bivalves is a great way to appreciate the bounty of the Pacific Northwest.
And at this point its most likely time for coffee. We know this is the hometown of behemoth Starbucks and we are proud of them for their international success, however, as a small local start-up, we love to support small and local! So our coffee recos and ways to skip the line at “the original Starbucks” would be.
- Cafe Umbria – This artisan coffee shop was started by an Italian immigrant and is known for their traditional Italian-style espressos.
- Milstead & Co – Located in the quirky Fremont neighborhood, this cafe offers everything you could want out of a Seattle coffee experience. It’s away from the tourist scene, has plenty of open seating, and baristas who are willing to educate you about your drink.
And then get your culture on at the Museum of Pop Culture. Inside you can find exhibits dedicated to films, music, sports, and video games. This is a unique museum that celebrates all things pop culture.
Refuel with dinner at Revel. This Korean-French fusion restaurant recently relocated from Fremont to South Lake Union. This is a family-style restaurant so order a few dishes for the table to share. Here you can try a short rib dumpling or the PNW’s famous Dungeness crab.