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The 5 Best Oregon Weekend Getaways

Updated on July 19, 2014
relache profile image

Raye was born in New England, grew up in the Mid-Atlantic, spent college out West, and presently publishes Hubs from the Pacific Northwest.

My Five Best Oregon Weekend Travel Destinations

Situated on the West Coast of the USA, just above California and just below Washington, is the state of Oregon. This slice of the Pacific Northwest offers everything from gorgeous mountain terrain to expansive beaches, and just about everything in between. Having lived in both bracketing states, I've had the pleasure of exploring Oregon bit by bit and it's a wonderful place for a weekend (or longer) get-away. Without even having to leave your home in the Beaver State, Oregon offers so much to see and do. Within just a few simple hours of car travel (or train) you can easily give yourself a relaxing or exciting adventure.

My five best suggestions for great weekend getaways in Oregon are urban adventures in Portland, exploring the Columbia Gorge, getting off the beaten path in Sisters, enjoying the cultural delights of Ashland and camping at Silver Falls State Park. Each one of these destinations will provide beautiful scenery, good eating and plenty of options for relaxing, and each is suitable for couples looking to getaway or families who want a break from the usual routine.

Oregon Getaway Destinations

Portland, OR:
Portland, OR, USA

get directions

Columbia River Gorge Scenic Area:
Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area, Cascade Locks, OR 97014, USA

get directions

Sisters, OR:
Sisters, OR 97759, USA

get directions

Silver Falls State Park:
Silver Falls State Park, 20024 Silver Falls Highway Southeast, Sublimity, OR 97385, USA

get directions

Ashland, OR:
Ashland, OR 97520, USA

get directions

Keep Portland Weird

Portland, OR lit up at night
Portland, OR lit up at night | Source

Portland Sights and Bites

An urban location might not sound like a getaway to some, but Portland offers so many interesting sights and activities, it's a great spot to take an urban break from your usual routine. The city is a great environment for cyclists, and downtown there is a wonderful free zone of public transit that will let you roam and explore a lot.

Bookworms will want to make sure they save an entire day for going to Powell's Books. An amazing new and used bookstore, this place takes up nearly an entire city block. One way to make sure you don't break your budget here is to bring books to sell, and then don't buy any more than what you earned letting go of old books.

Dozens of tiny restaurants and bars dot the entire range of downtown. I've had great luck finding good places to eat just by wandering around a bit and reading menus. In summertime, be sure to indulge in the sidewalk seating when the opportunity presents itself.

One of the hottest new things in Portland is food cart pods. These are locations where you find small groups of some of the more than 500 food trucks cooking it up on a daily basis in the city. Not your dad's "roach coach," these trucks are all about making fresh food to order right on the spot. You can get local and sustainable, vegan or gluten-free and a bewildering selection of ethnic foods all in the same location. Bring your appetite!

Old Town offers historic buildings, a funky ghost tour and plenty of late-night bar and street entertainment. Saturdays you will find a combo farmers and artisans market near the river. There are both Chinese and Japanese gardens to explore. And if you like to ride a bike, try renting a bicycle if you didn't bring your own.

Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, our nation's second highest waterfalls
Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, our nation's second highest waterfalls | Source

The Columbia Gorge

Whether you just take a day's drive or make it an entire weekend, the Columbia Gorge is over-flowing with gorgeous scenery and lots of places for day hikes, biking, sightseeing and long lunches. If you want to avoid crowds, schedule your trip for during the week as summer weekends can be quite busy and congested. Or make sure to get deep into the woods to avoid the casual tourists.

Make sure to wear your favorite hiking boots, and pack along a good sun hat and a decent supply of drinking water. There are lots of trails and day hikes possible all through this region and it's enjoyable to walk spring through fall here.

Shown here is a shot of the lower falls section of the Multnomah Falls, the USA's second highest waterfalls. Water from Multnomah Creek goes over the edge of the upper falls before traveling down through a second and lower section, making a 620 foot drop by the time it's done.

Directional plaque atop the Dee Wright Observatory.
Directional plaque atop the Dee Wright Observatory. | Source

The Sisters Region

If you love mountains and remote little towns, a trip out to the Sisters region of Oregon makes for a great weekend. Some of the most scenic routes in the whole state pass through this area, and you've got a couple of options for how you can drive. If you have a long afternoon to spend driving the scenic route and spending a leisurely lunch break eating and shopping then a meander out to Sisters is definitely on order!

A very rare sight to see in this region is McKenzie Pass. Open only for a short time during the depths of the summer, this pass is frequently closed for most of the year due to extreme weather. Don't be surprised if temps at the pass are twenty to thirty degrees colder than the balmy 80s in the valley below. The Dee Wright Observatory is a stunning structure hewn entirely from lava rock from a flow at the top of the pass and allows for amazing 360-degree viewing of the various mountain ranges in the surrounding areas. This is usually only open in very late July and early August, check for current road conditions before planning any visits to this area.

Oregon Shakespeare Festival costume
Oregon Shakespeare Festival costume | Source


Located just over the southern Oregon border from California and not far from Interstate 5, Ashland is best known as the home of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival (running approximately from February to October) but that's just one of many great attractions in the area.

Being at the edge of the Rogue Valley and Applegate regions, Ashland is near many farms, wine-makers and artisan food producers. Guided tours are a great way to explore the region and indulge in delicious local eating all at the same time. You will also find a variety of local farmer's and crafts markets taking place right in town from spring (March) to fall (November).

Ashland is also a great base to use if you want to travel to nearby Crater Lake or the Oregon Caves National Monument. If you are tenting or car camping, there are a number of campgrounds in the area, and even a few with hot springs. In addition to camping, there are many B&Bs and VRBO apartments and houses. If you opt to stay right in Ashland proper you can even find a few hotels. Restaurants in town offer a wide range of eating options, and many places have selections for those who eat vegetarian or gluten-free.

Guide books for Ashland, OR

South Falls, Silver Falls State Park
South Falls, Silver Falls State Park | Source

Silver Falls State Park

A good compliment to all the surrounding destinations is the Silver Falls State Park. The anchor and jewel of the Oregon state park system, this parcel is located about an hour east of Salem. A series of trails for hikers, bikers, and equestrians threads throughout the entire park, suiting many an outdoor enthusiast. Day hikes can be planned from the many trails the part has to offer so it's easy to put together an outing for all ages and levels of outdoor ability.

For summer visits, reservations are necessary for both groups and individual campsites. Weekends are definitely more busy than midweek so campers who want more quiet and hikers who want less crowding on trails might wan to consider planning a mid-week getaway instead of a weekend one.

How Was Your Weekend In Oregon?

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    • samikan profile image


      6 years ago from online

      nice.....great work.

    • relache profile imageAUTHOR


      6 years ago from Seattle, WA

      I was just in Portland again this past weekend. The weather was stunning!

    • Amber Vyn profile image

      Amber Vyn 

      6 years ago

      Thanks for this article. I have 8 family members planning to move to the Portland area, so this gives me some ideas for fun things to do when I visit. Voted 'up' and 'interesting'.

    • carol7777 profile image

      carol stanley 

      6 years ago from Arizona

      We lived in Newport part time for five years...and hit many of the suggested places. Newport is pretty special also...I loved the falls and of course Portland. thanks for sharing all these great places to go..

    • PDXKaraokeGuy profile image

      Justin W Price 

      6 years ago from Juneau, Alaska

      I live in Portland, so I have no complaints at all with this hub nor with any of the suggestions, though I've never been in Ashland for longer then just a fill up. Maybe I'll stop in next time. Thanks for sharing about this awesome state!

      Side note, on the east coast, no one knows where Portland is until you say it's above California and/or near Seattle.

    • CZCZCZ profile image


      7 years ago from Oregon

      Great hub. Oregon is a great place to live and I have enjoyed all but Silver Falls State Park and will put it on my list of places to go and enjoy. Oregon has so many great activities and locations to enjoy.

    • Jennifer Essary profile image

      Jennifer Essary 

      7 years ago from Idaho

      Living in Idaho I've been to Portland briefly. Most of my time was spent in Cannon Beach. I absolutely loved it. We will have to check out The Columbia Gorge; it looks amazing. Thank you for sharing.

    • brandonhart100 profile image


      7 years ago from Inside Your Computer

      Wow I love the Silver Falls picture. I've never been to Oregon but I might just have to schedule a weekend getaway. My wife and I enjoy hiking and trailing - especially when there's something exciting to see.

    • carol3san profile image

      Carolyn Sands 

      7 years ago from Hollywood Florida

      Thanks for sharing the good info about Oregon. I feel as if I was in a great history class because now I know so much more about your state.

    • GmaGoldie profile image

      Kelly Kline Burnett 

      7 years ago from Madison, Wisconsin


      I have family out in Portland and yet to visit - now I am anxious to travel there - the book store sounds delightful! Great tips for travel - thank you very much!

    • shannytwain profile image


      7 years ago from Helena, Montana, USA

      Sure to follow your upcoming to bookmark

    • injurycase profile image


      7 years ago from North Pearl Street, Albany, New York

      nice place to visit. This is really a good tourist spot. thank you so much for featuring these places in your hub. I will watch out for your next hub.

    • Eiddwen profile image


      7 years ago from Wales

      One to bookmark for my' Armchair Travelling'slot.

      thanks for sharing.

      Take care


    • Hello, hello, profile image

      Hello, hello, 

      7 years ago from London, UK

      Thank you for howing these beautiful corners of the country. rated up

    • dallas93444 profile image

      Dallas W Thompson 

      7 years ago from Bakersfield, CA

      Great article! Ashland is a favorite field trip for high school students. Great pictures. thanks for sharing. Flag up and useful!

    • VENZKHVAM profile image


      7 years ago from Milk way galaxy, trying to find a more adventurous place in another galaxy with my great followers

      Dear Relache,

      Multnomah Falls, Columbia River Gorge, second highest waterfalls is really tempting. As my house is near a water falls i know the thrill of waterfalls.It is always exhilarating to have a nice bath in waterfalls at special places daily night when no one is around with only lights and the silent flowing of water falls.

      Even the silver falls is also thrilling to see.

      Ash land is new to me.

      Thanks for tall this new information into the knowledge HUB of the hubbers.

      I had voted up and beautiful.

      I am following you with pleasure.

      I invite you to visit my hubs and eager to know what you are going to comment on my three hubs available.


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