20 Day Trips From Portland

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One of the great strengths of the city of Portland is its convenient location, jampacked between mountains, lakes and beaches, with big city lights and small-town charm, both easy to reach and enjoy. Day trips from Portland are plentiful, and it can be hard to choose a destination with so much to be delighted by and so little time in a day.

Whether you’re looking for an outdoor excursion, relaxation by the pool, historical value or all of the above, these travel destinations are sure to have at least most of what you’re looking for. So if you need the perfect day trip from Portland, you’ll find one here.

Portland Day Trips

top day trips from portland aerial view of the city
Looking for day trips from Portland? You’re in luck! There are some beautiful places to visit not far from the city.

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20 Day Trips From Portland

1- Admire The Beauty Of Mount Hood

day trips from portland winter marked trail to snow-covered mountain
Going hiking in Mt. Hood is a great day trip from Portland for active visitors.

Located 69 miles (111km) to the east of Portland and only about a 1.5-hour scenic drive, Mount Hood is a breathtaking travel destination that can be enjoyed up close or from afar.

Mount Hood is a nature lover’s dream come true and is the crown jewel of the Mount Hood National Forest, which is made up of 1,067,043 acres (43,1816ha) of trails perfect for hiking, biking, camping, fishing, skiing and snowboarding.

Mount Hood is also Oregon’s highest summit, towering at 11,239 feet (3,426m), and is known for being the second most-climbed mountain in the world.

If you’re looking for jaw-dropping scenery, outdoor recreation and iconic stops for lodging and dining, Mount Hood is more than worth the visit.

2- Kickback And Relax On Sauvie Island

day trips from portland or
Relaxing on Sauvie Island is one of the day trips from Portland to tick off your list.

Sauvie Island is a brief 10 miles (16km) north of Portland and can be accessed by a picturesque arch bridge separating the urban city life of Portland from the agricultural haven found on the island.

The history of Sauvie Island dates back to its past as a home to Indigenous people and was originally named “Wapato Island” after the wapato root. This edible plant grew on the island in great abundance.

Nowadays, Sauvie Island is a popular stop for seasonal berry-picking and lakeside hikes, and it even houses Oregon’s smallest lighthouse, which is functioning to this day!

Most busy in the summer for its swimming holes and in the fall for its pumpkin patches and fruit orchards, Sauvie Island is a perfect change of pace for a fun-filled day trip from Portland.

Sauvie Island is at 17100 NW Sauvie Island Rd, Portland, OR 97231

3- Sightsee At Rowena Crest

One hour east of Portland, and a 75-mile (120km) drive, Rowena Crest is a scenic roadside stop with stunning panoramic views that you absolutely can not miss.

This constantly photographed tourist attraction looks down on the winding highway below in a horseshoe-esque shape, as well as capturing the vibrant green landscape of the Columbia River Gorge in all its glory.

If you visit Rowena Crest on a day with clear skies, you can even catch the peaks of Mount Hood and Mount Adams glistening in the distance.

Rowena Crest is an easily accessible stop that requires no hiking to see, although some may prefer to hike the area through the nearby Tom McCall Nature Preserve.

Rowena Crest is at 6500 Historic Columbia River Hwy, Mosier, OR 97040

4- Catch Some Views At Columbia River Gorge

best day trips from portland oregon
The Columbia River Gorge is a stunning day trip from Portland.

The Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is an incredible natural wonder of the Pacific Northwest and is conveniently located only about 30 miles (48km) east of Portland.

Known for hosting more than ninety waterfalls, the Columbia River Gorge stretches for 80 miles (128km) across both Oregon and Washington.

For those looking to take the easy route, a drive up or down the Historic Columbia River Highway provides dramatic canyon views, deep green forest hues and the shimmering blue river which flows through the mountains.

For the more adventurous explorers, there are over 100 established trails in the Columbia River Gorge, perfect for getting an up-close look at the Gorge’s most breathtaking views.

For an unforgettable day trip from Portland, check out this guided waterfall tour through the Columbia River Gorge for some of Oregon’s finest scenery.

5- Visit Smith Rock State Park

A further drive from Portland but certainly worth the wait, Smith Rock State Park is 143 miles (230km) southeast of Portland and is one of Central Oregon’s finest attractions.

Smith Rock State Park has impressive towering rock formations, a deep canyon and unique desert foliage.

Camping, hiking and rock climbing are only a few popular excursions to partake in at Smith Rock State Park, and the spot stays busy all day, so expect to see others on your trip.

Visit Smith Rock State Park during sunrise or sunset for stunning skyscapes set against cliffside formations and serene running water.

Smith Rock State Park is at Smith Rock State Park, Terrebonne, OR 97760

6- Explore The Oregon Coast

oregon coast day trips from portland
Drive the Oregon coast highway and let the road take you on an adventurous day trip from Portland.

Only about an hour to the west of Portland lies Oregon’s infamous coastal range, teeming with wildlife, vibrant green forestry and cliffside views of the Pacific Ocean.

There are numerous beaches and state parks alongside the Oregon Coast, with the iconic Cannon Beach being one of the nearest and most easily accessible beaches when coming from Portland.

A tour of the Oregon Coast is best explored up and down the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway, such as on this picturesque intimate coastline tour that starts and ends in downtown Portland.

If you’re looking for quaint coastal charm, deep blue crashing waves and impressive winding views through Oregon’s lush forest foliage, a day trip from Portland to the Oregon Coast is certainly worth your time.

7- Spend A Day At The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival

secret day trips from portland
Hot air balloons taking off at a tulip field in Woodburn, Oregon.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is an annual attraction hosted in Woodburn, a small town about 31 miles (49 km) south of Portland, which draws crowds from near and far to gawk at the impressive floral display.

The festival is home to over 40 acres (16ha) of tulips, displayed in vibrant pinks, reds, oranges, yellows and purple tones.

In addition to walking through and photographing the flowers, visitors can ride the Tulip Tour Train or relax at the Wooden Shoe Vineyards Wine Tasting Room for a glass or two of locally grown wines.

The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival runs from early March to late April, and booking reservations online in advance is best since this is a highly popular annual event.

Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is at 33814 S Meridian Rd, Woodburn, OR 97071.

8- Go For A Swim At Molalla River State Park

26 miles (41km) southeast of Portland lies the Molalla River State Park, a scenic destination for all your outdoor recreational needs, which is most commonly frequented in the summer for swimming and picnicking.

In addition to getting in the water, one may also enjoy the Molalla River by boat, go fishing or camping on the land, hike through the surrounding forest or even board the historic Canby Ferry.

Molalla River State park covers 567 acres (229ha) and has many day-use sites you can access, so you can usually get an area of the river all to yourself.

Molalla River State Park is at Molalla River State Park, Canby, OR 97013

9- Enjoy The Downtown District In Eugene

Just under two hours south of Portland, and coming out to about 109 miles (175 km) of driving, is the college town of Eugene.

Eugene is a great change of pace from the bustling city of Portland, with a slower and more laid-back vibe lining Eugene’s artsy city streets.

Home to the University of Oregon, you can expect to see a lot of school spirit here and ample shopping and dining options to impress tourists and locals alike.

Downtown Eugene is a must-visit destination for hand-crafted espresso, micro-breweries, tree-lined alleyways and quirky architecture.

10- See The Impressive Mount St Helens

best day trips from portland
Visiting Mount St Helens is a fantastic day trip from Portland, Oregon.

Mount St. Helens is an active volcanic peak in the Cascade Range of southwestern Washington, located 52 miles north of Portland, or about an hour and a half of driving.

Scientists and geologists are certain that Mount St. Helens will erupt again in its lifetime and is named the most likely volcano in the Cascade Range to erupt again during our current lifetimes.

This doesn’t stop visitors from flocking to the volcano to admire its sheer beauty, stare down at its craters and watch wildflowers and snow come and go through the seasons.

Mount St Helens is at 3029 Spirit Lake Hwy, Castle Rock, WA 98611

11- Admire Oregon’s Painted Hills

oregon day trips from portland
One of the day trips from Portland for nature lovers is the painted hills.

Four hours east of Portland, nestled deep in a desert-esque small town in Eastern Oregon, lies the stunning colourful display of the Painted Hills.

This geologic site has been designated as one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon and is one of three units featured in the impressive John Day Fossil Beds National Monument.

The Painted Hills are made up of a series of gold, red and orange stripes and hues layered into the hills’ soil patterns, giving the place an otherworldly appearance.

Not only is Painted Hills a stunning spot to admire the unique natural beauty, but it also holds immense ecological and cultural value, being a hotspot for fossil beds and taking you through many of Oregon’s ghost towns while en route from Portland.

Painted Hills is at 37375 Bear Creek Rd, Mitchell, OR 97750

12- Go Wine Tasting In The Willamette Valley

day trips from portland oregon
The Willamette Valley is one of the lovely day trips from Portland.

The Willamette Valley hosts over 700 different wineries, many of which are within a short drive from the city of Portland and are sure to impress with quality wine and excellent service.

Wine-tasting tours in the Willamette Valley are one of the most exciting and rewarding day trips from Portland and can be best enjoyed while cruising through the valley on an exciting group van tour like this one.

Many Willamette Valley wineries are best known for their award-winning Pinot Noir wines, with Chardonnay and Pinot Gris selections solidifying themselves as runner-ups in quality and success.

The Willamette Valley is full of sparkling sunset views, lush green fields and rolling hills of natural splendour for the eye to take in while sipping on some of Oregon’s finest wines.

13- Drive The Hood River Fruit Loop

Forty-five minutes east of the city of Portland lies the scenic Hood River Fruit Loop, a drive lined by vineyards, fruit orchards and dripping with small-town charm.

The Hood River Fruit Loop is directly south of the city of Hood River, known for being the largest fruit-growing region in Oregon.

Along the Hood River Fruit Loop is an assortment of so-called “Fruit Loop Stands”; these stands offer fruits, ciders, baked goods and even floral arrangements for you to sample or purchase.

Although there are countless routes to take and stops to explore, the Hood River Fruit Loop consists primarily of a 35-mile (56 km) winding drive, which is easy to experience within a day.

14- Soak In The Terwilliger Hot Springs

Terwilliger Hot Springs, alternately known as Cougar Hot Springs, is 160 miles (257 km) southeast of Portland.

Set deep in the woods of Central Oregon, these geothermal pools are only a short hike from the parking area.

With six different pools to choose from, and green forest foliage surrounding the springs, Terwilliger Hot Springs are a dreamy natural escape from the everyday.

Terwilliger Hot Springs is at Cougar Dam Rd, Blue River, OR 97413.

15- Get In The Water At Detroit Lake

Detroit Lake is a popular summer getaway and year-round outdoor recreational destination 103 miles (165 km) from the heart of Portland.

Detroit Lake makes for a great day trip in the summer or can even make for a weekend spent camping or lodging near the lake.

This spot is known for its stunning waterside views, pleasant temperatures and impressive water expanse covering over 300 acres (121ha).

Detroit Lake is at Detroit Lake State Recreation Area, Detroit, OR 97342

16- Explore The State’s Capital In Salem

day trips from portland
An interesting day trip from Portland is to pay a visit to Salem.

Just over 45 minutes south of Portland is the city of Salem, Oregon’s state capital, known for its public gardens, impressive parks and historic architecture.

Since it is the state’s capital, Salem houses the capital building, which is bustling year-round with government officials, local college students looking to immerse themselves in their studies, and concerned citizens rallying for one cause or another.

Salem also hosts significant events such as Tedx Talks, and is home to Willamette University, the oldest college in the western United States.

Whether you’re looking to enjoy the outdoors, stop by some private museums, marvel at the historical architecture, or enjoy good brews and food, Salem is an excellent choice for relaxation and fun.

17- Immerse Yourself In Nature At Mount Rainier National Park

Two hours north of Portland, across state lines and through miles of rugged highway, lies Mount Rainier National Park: a national park that many consider being the crown jewel of the Pacific Northwest.

Mount Rainier National Park spans 236,400 acres (95667ha), with Mount Rainier itself clocking in at a breathtaking 14,410 feet (4392m) tall.

Undeniable beauty awaits at Mount Rainier National Park, with eye-catching wildflower blooms in the spring, running water through fields of green in the summer, vibrant colour-changing leaves in the fall and glaciers capped with snow and ice in the winter.

Bring your best camera, a pair of hiking boots and prepare for a jaw-dropping day trip from Portland when visiting Mount Rainier National Park.

18- Visit The Historic McMenamins Edgefield

Located right outside Portland in the neighbouring town of Troutdale, you’ll find McMenamins Edgefield, a historical lodging, local dining and distilleries, acres of gardens and an outdoor concert venue all in one.

Originally built in 1911 and used as the county’s poor farm, McMenamins Edgefield is now an impressive travel destination often booked for weddings.

The main house hosts over 100 guestrooms, each with its unique flair.

Walking the grounds and admiring the architecture will take you back in time, with rich artwork lining the halls in each building, flowers and vines climbing along the outside amenities, and carefully curated food, drink and shopping available to complete the experience.

McMenamins Edgefield also contains a golf course, soaking pools, spas and a movie theatre, so entertainment won’t be a problem during your visit.

McMenamins Edgefield is at 2126 SW Halsey St, Troutdale, OR 97060.

19- Experience The Small Town Of McMinnville

day trips from portland oregon with kids
US Navy Douglas EA-1F Skyraider on exhibition at Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville, Oregon.

Lovingly referred to as “the heart of Oregon’s wine country”, McMinnville is a small town with a big spirit located about an hour west of Portland.

McMinnville is full of small-town charm and a popular stop for families, with many kid-friendly activities, such as an aviation museum and an indoor water park.

The drive to McMinnville takes you through winding vineyards and stunning country roads, making this a great day trip for a break from the city and a breath of fresh air.

20- Hike To The Top Of Mary’s Peak

The highest summit in all of Oregon’s coastal range, Mary’s Peak is an impressive 4101 feet (1249m) tall.

It overlooks the surrounding valley with views of the Pacific Ocean glistening in the distance.

Mary’s Peak is a two-hour drive from Portland, or just over 100 miles (160 km), but it’s still one of the most popular hikes for Portlanders due to its stunning views and high elevation.

Mary’s Peak is dog-friendly and family-friendly, with multiple trails to choose from and wildlife and greenery teeming, whatever the season.

Mary’s Peak is at Mary’s Peak, NF-3010, Philomath, OR 97370. 

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Layla Hughes is a freelance writer and lover of travel, who is currently preparing to live the digital nomad lifestyle and see the US, Canada and Mexico through the windows of a converted camper van. She grew up on the Central Coast of California and attended Willamette University in Salem, Oregon, where she worked on the study abroad committee and studied English. Her favourite travel destination is North Carolina, where she is considering settling down after her thirst for travel is satisfied.