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Consider yourself lucky if you live in Portland or happen to be visiting because there is a wealth of fantastic weekend getaways that can be easily enjoyed from Oregon’s largest city. Here are our top picks for the best weekend getaways from Portland.
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The deepest lake in the U.S., Crater Lake is about a four-hour drive from Portland, but it’s well worth the trip, especially as an ideal getaway over a long weekend. There are few other lakes on the entire planet that can compare to the intensely blue color of the water, not to mention its sheer surrounding cliffs that tower to nearly 2,000-feet high. Crater is true to its name with a depth of nearly 2,000 feet, the result of a volcano collapsing into a giant caldera, or crater. Scuba divers can enjoy outstanding lake diving, with the unique experience of jumping right into a flooded volcano. Others can enjoy exploring lava formations, fish and underwater moss meadows in its crystal clear shallow waters too. Visitors can also hike around its rim or take the Wizard Island boat cruise around the island that sits at its center.
Astoria is one of Oregon’s most charming cities, and it’s only about a 90-minute drive from Portland. Rich in tradition and historical architecture, stroll the streets and gaze up at magnificent Victorians, and check out some of the most famous settings used in 1985’s cult classic, “The Goonies.” The residence used as Mikey’s house in the movie is still standing – its current owners even have a sign directing victors from the bottom of their drive. You can also visit the Flavel House Museum, which was where Mikey’s dad worked in the film, and the famous prison, now serving as the state’s film museum. Plus, as Astoria sits along the Columbia River, a host of water activities are available as well.
The Oregon coast is one of the most breathtaking on the planet, and Cannon Beach may be the most charming town along the entire coastline. Just under 80 miles southwest of Portland, you can enjoy browsing art galleries and gift shops as well as dining at upscale restaurants, some of which offer oceanfront views that include Haystack Rock, one of the most photographed objects in the state. Stay at Hallmark Resort & Spa, and you’ll be steps away from the rock and the beautiful beach where you can explore colorful tide pools filled with hermit crabs, starfish and all sorts of interesting creatures as well as nesting seabirds like tufted puffins. Rooms at this beachfront resort feature balconies where you can sip your morning coffee while gazing at the glistening Pacific, cozy up to a gas fireplace and soak in a two-person spa tub.
If the weekend escape you envision includes outdoor adventure, Hood River is a great spot to base yourself. You can join the locals who windsurf on the river, or if you’re up to the challenge, sign up for a beginner’s kiteboarding course with Kite The Gorge. When you’ve satisfied your need for adrenaline, you’ll appreciate the opportunity to sit down with a cold beer at Full Sail on the outdoor patio while enjoying river views. Afterward, the Columbia Gorge Hotel, “a grande dame of gorge hotels,” makes an ideal spot to overnight, overlooking the Gorge, a 208-foot-high waterfall and beautifully landscaped formal gardens. Guests can also enjoy massage and body treatments in the tranquil spa as well as rooms with elegant touches like canopy beds.
Located along the central coast, Newport is a fabulous beach town for families. Home to an extensive array of kid-friendly attractions like the Oregon Coast Aquarium and the Hatfield Marine Science Center, visitors can also watch sea lions and spend time on idyllic sandy beaches building sandcastles, flying kites and all the other usual beach-type activities. While you’re here, you won’t want to miss visiting Yaquina Head, the site of Oregon’s tallest and second oldest active lighthouse. The Best Western Agate Beach Inn is popular with families, thanks to reasonable rates, a great location next to Devil’s Punch Bowl State Park and close to Nye Beach. It also features a restaurant and an indoor pool.
The Willamette Valley, Oregon’s largest AVA, is home to some of the country’s best pinot noir and pinot gris wineries. If you’re a wine enthusiast, a weekend at Allison Inn & Spa, right in the heart of it, is sure to be fit the bill It seamlessly blends into its picturesque setting in subtle earth tones that match the surrounding gardens, vineyards and lush lawns. This region is home to over 200 wineries that are all within easy easy reach of the property, producing a number of different varietals. After a day of tasting, you can even enjoy grape-seed facial before a delicious dinner at the Inn’s JORY restaurant. Each of the guest rooms offer valley views from private balconies or terraces, gas fireplaces, original works of art and impressive furnishings.
Sisters is a great town to visit for those who want to get active among beautiful mountain scenery, offering easy access to skiing, whitewater rafting, mountain biking, hiking and backpacking. The Five Pine Lodge and Spa was designed for those who embrace an active lifestyle yet appreciate luxury. The use of cruiser bikes is available in the summer, and you’ll also be able to take advantage of the Shibui Spa’s range of wellness classes and workshops like meditation, journaling and detox retreats as well as massage, body wraps, facials and all types of other holistic treatments. Rooms boast gas fireplaces, European soaking tubs, down pillows, plush robes, and much more. The lodge hosts a complimentary reception where you can sip wine or craft beer as well.
Another great beach town that’s fun for the whole family, here you’ll not only have access to a gorgeous, nearly three-mile stretch of beach but attractions like the Seaside Aquarium, where you can feed the sea lions, as well as Funland Arcade, with bumper cars, pinball, video games, skee ball and numerous carnival-type amusements. Stay at the oceanfront Best Western Ocean View Resort, located right along the one-and-a-half-mile promenade that borders the beach, and you can enjoy a room with a view as well as an indoor heated pool and whirlpool spa.
Located in central Oregon, Bend may be the perfect choice for those that appreciate a good brew. It’s home to a number of outstanding breweries like Deschutes, named for the river that runs right through the city. Before you partake in its multiple frothy offerings, enjoy outdoor adventures in the nearby mountains like hiking or biking, or try your hand at standup paddleboarding, a great way to explore the area’s many lakes and rivers. This mountain town is also home to a number of excellent resorts like Sunriver Resort, which sits at the foot of the lush Cascades across 3,300 acres along the Deschutes. Guests can enjoy four magnificent golf courses graced with forested meadows and glistening waters, as well as horseback riding, rafting, a fitness center, day spa, an outdoor pool and multiple dining options.
Oregon’s tallest peak, Mount Hood, is just 69 miles from Portland and offers a ton to do all year-round. The five downhill ski areas and miles of cross-country trails keep the mountain slopes packed during the winter, and summer snowfall even brings visitors for off-season skiing as well. In the warmer months, enjoy hiking and even climbing to the summit. By staying at the historic Timberline Lodge, made famous after it was used for exterior shots in Stephen King’s “The Shining,” you’ll enjoy impressive views of the Southern Cascades as well as all of the fabulous lodge amenities, including the year-round heated outdoor pool, a sauna, hot tub and more.