15 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in Oregon
We may earn a commission from affiliate links ()
Oregon is stacked with amazing weekend getaways. From romantic retreats to family destinations and outdoor adventures, the many landscapes across the state offer a wide variety of weekend activities.
A few suggested weekend itineraries include ancient calderas, locally owned restaurants, and any number of the top things to do on the Oregon coast. Other awesome places to visit include glacier-fed mountain meadows, historic downtown districts, and influential Oregon cities that help define the Pacific Northwest's culture.
While a weekend works, some places, like Cannon Beach and the Columbia River Gorge, deserve much more time. Other attractions like the McKenzie River offer multiple outlets of excitement, including hot springs and hiking trails. Plan your next adventure with our list of the best weekend getaways in Oregon.
1. Crater Lake National Park
Crater Lake is the state's only national park, and it's one of the most unique and beautiful natural attractions in Oregon. This ancient caldera is nearly six miles in diameter and is the remnants of Mount Mazama erupting over 7,000 years ago.
Crater Lake is the deepest natural lake in the country, fed only by rainwater and snowmelt, resulting in a stunning aquamarine color and one of the prettiest landscapes in the country.
The view from the Crater Lake rim is breathtakingly beautiful. The Discovery Point trail here earns the status as one of the best hiking trails in Oregon with constant caldera views. Other ways to tour the crater's edge include driving along Rim Drive, where plenty of parking areas provide panoramic views. A trolley tour on Rim Drive is available throughout the summer.
Visitors can also swim in the icy-cold waters of Crater Lake by hiking to Cleetwood Cove on the north rim. Cleetwood is also home to a boat dock where ferries depart to explore the sole island in Crater Lake — Wizard Island.
The night sky is remarkable at Crater Lake, revealing the Milky Way and other celestial wonders. Campgrounds are available at the park, and many people make nearby cities like Medford or Klamath Falls a home base for the national park.
Getting to Crater Lake National Park from Portland takes about four or five hours by car, depending on the route. You can also catch a bus or take the train from Portland to Klamath Falls and then hop on a shuttle up to Crater Lake.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Klamath Falls.
2. Cannon Beach
Nothing beats a weekend at the beach, and no view quite compares to the one found at Cannon Beach. This popular tourist town has been attracting families and tourists for nearly 100 years. It's also one of the more popular weekend getaways from Portland, located just a 90-minute drive from the City of Roses on the northern Oregon coast.
The beach at Cannon Beach is wide, inviting, and filled with scenic appeal. The most standout feature is the impressive Haystack Rock situated just offshore. This giant sea stack is home to several nesting birds and abundant tide pools during extremely low tide. Common activities on the expansive beach include tide pool viewing, kite flying, and simply laying a towel down to enjoy the view.
The downtown district of Cannon Beach is nothing short of charming. The streets cater to family vacations with arcade parlors, ice-cream purveyors, and a large collection of affordable restaurants.
Cannon Beach also provides many places to spend the night, with hotels like the Stephanie Inn setting a high bar for comfort, class, and ultimate vacation enjoyment.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Cannon Beach
Portland is the epicenter of culture in Oregon and has a way of turning a weekend visit into a long-term relocation. Aside from internationally renowned attractions like the Japanese Rose Garden, Powell's City of Books, and the Portland Art Museum, the community of Portland is eclectic, welcoming, and always bustling with excitement.
With a surplus of things to do in Portland, it helps to have a plan when visiting. The city is divided between several districts and neighborhoods, each offering its own collection of shops, restaurants, and entertainment. Popular spots to stay on a weekend visit include places like the Alphabet District west of downtown or the Hawthorne neighborhood on the east side of town.
Another big appeal of Portland is its access to wild environments. Some of the best hiking trails near the city explore awesome areas like Forest Park, Mount Tabor, and Washington Park. Within an hour's drive of Portland, other scenic areas like the Columbia River Gorge and Mount Hood entice other big adventures from the city.
Public transportation in Portland is easy to navigate, making a car-free weekend a recommended approach for any visit. The city's TriMet service offers bus, light rail, and commuter rail transportation.
Accommodation: Top-Rated Places to Stay in Portland, Oregon
4. Mount Hood
Mount Hood, the tallest mountain in Oregon, is situated in the north-central part of the state, 50 miles east of Portland. In combination with the surrounding Mount Hood National Forest, this mountainous area is a hot spot for recreation throughout the year.
Hiking, backpacking, mountain biking, and horse riding are prevalent in the summer. The country-spanning Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) meanders throughout the forest on its route between Canada and Mexico. A few other popular trails in the forest lead to picturesque natural features like Trillium Lake and Ramona Falls.
Come winter, the mountain is home to five ski resorts, including the notable Skibowl and Meadows resorts. The historic Timberline Lodge serves as an iconic ski-in, ski-out destination in the winter and a great place to cozy up to a roaring fire. Other snow activities surrounding Mount Hood include snowshoeing and cross-country skiing.
Bend is a city for active travelers on the eastern edge of the Cascade Range in central Oregon. Its high-desert location boasts 300 days of sunshine each year and its access to wild environments is unbeatable. Thanks to these big landscapes and friendly forecasts, the great outdoors is the biggest attraction in Bend.
The Deschutes River meanders through the city, providing floating and fishing opportunities, and Deschutes and Willamette National Forest are at the city's backdoor, including iconic landscapes like Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters Wilderness. Oregon's rock-climbing mecca, Smith Rock State Park, is also less than 30 miles north.
Few other places are primed for weekend getaways like Bend. When the seasons line up right, it's possible to ski at Mount Bachelor and rock climb at the nearby Smith Rock State Park on the same holiday weekend. Bend is also within close driving distance to some of Oregon's top hot springs.
Two of the best hiking trails near Bend include the Big Obsidian Flow Trail within the Newberry National Volcanic Monument and the Green Lakes Trail off the Cascade National Scenic Byway. Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint is also a must-do for any visit, with informational plaques and a great overlook of the city.
In-city adventures include hydrodynamic afternoons spent at the city's Whitewater Park. Bend also provides a thriving downtown district filled with local eateries, coffee shops, and other purveyors of Pacific Northwest flavors. And don't pass up a chance to visit the High Desert Museum and the Old Mill District, where remnants of the city's lumber days add to the current cultural vibe.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Bend
6. Columbia River Gorge
The Columbia River Gorge is the scenic border between Oregon and Washington. It presents stunning displays of natural attractions one after another, including many of the best waterfalls in Oregon. Of note is Multnomah Falls, plunging 620 feet between two tiers. Other popular recreation outlets in the Gorge include elevated hiking trails and historic highways.
Portland is a common gateway to the Gorge, where visitors head east against the Columbia River current. Places like Eagle Creek along the way can take up the entire day, and full weekends are spent touring the various trailheads and parking spots that line Interstate 84 and the Historic Columbia River Highway.
A few communities to check out in the gorge include Hood River and The Dalles. These charming riverfront cities provide several local shops and eateries and cozy places to stay. For awesome views and luxury accommodation, check out the Columbia Cliff Villas Hotel in Hood River.
Astoria provides a fun Pacific Northwest flavor in far northwest Oregon. This charming seaport town borders the Columbia River and its entrance into the Pacific Ocean. Sightseeing steamboats push against the current of the river, and evidence of the city's logging and fishing history remains in the well-aged architecture seen from the streets.
Perhaps perpetuated by the iconic 80s movie, The Goonies, set in Astoria and detailed at the Oregon Film Museum near the downtown district, the entire city exudes a feeling of childhood adventure and secret treasures, enhanced by the colorful architecture that adorns the hilly neighborhoods overlooking the ocean.
Wandering around Astoria is half the fun of any visit, and the Astoria Riverwalk is the first place to stroll. Here, the town's history stands out under the sight of the impressive Astoria-Megler Bridge. This is also the spot to access the rest of the downtown district filled with local shops and restaurants.
West of the city, on the other side of Young's Bay, the 3,700-acre Fort Stevens State Park lends access to actual shipwrecks and the ocean. The state park also features one of the best campgrounds on the Oregon coast and one of the largest, with over 400 campsites available.
Plenty of weekend events occur in Astoria throughout the summer, though this charming small town warrants a visit at any time of the year. A notable hotel in downtown Astoria, the Cannery Pier Hotel provides a great vantage point over the water and easy access to the cultural district.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Astoria
Eugene is a collegiate city in the Willamette Valley. It's home to the University of Oregon and packed with many cultural things to do.
Outside of academic offerings, a few other reasons to spend the weekend in Eugene include an abundance of city parks, gardens, and arboretums. The city is also renowned for a Saturday market, which brings the community together throughout the warm-weather season.
Some of Oregon's most iconic national forests border Eugene, like Siuslaw National Forest, abutting the ocean to the west. To the east, Willamette and Deschutes National Forests help define the state's central mountainous region. Outdoor adventures like hiking and skiing are easily accessible from Eugene and help define the city's active outdoor community.
For a hotel close to campus and other top attractions of the city, the Inn at the 5th provides upscale accommodations and on-site dining.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Eugene
9. Hood River
Hood River is on the Columbia River in northern Oregon, 60 miles west of Portland. It's an adventurous city filled with good food, a friendly community, and endless recreation spread in every direction.
Some of the top things to do in Hood River include touring the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway and hopping aboard the Mount Hood Railroad.
Hood River is also a notable windsurfing destination. The high gusts coming off the Columbia River make the city a mecca for windsurfers from across the world. And the rest of the Columbia River Gorge extending from Hood River receives similar notoriety, thanks to its dense collection of hiking trails, waterfalls, and stunning viewpoints.
Hood River also lends easy access to the nearby Mount Hood and historic areas like the Timberline Lodge. And if in the mood for a camping getaway, Hood River has some excellent campgrounds, both along the river and tucked into wooded areas.
Within the city, Hood River provides cultural entertainment including local restaurants and a historic downtown shopping area. The Best Western Plus Hood River Inn is a well-reputed hotel in Hood River thanks to rooms and suites with views of the river, as well as an onsite restaurant and scenic outdoor pool and hot tub area.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Hood River
Newport is a top destination along the Oregon Coast. It's home to world-renowned attractions like the Oregon Coast Aquarium and worldly views at places like Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. It's also a great jumping-off point for exploring Oregon's Central Coast, filled with a fun ebb and flow of sightseeing attractions.
Newport is also an excellent destination to enjoy the beach. Several beaches near Newport attract attention, but perhaps none more so than Nye Beach within the city limits. This beautiful stretch of sand is wide and accommodating and great for all types of beach activities. It's also connected to a charming and historic retail and shopping district that's easy to spend a weekend enjoying.
The Hallmark Resort in Newport lends access to both the beach and nearby city attractions.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Newport
11. McKenzie River
Surrounded by scenic attractions, the McKenzie River of central Oregon offers all sorts of recreation. This river corridor is home to wild blue pools, enormous waterfalls, and some of Oregon's best hot springs.
The McKenzie River also parallels the 26.4-mile McKenzie River National Recreation Trail. The river is popular for boaters, and on nearly any warm day of the year, you can expect to find rafts, kayaks, and the occasional tube making its way down the river.
With many ways to access the natural wonders of this stunning waterway, one of the best weekend trips involves multiple nights at the aptly named Paradise Campground, operated by the National Forest Service.
For a roof over your head and easy access to a shower, the nearby cities of Bend and Salem are the largest cities with the easiest access. One of the premier hotels in Bend, the Riverhouse on the Deschutes provides a vacation experience in itself.
12. Depoe Bay
Depoe Bay is a whale-spotting town on the central Oregon coast, perhaps better known as the "Whale Watching Capital of the Oregon Coast". The town's western edge comprises a steep sea cliff, offering an excellent vantage point for spotting migrating whales or the town's resident pod of grey whales.
And there's a lot more to do outside of spotting massive mammals. Depoe Bay's downtown district offers charming beach vacation vibes, with saltwater taffy confections and locally sourced seafood on the menus.
Other top attractions of Depoe Bay include picnicking at Fogarty Creek or chartering a ride out on the World's Smallest Harbor.
For a place to stay in Depoe Bay, the Whale Cove Inn offers all-day whale watching from a sprawling, private back porch.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Depoe Bay
The State Capitol building is a great first stop when visiting Salem, including the manicured State Capitol State Park complete with statues, memorials, and interpretive information. The gilded Oregon Pioneer atop the State Capitol overlooks the many other fun things to do in this thriving city of over 160,000 residents, including the inviting landscape of Riverside State Park.
The capitol building is open to the public and adorned with stately paintings and architecture. Guided tours are available, and many opt for a self-guided experience. Other family-friendly places to check out nearby include the Hallie Ford Museum of Art, the Gilbert House Children's Museum, and the Enchanted Forest - a fairytale-infused theme park on the south side of the city.
For the ultimate weekend getaway, The Grand Hotel in Salem is connected to the Convention Center, with luxurious rooms and suites available, as well as a decadent in-house restaurant that can add to any romantic weekend getaway.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Salem
14. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor
The southern portion of the Oregon coastline offers a scenic and rugged postcard-worthy landscape. Sea stacks of all shapes and sizes, secret beaches only accessible at low tide, and up-and-down hiking trails that will test your legs offer plenty of adventure.
The best frame for the southern Oregon coast can be found within the Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor, a 12-mile linear state park connecting the coast to Highway 101. Options and parking areas abound for quick and prolonged stops, and the Oregon Coast Trail connects every scenic mile along the way.
A few of the many roadside stops and viewpoints to check out include Arch Rock, Natural Bridge, and the crescent beach presented at the Lone Ranch Picnic Area. Whales are often spotted from places like Cape Ferrelo during the spring and summer, and seabirds and other wildlife are common sights throughout the year.
One of the best campgrounds on the Oregon coast, Harris Beach State Park lends immediate access to Samuel H. Boardman from the south, and the Best Western Beachfront Inn in Brookings provides oceanside rooms less than five miles from the scenic corridor.
Joseph is a mountain town in northeast Oregon with a long-standing history. The Wallowa Mountains give the town its upright and dazzling scenery, and the Nez Perce Tribe adds to the long legacy. The town itself is named after Chief Joseph of the Nez Perce People and is home to his burial site, now today part of Nez Perce National Historical Park.
Alongside the cultural legacy, the outdoors are a big attraction of Joseph. The shimmering Wallowa Lake sits just south of the city, backdropped by impressive mountain peaks. Wallowa Lake State Park is on the southern end of the water, offering a popular campground.
Nearby, the Wallowa Lake Tramway takes visitors all the way to the top of Mount Howard with no hiking involved.
For indoor accommodations near Wallowa Lake, consider a rustic-yet-modern accommodation like Eagle Cap Chalets. This charming property has cabins, condos, and hotel rooms to choose from, all with fast access to the surrounding stunning environment.
Accommodation: Where to Stay in Joseph
More Related Articles on PlanetWare.com
Where to Stay on a Weekend Getaway in Oregon: If your short break is all about rest and relaxation rather than adventure, your destination may come down to finding a beautiful resort in Oregon, where you can park yourself for a couple of days. You can find some of the best ones along the Oregon Coast. Spend your weekend looking out over the ocean and enjoying the sunsets, and maybe add on some time at the spa and enjoy some good meals.