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Portland Summer Escapes

It’s already August and it’s just hit you that you haven’t gotten out of town nearly as much as you had planned to this summer. Don’t worry, you don’t need to burn through a bunch of PTO days to make the most out of the rest of summer. One of the best things about Portland is that there are so many amazing options within a few hours’ drive. All you need is one single day to have yourself a real summer getaway experience. Here are a few of our favorite day trips.

Trillium Lake
For gram-worthy pics of pristine blue water and a snow-capped Mt. Hood, head to Trillium Lake. Only an hour and a half away, this is a must for summer. The easy loop around the lake takes you through a forest, marshlands, and lots of pretty views. Scout out which camping site you want to reserve some other weekend or kick back on the shoreline and catch some fish. Better yet, call Mt. Hood Outfitters ahead of time to reserve a kayak. They deliver!

Hood River
If you’re into kite boarding or beer, you’ve probably already been to Hood River. If not, what are you waiting for? Longtime faves like Full Sail, Double Mountain and Pfriem are still going strong. But be sure to stop by the newer Ferment. The ultra-modern architecture alone is worth a stop. And sipping one of their delicious brews on the massive deck while watching the kite boarders is a real treat. Be sure to spend some time checking out the shops in the quaint downtown area. And if that’s not enough to while away the day, do the Fruit Loop. It’s cherry season!

Mount St Helens

You see it constantly. But have you been? Make it your goal before summer ends! Just 50 miles northeast of Portland, there are a ton of things to do here. Be sure to check out exhibits at the Forest Learning Center and the view from the Johnston Ridge Observatory. For fun, explore the Ape Caves—the longest lava tubes in the continental US. There are also plenty of hiking trails and nearby attractions like zip lining, elk viewing, horseback riding and a couple lakes. Don’t forget to keep your eyes open for Bigfoot. Sightings in the area date back at least to the 1920s.



Just about any of the towns on the coast make a lovely day trip. But lately we can’t get enough of this artsy little town near Cape Perpetua. The three-hour drive is a bit long for a daytrip but between the food, the hikes and galleries, it’s totally worth getting an early start and making it happen. If you decide to make this one a 2-day trip be sure to check out the nearby Sea Lion Caves. This time of year the sea lions are most likely outside on the rocky shoreline but this is the country’s largest sea cave and a must-see. As is nearby Florence, another charming coastal town.

Yes, fans of the movie Goonies can still find many of the film’s locations intact, and make a whole tour of it. But there’s much more to this town. A hillside dotted with Victorians, museums, breweries and food, food, food. The Columbia River Maritime Museum is fantastic. And checking out the sea lions through the glass floor while you wait for a table at Buoy Beer is also fun. But our absolute favorite thing to do in Astoria is to visit Hanthorn Crab Company at the end of the pier, past the Cannery Museum. Fresh crab and oysters. No frills. The best!


Silver Falls State Park

Ten waterfalls in one 6.9-mile hike. TEN. And these aren’t tiny trickles, these are bonafide, awe-inspiring, capital “F” Falls. Two of the falls—170-foot South Falls and 106-foot Middle North Falls—even have a trail behind them. A great way to cool off on a hot day is in the spray from the backside of a waterfall. While the falls are smaller in late summer, this is still a gorgeous spot.


Sandy River Float

Summer isn’t complete if you haven’t gotten in a few river floats. A relatively mellow favorite is the seven-mile trip from Oxbow Park to Dabney State Recreation Area. The trip will take 3-4 hours. For a slightly less crowded option, try starting at Dabney and float about 3 hours to Lewis and Clark State Park. Whichever route you pick, make an after-float stop for food and drinks on the patio at Shirley’s Tippy Canoe.


Wilson River

Head to the Wilson whether you’re looking for a good cliff jumping spot or a quiet swimming hole. A great place to start is Tillamook Forest Center. From there, follow the Wilson River Trail through the forest. It might take a bit of exploring but you’ll find your spot. While you’re in the area, make a stop at Tillamook Creamery and stock up on everyone’s favorite cheese.


Well we sure can’t wait for our next day away! What about you? Where are you headed?