Five Day Trips from Portland, Oregon, Worth the Detour
Portland is a popular spot in summer—recently hosting Project Pabst, Pedalpalooza and the Rose Festival—but even locals and visitors want to take a break from all the action now and then by seeing another part of Oregon. Whether you want mountains or ocean, these five trips are a quick drive from downtown and make for an easy day-long getaway outside.
Astoria (2 hours)
See the area where Lewis and Clark wintered, and where the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Walk the downtown strip, stopping at vintage and antique stores along the way. Have an early lunch (necessary, because they're only open until they run out of the day's catch) at Bowpicker Fish & Chips, a one-item food truck that's a retired bowpicker fishing boat. Then have a beer at Fort George Brewery, where they make a dozen craft beers that are only available in the Northwest.
Breitenbush Hot Springs (2 hours)
Have a drink in the lodge of this retreat in the middle of a forest, then head to the hot springs, lined in smooth river rocks and varying in temperature (best to move from coolest to warmest). Dry off, then take a hike on the 20 miles of trail radiating out from the springs, or do a meditative walk to the center of the property's labyrinth.
Cannon Beach (1.5 hours)
It's a windy, scenic drive to the coast (here it's called the coast—not the beach or the shore) from Portland. Check the Cannon Beach tide tables to know the best time that day to look in the tide pools at The Goonies' iconic Haystack Rock (pictured); you can usually spot bright blue anemone and purple or orange starfish. Have lunch and a beer at Cannon Beach Hardware & Public House, nicknamed Screws 'n' Brews by locals. It’s a functional hardware store that also makes great catch-of-the-day fish sandwiches.
Columbia River Gorge (40 minutes)
Pull a Cheryl Strayed from Wild and hike among the moss-covered trees in the Columbia River Gorge. There are gorgeous waterfalls (the bridge across Multnomah Falls was basically built for Instagram), and easy or difficult hikes for every fitness level. A good one to start with is the 2.6-mile Horsetail Falls. The trailhead starts at a waterfall, and the trail passes behind Ponytail Falls, so you're in a lava-flow cavern behind another waterfall.
Sauvie Island (30 minutes)
North of the city is beautiful Sauvie Island, a wildlife refuge and farming community. Go fruit picking (strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, peaches, or the local favorite, marion berries, depending on the season) at Kruger's Farm, and cut a bunch of sweet-smelling purple flowers for $6 at the Sauvie Island Lavender Farm. Then cool off with a dip in the Columbia River before making your way back.
Sarah Z. Wexler is on the Oregon beat for Travel + Leisure. Based in Portland, you can follow her on Twitter at @SarahZWexler.