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The Best Things to Do Within an Hour of Portland, Oregon

Article by Lost Plate Food Tours

Published on September 15, 2019
Published on September 15, 2019

A Guide to Portland Day Trips in Oregon

Portland’s location provides a huge variety of different sights and climates to explore nearby; So much so you can technically visit the tallest mountain peak in Oregon and the beach in the same day! If you’re visiting for a couple days, we’ve got you covered with this list of the best things to do within an hour (or so) of Portland, Oregon!

Updated March 2023

Columbia-River-Gorge-Portland-Oregon

Columbia River Gorge

Perhaps the most popular day trip from Portland, the Gorge is full of incredible spots including: Vista Point, Multnomah Falls (Oregon’s tallest), Horsetail Falls, and Bridal Veil Falls. This amazing landscape may be the home to some of the most iconic views in Oregon, perhaps why it’s a top movie filming location. This area is perfect for the adventurer inside all of us and not to miss during your visit. Make it a full day by visiting the city of Hood River for even more views, plus food and drink! More on that below…

Portland-Oregon-Wine-Tasting

Wine Tasting

Some of Oregon’s best Vineyards (and there are a lot!) are within 30 miles of downtown Portland. Hawks View, Alloro, Raptor Ridge, Cooper Mountain, Hamacher, and Ponzi all offer great wines and provide unbeatable scenery. Grab a famous Oregon Pinot Noir (or few) and take in the Willamette Valley countryside. If you’re visiting waterfalls or hiking in The Gorge, you’ll pass through yet another amazing wine tasting region, the Columbia Gorge AVA. Read on for winery and vineyard recommendations in that region. 

Mount-Hood-Portland-Oregon

Mt. Hood

Mt. Hood is an outdoor wonderland no matter which season. Three separate ski resorts offer the longest ski season in North America, with glacier skiing available throughout the summer. Timberline Lodge is an amazing place to visit any time of year, especially in winter to relax by a giant fireplace with a warm cocktail. Ski Bowl is open all summer long with tons of activities for both adults and kids, including an alpine slide down the side of the mountain. And don’t forget to check out the quaint restaurants and breweries in Government Camp before or after your visit to the mountain!

Portland-Oregon-Coast

The Oregon Coast

Okay technically if you’re driving the speed limit it’s a little over an hour – but the fact remains that there are lots of amazing ocean views that are just a short drive away from Portland! Bring your jacket and umbrella (even in the summer months) and head to beautiful Cannon Beach for Haystack Rock, Tillamook for the cheese factory, or Astoria if you’re a Goonies fan. If you are a lover of the outdoors, you will be pleased to find tons of hiking trails with beautiful views along with several campgrounds nearby. There’s nowhere else quite like the scenic Oregon Coast!  

Mt-St-Helens-Volcano-Portland

Mt. St Helens

This is the only place in the lower 48 for you to get an up-close look at an active volcano, which last erupted in 2008! The area has great hiking and climbing options for outdoorsy folks of all skills, and the Johnston Ridge Observatory has views from another world – literally. Located in Washington state, Just 70 miles north of Portland, it’s a drive, but one worth it. 

Enchanted-Forest-Salem-Oregon

Enchanted Forest

Great for families of all ages! The Enchanted Forest is a theme park located just south of Salem, Oregon that’s been operated by the Tofte family since opening in the 1970s. Open from March through September, the property sprawls through an old natural forest and is made up of several themed districts: Storybook Lane, Western Town, English Village, and rides that are fun for all ages – including the best log ride we’ve ever been on! It’s quirky, weird, and a true Oregon experience. 

Sauvie-Island-Portland-Oregon

Sauvie Island

Practically in Portland’s backyard, this river island is complete with beaches, pumpkin patches, wildlife areas, farms, and wineries. There is always something going on during every season at Sauvie Island! We previously highlighted them as one of our top picks for summer in our blog – but really, it’s a good place to visit all year round.

Woodburn-Outlet-Mall-Portland-Oregon

Woodburn Outlet Mall

Did you know Oregon has no sales tax? This outlet mall is home to over 110 premium brand name stores, with super low prices every day – seriously. The mall is outdoors yet entirely sheltered from the rainy skies, and quite spread out for a comfortable visit. Just make sure to bring an extra suitcase! 

Breitenbush Hot Springs

Breitenbush Hot Springs is a truly breathtaking place most locals still have yet to discover. Not only is this a resort, it’s also an intentional, worker-owned community that’s been around since the 70’s. While you can opt for an overnight personal retreat, you can also book a day pass for full use of their (clothing optional) soaking pools and sauna for the day. This is a place to relax in a serene environment, and reconnect with yourself and nature. Reservations are required well in advance, and the grounds are not open to the public without one. To learn more about Breitenbush’s facilities and check availability, visit here.

Hood-River-Oregon

City of Hood River

This little big city in the Columbia River Gorge is a hidden gem for the foodie and nature lover in all of us! About 30 minutes east of Multnomah Falls, lies this town full of some of our favorite breweries and restaurants. We recommend checking out Solstice Woodfired Pizza, Mugen Noodle, Grasslands BBQ or Lake Taco for food. But no trip to Hood River is complete without tasting some delicious beers at pFriem, Double Mountain, Full Sail, or Ferment Brewery. If wine is more your style, there’s no shortage of wineries and vineyards nearby including Stave & Stone Winery, Mt. Hood Winery, and Marchesi Vinyeards. Visit the waterfalls in the Gorge on your way here for an unforgettable day trip. 

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