Between gas prices, limited vacation days, and chaotic air travel, taking a local road trip is more appealing than ever this summer. These five destinations are all within 300 miles (round-trip) of Portland, Oregon, making them ideal for quick getaways. Spend less time at the pump and more time enjoying the road.
If you’re in an electric vehicle, we’ve noted whether you can expect to find chargers along each route as well.
1. Mount Hood, Oregon
Total Mileage: 138 miles
Standing at 11,249 feet, Mount Hood is the highest point and mountain peak in Oregon. An outdoor hub for winter recreation, the area’s resorts are a haven for skiers and snowboarders, the most famous one being Timberline Lodge. Built in 1937, the iconic lodge is perhaps best known as a filming location for Stanley Kubrick’s adaptation of Stephen King’s The Shining. During the summer, visitors can hitch a ride on the Magic Mile Chair Lift, which drops you off on the mountain’s 7,000-foot level. While you’re there, grab some food and drink at one of the lodge’s cozy restaurants or pubs.
Don’t miss: Take a self-guided art tour at Timberline Lodge so you can learn more about the paintings, mosaics, carvings, and textiles that adorn the historic lodge. If you have extra time, it’s also worth taking a drive to Trillium Lake, located just 7.5 miles from Mount Hood, ideal for hiking and swimming in the summer.
Charge: Charge stations are available at Government Camp and the Barlow Trail Roadhouse in Welches.
2. Newport, Oregon
Total Mileage: 264 miles
Newport’s Historic Bayfront area is home to a variety of shops, art galleries, restaurants and also resident sea lions, often seen sunbathing on the docks. The scenic seaside town has two lighthouses—the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and the Yaquina Head Lighthouse. The latter, which towers at 93 feet, is the tallest active light in Oregon. Both are available for tours, however it’s recommended to call ahead. Learn about the area’s ocean habitats at the Oregon Coast Aquarium while wandering through an underwater tunnel exhibit and then be sure to grab a bite at Local Ocean Seafoods, where you can sample the freshest catch of the day.
Don’t miss: Explore the tide pools at Yaquina Head Outstanding Natural Area, when at low tide, you can see colorful sea stars, anemones, purple urchins, and hermit crabs (make sure to check the tide chart before heading out), and if visiting with children, check out the kitschy but fun museum Ripley’s Believe It or Not! World of Adventure.
Charge: There are several charging stations in Newport as well as others along Interstate 5.
3. Cottage Grove, Oregon
Total Mileage: 256 miles
With six covered bridges located in and around Cottage Grove, there’s a reason it’s dubbed the “Covered Bridge Capital of the West.” Home to the only remaining railroad bridge west of the Mississippi River, you can easily visit all six covered bridges by car in one day, however you can also tour by bicycle along the 35.5 mile Covered Bridges Scenic Bikeway. The charming small town, with its historic main street and mom and pop shops, has received the All-American City Award twice. Take a walking tour of outdoor murals depicting the town’s history and then grab food and drinks at Coast Fork Brewing. For an outdoorsy excursion, hit up the River Row Trail at Dorena Lake.
Don’t miss: Visit the Bohemia Gold Mining Museum and view a collection of photographs, tools, and other artifacts that tell the story of the area’s mining history. Finish off the day by sipping wine in a cozy red barn at Saginaw Vineyard.
Stay: Book a room at the low-key Cottage Grove Inn.
Charge: There are a handful of charging stations available in Cottage Grove and along Interstate 5.
4. Maupin, Oregon
Total Mileage: 202 miles
As you make your way into the high desert of Central Oregon, the scenery begins to shift from a lush green landscape to expansive terrain dotted with juniper and sagebrush. The tiny town of Maupin is home to just 500 year-round residents, its centerpiece being the Deschutes River, which cuts through a deep basalt canyon. A premiere destination for white water rafting and fly fishing, Maupin attracts a fair share of visitors. With rapids that range from class 1 to IV, the river is suited for all skill levels, however if you’re looking for a calmer water experience, you can opt for standup paddle boarding. Cap off the day with some food and drinks at The Riverside, and enjoy views of the river from the expansive outdoor patio.
Don’t miss: Stretch your legs at White River Falls State Park, just 15 minutes north of town. The park features a 90-foot waterfall that plunges over a basalt cliff. A steep trail brings you to an abandoned hydroelectric plant that supplied energy to the area from 1910 to 1960. A short sagebrush-lined trail leads you to the 15-foot Lower White River Falls, which feeds into a nice swimming hole.
Charge: Charging stations are available at Maupin City Park or along the way on Interstate 84.
5. Tacoma, Washington
Total Mileage: 288 miles
Often overlooked when en route to Seattle, Tacoma is a destination all its own. It’s also home to Stadium High School, a filming location for the 1999 Heath Ledger rom com 10 Things I Hate About You. Take a stroll down Pacific Avenue in the city’s historic downtown, lined with early 20th-century brick buildings repurposed to house boutique shops and cafes. Art buffs will enjoy exploring the city’s six museums, including the Museum of Glass, which showcases glass work from renowned glass artists such as Tacoma-native Dale Chihuly and hosts live glass blowing demonstrations. For a nature escape, spend some time at Point Defiance Park, where you’ll find gardens, beaches, hiking trails, and the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium. Then grab some craft beer and food at 7 Seas Brewery and Taproom, which has everything from smash burgers to fresh clams.
Don’t miss: Peruse one of the largest private automobile collections in the world at LeMay – America’s Car Museum, donated by Harold and Nancy LeMay. The four-story museum has more than 300 automobiles on display, with everything from a 1929 Cadillac to the 1994 Flintmobile made for The Flintstones movie.
Stay: Treat yourself to a luxury stay at Hotel Murano, an upscale hotel with its own private collection of glass art from around the world, or for something more offbeat, book a room at the McMenamins Elks Temple, a 1916 Elks Temple that’s been restored as a neighborhood hotel.
Charge: Charging stations are plentiful in Tacoma as well as along Interstate 5.