Top 15 Best Road Trips from Portland, Oregon

Road trips offer an element of excitement with the idea of exploring states and attractions never seen before while embarking on new experiences. While the road may be long, there will be a variety of worthy pit stops along the way to see tourist attractions and enjoy the state’s best eats! Here are the top 15 best road trips from Portland…

1. Seattle, Washington – a very popular road trip to an awesome city destination

Beautiful Seattle Skyline

Why visit Seattle – Seattle is a hip, progressive city with great attractions and excellent restaurants, bars, nightlife and shops.

To get from Portland, Oregon to Seattle, Washington, all you have to do is travel along I-5 N. If you would rather travel the scenic route, it would be a little longer, but you can experience attractions along the way. Enjoy a meal at the Jam on Hawthorne Cafe in Portland, grab dessert at Tillamook Creamery in Tillamook, Oregon.

Once you reach Seattle, check out the Space Needle which is the high point of the skyline in Seattle, the Loupe Lounge for the best cocktails, and Pike Place Market for great things to buy. Embark on astounding hikes at places such as Rattlesnake Ledge and Twin Falls. 

Distance from Portland – 3 hour drive

2. Bend, Oregon – a road filled with stunning natural scenery

Lake in Bend Oregon

Why visit Bend – Bend is a beautiful destination perfect for outdoor lovers. You’ll find, craft breweries, hiking trails, coffee shops, creative restaurants and gorgeous scenery.

Using US-26 E and US-97 S, you can go from Portland, Oregon to Bend, Oregon in 163 miles. 

On the way, you can stop by the Portland Japanese Garden for a breathtaking view of Japan without having to go to the country. Enjoy authentic Japanese tea at the tea house in the garden. 

Have a picnic with a wonderful scenic viewpoint at Peter Skene Ogden State Park. View the beautiful water scenes at Trillium Lake and Tumalo Falls. 

Smith Rock State Park is the perfect stop for those who like hiking, mountain biking or rock climbing. 

Top off your road trip to Bend by viewing Pilot Butte, which is one of the four cities in America to have an extinct volcano. 

Distance from Portland – 3 hour 15 minute drive

3. Astoria, Oregon – a quaint historic town destination with plenty of great stops

Astoria Oregon - great day trips from Portland, Oregon

Why visit Astoria – it’s a quaint fishing village-meets-Victoriana and enjoys an idyllic spot near the Pacific surrounded by forests and rivers. Expect museums and great local brews.

It’s about a 100-mile trip to go from Portland, Oregon to Astoria, Oregon using I-5 N and US-30 W. 

Stop by the Mount St. Helen’s Volcanic Monument, which is inside a 110,000-acre park in Amboy, Washington. Snap pictures of the volcano as you and your family go volcano-watching. However, it may not erupt because its last active period was in the mid-1800s. 

Visit Pumpkin Ridge Zip Tour to experience the adrenaline rush of ziplining in between hiking in the area. 

Distance from Portland – 2 hour drive

4. Cannon Beach, Oregon – a famous road trip destination from Portland

Cannon Beach, Oregon, Summer

Why visit Cannon Beach – it’s a stunning beach surrounded by beautiful scenic coastline. There’s also a charming village which has been voted one of the top art towns in America.

Utilizing US-26 W and US-26 W, it’s about an 80-mile trip from Portland to Cannon Beach. 

Visit the family-friendly Wings and Waves Waterpark in McMinnville, Oregon for an adventurous water adventure any time of the year because it’s an indoor attraction. 

If you are an animal lover, consider visiting the Sloth Center Sanctuary along the way in Rainier, Oregon. Grab a bite at the Berry Patch Restaurant in Westport, Oregon. 

Once you reach Cannon Beach, stop by Ecola State Park and Arcadia Beach.

Distance from Portland – 1 hour 30 minute drive

5. John Day Fossil Beds – for incredible scenery

John Day Fossil Beds National Monument - Oregon

Why visit John Day Fossil Beds – the series of protected colorful rock formations will please both outdoor and science fans. They preserve plant and animal evolution, changing climate, and past ecosystems that span over 40 million years

The drive from Portland to John Day Fossil Beds is over 230 miles via I-84 E and OR-19 S. 

Clarno Unit, Sheep Rock, and Painted Hills are the top areas to visit at John Day Fossil Beds. Start your journey through Sheep Rock at the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center where you can learn about the local fossils found in the area. Take a hike through the Blue Basin Overlook Trail while you are there. 

At the Clarno Unit, you can enjoy four immersive trails including the Leaf Hill Trail, Overlook Trail, Painted Cove Trail, and the Carroll Rim Trail. The Red Hill Trail is the newest and has not even been marked on that many maps yet. 

Distance from Portland – 4 hour drive

6. Rockaway Beach – a great coastal road trip destination

Rockaway Beach - road trips from Portland

Why visit Rockaway Beach – the sandy beach is beautiful and are surrounded by mountains. Also has great accommodation, shops and restaurants.

The trip from Portland to Rockaway Beach is 87 miles using OR-6 W.

Indulge in the wildlife scenery at the Forest Park in Multnomah County. 

Stop by Roloff Farm for a personal tour and to learn where you can purchase Roloff Salsa to take home with you. The Roloff family has even been featured on TLC’s Little People, Big World. Getting to visit TV personalities during your road trip makes this one of the best road trips from Portland. 

Once you arrive at Rockaway Beach, explore Kelly’s Brighton Marina or go on a camping adventure at Nehalem Bay State Park. 

Distance from Portland – 1 hour 45 minute drive

7. Newport, Oregon – expect gorgeous scenery at the end of your journey

Newport boats Oregon

Why visit Newport in Oregon – it’s a quaint and pretty town with bobbing boats, a beautiful lighthouse seal watching, great restaurants and beautiful tide pools if you visit at a low tide.

The trip from Portland to Newport is 132 miles long utilizing I-5 S and Corvallis-Newport Hwy. 

Wishing Tree, Washington Park, Kids Toy Museum, and Enchant Forest are just some of the many attractions that you can visit along this trip route. 

Once you arrive at Newport, you can visit the breathtaking Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Hatfield Marine Science Center to see sea creatures from nearby and far. 

If you love art, you will enjoy the Newport Visual Arts Center which is nearby Nye Beach, and the Nye Beach Cafe for relaxation and delicious eats along the way. 

Distance from Portland – 2 hour 30 minute drive

8. Eugene – a great small city destination with great stops along the way

Eugene Oregon

Why visit Eugune – located in a scenic location on the Willamette River, it’s great for the arts and outdoors. Expect a mix of arts and culture, shopping and dining,

Driving from Portland to Eugene takes about 110 miles using I-5 N. 

Along the route, you can visit the Shelton McMurphey Johnson House which offers Victorian tours and stellar tea times. Also, consider visiting the Stark’s Vacuum Museum, South Waterfront Park, and Lownsdale Square. 

When you arrive at Eugene, visit the city’s biggest park which is Alton Barker Park, and enjoy the Whilamut Natural Area. Bask in the artistic culture of the Hult Center for Performing Arts and then enjoy a stroll at the Saturday Market to support local small businesses. 

Distance from Portland – 2 hour drive

9. Mount Hood – one of the most iconic road trips from Portland

Mount Hood - most beautiful places to visit in Oregon

Why visit Mount Hood – this is a famously beautiful and stunning spot known for its year-round skiing, the famous Timberline Lodge, and great mountain climbing routes.

From Portland to Mount Hood is a 69-mile trip via US-26 E. 

Along the way, visit attractions such as Under the Same Sky Street Art, The Faux Museum, and the Sandy Riverfront RV Resort, especially if you are traveling using an RV. 

Once you arrive in Mount Hood, you can enjoy Mount Hood Meadows which is a large ski resort if you love the sport. Travel along the Mount Hood scenic loop to indulge in the wonderful scenery and waterfalls near the Columbia Gorge. 

Distance from Portland – 1 hour 45 minute drive

10. Mount St. Helens – makes a great road trip for outdoor lovers

Mount St. Helens Oregon

Why visit Mount St Helens – the scenery is stunning and offers hiking trails, viewpoints, zip lining and educational resources for kids.

The trip from Portland to Mount St. Helens in Seattle, Washington is about 75 miles long. 

Mount St. Helen’s experienced one of the largest volcanic eruptions to date in North America back in May 1980. 

The Charles W. Bingham Learning Center is open from May to October and offers an interactive and immersive look into how the timber industry works. If you want a different look at Mount St. Helens, you can get a helicopter ride above the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center. 

Distance from Portland – 1 hour 40 minute drive

11. Mount Rainier National Park – perfect for a scenic one day road trip from Portland

Mount Rainier National Park - best places to visit in July

Why visit Mount Rainier National Park – this is a beautiful protected area and one of the earliest national parks in the USA. Expect amazing scenery, hundreds of hiking trails, scenic drives and Alpine Lakes.

Traveling from Portland to Mount Rainier National Park takes about 140 miles using I-5 N. 

The Freakybuttrue Peculiarium and Museum in Portland, the Horse Statue in Portland, and the Davis Graveyard in Milwaukie are just some of the many attractions that you can enjoy throughout your ride to Mount Rainier National Park. 

Once you arrive at the national park, you will love hiking the Pinnacle Peak Trail and Skyline Trail and hiking to the Tolmie Peak Lookout as well as seeing the wildflowers at their peak bloom if you decide to visit in the middle of August. 

Distance from Portland – 2 hour 30 minute drive

12. Wallowa Lake – a long road trip but worth the drive

Wallowa Lake Oregon

Why visit Wallowa Lake – this beautiful lake is one of The Seven Wonders of Oregon. You can hike, do water sports, white water rafting and relax on the lake’s beaches.

Driving to Wallowa Lake from Portland takes about 334 miles using I-5 N. 

Nez Perce National Historical Park, Oregon Maritime Museum, Paul Bunyan Statue, the USS Blueback Submarine, and the Crystal Springs Rhododendron Garden are some of the many attractions that you can include in your itinerary. 

With so many options for fun at Wallowa Lake, you will have a great time with your family. Enjoy water sports, hiking and whitewater rafting. 

Distance from Portland – 6 hour drive

13. Silverton – perfect for a short road trip from Portland

Silverton Oregon

Why visit Silverton – once a historic logging town the surrounding scenery here is beautiful. Also expect gardens, restaurants, antique boutiques, art galleries and shops.

Via I-5 S and OR-214 S, it is only a 41-mile drive to travel from Portland, Oregon to Silverton, Oregon. 

Along the way, stop at attractions such as Pettygrove Park, Chapman Square, and the Oregon Rail Heritage Center for an immersive experience of Oregon’s culture and history. 

Take a scenic drive through the Million Dollar Highway once you hit Silverton. Explore Silverton Mountain, Mayflower Gold Mill, Kendall Mountain and so much more on this route. 

Distance from Portland – 1 hour drive

14. Silver Falls State Park – a great self drive road trip option

Silver Falls Hike and Wine Tour - Oregon

Why visit Silver Falls State Park – it’s known as the “crown jewel” of the Oregon State Parks system and there are several miles of great hiking and biking trails.

Traveling from Portland to Silver Falls State Park only takes 54 miles utilizing I-5 N.

Visit the Keller Fountain Park, PSU Park, Portlandia, Shemanski Fountain, and other tourist attractions to make for an exciting itinerary. 

Once you arrive at Silver Falls State Park, you can enjoy swimming. They have a swimming area in the park, but you cannot swim in the actual waterfalls. After you’re done swimming, you can go on a tour and bask in the scenery of the 10 waterfalls throughout the park. 

Distance from Portland – 1 hour 15 minute drive

15. McMinnville & the Willamette Valley – a must do road trip from Portland

Best vineyards in Portland

McMinnville Oregon

Why visit McMinnville & the Willamette Valley – McMinnville is a is magical wine touring destination with a mix of tasting rooms, breweries, galleries, restaurants and boutiques.

Using Pacific Highway West, it’s only about 38 miles to get from Portland to McMinnville. 

Visit the Willamette Valley Tasting Room to bask in the delicacies in the local wines of the area. Maysara Wineries and Couer de Terre Vineyard are other great attractions to sample local wine. 

When you are not tasting wines, you can relax at McMinnville City Park and embark on an adventure at the Evergreen Aviation & Space Museum. 

Distance from Portland – 3 hour drive

 

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