The sun is shining and pale Portlanders are emerging from their winter hibernation with that special spring energy. Sidewalk cafes, biking around town, picnicking in the parks—it’s all glorious—but it’s also prime time to get out of town for a fun spring adventure. The only problem is that with so many options within driving distance, how do you choose? Allow us to offer up a few ideas.
Stunning any time of year, we love the coast in spring. A few weekends ago in Manzanita we were treated to two windless, cloudless days in the sixties. It felt positively balmy. We found dozens of starfish and romped for hours on a nearly empty beach. Beat the summer crowds and head there now when you’ll be pleasantly surprised if the weather cooperates. Can’t decide where on the coast to go? Why not make a road trip and visit all 11 lighthouses?
Not done with winter yet? There is still plenty of snow at Mt. Hood and Mt. Bachelor. In fact, you can still ski and snowboard well into May on either peak. Still not enough? Timberline has the longest season in the country with runs open all the way through September. Enjoy warmer, sunny days by getting started in the morning when the runs are freshly groomed. Spring skiing and snowboarding are thrifty, too. Check out discount spring lift passes or bring your RV and camp right in the parking lot at Mt. Bachelor.
With wildflowers abloom and comfortable temperatures, spring can be one of the best times to hike the Columbia Gorge. Just be sure to double check trail conditions. Stay and enjoy fine dining and nightlife in Hood River, treat yourself to a spa day at Skamania or both. We find the charming Hood River Hotel with its very own Broder Ost restaurant irresistible.
The High Desert
The landscape is vast and far from barren. With sagebrush and canyons galore, it’s especially dazzling at sunset. Be sure to stop at the High Desert Museum where you can view exhibits of live animals, native art and historical exhibits including an authentic 1904 homestead and sawmill. Of course, be sure to visit Bend while you’re in the area for some top quality microbrews.
Whether your ideal hot spring experience involves hiking in and going nude or staying at a luxe resort, Oregon has it. Just be sure to do a little research and know your comfort level before you go.
How many national parks are drivable from Portland? At least 20! From Fort Vancouver to Crater Lake, there’s a huge variety to choose from. Between government shutdowns and weather, just be sure to check the parks and the roads to get there are open before you go.
Cities & Towns
If you’re not a nature person, that’s ok. Even though it sometimes seems like it, not everyone in Portland is. You’ve got plenty of options too. We’re simplifying a bit here, but head to McMinnville for wine tasting, Hood River for shopping and delicious food, Bend for beer or Eugene or Corvallis for college town vibes. And of course, if you’re really craving big city lights, it’s only three hours to Seattle.
So, where are you headed this spring?