7 Summer Day Trip Adventures from Portland

Wow, it has been almost two months since my last post! That is the longest break I have taken from blogging since I started in December 2014. I have been extremely busy renovating and moving into our first home. It's a challenging and fun project and I will be doing some posts on it soon. Today, though, I am taking a break from house business to have an iced tea at my favorite Canby coffee house and enjoying their wifi.

Summer is the perfect time for day trips- days are longer, schedules are more open, and the weather is great for exploring. I love a day trip to just get away and explore, eat some good food, and see something new- whether I'm in the mood to hike or lounge somewhere fabulous. I'm sharing 7 of my favorite day trip adventures from the Portland area.

1. Drift Creek Falls Hike
Earlier this week I took a day trip to Drift Creek Falls with a friend. The hike is north of Lincoln city, it's a pretty easy hike with excellent payoff- a huge suspension bridge and a beautiful waterfall. You go down a long gravel road to get there, and there's pit toilets at the trail head, so be prepared for those two factors. After the hike we decided to take the gravel road the other direction to Highway 101 and stopped in Lincoln City for a view of the beach and burgers and drinks at McMenamin's. The drive is just over 2 hours from Portland, the hike is about 2.5 hours, and allow a little more time for food and taking in the coast.

2. Kayaking below Willamette Falls in Oregon City
I've mostly kayaked rivers and lakes surrounded by trees and wilderness- it's a rare experience to kayak through the old mill and up to the ginormous Willamette Falls in Oregon City! We've rented both single and tandem kayaks from eNRG kayaks, they have a dock right on the river. They even have special moonlight paddles throughout the summer.

3. Kalama Harbor Lodge
I recently posted about our spring break getaway to McMenamin's new hotel, Kalama Harbor Lodge. It's just under an hour from Portland and is the perfect place to unwind. While I love that other McMenamin's hotels have soaking pools and movie theaters, the simplicity of this location makes it so peaceful and restful. Take a walk along the Columbia River to the small bar and have a craft beer or cocktail while taking in the view, or in one of the rocking chairs on the porch of the hotel.

4. Saddle Mountain Hike
I had heard of this hike for a long time, but I can't believe I had missed it until last summer. It is amazing!!! The climb through forest and wildflowers takes you way up to where you can see the Columbia River entering the Pacific. This hike is pretty challenging and has some sketchy spots, but the views are so worth it. It's 1.5 hours from Portland, towards Seaside.

5. Aurora Colony Vineyards
The Willamette Valley has about a zillion places to wine taste, and I'm sure there are posts out there with the top 200 vineyards in the Portland area. Aurora Colony Vineyards is about 15 minutes from my house, and has quickly become a favorite. Their wines are really nice and they have a wide variety for tasting. The property is way more sprawling than I expected and Daniel and I loved having a glass of wine and walking around the willows and oaks, and lounging on the patio.

6. Riverfront Park in Salem and Konditorei
When I was in college, Salem was our big city we'd go to almost every weekend for Red Robin and Target. Salem holds a special place in my heart and is still a city I enjoy exploring. They have a really lovely park on the river right near the city center, and a beautiful new bridge opened up just a few years ago. A walk along Riverfront Park is best followed by a slice of cake or pie at my favorite dessert place ever, Konditorei. Gerry Frank's cakes are local legend and the cafe is so cute. Salem is usually under an hour from Portland and can be a refreshing adventure.

7. Skamania Lodge
This gem was also hidden from me until we lived in Hermiston, and feeling adventurous on a trip back to Eastern Oregon decided to take the Washington side. While we later agreed that was a mistake (it added a solid hour to our drive), we found some hidden treasures along the way and stopped by Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA, about an hour from Portland. A year later we took my dad zip-lining there and had a blast, and last month we had brunch there for my father-in-law's birthday. They have an epic brunch buffet with bottomless champagne, seafood, a carving table, I could go on... while I might not recommend zip-lining and a brunch buffet on the same visit, Skamania has some other great options like a spa, a fitness trail, golf, and painting classes. My favorite part is the wide porch facing the gorge, sitting in the sunshine on a Adirondack chair while I digest a little!
What are your favorite day trip adventures from where you live? Any new day adventures you want to try this summer? Thank you for stopping by and reading my first post in a while, it's good to be back! 

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  1. All great ideas! I've been looking for places to go kayaking nearby. I love your suggestion for the falls in Oregon City. Definitely going to try to check it out before summer's end!

  2. Wonderful day trips! I still haven't been out to Aurora Colony Vineyard. I need to get out there soon!

  3. Love this list! Kalama has been a place we've wanted to go for a while, so thanks for the reminder.

  4. Um a walk followed by a slice of cake sounds like all win to me!

  5. Love this list so much! I always get stuck in Portland, and don't venture out too much since there's so much to do in the city. But I definitely need to change that!

  6. Great tip about the kayak company. The fella and I have been wanting to give it a try and wondering where we could rent from!

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