Ever since I saw the mind-blowing images from the Mount Hood Lavender Valley Farm, I knew I needed to visit Portland, Oregon. After doing some research I quickly realized how beautiful the area around Portland is and how much there is to see. In this blog post, I will talk about the best day trips that you can do from Portland! You will be amazed by the stunning places that are within a maximum 3-hour distance!
The Multnomah Falls are only a 30-minute drive from Portland downtown and one of the best day trips that you can do from Portland that does not require a hike. You basically have about a 5-minute walk from the parking lot and then can enjoy the stunning waterfall. Multnomah Falls is the highest waterfall in Oregon with a 620 feet drop! There is a lower viewpoint from where you can admire the bridge and the waterfall, but you can also do several hikes in this area and hike up the bridge. It is only a 5-minute walk from the viewing platform to the bridge! Reservations are required for the falls so make sure to book your tickets in advance! More information here.
Another astonishing waterfall and great day trip from Portland is the Wahclella Falls Hike! This waterfall requires a short and easy hike, but trust me it is so worth it. You can even swim in this waterfall and I would have done that but did not bring a swimsuit! The cascading waterfall is seriously magical and so worth the visit.
Hiking distance: 2.4 miles out and back
Fee: 5 $ per vehicle for the day
If you are visiting Portland, Oregon during July or August you have the chance to see sunflower fields with the backdrop of Mount Hood! Trust me it is a view that you won’t forget. You can find a bunch of vineyards around Portland and do wine tastings there. We visited Grateful Vineyard, had a delicious pizza, and did a wine tasting. The vineyard is so stunning and the wine and pizza were delicious! Right next to the vineyard is a sunflower field that is just so beautiful! Make sure to put this one on your list for the best day trips from Portland.
Rowena Crest Viewpoint
One of the best viewpoints and one of the best day trips from Portland makes the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. I love good viewpoints and this one is an epic one! You get an incredible view of Columbia Gorge! The viewpoint is right by the parking lot. Be aware that this spot usually is super windy. We almost lost our hats here!
One of the best spots to watch the sunset is Trillium Lake. In the mornings and evenings, the lake is almost like a mirror on a wind still day and you can see a reflection of Mount Hood in the lake. It looks stunning with the sunset or sunrise colors. Trillium lake is without a doubt one of the best day trips from Portland! It is a 1 h and 30-minute drive from Portland Downtown.
Terwilliger Hot Springs
Oregon and Washington have without a doubt the most stunning hot springs and waterfalls in the country. Although the Terwilliger Hot Springs are kind of in the middle of nowhere and the parts of the road are dirt roads, this spot is one of a kind and you do not want to miss out on this location. Not only are these hot springs unbelievably beautiful, but also super clean and you can just relax and fully unwind. Keep in mind that these hot springs are clothing optional. So you might find one or another nude person bathing in the springs. Simply park at the designated parking area and hike to the Terwilliger Hot Springs. The hike is about 10-15 minutes and is not difficult at all. Make sure to come early if you want to avoid crowds.
Hiking distance: 0.9 miles
Fee: 7 $ per person
Lower Proxy Falls
I am such a sucker for waterfalls and Lower Proxy Falls is one of my favorite in Oregon so far! It is absolutely mind-blowing and makes it to my list of best day trips from Portland! You definitely need proper hiking boots for this one since this hike requires hiking through a creek in some parts, especially when you want to get closer to the waterfall. But be careful, the logs and rocks are pretty slippery. Lower Proxy Falls are about a 3 h and a 30-minute drive from Portland.
Hiking distance: 1.6-mile loop
Fee: 5 $ per vehicle for the day
If you are making your way to visit the Proxy Falls you can also visit Koosah Falls since they are kind of in the same area and only a 30 minutes drive from each other. You can hike Koosah Falls if you want to but we did not have the time so we just checked out the viewpoints and the waterfall was absolutely stunning! The loop trail actually brings you to both, Koosah Falls and Sahalie Falls.
Hiking distance: 2.2-mile loop
Fee: 5 $ per vehicle for the day
Lower Lewis Falls
The Lower Lewis Falls is located in Washington and is a 1.5h drive from Portland, but so worth the drive! The falls require both a day pass and a parking pass to visit, and both must be purchased in advance. The parking passes go live 2 days in advance of your desired date at 7 am PST. If you have an annual National Park Pass you don’t have to purchase a day pass (7 $ per vehicle), but you still will need a parking pass which is 2 $.
You can actually swim in these falls but the water was freezing cold so even dipping your feet into the water was freezing! But the waterfall is so beautiful and so worth the visit!
Falls Creek Falls Hike
Another great place to visit close to Portland is Falls Creek Falls. This hike is 5.3 miles long (roundtrip) and absolutely lovely. It goes all the way through the Gifford-Pinchot National Forest and leads to this magnificent three-tiered waterfall! Absolutely worth the hike. In my opinion, the hike was fairly easy and super doable. Just be careful at the waterfall itself, since it can get very slippery.
Hiking distance: 5.3-mile (out and back)
Fee: no fee
Mount Hood Lavender Valley
If you visit Oregon from mid-July to mid-August, you should check out the beautiful lavender fields close to Portland. Without a doubt, these were the most beautiful lavender fields I have seen in the USA so far. Quite frankly, I believe they are the most unique ones because of the incredible backdrop of Mount Hood! There are a couple farms but the Mount Hood Lavender Valley was the one we checked out and loved! If you want, you can also u-pick some lavender! We did and used it as a prop and souvenir to take home!
Fee: 10$ per vehicle
Ecola State Park
The coastline of Oregon is another scenic place to visit in Oregon. It truly reminds me of Hawaii, just a bit colder. With its stunning rocks and cliffs along the coastline, it makes a great place to visit. The drive from Portland is about 1.5h and is pretty scenic as well. The State Park itself offers a couple of hikes and fantastic views over the coastline!
Cannon Beach | Haystack Rock
I am sure you have seen a ton of pictures of the famous Haystack Rock in the water at Cannon Beach around social media. The Haystack Rock reminds me of Krabi and the rocks and cliffs in the ocean over there. So beautiful! Be prepared for a lot of wind when walking along the beach. I wanted to take way more pictures and videos than I did, simply because it was freezing during the end of July! Yup, you heard right, even during summertime, it can be really windy and cold.
Where to stay – El Jupiter Hotel
During our time in Portland, we stayed at the Jupiter Hotel located in SE Portland. We loved the views from our room over the city and the nice rooftop of the hotel. Plus, there are tons of cute restaurants and cafes within walking distance of the hotel. Click here to check it out and book a room!
Where to eat
Although I really don’t eat out much during content trips like this one, I still try to check out at least a couple of restaurants in the area, so here are my top ones for you.
Bamboo Sushi offers good quality sushi for a reasonable price. We had so much Sushi there, that we could not even finish everything. Highly recommend this restaurant, loved the service food, and location of it!
Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House
Have you ever been to a restaurant that is located inside a hardware store? Quite unique, right? The food at Cannon Beach Hardware and Public House was delicious. Loved it!
Rain and Shine Coffee House
This coffee place is adorable and has a yummy coffee selection as well delicious bagels! You should try the homemade lavender lemonade! So tasty! I also had the Hummus Veggie Bagel and it was so good. The best part about this place is that it is vegan!