Zach and I have been living in Portland, OR since 2018. We moved out here mainly due to the nature! We loved the idea of being able to get to the coast under 2 hours, as well as being able to always have a new hike to do. We met in Las Vegas where you really only had 5 hiking spots to choose from. So moving to a place where sometimes there are too many options to even choose one – sounded intriguing! We’ve definitely acclimated out here very well. Our first year we went up and down our entire coastal line TWICE. Stopped at every single turn off! A post for that will be coming soon so you can get the snoop on all areas along the coast!
This post is all of our favorite spots that we think would be awesome to see when first visiting Portland. There will always be a list online with top sights that seem to be the same post to post. We’re hoping to add some additional items on that list of yours! So this list is all about the beauty/payoff sights that we love to visit! I put it in order of most amazing first.
Travel through Samuel H. Boardman Scenic Corridor
It’s located in Southern Oregon where Oregon meets California along the coast/101 highway. It’s about a 5 hour drive from Portland, but it’s definitely worth it! I’d recommend doing at least 3 days here up to 4.
It’s a really small town so you’ll be there just for nature really but this is where you see all those Pinterest photos of our coast – is mainly all in Brookings, Oregon.
The Samuel H. Boardman is a 12 mile long scenic corridor lined up with 11 different stops/hikes.
It’s said that you can actually hike the whole corridor along the actual beaches. It comes out to 13 miles doing it that way and there will be areas of climbing down ropes. So if you choose this way, just ensure that you have good shoes and be on the look out! Some of our forests out here are decayed a bit so sometimes the floor can feel like it’s caving in, so just trust your instincts on what you’re feeling/observing.
Do Neahkahnie Moutain Trail
Located pretty close to the town of Manzanita along our 101 highway/coast. This is an easy stop that was super fun! Even though it’s a mountain trail, it rarely had any spots that were actually uphill like other mountain trails we’ve done. Only thing to be transparent about is to get to the actual top of the mountain, be prepared to climb vertical up rocks for the last 15ish feet. It’s well worth it for the view, but just know that’ll be there.
It’s an easy 1.75 hour drive from Portland and is a 3 mile hike round trip. We usually spend some time in Manzanita afterwards which is a tiny beach town.
For the 3 mile trail, you’ll want to begin at the South Trailhead. This trail actually begins in Cannon Beach and goes for 11 miles. So if you’re wanting to do the 3 mile one, you’ll begin closer to Manzanita. The turnoff for it is between highway markers 41 and 42. You can look it up on AllTrails for more info. Parking is free here.
Hike Drift Creek Falls Trail
It’s located about 30 minutes away from Lincoln Beach. It’s my favorite day trip from Portland to first stop here, do the hike, then continue on to Lincoln Beach and finish the day along the coast!
To do the trail you’ll either want to bring cash (singles) for parking it’s either $3 or $5. Or if you have the Northwest Forest Pass, that covers it.
The Trail is 3.7 miles long round-trip, super easy. It’s mainly a trail rather than a hike. Why it’s my favorite is it has a suspension bridge! If there’s going to be a rainy day during your stay in Portland, do it that day! It definitely brings it a more magical/mystical feeling to it.
We went our second time when it was sunny and it just didn’t feel as beautiful without that rain.
What’s super fun about this stop is you can hike down to get close to the water, and there’s a boulder that you can climb that gets you pretty close to the waterfall.
Super fun stop for some exploring! If you plan on getting closer to the waterfall, bring rain gear and a hat! You’ll get pretty soaked even from the mist itself.
Visit Bridal Veil Falls instead of Multnomah Falls
Bridal Veil Falls is 4 miles from Multnomah Falls and is super underexposed!
It’s an easy 1.4 mile hike round trip that reaches a double layered waterfall. It has a large boulder that you can climb and sit on, or smaller rocks that you can walk down and get closer to the water.
When you first see the waterfall, you’ll see a lookout point and that’s where most people stop walking. Don’t! It’s super easy to follow the rocks down and you’ll usually be by yourself down there near the water. It’s our favorite waterfall to this day in Oregon. & there are other waterfalls really close by that allows you to waterfall hop.
List of waterfalls near Bridal Veil Falls:
Pro tip: We had a large forest fire back in 2017 that damaged a lot of the landscape that some of these hikes were built on. So there are more hikes that will show up on your google search but it’s likely that they are still closed. Search for them prior to driving!
Visit St. Johns Bridge Cathedral Park
St. John’s is sometimes missed on top lists of what to see in Portland, OR. We missed it during our first visit prior to moving here!
It’s a GORGEOUS blue bridge and is about a 15 minute drive from downtown Portland. They have Saturday markets that are a fun way to try local pastries and coffee companies.
St. John’s Cathedral Park is a park that’s located right below the bridge that is always well maintained. It’s a cute little area to do a day out sun bathing or drinking in a park.
There’s St. John’s Food Cart Pod that’s about 2 miles from the Cathedral park that has about 8 different food trucks to try out, with lots of parking options due to it being in a neighborhood.
Food trucks are huge out here. They’ve become some of our favorite date spots to go because you can just get a little of everything and share it all!
Honorable Mention: Stop at Hug Point Beach
It’s along the 101 highway. It’s a tiny turnoff point so we actually just finally stopped there in 2021! But it had so much to give! There are a ton of great stops along our coast to see, but this one is a great place to go during sunset after already eating. There aren’t any food places located next to it but it has a waterfall that you can hike up to that’s adjacent to the beach itself. It’s also a great place to climb along some of the volcanic rocks on the beach and see some starfishes and anemones! It also is a easy walk to a strip of beautiful houses that face the ocean. Maybe it’s just us but we love to walk through neighborhoods to get a vibe of what the houses look like! Their houses look extra amazing during sunset because you’ll see the warm sun reflecting off of their windows.
These are all great addition’s to your already growing list of sights to see in Portland, Oregon! I hope you love them when you do visit them 🙂 If you would like to know more about our move to Portland or about the culture in Portland feel free to reach out! If we hear an inquiry from enough people, we’ll make a post for it 🙂
Until then, we’ll respond individually if you have any questions!