Getting away for a weekend can feel like the perfect break from your everyday, stagnant routine. You don’t have to take any extra time off work, it’s affordable, and you get to explore Oregon outside of Portland. Are you looking for scenic views to enjoy that summer weather? Here are five lovely weekend getaways you can take from Portland, Oregon.
1. Mount Rainier National Park
Driving time from Portland: 2 hours, 40 minutes
Mount Rainier National Park is easily one of the most beautiful national parks in the country. The park’s main focal point – Mount Rainier – is “an active volcano with the most glaciated peak in the contiguous USA, spawning five major rivers.”
You can spend days and days exploring the park. Visitors can go hiking or biking through the trails, get on the water with a boat and go fishing, and enjoy the park’s wildflower blooming season in the summer months.
We highly recommend undertaking the Sourdough Ridge Trail at sunrise for a beautiful view of the mountain.
If you want to stay directly in the park, you can choose between camping or booking one of the two inns: National Park Inn or Paradise Inn. Or, treat yourself to a luxurious stay at the Stormking Cabins & Spa.
You’ll love everything about this getaway, from the gorgeous drive from Portland to the peacefulness of the park.
2. Cannon Beach
Driving time: 1 hour 25 mins
Cannon Beach is one of the most popular tourist destinations in all of Oregon. And, after coming here for the weekend, you’ll see exactly why! This scenic beach town is known for its long coastline and Haystack Rock (an infamous 235-foot sea stack rock formation). It’s almost an 80-mile drive from Portland, but it feels like you’ve escaped to a coastal retreat.
You’ll love exploring this small town that has fought hard to keep everything local. You won’t see fast-food chains in Cannon Beach. Instead, you can shop at local boutiques with handmade items, stay at family-owned hotels, and eat at restaurants that feature local wines, beers, and craft-distilled spirits.
When you’re not exploring the town, you can go hiking, find the waterfall at Hug Point, or have a beach picnic.
3. Columbia River Gorge
Driving time: 1 hour 15 mins
The Columbia River Gorge is a natural canyon in the Columbia River that is one of Oregon’s most stunning nature preservations. In fact, it makes the list of Oregon’s 7 Wonders.
If you’re looking for a fun-filled weekend, the Columbia River Gorge is your perfect weekend adventure. Nature lovers can go rock climbing, hike to one of the 90+ waterfalls in the area, go fishing, windsurfing, kayaking, kiteboarding, and more. But, if you only have time for one outdoor activity, make sure to check out the area’s tallest waterfall standing at 620 feet – Multnomah Falls.
If you’re willing to drive about 10-15 minutes away from the Columbia River Gorge area, you’ll come across breweries, wineries, and fantastic local restaurants. Stop for dinner at the Riverside Restaurant, grab a craft beer at pFriem Family Brewers, or visit the tasting room at Marchesi Vineyards & Winery.
The best part about this area is you can have a perfect mix of outdoor activities and delicious food, drinks, and shopping. It’s such a lovely area you just might find it hard to come back to Portland when the weekend’s over!
Driving time: 2 hours 10 minutes
Astoria is a quaint, small-town that is only a 90-minute drive from Portland, so you might have assumed it would be on this list. However, while Astoria has a lot to offer, we recommend driving a little further out to Newport instead. Newport is a tiny coastal town that will show you a more quiet and slow lifestyle.
Most of the activities in the town revolve around the sea. You can go on a fishing boat to catch some fresh crabs, see diverse marine life at the Hatfield Marine Science Center, visit the aquarium, or participate in some fun ocean sports. Additionally, spend every night dining on fresh seafood from one of the many oceanfront restaurants. Lastly, make sure to stop by Yaquina Head, Oregon’s tallest active lighthouse.
5. Painted Hills
Driving time: 4 hours 10 minutes
This getaway is the farthest distance from Portland, but it’s well worth the drive. The Painted Hills in Wheeler County is another one of Oregon’s 7 Wonders. This geologic site has stunning red hills that make for a beautiful backdrop. The painted hills are especially unique because the color can change depending on the light and moisture levels. So, you can revisit and get a completely different view!
The Painted Hills have a few short trails you can hike through that give you different park views. The Painted Cove Trail and the Painted Hills Overlook Trail offer some of the best views.
This park is a short drive away from most food, so make sure you come with a full tank of gas. Unfortunately, you can’t camp in the park, but there are places to stay nearby, like this Victorian Lane B&B.
Nothing is stopping you now! You have five amazing getaways just a short distance from Portland. Which one will you choose first?