3 of the Must-Do Best Day Trips from Portland, Oregon

Mount Hood in the background with a vineyard in the foreground leading up to the camera

Portland is such a unique and special city in the US. My husband and I spent three weeks in Oregon, one of said weeks staying in Portland and we honestly fell in love with the city. There aren’t many cities in the US with such proximity to mountains AND the ocean and that’s just part of what makes Portland, Oregon so special. Additionally to everything cool about the city, there are so many amazing day trips you can take from Portland. Want to see waterfalls? 35 minutes. Hike a mountain? An hour. Go to the beach? 90 minutes in the other direction. So many amazing bits of natural beauty that are less than two hours way! Because of this, there are lots of incredible Oregon day trips you can take from Portland, but in my opinion these are three absolute must-see, must-do, best day trips from Portland, Oregon.


The Short Version of the 3 Best Day Trips from Portland

Here are some fun Oregon day trips that are each less than two hours from Portland:

  1. Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast
  2. Columbia River Gorge
  3. Mount Hood

This map will show you where each of the recommended best day trips from Portland are in proximity to the beloved Rose City:

As always, if you buy anything through one of my links, I may make some commission, from your purchase. I truly appreciate any support in that area, but also want to make sure you know that I wouldn’t recommend something I didn’t believe in, so these all have the Amanda Wanders stamp of approval.

The Long Version of Portland, Oregon Day Trips

While there are so many amazing things to do in Portland, there are three easy day trips I would recommend that are all accessible by car if group tours aren’t your thing.


Cannon Beach on the Oregon Coast

The Oregon coast is honestly a PERFECT and one of the absolute best day trips from Portland you could possibly plan for. The Oregon coast is seriously so beautiful and SO underrated in my opinion; I genuinely think it rivals the famous drive to Big Sur in California. It’s *that* gorgeous.

There are tons of gorgeous towns/parks/etc. along the Oregon coast. But the easiest and likely most-bang-for-your-buck stop (and just a best Oregon coast day trip spot in general) is going to be heading to the town of Cannon Beach. This cute little coastal town is just under an hour and a half from Portland, making it a perfect day trip. In Cannon Beach you can visit the following incredible spots to soak in the unique beauty of the Oregon coast:

  • Haystack Rock which is right on the beach in Cannon Beach
  • Ecola State Park is about 10 minutes north and has lots of gorgeous hikes and views
  • Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site and Hug Point State Recreation Site are both about 6 minutes south of Cannon Beach and, like Ecola, are full of gorgeous coastal views and beach walks

No car? Join a tour for your Oregon coast day trip from Portland:

Columbia River Gorge

I am not exaggerating when I say this, the Columbia River Gorge rivals Maui’s famous Road to Hana when it comes to waterfall density on a single road. I was in awe. There are so many amazing waterfalls and hikes on this stretch of the Oregon/Washington border that you can fill up an Oregon day trip with SO many amazing activities. Multnomah Falls is probably the most famous stop on this drive, but there are simply so many beautiful stops you will not run out of things to do on your day trip from Portland.

Best part? Multnomah Falls, which is basically the first big stop for most when driving into the Columbia River Gorge from Portland, is only a 35 minute drive away from the city. Literally all that beauty just like, 10 songs away? That’s a top-of-the-list best day trip from Portland if you ask me!

There are many ways to visit the Columbia River Gorge, but again if you don’t have a car or don’t want to be responsible for knowing all the best sops yourself, definitely join an organized tour for your day trip from Portland.

Mount Hood

The Mount Hood area has literally so much to offer and is absolutely another of the best day trips from Portland. You could almost certainly spend a month in this area in awe of the gorgeous mountains around you, and doing something new and different every single day. But in between pulling over on random roads to admire a mountain from either direction, some of the absolute best things to do on your Mount Hood day trip from Portland are:

  • Go on a day hike or backpacking trip (check all of the Mount Hood Wilderness hikes on AllTrails for inspiration)
  • Drive along the Hood River Fruit Loop and pick a winery to hang out at for a couple of glasses of famous Willamette Valley wine (I would recommend Mt Hood Winery)
  • Go to a lavender farm during peak season (I recommend Hood River Valley Lavender Farm)

The nice thing about the Mount Hood Wilderness Area is it’s also another short day trip from Portland. Even if you drive deep into the heart of the wilderness area, you’ve really only been driving for almost 90 minutes, which is not bad at all. But again, there are day trip tour options as well if you don’t want to navigate the wilderness alone!

So there you go, the three must-do, best day trips from Portland, Oregon. You can go the mountain route, the waterfall route, or the ocean route and honestly, any route is going to be a literal perfect day. As always, if you have any questions please feel free to reach out! I’ve also got story highlights for each of these on my Instagram, so definitely go check those out and start falling in love with Oregon. I truly, truly fell in love with this beautiful state and with Portland as well, so I can’t wait to see what you come up with on your trip! Happy planning!

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