As of this writing, the date is June 22, 2019. An adventure-filled summer is just around the corner, and we want to make sure you make the most out of your exploring this season. From breezy, salty-aired coast trips to remote mountain cabins, there are thousands of weekend getaways across Oregon. We’ve spent time curating our absolute favorites for this article to make sure you have the most fun possible this summer. The featured weekend getaways are in no particular order; they’re all great for different reasons.
Drive to the Steens Mountains, Swim in Wildhorse Lake, and Hike Big Indian Gorge
Does driving on the highest road in Oregon, swimming in a gorgeous mountain lake, and hiking through a jaw-dropping canyon sound like a fun weekend? Then check out the incredibly underrated Steens Mountains in southeastern Oregon. Driving the Steens Mountain Loop has been called the most beautiful drive in Oregon, and for good reason. Yet, it’s one that most Oregonians will never take! The Steens area is relatively unknown to many people in Oregon, possibly because of its location in the far southeast corner of the state. The distance is worth it, though, because the views are unparalleled. You won’t find scenery like this anywhere else in Oregon.
Driving distance from Portland: 369 Miles, or approximately 7 hours
Lodging: There are cabins in and around Frenchglen, the nearest town, as well as campsites. However, these fill fast – for last minute trips, try staying in Burns. It’s just over an hour to the north, but has much more lodging, and you’ll be sure to find somewhere to stay. There are plenty of AirBnBs in the area, too.
Road Trip to the Wallowa Mountains, Fish Wallowa Lake, and Hike Hurricane Creek
Similar to the Steens, the Wallowas are also in a remote corner of Oregon, except the Wallowas are located in the northeast corner. Though much more popular than the Steens, the Wallowas, and areas surrounding, are similarly underrated by many Oregonians due to their driving distance from Oregon’s major cities. However, the Wallowas are absolutely perfect for a three or four-day weekend trip. There are hundreds of hikes in the area in addition to the breathtaking Wallowa Lake, and the Wallowa River above (and below) the lake. We strongly recommend taking the Hurricane Creek trail – it’s not incredibly long, but leads you along a beautiful creek, eventually taking you all the way to some majestic waterfalls. It’s a trail that simply cannot be missed if you’re in this area.
Driving distance from Portland: 334 miles, or approximately 5-6 hours.
Lodging: There is plenty of lodging in the towns of both Joseph and Enterprise, in addition to the limited lodging near Wallowa Lake. If you’re booking the trip last minute, we’d recommend checking out some of the AirBnBs and hotels near Enterprise. Pro tip: La Laguna is not to be missed for some high-quality Mexican food in Enterprise.
Explore Gold Beach, Jet Boat the Rogue River, and Rent a Dune Buggy
Many Portland residents call the northern Oregon Coast home. However, for those living in towns like Corvallis, Eugene, and Medford, the central and southern Oregon Coast is more familiar, and there’s no better place to go on the southern coast than Gold Beach. There are so many things to do here, the crew here at Oregon Adventures could spend an entire summer at Gold Beach without getting bored. However, it’s perfect for a weekend getaway, and there are some excellent quick adventures to do in the area. Taking a jet boat on the lower Rogue river is one of the most popular, and you’ll be taken on the mighty river through some of the most unique and jungle-like scenery on the entire Oregon Coast. Consider renting a dune buggy and exploring the dunes, and head to the Barnacle Bistro for some excellent chow.
Driving distance from Portland: 301 miles, or approximately 5 hours. It’s only about 3.5 hours from Eugene and 2.5 hours from Medford, so it’s certainly more accessible as a weekend getaway for those who live to the south of Portland, but it’s doable for anyone.
Lodging: There are plenty of hotels, AirBnBs, and campsites in the area. With enough searching, even last minute, you’ll be able to find a comfortable place to stay.
Raft the Deschutes in Bend, Explore Smith Rock, and Hike Broken Top
Bend is known as the outdoor mecca of Oregon, and for good reason. There are likely more outdoor and exploring opportunities near Bend than there are anywhere else in the state. To top it off, Bend is an excellent town, with a thriving culture and high-quality restaurants wherever you look. Put simply, there’s something for every adventurer in Bend. We recommend rafting the Deschutes in the Bend or Sunriver area as a fun afternoon outing. If rafting isn’t your thing, try checking out one of the dozens of local breweries, or head to Broken Top for a stunning day hike. Though Smith Rock is well-known as a paradise for climbers, the hikes and views in the park cannot be beat, and it is one of the most scenic places in all of Central Oregon. The best part? Bend is within about three hours of most major cities in Oregon, meaning it is perfectly accessible for a short Friday afternoon-Sunday evening weekend trip. You won’t need to take any days off work for this one (although you might want to).
Driving distance from Portland: 163 miles, or approximately three hours. Bend is only a couple hours from Salem, Corvallis, Eugene, and Klamath Falls, so it’s really the most accessible weekend trip for the biggest number of people in Oregon.
Lodging: There are plenty of places to stay in Bend, and no matter when you decide to come, you’ll certainly be able to find lodging. For those of you who love camping, there are dozens and dozens of campsites within and nearby to Bend.
We hope your summer is as fun as ours is going to be! These weekend getaways are the perfect trips to take to have a blast this summer. Note: We know that a lot of these trips aren’t realistic Friday-Sunday trips for most people from Portland. However, most of these are doable over three or four full days. If you are going strictly for the weekend, we’d recommend you go to Bend. Or, alternatively, check out one of our adventures or day hikes in your area. We’ve got plenty listed on the site.
If you try any of these getaways, or would like to suggest some of your own, leave them in the comments below! We look forward to hearing from you.