Exploring the captivating landscapes surrounding Portland has been a delightful adventure, as Jeff and I have embarked on numerous Portland day trips to these picturesque destinations.
Nestled in the heart of Oregon, Portland served as an ideal base camp for discovering the remarkable wonders that lie just beyond its vibrant city limits. From the enchanting Columbia River Gorge and its crown jewel, Multnomah Falls, to the coastal beaches, each excursion has unveiled the natural splendor of this region.
Whether you are a local or a visitor (like we were), we are sure there is a day trip from Portland that is right for you. From beaches to mountains and hiking to wine tasting, we have selected what we believe to be the best Portland day trips.
So, pack your day bag, fill up your gas tank, and get ready for an adventure.
Best Portland day trips
- Columbia River Gorge / Multnomah Falls
- Mount St. Helens
- Cannon Beach
- Willamette Valley Wine Country
- Silver Falls State Park
- Mount Hood
Where are all these cool Portland day trips?
Click the expand / collapse icon in the upper left corner of the map for the details and interactive options.
The suggested stops in this article are featured on the map in red.
Columbia River Gorge / Multnomah Falls
Distance from Portland: 30 miles / 40 minutes
The Columbia River Gorge and Multnomah Falls are undoubtedly the highlight of our Portland day trips.
This breathtaking natural wonder left me awe-inspired. As I stood on the bridge just over a major cascade, I couldn’t help but feel a sense of reverence for the sheer power and beauty of nature. The waters rushing in front and below me, surrounded by lush greenery and towering cliffs, created a scene that felt straight out of a fairy tale.
Then, we headed to the base to bring all the cascading levels into a single view. The resulting photograph became an instant favorite that now proudly hangs on our wall.
If you don’t have a car, it’s easy to take a tour to Multnomah Falls from Portland. We like the looks of this top-rated 4.5-hour coach tour from Portland that follows the route of the Lewis and Clark expedition more than 200 years after the famous explorers. In addition to Multnomah Falls, it visits two other waterfalls. Reserve your Multnomah Falls & Columbia River Gorge Tour from Portland here
Mount St. Helens
Distance from Portland: 75 miles / 110 minutes
Mount St. Helens is a famous volcano that erupted in 1980. Visitors can learn about the eruption and the volcano’s history at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center.
The area is also popular for hiking and fishing. Personally, I found the views from the Johnston Ridge Observatory to be awe-inspiring.
If you are seeking a bit of adventure, check out this all-day Mt St Helens tour from Portland. Your guide will help you discover lava tube caves, old-growth forests, waterfalls, and more. The tour includes lunch, and headlamps are provided for the caves. Reserve your Mt St Helens adventure from Portland here.
Distance from Portland: 95 miles / 110 minutes
Astoria is a charming coastal town with a rich history. Honestly, I fell in love with this town and wished we had stayed longer than just two nights before we started our Oregon coast road trip.
We spent our time climbing the 164 narrow spiral stairs inside the Astoria Column and then, following tradition, launched balsa wood planes from the top.
We also learned about interesting history at the Columbia River Maritime Museum, discovered the lightship (like a lighthouse), and watched the sea lions on the pier. In retrospect, I am not sure why we opted to skip the Flavel House Museum. You can read our full Astoria adventure here.
Distance from Portland: 79 miles / 90 minutes
Cannon Beach is a charming coastal town that’s famous for its stunning beach and the iconic Haystack Rock. As you can see from the image, it was overcast the day we visited, but still lovely. We strolled along the beach and explored tide pools, but with the weather, we didn’t bother to visit the viewpoint in Ecola State Park.
The town is also home to several art galleries, restaurants, and boutiques. For us, it was the first stop on our Oregon coast road trip that started in Astoria.
If you don’t want to drive yourself, we recommend this 7-hour tour as the perfect solution. Traveling along the scenic coast, the highlights include Cannon Beach, two state parks, and several key landmarks. This delightful journey seamlessly blends picturesque drives with invigorating short hikes, so be sure to wear comfortable shoes. What makes it even more special is the limited group size, accommodating only 12 guests, ensuring an intimate and personalized experience. Travel in style and comfort aboard a luxurious vehicle as you soak in the beauty of the coast and create lasting memories. Reserve your Cannon Beach tour from Portland here.
Distance from Portland: 72 miles / 80 minutes
Tillamook is a coastal town known for its dairy farms and cheese factory. We couldn’t resist stopping and taking the self-guided tour of the Tillamook Cheese Factory, which creates 171,000 pounds of cheese daily. At the end of the tour, we got to sample local cheeses, and we learned a bit about the region’s dairy industry.
The town is also home to several beaches and hiking trails, as well as the Tillamook Air Museum. Personally, we enjoyed trying different cheeses, but the highlight was the ice cream we got at the cheese factory.
Rather than a day trip from Portland, we came here from Cannon Beach as we drove down the Oregon coast.
Distance from Portland: 46 miles / 50 minutes
Salem is the capital of Oregon, located about 1 hour south of Portland. This city is home to the historic Oregon State Capitol building, as well as several museums, parks, and restaurants.
One of the most unique features of Salem is the Riverfront Carousel, a beautifully hand-carved carousel with over 40 unique animals to ride. History buffs will enjoy a visit to the Willamette Heritage Center, which preserves and interprets the history of the Mid-Willamette Valley.
Willamette Valley Wine Country
Distance from Portland: 49 miles / 60 minutes
The Willamette Valley is Oregon’s premier wine region, known for its Pinot Noir and other award-winning varietals. Visitors can tour local wineries, taste the region’s wines, and enjoy scenic views of the countryside.
Touring from Portland means a designated driver. Check out these options from Portland:
- Wine-Tasting Tour in the Willamette Valley
This top-rated 6-hour tour often sells out. It’s a small group tour (maximum 10) that will enjoy wine tastings at three wineries. Reserve your Willamette Valley Wine-Tasting Tour from Portland here.
- Willamette Valley Wine Tour with Lunch
This full-day tour will bring you to 3 vineyards sampling pinots, chardonnays, and rieslings. Lunch at a winery is included, but the tasting fees are extra. Reserve your Willamette Valley Wine Tour with Lunch here.
Silver Falls State Park
Distance from Portland: 54 miles / 75 minutes
Silver Falls State Park is a scenic park just outside of Salem, Oregon.
It’s home to the Trail of Ten Falls, a popular hiking trail that takes visitors past ten stunning waterfalls. The park also offers camping, picnic areas, and horseback riding. Download a free trail map here.
Better still, get the best of the area by combining Silver Falls and wine tasting with a tour from Portland. This highly-rated tour includes the Trail of Ten Falls as well as two boutique wineries. Reserve your Silver Falls hike and wine tour here.
Distance from Portland: 76 miles / 90 minutes
Mount Hood is another popular day trip destination from Portland. It’s the tallest mountain in Oregon and a great spot for skiing, snowboarding, and hiking.
Visitors can also explore the historic Timberline Lodge, which was built during the Great Depression. Located about 1.5 hours east of Portland on Mount Hood, Timberline Lodge is a historic ski resort with stunning views, hiking trails, and year-round recreational activities.
The lodge was built in the 1930s as part of the Works Progress Administration program and features beautiful handcrafted woodwork and stone masonry throughout. If you want to extend your day trip from Portland, it’s a fun place to spend the night. Reserve your stay at Timberline Lodge here.
Where to stay in Portland
If you’re looking for a comfortable and stylish base for your Portland day trips, look no further than the Kimpton Hotel Vintage Portland. This boutique hotel is located in the heart of downtown Portland, making it an ideal home base for exploring the city and surrounding areas.
We were drawn in by the hotel’s chic and modern decor, combined with its convenient location and top-notch amenities. It was the perfect place to come home to, comfortable and luxurious.
One of the fun features of the Kimpton Hotels, including the Vintage, is the nightly wine tasting, which takes place in the hotel lobby. It allows guests to sample some of the best local wines, in our case from the Willamette Valley, as well as mingle with other travelers.
The hotel also offers a game room with classic games like ping pong, shuffleboard, and foosball. It’s just a fun, vintage place to stay. Reserve your stay at Hotel Vintage here.
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All photos on this page are either shot by our team and watermarked as such or stock images from Depositphotos.