Best Portland Day Trips
With its uniquely chill west coast lifestyle, scenic Portland, Oregon should be on everyone's bucket list as a place to visit sooner rather than later. Portland has it all – sumptuous food, diverse parks and bicycle paths, a thriving music scene, and a deep culture and arts community. Within a short distance from Portland though is a plethora of beauty and flavours asking to be explored
Beaches in Portland for the food and flavour enthusiast!
Bring your hiking boots, a few layers including one for rain and ocean spray, water, and a camera. If you have an extra night, we highly recommend stopping somewhere beautiful along the Portland coast. Between the scenery, the food, the wineries, and the low-key, friendly communities, you will be happy you took the time to explore!
Day Trips from Portland - Tillamook Coast
Take highway 10 out of Portland heading to Beaverton. Travelling on a Saturday? Stop at the Beaverton Market and enjoy local produce and homemade wares. Jump on highway 8 through Hillsboro until it meets highway 6. Stay on 6 through the Tillamook State Forest until you reach the town of Tillamook. Beside its breathtaking location and natural harbour, Tillamook's claim to fame is its cheese factory. Creamy and delicious, swing by the factory for a tour and be sure to leave with some – it'll accompany the wine (and beer!) you'll soon be enjoying!
Before leaving the Tillamook area, check out some of the local sites such as the Tillamook Air Museum, Country Pioneer Museum, and Cape Meares State Park and Lighthouse. Got some time? Rent a kayak and explore Tillamook Bay! Or go for a walk along the spit.
Decision time: from Tillamook, you can head north or south on the Oregon Coast Highway. North takes you through the towns of Garibaldi, Rockaway Beach, Manzanita, Cannon Beach to Astoria and the mouth of the Columbia River. South is equally scenic, although a little more desolate, and eventually ends up in wine country.
Portland Day Trips - Tillamook to Astoria
Make sure you stay on highway 101 as you pull through Garibaldi, heading towards Manzanita. The extra time it takes to take the coast road is worth it! As you head north, watch out for the fleet of Dory boats that fish for salmon, dungeness crab, rock fish, and albacore tuna. Famous for their safety record, they are also the first responders to any distress signal on the coast. There all tons of spots to stop along the way to explore the awe that is the wild Oregon Coast. Keep your boots handy and take your time. Nature is worth it.
Where to Eat:
Check out Fishes Sushi on the main drag of Cannon Beach and the Jetty Fishery at Nehalem Bay to try some locally caught seafood.
Where to Drink:
Stop in Cannon Beach and check out Public Coast Brewing Company or the Cannon Beach Distillery. The motto 'born at the beach' couldn't be more true of the Pelican Pub in Pacific City – the brew pub sits on the beach, overlooking Oregon's largest Haystack Rock. When you make it to Astoria, make sure you stop at the mouth of the Columbia River. It is considered on of the roughest and most dangerous river mouths in the world; so much so, the US Navy and Coast Guard due manoeuvres in these waters in order to be ready for similar conditions anywhere in the world! When you are ready to leave Astoria, follow the signs to highway 30 and find your way back to Portland (~ 2 hrs / 100 miles).
Portland Day Trips - Tillamook to Newport
The roads south of Tillamook are windy and glorious, taking you through sand dunes and along the beach. Then, just as you are getting tired of ocean and sand, you pop into the woods for a bit of west coast rainforest like you have never seen before. Never a dull moment, you will love this drive!
Where to eat:
After the drive from Portland and a tour of a cheese factory, you may be hungry. Try Roseanna's Cafe in Oceanside for incredible local flavours right on the beach. The Cobbler is a must! Drive a little farther and you will end up in Neskowin, home of The Cafe on Hawk Creek. From the wood-fired pizza oven to their full array of burgers, you will remember this meal. Looking for more of a fine dining experience? Stop in at Restaurant Beck or Tidal Raves Seafood Grill in Depoe Bay.
Where to drink:
Ready for another break from the car? McMenamin's Lighthouse Brew Pub in Lincoln City offers local specialties with suds brewed on site. McMenamin's is an Oregon phenomenon that is worth exploring whenever you stumble upon one of their hotels, theatres, restaurants, cafes, brew pubs, and various developments. Bringing the past into relevancy, the McMenamin's developments take significant, unused historical buildings and give them new life.When you reach Newport, Oregon, head east on highway 20. Here, you are driving through wine country. Another must-see is McMinnville on highway 99W – it is definitely worth a stop before heading to Portland. Try Thistle for dinner, an award winning farm-to-fork restaurant in downtown McMinnville.
Heading north out of McMinnville on 99W brings you into Oregon wine country. There are over 500 world class wineries in the northwest corner of Oregon, the majority with tasting rooms waiting to serve you. Before hitting the big city, make a quick stop at Red Hills Market in Dundee, Oregon. A gourmet market with some outdoor seating, be prepared to pick up a picnic to take with you. Note: Want to make it a shorter day? Forty-one miles south of Tillamook, head east at Otis on highway 18 to McMinnville.