Take Your Car For A Ride: 6 Great Day Trips From Portland

The beach, the mountains, the waterfalls, the breweries -- who says you can’t have it all?

Pacific Northwest residents know how fortunate we are to have access to so many amazing places and activities. During the summer we share our glorious part of the country with tourists, many of whom are discovering the wonders of the region for the first time. Long-time locals and first-time visitors venture out together and explore all the parks, fests, concerts, sports, and outdoor activities that make summer in Portland spectacular.

Plan, Schman. Get In Your Car And Drive.

What makes Portland so ideally situated is the sheer number of things we can do within a day’s drive. Summer is the perfect time to throw the cooler in the car, pop in your favorite tunes, and head out for a day trip. So, whether you’re here for a visit and want to pack in as much as possible, or you just want to fill your time off with one-day adventures, here are six great ways to spend quality time with your car:

  1. Oregon Coast
  2. Wine tasting
  3. Mt. Hood
  4. Columbia River Gorge
  5. Mount St. Helens
  6. Silver Falls State Park
  1. Oregon Coast

The entire coast of the Western United States is beautiful. Lucky for us, the Oregon Coast alone is filled with plenty of destinations worth visiting. The sea air, walks on the beach, the wildlife, the cheese, all within an hour and a half of Portland.

For a one-day adventure, head due west and try the Tillamook/Oceanside Combo.

When you get to Tillamook, stop off for a free tour and try-before-you-buy samples at the Tillamook Creamery and the nearby Blue Heron French Cheese Company. Once you’re stocked up on snacks head to Oceanside for a leisurely stroll on the beach. On your way there or back, try to make time to stop off at and explore the Tillamook Forest.

Cannon Beach is a wonderful place to spend a day if you don’t mind a longer drive -- a little over two hours. Other fantastic spots near Cannon Beach include Manzanita, Nehalem Bay State Park, and Oswald West State Park.

2. Wine Tasting

How many wineries do you think are in Oregon? 50? 200? You may be surprised to learn there are over 700 wineries in Oregon! No, you can’t see them all in a day, but you can certainly map out a lovely one-day wine tasting adventure (or several). When you tour vineyards, you get to learn what makes Oregon wine unique, how they’re made, and perhaps discover a new favorite! Please drink responsibly.

Here are some resources to help you get started:

Want to check out a fun summer event that combines your love of wine with your love of dogs? The Oregon Humane Society figured out how to do that with an annual event they call Canines Uncorked. (Last year one winery even had doggie sno-cones!)

Schedule A Service Appointment and be prepared for summer spontaneity

3. Mount Hood

A day trip to Mt. Hood is perfect year round. Why? Views, variety, history, lakes, it’s all there. In the summer you and your car can enjoy a scenic drive up to Timberline Lodge, or double down and add any combination of the many activities the area offers, such as hiking, dining, kayaking, shopping, heritage, arts, and festivals.

If you prefer to plan it out, browse the Mt. Hood Territories website and create your ideal day-long adventure.

4. Columbia River Gorge

Designated a National Scenic Area (the largest in the US), the Gorge is one of those places you can explore endlessly and always discover new things. Watersports, wildflowers, waterfalls, wine -- you really can’t go wrong planning a day trip to the Gorge. TIP: It’s a popular destination. Try to avoid peak times or days. Get an early morning start to beat the biggest crowds.

The Forest Service offers a helpful list of day-hikes available in the Columbia River Gorge area.

Get Your Air Conditioning Serviced and keep your cool

5. Mount St. Helens

Located only 70 miles from Portland, there are an impressive number of things you can do when you visit the Mount St. Helens National Monument in SW Washington, so plan accordingly. Stop in at the Forest Learning Center to learn about the area, be sure to make time to hike at the Johnston Ridge Observatory and snap some incredible photos, and if you like caves, you won’t want to miss the Ape Cave Lava Tube.

6. Silver Falls State Park

Silver Falls State Park is a unique natural treasure, providing breathtaking views and the chance to walk behind a curtain of falling water. Since the park is only 25 miles from Portland, you can opt to explore one of the shorter trails or take on the Trail of Ten Falls, a moderate 7.2-mile loop. There’s even a swimming area where you can cool off and relax before heading home.

Sherwood Auto Repair wants you to enjoy all that summer has to offer. Bring your car in for service today.

Start your engines.

Let the adventures begin.