There are so many fantastic weekend trips in the Portland area. I’ve picked out a few that are 2 hours away or less, so you’ll have no problem working one of these fun adventures into your schedule.
Astoria is easily one of our most charming towns, in part because of the stunning historical architecture throughout. Some of its most famous settings were used in filming the classic movie “The Goonies.” Several movie-related activities are available, including the Oregon Film Museum. There are also some fun historical mansion tours in town, including the George Flavel House Museum, which is a Queen-Anne-style home that’s been meticulously preserved.
And since Astoria sits on the water (it’s bordered by both the Columbia River and the Pacific Ocean), a plethora of water activities are available here. Take a scenic river walk along the waterfront (it’s about three miles worth of land). There are restaurants, museums, and other waterfront attractions. You may also want to check out the Maritime Museum and the Uppertown Firefighters Museum. I also recommend the Lewis and Clark National Historic Park if you’re interested in learning more about their expedition to the Pacific Northwest.
As for a place to stay, check out the Hotel Elliot. This renovated, historic hotel really embodies the adventurous spirit of the town.
Check out the beautiful, rugged Oregon coast at Cannon Beach. It’s the best possible combination of forested headlands, sandy beaches, and impressive views in an artistic, family-friendly community.
The famed Haystack Rock is one of the most photographed spots in the state. This 235-foot sea stack exposes vast tide pools you can explore during the spring tide. You’ll find hermit crabs, starfish, and other sea creatures to look at. If you’re interested in a tour, consider this 9-hour Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock day trip. It picks you up downtown before taking you to the stunning Neahkahnie Point, Manzanita, and then to the waves of Cannon Beach.
If you’d rather stay in town, there are plenty of art galleries, upscale restaurants, and gift shots to explore for as long as you’d like to do so.
The Willamette Valley is home to some of the best pinot noir in the United States. If you’re a wine enthusiast, consider a weekend at luxurious Allison Inn and Spa resort, right in the heart of the Willamette Valley. It’s a picturesque, relaxing setting and there are over two hundred wineries within very easy distance of the property, so you can try all the varieties of wine you want to during your weekend getaway.
And I also hear that the Jory Restaurant & Bar at the inn is phenomenal with its local, organic food. Try the seafood stew or the lamb loin if you’re not sure which delicious option to choose. The best part about Jory is the extensive wine list you can choose from.
Seaside is another fun beach town, and it’s perfect for the entire family. You’ll want to spend time along the three-mile stretch of wide, welcoming beach. There’s plenty of room for building sandcastles or playing a game of beach volleyball. The century-old promenade that separates the city from the beach is also worth exploring.
But there are also plenty of other attractions in Seaside that you won’t want to miss. If you’d like to hike, the Seaside Streetcar offers free shuttle rides to the Tillamook Head hiking trail (which backdrops to the south side of the beach).
If you need some time indoors, try the Seaside Aquarium (feed the sea lions!) or the Funland Arcade, which has pinball, skee ball, video games, bumper cars, and other carnival amusements for the entire family.
Gearhart is a quiet little town just three miles to the north of Seaside. This is the perfect place to go if you don’t want to feel like you’re a tourist because nothing about Gearhart feels like a tourist trap. That fact alone makes this tiny Oregon beach town a pretty appealing place. It’s long been a second home of wealthy Portlanders, and it’s quiet and genteel.
Enjoy the calm four-mile beach with stunning views. There are benches along all the walking paths where you can sit and enjoy the view for as many hours as you’d like.
You’ll also want to go to the Necanicum River estuary and spot shore birds. If you keep heading over the western dunes, you may even spot some pelicans on the shallow sandbar off the shore. You can also play golf at Gearhart Golf Links if you need some more time relaxing in the great outdoors.
Here’s another wine escape for you, and it’s just 45 minutes from Portland. The best part is that you’ll feel like you’re in an entirely different world from the city. The delightful Brookside Inn sits on 21 acres, but even better, it’s a bed and breakfast. This is casual luxury at its best. The complimentary breakfast, filled with the best fresh, local ingredients, is something you can’t miss!
Carlton has the most wine tasting rooms per capita in the entire United States (it has 22 to choose from).
After you’ve explored all of the wineries, check out the shopping and fine dining in the town. Then, after dinner, walk around the gardens, waterfalls, and meadows. There are trails everywhere, and you never know what you’ll find as you’re out exploring!
Browsnville is famous because the movie Stand by Me was filmed there, and you’ll likely recognize some of the spots from the film as you explore this historic pioneer community.
Visit the Moyer House for a tour and some local history. The Linn County Historical museum is another good option if you’re interested in learning more about the area. You can also stroll the downtown’s eclectic shops (don’t miss the Yankee Dutch Quilting and Living Rock Studios for something unique to take home). The Living Rock Museum houses local agates, crystal, and quartz and is worth checking out.