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13 Top-Rated Weekend Getaways in Oregon

Written by Brad Lane
Nov 17, 2020

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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.

Choose from ancient calderas with a view to some of the best sport climbing in the country. Other awesome places to visit include seaside scenic corridors, glacier-fed mountain meadows, and influential 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.

Note: Some businesses may be temporarily closed due to recent global health and safety issues.

1. Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park

Crater Lake National Park | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Oregon's only national park, Crater Lake, is one of the most unique and beautiful natural attractions in the state. Nearly six miles in diameter, this ancient caldera is the remnants and result of the Mount Mazama eruption over 7,000 years ago. Fed only by rainwater and snowmelt, the water of Crater Lake is a stunning deep blue and is one of the most pristine lakes in the world.

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 access crater views include a driving tour of Rim Drive, where plenty of parking areas provide views of the caldera. A trolley tour on Rim Drive is available throughout the summer.

By hiking to Cleetwood Cove within the caldera, visitors can also swim in the icy-cold waters of Crater Lake or catch a ferry to 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

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach

Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Nothing beats a weekend at the beach, and no view quite compares to the one found at Cannon Beach. Just a 90-minute drive from the City of Roses on the northern Oregon coast, this tourist beach is one of the more popular weekend getaways from Portland.

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 sun.

Cannon Beach has been attracting families and tourists for nearly 100 years. The downtown district caters 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.

3. Mount Hood

Mount Hood

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.

4. Portland

Sunset over Portland

Sunset over Portland

The epicenter of culture in Oregon, Portland 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 can be eclectic, welcoming, and always bustling with excitement.

A big appeal of Portland is its access to wild environments. Nearby natural attractions rival the many urban things to do in Portland, and the best hiking trails near the city explore awesome areas like Forest Park, Mount Tabor, and Powell Butte. 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: Where to Stay in Portland

5. Bend

Elk Lake near Bend

Elk Lake near Bend

On the eastern edge of the Cascade Range in central Oregon, Bend's high desert location boasts 300 days of sunshine annually. The city also offers backyard access to the Deschutes and Willamette National Forests, including Mount Bachelor and the Three Sisters Wilderness. And the Deschutes River meanders through the city providing floating and fishing opportunities. Thanks to these big landscapes and more, the great outdoors is the biggest attraction in Bend.

In-city adventures include hydrodynamic afternoons spent at the city's Whitewater Park. Also, 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.

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 best waterfalls and top-rated 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. A must-do for any visit, Pilot Butte State Scenic Viewpoint can be accessed by foot or vehicle and provides informational plaques and a great overlook of the city.

For added cultural appeal, Bend also provides a thriving downtown district filled with local eateries, coffee shops, and other purveyors of Pacific Northwest flavors.

6. Columbia River Gorge

View over the Columbia River and Columbia River Gorge from Crown Point
View over the Columbia River and Columbia River Gorge from Crown Point

The border between Oregon and Washington, the Columbia River Gorge presents stunning displays of natural attractions one after another. Home to many of the best waterfalls in Oregon, including the iconic 620-foot Multnomah Falls, the park also encompasses elevated hiking trails, historic highways, and is a kiteboarding and windsurfing mecca.

A common way to access the gorge is from Portland and heading east against the Columbia River current. Places like Eagle Creek along the way can take up the entire day, and a full weekend can be 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.

7. Astoria

Flavel House Museum in Astoria

Flavel House Museum in Astoria | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

On the far northwest corner of Oregon, Astoria provides a fun Pacific Northwest flavor all its own. Sightseeing steamboats push against the current of the bordering Columbia 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.

On the western side of the city, 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 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.

8. Eugene

City of Eugene

City of Eugene

Home to the University of Oregon and the Oregon Ducks, Eugene is a collegiate city 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 the Siuslaw National Forest, abutting the ocean to the west. To the east, the 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.

9. Hood River

Windsurfing near Hood River
Windsurfing near Hood River

On the Columbia River 60 miles west of Portland, Hood River is an adventurous city filled with good food, a friendly community, and endless recreation spread in every direction.

Although it's most noted for windsurfing and kiteboarding, other top attractions of Hood River include auto-touring the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway, hopping aboard the Mount Hood Railroad, and utilizing the wind, water, and hiking trails of the surrounding Columbia River Gorge.

Hood River also lends easy access to the nearby Mount Hood and historic areas like the Timberline Lodge. 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.

If you are in the mood for a camping getaway, Hood River has some excellent campgrounds, both along the river and tucked into wooded areas.

10. Central Oregon Coast

Highway 101 on the central Oregon coast

Highway 101 on the central Oregon coast | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

Also known as the heart of the Oregon coast, the section of Oregon's coastline stretching from Depoe Bay to Florence is filled with fantastic views, fun cities, and more than one weekend's worth of things to do.

Comprised of a steep sea cliff, the western border of Depoe Bay is a great place to spot the resident pod of grey whales that makes this charming town the official whale-watching capital of the Oregon coast. For a place to stay in Depoe Bay, the Whale Cove Inn offers all-day whale watching from a sprawling, private back porch.

Farther south, the city of Newport provides quick access to scenic attractions like the Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area. A rugged coastline is on display in Yachats, and an expansive landscape of waves and rock really stand out from the top of Cape Perpetua Scenic Area nearby. The Hallmark Resort in Newport lends access to both the beach and nearby city attractions.

In Florence, the Heceta Head Lighthouse is worthy of a hike and is bookended by one of the best beaches on the Oregon coast, the fantastical Hobbit Beach. To explore Heceta Head and the surrounding area, the Ocean Breeze Motel features great rates, a newly refurbished interior, and fast access to the ocean.

For a place to stay in Depoe Bay, the Whale Cove Inn offers all-day whale watching from a sprawling, private back porch. In Newport, the Hallmark Resort lends access to both the beach and nearby city attractions. To explore Heceta Head and the surrounding area, the Ocean Breeze Motel in Florence features great rates, a newly refurbished interior, and fast access to the ocean.

11. McKenzie River

The McKenzie River

The 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. Salem

Gilded Oregon Pioneer atop the State Capitol in Salem

Gilded Oregon Pioneer atop the State Capitol in Salem | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

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.

13. Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor

Secret Beach in Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor

Secret Beach in Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor | Photo Copyright: Brad Lane

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.

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imageWhere 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.

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