Portland. Think about Oregon’s largest city, and you may picture its scenic parks and bridges, its bountiful breweries and coffeeshops, or its eclectic, creative culture. It’s a place that offers an incredible quality of life and no shortage of ways to enjoy it. But one of the very best things about Portland… is how easy it is to get out of it. Within a few hours of the City of Roses lie just about every type of escape you could ask for. Looking for a mini vacation? Here are five weekend getaways from Portland.
Where can you find a working fishing port, craft beer culture, and a thriving art scene all rolled into one? Two hours from Portland in the gritty seaside town of Astoria. This colorful village sits in the northwest corner of Oregon, just before the Columbia River meets the Pacific Ocean. Most popularly known as the place where Goonies was filmed, it also happens to have been the first US settlement on the west coast. From bootleggers and dockworkers to artisans and hipsters, Astoria has evolved while still retaining authentic historical charm.
This waterfront community in the Columbia River Gorge is an outdoor enthusiast’s playground. Just over an hour from Portland and blessed with mild temperatures for most of the year, Hood River is a great escape from the city. Popularized as a windsurfing destination in the ’80s, it also hosts kayakers and paddle boarders, bikers and hikers, and three microbreweries to boot. The scenic drive there features some of the state’s most iconic scenery, like Multnomah Falls and Oneonta Gorge. And it’s also the perfect place to base yourself to experience the “Fruit Loop”: a 35-mile drive connecting of the region’s best wineries, orchards, galleries, and farms open to the public.
It’s ski season, and Mt. Hood has already got its share of fresh powder. Government Camp, just an hour and a half from Portland and five miles from the slopes, offers everything you need in a tiny mountain town—cozy lodges, warm fireplaces, and cold beer. And if you’ve ever seen The Shining, you will probably recognize nearby Timberline Lodge as one of the filming locations. Even if you don’t stay there, make sure to stop by for a spiked peppermint hot cocoa in their historic bar with killer views of the mountain.
Everyone knows that Oregon produces some of the best pinot noir in the world. And with more than 500 wineries to choose from, there is no better place to sample them than in the Willamette Valley. This lush, fertile farmland is perched a mere hour from Portland, yet lacks the crowds you may expect. Home to all kinds of agriculture, the area maintains an authentic rural vibe that you won’t find in Napa. Rather, you’ll find intimate tasting rooms, passionate vintners, and incredible, small production wines.
When was the last time you floated through an entire town on a lazy river, stopping only to shop in a converted lumber mill or sample the state’s finest craft brews? Sound too good to be true? Well it’s not, and it’s one of the many things that make Bend well worth the three-hour trek from Portland. Situated at the eastern end of the Cascade Mountain range along the Deschutes River, this idyllic town boasts an arid climate and more outdoor activities than you can shake a paddle at. It also has more breweries per capita than any other city in Oregon, and is consistently ranked one of the best places to live in the country. Just be careful, cause once you visit you won’t ever want to leave.
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