Mt Hood & Gorge Oregon Coast Pacific Northwest Things to Do

17 Best Day Trips from Portland – Explore the Wonders of Oregon!

September 13, 2021

Last Updated:

One of the best things about Portland is how close it is to a diverse amount of scenery. Beaches, mountains, rivers, waterfalls, forests. Oregon has some of the most wild and beautiful outdoor experiences, and jaw-dropping views. There are a lot of amazing places in NW Oregon and SW Washington that you can reach in a day’s drive from Portland. But to most of us, the point of a day trip is to get there and back and have a nice time sandwiched between the driving. So here are the best Day Trips from Portland that are about two hours away (from downtown Portland – 2.5 max as that’s 5 hours roundtrip in the car!). Trips that I enjoy taking and that I recommend to visiting family and friends. So get out there and explore the wonders of Oregon that are within day trip distance from Portland.

Best Portland Day Trips:

Portland Metro area: 20-30 min drive

Columbia River Gorge & Mountains – 30 min to 1.5 hr drive

Oregon Coast: 1 hour 20 min to 2 hour drive

Willamette Valley – 1 – 1.5 hr drive

Portland area day trips within 30 minutes

Sauvie Island

Sauvie Island is one of our favorite short drive day trips. A farming island and wildlife refuge Northwest of Portland, it’s bordered by the Willamette and Columbia Rivers to the east, and the Multnomah Channel to the west. The island is one of the closest beaches to Portland, and the largest island on the Columbia River. There are several miles of beach on the North east side of the island, on the Columbia River. Portlanders flock to Sauvie Island beaches on warm days. But please note this stretch of river is pretty unpredictable with strong currents and is also a shipping channel. So yes, you can swim and play, but you do need to be mindful of currents. Similar to Kelly Point Park and at Frenchman’s Bar (on the Washington side).

Sauvie Island is also popular in the summer for all the Upick berry fields, farm stands and flower stands. And in the fall, Sauvie Island is the place for pumpkin patch fun and corn mazes. It’s also a popular destination year-round for cyclists. So watch out for bikes on the narrow roads if you’re driving.

What to do on Sauvie Island:

  • Visit U-pick farms or a farm stand – berries, fruit, flowers, pumpkin patch, corn maze depending on the season. Grab picnic supplies and drinks at Topaz Farm.
  • Go to Sauvie Island beach areasSauvie Island beach (first beach area), Collins Beach (clothing optional nude beach is the second beach area)
  • Hike the nature trail on Wapato Access Greenway – This little spot is on the Multnomah Channel and part of the Willamette Greenway system of parks. Or for a longer hike, check out the 6.5 mile Warrior Rock Lighthouse Trail.
  • Kayak or SUP – While you wont find kayak rental on-island, you can rent from Next Adventure Scappoose Bay and paddle the Multnomah Channel.
Portland pumpkin patch beer garden
Topaz Farm on Sauvie Island

Need to Know: A $10 parking pass is required. Available at The Cracker Barrel Store just after the bridge. Or buy an annual pass for $30. You don’t need a parking pass to visit one of the farms or the Wapato Greenway park, but you do for parking anywhere else like the beaches! Pack a picnic. Depending on the season, you won’t find many food options on-island.
What: sandy beaches, berry picking, pumpkin patch, corn maze, hiking, biking, kayaking.
Drive time: Sauvie Island is a 20 minute drive from Portland. That gets you on the island, 30 minutes if you’re heading to the NE beach side.
Nearby: Forest Park, Cathedral Park, St Johns Bridge

McMenamin’s Edgefield

While there are quite a few McMenamin’s at this point within day trip status of Portland, Edgefield is still a favorite for all the amenities. McMenamin properties are unique and like a playground for adults. (don’t worry: fun with kids along too!). Once you arrive, everything you need is on-site. From pitch and putt golfing, to drinking at one of the many onsite bars and restaurants, the largest of their outdoor soaking pools, watching a movie, and even concerts in the summer time. Edgefield is a really fun place to take visitors. If you haven’t been to a McMenamin’s it’s often the first time you’ve been to a property like this! So sometimes, we take it for granted a bit. And of course, you can stay on-site as well. With rooms from bunk rooms and shared restrooms down the hall to king size ensuites.

What to do at McMenamin’s Edgefield:

  • Visit one of the many onsite restaurants or bars.
  • Take a dip in the salt water soaking pool. Note: currently for spa guests or with overnight stays only.
  • Do a spa day at the spa and soaking pool.
  • Pitch and putt golfing
  • Concerts on the Lawn (seasonal)
  • Watch a movie at the Power Station Theater.

Need to Know: Edgefield is a place for fun. If you’re looking for a more zen like place to relax, this probably isn’t it.
What: soaking pool, pitch and putt golf, breweries, drinking, concerts etc
Drive time: McMenamins Edgefield is a 20 minute drive from Portland.
Nearby: Sandy River, Sugarpine Drive-In, Cascade Locks

Troutdale & Sandy River: Gateway to the Gorge

Troutdale is the “gateway to the gorge”. What seems like a windy little town off 84 near Portland, has some history and quaint charm at its core. Check out the old downtown main street area for some shops, and then head toward the Sandy River and the start of the Old Scenic Highway. You can park at the Glenn Otto Community Park and walk across the beautiful Sandy River bridge, also called the Halsey Bridge, which is a historic landmark. You can also walk down to the Sandy River through the park and check out Sugar Pine Drive-In and Da Pine Grinds food truck for some of the tastiest pre/post-hike food and soft-serve in Portland! From here, you can head east for a scenic drive on the Historic Columbia River Highway toward Corbett and Multnomah Falls, or check out a few more parks like Dabney or Oxbow. This is also a spot that we most frequently spot bald eagles!

Things to Do in Troutdale & Sandy River area:

  • Check out the Troutdale “Gateway to the Gorge” arch and Main Street shops and coffee.
  • Park at Glen Otto and walk across the Historic Sandy River bridge, Halsey Bridge.
  • Get soft-serve or lunch at Sugar Pine Drive-In or Da Pine Grinds food truck.
  • Play at the Sandy river beach via the path at Glen Otto or Lewis and Clark, Dabney, or Oxbow parks.
  • Follow the Historic Columbia River Highway to Corbett and continue on to the rest of the Columbia River Gorge area.
Sandy River rocks at Glenn Otto

What: river, sandy beach, parks, bridges, driving, updated drive-in food etc
Drive time: Sandy River is a 20-30 minute drive from Portland.
Nearby: Edgefield, Gorge Waterfall hikes (including Multnomah Falls), Cascade Locks, Hood River

Columbia River Gorge & Mt Hood Area

Columbia River Gorge: Waterfalls, Hikes, and Historic Columbia River Highway

The Columbia River Gorge area is known for waterfalls. ALL the waterfalls! So queue up the “don’t go chasing waterfalls” TLC references and get hiking and driving! One of the best times to visit Portland is fall for changing colors in the Gorge. With over 90 waterfalls, there’s no shortage of waterfall hikes near Portland. But be warned if you’re trying to hike on a beautiful weekend, there will be a shortage of parking at the popular trailheads. The closest waterfall to Portland, on the Old Scenic Highway is Latourell Falls! But first you’ll pass Crown Point and Vista House with panoramic views of the Gorge and Columbia River. After Latourell, you’ll find Bridal Veil Falls, Angel’s Rest, Wahkeena, and the most famous – Multnomah Falls. And many more beautiful hikes between here and Cascade Locks. For a short hike try Latourell Falls, and a longer hike is the Wahkeena & Multnomah Falls loop trail. With more than one day in Portland, the Gorge is the first stop to make!

Things to Do in the Columbia River Gorge:

  • Stop at Multnomah Falls and take a coffee break at the lodge (back room has views).
  • Hike the 5.5 mile Multnomah Falls & Wahkeena Falls loop trail.
  • Take in the views at Crown Point and the Vista House.
The one and only – Multnomah Falls!

Good to Know: The Historic Columbia River Highway drive is a breathtaking way to see beauty for those with more limited mobility. Make stops at Vista House, Latourell Falls, and Multnomah Falls for ADA accessible / short walks for views!
What: waterfall hikes, Multnomah Falls & lodge, scenic driving
Drive time: Multnomah Falls is a 30-40 minute drive from Portland.
Nearby: Sandy River, Cascade Locks, Skamania Washington

View from Angel’s Rest Hike, Columbia River Gorge

Cascade Locks, Bonneville Dam & Bridge of the Gods

Think of this as the second half of the Columbia River Gorge! Most people are now familiar with Cascade Locks and Bridge of the Gods thanks to the Reese Witherspoon movie, Wild, based on the book by Cheryll Strayed. The PCT (Pacific Crest Trail) runs through Cascade Locks. We recommend pairing a visit to Cascade Locks with a Gorge hike and/or visit to Bonneville Dam. Kids really find the Dam interesting and depending on the season, there’s a lot of fish activity. Wahclella Falls is the closest hike to Bonneville Dam and Cascade Locks is the next exit. Thunder Island Brewing is an old favorite stop for a post-hike lunch and drink, and the new Gorges Brewing is now open as well! The Eagle Creek hike with Punchbowl Falls (shorter hike) and Tunnel falls (long hike) is one of the most amazing natural wonders. Note: Eagle Creek Trailhead finally reopened from the fire in September 2017.

Wahclella Falls hike - day trips from Portland
The easy and stunning Wahclella Falls hike
Eagle Creek trail (reopened 2021)

Good to Know: You cannot walk over the Bridge of the Gods. But you can drive and there is a toll.
What: waterfall hikes, dam, fish ladders, breweries, bridges
Drive time: Cascade Locks is a 45 minutes from Portland.
Nearby: Hood River, Gorge hikes, Stevenson Washington

Hood River & White Salmon

Hood River is famous for its windsurfing and outdoor lifestyle. This makes sense, when you realize it’s perfectly situated between the Gorge and Mt Hood. In Hood River, you’ll find breweries, great food, tons of outdoor activities like mountain biking and hiking. And similar to Bend, Oregon, where you find all these activities, you find a bunch of folks who look like they walked out of a Patagonia catalog! In the last decade, White Salmon, across the river on the Washington side, has become popular as well, with an energized downtown, new breweries and more.

Things to Do in Hood River:

  • Visit Waterfront Park – rent a SUP or kiteboard.
  • Check out breweries, coffee shops, and tasty food (there’s even Portland brunch outpost Broder Øst!)
  • Drive across the river to White Salmon – Everybody’s Brewing is favorite.
  • Go hiking or mountain biking at the Post Canyon trail system.
  • Bike the Mosier to Hood River tunnel trail.
  • Drive to Rowena Crest viewpoint in Mosier. This is a beautiful spot for pictures! However, it’s 25 min drive beyond Hood River, with some wildflower hikes nearby depending on the season. So keep in mind if you just plan to jump out for a couple pictures, it might not be what you’re expecting as your extended day trip.

Good to Know:
What: water sports, mountain biking, breweries, farms, parks and more
Drive time: Hood River is a one hour drive from Portland.
Nearby: Rowena Crest viewpoint, Cascade Locks, Gorge hikes, Hood River Fruit Loop, Mt. Hood, Historic Timberline Lodge.

Fruit Loop in Parkdale and Hood River

Driving the “Fruit Loop” in Hood River is a late summer favorite full day activity. The Hood River valley of Parkdale is home to dozens of orchards and farms. You can stop at various farms and orchards for blueberry picking, lavender, fruit stands, wine, and food trucks and snacks. Usually make a day or afternoon of the drive and stop as often or as many or few as you like. Visiting Solera Brewing in Parkdale is also a great stop!

apple picking hood river
Mt View Orchards

Things to Do in Parkdale and the Hood River Fruit Loop:

  • Visit Solera Brewing in Parkdale
  • Go to a lavendar farm.
  • Go berry picking or apple picking depending on the season.
  • Visit one of Hood River’s wineries.
  • Hike to Tamanawas Falls.
  • Get a drink by the fire at the small and cozy Cooper Spur Mountain Resort.
August fruit loop

Good to Know:
What: fruit picking, orchards, lavendar and more
Drive time: Give yourself 3-6 hours to drive the fruit loop. Parkdale is a 1.5 hour drive from Portland.
Nearby: Hood River, Timberline Lodge, Gorge hikes, Cascade Locks

Mt Hood National Forest – Timberline Lodge & Government Camp

Mt Hood is Oregon’s tallest mountain summit and an active volcano! And a visit to the Historic Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood in summer or winter is a beautiful sight. You can even ski and snowboard into the summer some years at Timberline. And summer hikes in the Mount Hood National Forest and surrounding Government Camp area are a must! In winter, snowshoeing and a stop at Timberline Lodge for arguably the world’s best hot chocolate is an annual tradition. If you haven’t been to Timberline, you will recognize the outside from the movie The Shining. Ski Bowl is also a great option during the summer for their summer activities.

Mt Hood views from Mirror Lake

Things to Do at Mt Hood:

  • Visit the Historic Timberline Lodge. Order the hot chocolate.
  • Go skiing, snowboarding or tubing at Skibowl, Mt Hood Meadows, or Timberline.
  • In winter – go snowshoeing at Trillium Lake or Government Camp’s Glacier View Snopark.
  • In summer – go kayaking or paddle boarding on one of the many amazing lakes on Mt Hood – Trillium Lake or Frog Lake are the closest.
  • Hike the 4.2 mile Mirror Lake loop trail with views of Mt Hood.
  • Drive a bit further, to hike a short portion of the Pacific Crest Trail and visit the almost unreal Little Crater Lake.
Little Crater Lake, Mt Hood National Forest, Oregon

Good to Know: Check the weather before heading to the mountain, it might be a lot colder than you’re expecting, even in summer. And in winter, use TripCheck for roadcams and updated weather conditions around Oregon.
What: hiking, snowshoeing, mountain lodge, snow sports, sledding, alpine lakes
Drive time: Government Camp is 1 hour and 15 minutes from Portland. Timberline Lodge is about 1.5 hours from Portland. (Add more time for winter snow driving and bring chains)
Nearby: Parkdale, Hood River, Fruit Loop, Sandy River

Trillium Lake at sunrise

Mt St Helens & Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Everyone in the NW who was born before the 80s has a story of where they were when Mt. St Helens erupted, on May 18, 1980. Ash rained down all over the Pacific Northwest. There are several different sides of Mt. St. Helens you can visit. For day trips your best bet is the west side or south side. On the west side you can visit the Mount St Helens Visitors Center (2021 closed for renovation), hike the trails, Silver Lake highway, and the Johnston Ridge Observatory which has a great view of the crater. The east side viewpoints and hikes are a bit too far for a day trip from Portland. But the south side areas like Ape Caves and the Lava Canyon Trail make great day trips! Beyond just Mt St Helens, the rest of Gifford Pinchot National Forest has countless beautiful hiking and camping options.

Mt St Helens Visitor Center, Silver Lake

Things to Do at Mt St Helens & the Gifford Pinchot National Forest:

  • Visit the Mount St Helens Visitors Center (2021 closed for renovations).
  • Check out the Johnston Ridge Observatory with views of the crater.
  • Visit the south side of Mt St Helens and hike the Ape Caves or Lava Canyon Trail.
  • Hike Moulton Falls or other Lewis River area hikes.

Good to Know:
What: hiking, views, rivers, lakes, history
Drive time: Mount St. Helens Visitor Center is 1 hour from Portland. The south side areas like Ape Caves are about 1.5 hours.
Nearby: lakes, Ape Caves, Moulton Falls, Lewis River, Gifford Pinchot National Forest

Portland Day Trips within 2 hours

Oregon Coast – Cannon Beach & Seaside

The closest coastal city to Portland, when it comes to getting your toes in the actual sand, is a tie between Seaside and Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is a popular spot and the coastal town most visitors have heard about. Haystack Rock is definitely worth a view, and Ecola State Park is one of the most beautiful on the north coast. However, because of this, Cannon Beach can be pretty crowded. And Seaside is a bit more Coney Island vibe, that is fun in a completely different way!

June Oregon coast
Indian Beach, Ecola State Park

Things to do in Cannon Beach and Seaside:

  • Haystack Rock at sunrise and sunset.
  • Visit Ecola State Park & hike to Indian Beach.
  • Check out Cannon Beaches art galleries, small shops, and ice cream.
  • Visit Seaside for that beachside amusement district vibe – boardwalk, people watching, ice cream and games.
Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach

Need to Know: With Hwy 26 being the only [direct] way to the North Coast, traffic can crawl on a nice weekend.
What: beaches, Haystack rock, Ecola State Park, Indian Beach, art galleries, tide pools, old timey ice cream and souvenir shops, breweries
Drive time: Cannon Beach is 1 hour and 20 min from Portland.
Nearby: Astoria, Hug Point, Oswald West State Park, Manzanita, Tillamook, Saddle Mountain hike

Oregon Coast – Oswald West & Manzanita

Both Cannon Beach and Seaside have a place in my heart, but my favorite is Manzanita and Oswald West State Park, 15-20 minutes further south. Also referred to as Short Sands, Oswald West is my favorite spot on the coast and my most frequent Portland day trip! It’s not a secret spot, and can get pretty crowded these days in summer time (for good reason!). The parking lot fills up quick on the weekend. Thankfully, with a half mile of beach front in Smuggler Cove, it usually feels like there’s plenty of room once you get out there.

The Oregon Coast has about 350 miles of gorgeous scenery. From cliffs to forests to tide pools, hiking trails and lookouts, surfing and lighthouses. All of the Oregon coastline is open to the public. Thanks to Governor Oswald West in the 1910s, he designated it the “People’s Coast”.

Oswald West Short Sands beach

Things to do in Manzanita and Oswald West State Park:

  • Make the quick walk to Short Sands beach.
  • Hike the Cape Falcon trail.
  • Visit Hug Point at low tide to go around the cape (Caution: check tide tables, be careful, and follow signage).
  • Grab lunch in Manzanita for a more low-key beach town vibe.
  • Neahkahnie Mountain hike via the South Trail near Manzanita is also less than 3 miles with panoramic views of the coast from the top.
Hug Point

Good to Know: It’s a 10 minute walk from the trailhead to Short Sands beach. Bring beach gear, water, snacks etc. At Oswald West there’s nowhere to get food or drinks for miles around. Once you arrive, you’ll probably want to stay for awhile. And please Leave No Trace! Pack it in pack it out!
What: beautiful beaches, surfing, hiking
Drive time: Oswald West is 1 hour 40 min drive from Portland.
Nearby: Cannon Beach, Tillamook


Astoria holds the claim of being the oldest outpost west of the Rockies. It’s the mouth of the Columbia River – where it hits the Pacific ocean. And has the Astoria Megler Bridge that takes you from Astoria over to Washington. At over 4 miles in length, it is the longest continuous truss bridge in North America. Astoria also has The Goonies movie claim to fame. These days, Astoria is gaining in popularity. They also are currently home to some nice breweries – Fort George, Astoria Brewing Company, Buoy Beer Company, and Reach Break Brewing. Astoria is a great spot to soak up Oregon history and get the feel of a small coastal working town.

Astoria wharf waterfront

Things to Do in Astoria:

  • Walk the Wharf – watch maritime boat traffic, listen to sea lions bark, and catch the trolley.
  • Visit the Columbia River Maritime Museum
  • Check out the numerous Astoria breweries – Buoy is right on the water, and Fort George is a classic.
  • Drive by The Goonies house.
  • Climb all the stairs of the Astoria Column.
  • Visit Fort Stevens State Park in Warrenton.
Astoria trolley

Good to Know: Astoria can feel pretty cold and windy. If you’re just coming out for a day trip from Portland, sometimes it can feel like a shock. But the wind chill factor being right on the water is a thing.
What: wharf, The Goonies, Columbia River Maritime Museum, breweries, fish n chips, boats (cruise ships and container traffic), The Astoria column.
Drive time: Astoria is 1 hour and 45 min drive from Portland.
Nearby: Long Beach, WA, Fort Stevens, Seaside, Cannon Beach


Tillamook Cheese Factory is Oregon’s Wisconsin-ish claim to fame. Tillamook is a cooperative dairy town. And a visit to the Tillamook Cheese Factory is just one of those Oregon coast things. Part nostalgia, part family fun, at this point the Tillamook cheese factory is a stop most summers at the coast. And of course, the grown up version Blue Heron French Cheese company. But I’ll take a visit to both. Tillamook is also home to De Garde Brewing, and a [newer] Pelican Brewing taproom.

Another thing Tillamook is great for is a jumping off point for clamming, oysters, and crabbing. Both the Tillamook Bay (Garibaldi), and Netarts Bay – where Jacobsen Salt Company harvests their salt. And hiking at nearby Cape Meares lighthouse and Cape Lookout State Park – which is part of the Three Capes Scenic Loop.

Things to Do:

  • Visit Cape Lookout State Park – hiking or camping.
  • Go to the Tillamook Cheese Factory or the Blue Heron French Cheese company.
  • Order chowder or go clamming in Garibaldi or Netarts Bay.
  • Drive the Three Capes Scenic Loop – Cape Meares, Cape Lookout, and Cape Kiwanda

Good to Know: Tillamook is a dairy town. This means cows. Yes, it smells like cows. There’s also often an overcast weather pocked over the Tillamook Bay and Rockaway beach.
What: cheese, ice cream, cows, brewery, clamming and crabbing, chowder, lighthouses
Drive time: Tillamook is a 1 hour 20 min drive from Portland.
Nearby: Rockaway Beach, Pacific City (the other Haystack rock), Manzanita, Tillamook State Forest, Wilson River, Munson Creek Falls, Cape Meares lighthouse

Pacific City

While Pacific City is in close proximity to Tillamook, it’s a very different coast. Home to the other Haystack rock, it’s a small beach town that feels like more of vacation rental haven with a brewery. There is of course more to Pacific City south of the bridge, but as a day trip, most visitors are heading to the Cape Kiwanda area with the large sand dune hill and Pelican Brewing.

Things to Do in Pacific City:

  • Take in the views at the “other” Haystock Rock.
  • Climb the dunes at Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area.
  • Sit outside the original Pelican Brewery with a beer and view of the ocean.
  • Go surfing.
the other Haystack Rock

Good to Know: watch out for vehicles driving on the beach, and dory boats cruising back in from the ocean.
What: brewery, surfing, sand dunes
Drive time: Pacific City is a 2 hour drive from Portland.
Nearby: Tillamook, Lincoln City Beach, Proposal Rock in Neskowin, Three Capes Scenic Loop

Central Coast – Depoe Bay, Newport, Lincoln City

The northern area of the Oregon Central coast is doable as a day trip. But at 2.5 hours it’s a stretch and best seen as an overnight. However, sometimes that’s not doable, so in the case that you are able to spend 5 hours (minimum depending on traffic) driving round trip, the central coast has a lot to offer. Depoe Bay and Newport are best known as whale watching destinations, with boats departing from their marinas. And in high season, you can see whales from shore at the many lookouts near Depoe Bay. Grey whales migrate in December and spring (March-May), down from Alaska to Mexico. The Central coast has so many state parks for camping if you want to plan a longer stay as well.

Things to do on Oregon Central Coast:

  • Go whale watching via boat or from spots along the coast
  • Fly a kite in Lincoln City
  • Visit the Devil’s Punchbowl at Otter Rock
  • Check out the Yaquina Head Lighthouse
  • Hike the 3.2 mile Drift Creek Falls Trail with a suspension bridge and waterfall.
  • Visit the Newport waterfront.

Good to Know: Obey all signs near the ocean! This area can have sneaker waves, and loose cliffs that can fall away.
What: whale watching, breweries, beaches, kites
Drive time: Oregon’s central coast is about a 2.5 hour drive from Portland.
Nearby: Yachats, Pacific City, Corvallis, Drift Creek Falls

Willamette Valley: 1 – 1.5 hr drive

Oregon Wine Country: Willamette Valley

Willamette Valley Penner Ash - Oregon wine country
wine tasting with a view at Pennar-Ash

The Willamette Valley is famous for wine – especially Oregon Pinot noir! There are over 200 wineries in the valley and countless winery tasting rooms and visiting opportunities. From the Portland area, the Newberg, Dundee, and McMinnville areas are the easiest to reach. Oregon wine country is beautiful and a pretty fun and casual experience. Check the Willamette Valley Wineries Association, for the latest on wineries, and best way to see the area.

December in portland, winter tree wine country

Things to Do in Willamette Valley Wine Country:

  • Go wine tasting at Stroller Family Estate Vineyards and check out the tire swing.
  • Stop at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum in McMinnville
  • Visit the historic downtown McMinnville Main Street for shops and dining.

Good to Know: While a lot of wine country looks super close on a map, with smaller rural roads, it can take a while!
What: wine! Pinot noir, pinot gris, sparkling, rose – there’s a little bit of everything. Plus scenery!
Drive time: The start of Willamette Valley wine country is 45 minutes to 1 hour from Portland.
Nearby: Silver Falls, Silverton, Hagg Lake, Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum

Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park is Oregon’s largest state park and a favorite campground. The Trail of Ten Falls loops around the park and passed… yes, 10 waterfalls. It’s a 7.4 mile loop with 1,200 feet total elevation gain (AllTrails). But there are also plenty of opportunities to see a few waterfalls if you’re not up for the entire hike! Including South Falls, the tallest waterfall at Silver Falls, which you can also walk behind. Silver Falls also has rentable rustic cabins and plenty of camping options. Other than the Gorge, it’s one of the most waterfall-centric spots in Oregon.

Things to Do at Silver Falls State Park:

  • Hike the Trail of Ten Falls loop.
  • Visit South Falls and the lodge.
  • Make a stop at the Oregon Garden in Silverton.

Good to Know:
What: hiking! waterfalls! camping!
Drive time: Silver Falls State Park is a 1 to 1.5 hour drive from from Portland.
Nearby: wine country, Silverton, Mt Angel, Detroit Lake, Opal Creek Wilderness & Ancient Forest Center (Old-Growth Forest).

Bagby Hot Springs – CLOSED THROUGH 2023!

Bagby Hot Springs are a naturally occurring hot springs in the Mount Hood National Forest, near Estacada. The road to Bagby hot springs was damaged in the Riverside fire in September 2020. The next closest hot springs to Portland would be Brietenbush Hot Springs near Detriot, which is doable as a daytrip, but a bit more of an overnighter.

What: hiking, old-growth forests, and soaking in hot springs

Map of Day Trips from Portland

Here’s all the day trip spots mapped out on Google Maps. Enjoy!

Road Trips to do as Overnighter:

If you’re feeling ambitious, there are some great places you could reach in a days drive, but do you really want to? Anything over 5 hours driving is usually just more fun to do as a road trip and at least one night. But sometimes you’re short on time. So here are some ideas if you’re feeling like more of drive.


  • Bend and Smith Rock State Park (Stay: Crooked River Ranch cabins from $99/night)
  • Seattle – Pike Place Market, Chihuly Glass Garden, Space Needle and park, ferry ride etc (Stay: Ace Hotel Seattle from $129/night)
  • Washington State National Parks – Olympic National Park, Hoh Rainforest etc (Stay: Olympic National Park cabins from $84/night)

Best Day Trips from Portland

In summary, the best day trips from Portland are:

  1. Sauvie Island
  2. McMenamins Edgefield
  3. Troutdale & Sandy River
  4. Columbia River Gorge & Historic Columbia River Highway
  5. Bonneville Dam, Cascade Locks & Thunder Island
  6. Hood River, Mosier, & White Salmon
  7. Hood River Fruit Loop & Parkdale
  8. Mt Hood – Timberline Lodge & Government Camp
  9. Mt St Helens
  10. Cannon Beach & Seaside
  11. Oswald West & Manzanita
  12. Astoria
  13. Tillamook
  14. Pacific City
  15. Central Coast – Depoe Bay, Lincoln City, Newport
  16. Willamette Valley Wine country
  17. Silver Falls State Park

I hope this has given you some ideas for day trips from Portland! And whatever day trip you explore, enjoy Oregon!