Day Trips from Portland

Riley Roberson

Portland sits in the Pacific Northwest, but it also sits just a day trip away from some of the essential building blocks of being a human. And by that, I mean hiking, wine, and cheese. I love the cadence of downtown life and experience, but I understand time in a metro can generate an appetite for the slow and pleasant. That’s exactly the appetite the following places appease.

Hood River, Seattle, Sauvie Island Beach, Mount Saint Helens, Cannon Beach, Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, Tillamook Creamery, Willamette Valley, Multnomah Falls

  • Hood River, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      A summer/fall option is the Hood River Fruit loop. If you come from a place where their aren't easily accessible, fresh fruits and veggies, it is nice to do this loop and gather up good produce from a place that does it well.

  • Seattle in Washington, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      Another option for doing an Inception vacation inside of a vacation is spending a day during your trip to Portland in Seattle. The two cities are close enough that it isn't a haul, but they're both significant enough to be on your list of destinations. You can pair the cities by doing a slow explore in one while you do a quick day-long exploration of the other.

  • Sauvie Island Beach in Portland, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      Sauvie Island shares features that other great hiking, beach, and adventure spots have. But this island (on top of the fact that being on an island is an objectively cool thing) has great fishing, which is something you can't find at every hiking and biking spot.

  • Mount Saint Helens in Washington, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      Along with the National Historic Landmark on this list, I wanted to include Mount St. Helens because of the significance of the eruption it had so long ago. I'm for book stores, coffee shops, and a box of good donuts. But getting a chance to see a mountain that had the top blown off is bucket-list worthy.

  • Cannon Beach, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      Not your normal beach. Of course, you can do all of your usual beach activities, but Cannon beach has huge rock formations that make your trip unlike any other beach trip, and since it's a short trip from Portland, you don't have to commit to a beach-only vacation.

  • Timberline Lodge and Ski Area, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      Combining all of these ingredients below (I’m pretty sure they have cheese) is Timberline Lodge near Mount Hood, about an hour and a half away from Portland. With day-trippers, people who like to spend a night away from their primary vacation spot will love this as an option. This National Historic Landmark is effectively a basecamp for nice dining, hiking, skiing, and pub visits. This lodge gets around two million visitors per year, and this doesn’t include all of the people who have seen it in Stanley Kubrick’s The Shining.

  • Tillamook Creamery, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      In Tillamook’s words, you can see how their products make it “from milk to market” in their impressive, modern barn style building. Although you may say visiting a cheese factory isn’t at the top of your list while visiting the Portland area, I can tell you that this means you get a taste of some of Tillamook all-time greats: pizza, mac & cheese, and ice cream. If you get to spend a day here, you’ll end up wanting to milk it (just like they do!). Sorry if that’s too cheesy for you.

  • Willamette Valley, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      Willamette Valley isn’t home to a winery, but wineries–a plural word that makes you want to spend a day in the area. These wineries are spread out between the valley’s regions: North Valley, Mid Valley, South Valley, and the West Cascades. Along with wineries in this region, you’ll find hiking, biking, and waterways, not to mention shopping, historic sites, parks, and art. The wide variety of activities makes it fit for a variety of ages, and like each option on this list, it is fit for families.

  • Multnomah Falls, United States

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    • rileyroberson

      About one hour, one $10 shuttle ride from the city, is the Columbia River Gorge, and specifically, Multnomah Falls. This trip can take from two and a half hours up to about however long you’d like. The shuttle keeps you from having to rent a car or take an expensive rideshare out of the city, and the Multnomah Falls Lodge is a cozy restaurant that takes the stress away from packing up food or planning meals. You can see the most popular waterfall from the lodge and a bridge that crosses over into the main trailhead. But you can also hike all the way up the top of the hill where the main waterfall comes down and then descend into the Columbia River Gorge scenic area. This day trip is pretty flexible, offering a short or long hike, a full meal or a picnic, and the ability to make it a half or full day.