We noticed that you're using an unsupported browser. The TripAdvisor website may not display properly.
We support the following browsers:
Windows: Internet Explorer, Mozilla Firefox, Google Chrome. Mac: Safari.

day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Which Portland hotels are on sale?
mm/dd/yyyy mm/dd/yyyy
See hotels
San Francisco
Level Contributor
31 posts
1 review
Save Topic
day trip driving mt hood or ocean

we are coming finally to Portland the week before christmas.

one of our days we would like to rent car and drive ---

to where?????

Mt Hood area, is that near a river?

or Ocean is that too far??

thank you for your insights..........

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
4,856 posts
Save Reply
1. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Unless you're skiers, I'd recommend the coast, and specifically Cannon Beach. It's about a 90 minute drive from Portland.

Mt. Hood is a popular day trip, often in combination with a drive up the Columbia River Gorge. But because of weather, it's not often recommended during winter. As I'm writing this, it's snowing on Mt. Hood, and skiers will be heading up there in droves this weekend.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,795 posts
1,037 reviews
Save Reply
2. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Mistletoe is right, from now on, Mt. Hood will have snow, and be busy with skiers and snow play crowds. Those folks love the snow and do not mind putting on chains to get there. But, most car rental companies do not allow you to put chains on, and even if you rent a 4 wheel drive, you should have some snow driving experience. And unless you *really* love snow, why fight the cold and crowds?

A half-day trip suggestion might be to drive out the Columbia Gorge along the river. You can stop at Multnomah Falls, and drive along the historic old road.

The drive out to the ocean is nice, and makes an interesting full day trip. A thought might be to drive west on Hwy 26 to Cannon Beach, wander around there a bit, then drive north on Hwy 101 to Astoria, then back to Portland on Hwy 30 along the river. You would see some lovely scenery!

But do watch the local weather reports -- if it is very cold, Hwy 26 will get some snow on it. If in doubt whether or not some highways have snow, ask at your hotel. And keep in mind it will most likely be raining, wherever you go! Hope you have a nice visit :-)

Portland, Oregon
Destination Expert
for Portland
Level Contributor
5,597 posts
145 reviews
Save Reply
3. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Both are within easy driving locations But you must pay attention to the weather. Check on the day you will be driving on the internet or Weather Channel to make sure you're not heading out into a weather risk. The weather rarely gets rough in around Portland, but when it does it's a doozey. If the weather is full of snow and ice, don't drive. Oregon is typically ill-prepared to deal with harsh weather and it may take a day or two for streets and highways to be cleared.

Level Contributor
34,504 posts
890 reviews
Save Reply
4. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

The coast would be fun, you could go to Cannon Beach or Seaside which is about ten minutes away from Cannon Beach. If the weather is wet you could outlet shop there, visit the small but fun aquarium on the prom, taste some wine at the Yummy Wine Bar or storm watch at Ave U. There are lots of great restaurants in this area, let me know if you would like some recs once you fine-tune your itinerary. :)

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
4,856 posts
Save Reply
5. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

If the point is to shop, dine, or taste wine, you should stay in or near Portland, petra. But, if you want to see the coast, I like half-Brit's suggestion to include Astoria. Maybe even throw in Cape Disappointment State Park, just outside of Ilwaco, Washington. Spectacular views and an interesting Interpretive Center to be enjoyed there, regardless of the weather. And don't miss Ecola State Park, just north of Cannon Beach. Great views there too, some without even getting out of the car.

Or, as an alternative to Astoria, you could head south from Cannon Beach on hwy 101 to Tillamook, and drive a part of the Three Capes Scenic Loop. The "must" stop would be Cape Meares, and you'd have to get out of the car. But, you wouldn't regret it. Return to Portland via hwy 6, which parallels the Wilson River. Nice scenery along that road too.

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,795 posts
1,037 reviews
Save Reply
6. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Petra, not sure where you're from?

But mistletoe's suggestion of the Cape Disappointment Interpretive center is great -- there are very good museum displays which follow Lewis & Clark's expedition to the northwest, which was a big part of western US history. Ilwaco is about 20 minutes from Astoria, just go over the big bridge into Washington, and follow the signs.

If you decide to do the Three Capes Scenic route, my only suggestion would be to take Hwy 6 *to* the coast, and come back on Hwy 26. Hwy 6 is very lovely (and there is a Forest Center along there where you might like to stop) as it winds through the forest and along Wilson River. But if it is raining, it is not fun after dark! Hwy 26 is a better road to use coming home after dark, as it gets dark here about 4:30 to 5:00 pm.

And if you enjoy shopping, wine tasting and fine dining, there are dozens of places to enjoy all that in the city. Just ask some of the posters who live in Portland .... they'll give you many suggestions!

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
4,856 posts
Save Reply
7. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Good point on driving hwy 6 after dark, half-Brit. As many times as I've done it, I could probably drive it with my eyes closed, but it is more narrow and windy than 26. Nice little waterfall along the way, too: http://www.pbase.com/image/40203739.

And to your point about Cape Disappointment's Interpretive Center, the view's not bad from there either!

Buenos Aires...
Destination Expert
for Buenos Aires
Level Contributor
17,847 posts
101 reviews
Save Reply
8. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

half-Brit and mistletoe have given you great advice..as only locals can.

Just be sure to check the weather right up to the last minute!

I hear snow and then a wind storm is expected this weekend...should I tell you all in Portland how the weather is at my house now ? lol.

syrahgirl, have you ever been to Oregon in the winter?

Oregon Coast
Destination Expert
for Crescent City, Oregon Coast, Oregon, Redwood National Park
Level Contributor
42,795 posts
1,037 reviews
Save Reply
9. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

Could you please let me know when you are driving it with your eyes closed, mistletoe? Just kidding, lol! Forgot about the nice little waterfall.

Big storm a-coming here Sat night or Sun. Generator's ready. Neighbour just borrowed our other one.....

Portland, Oregon
Level Contributor
4,856 posts
Save Reply
10. Re: day trip driving mt hood or ocean

"Could you please let me know when you are driving it with your eyes closed, mistletoe?"

Ha, half-Brit. ;-) No worries. I promise that if I try, it will be in the dead of night.

Yeah, batten down the hatches. What did I hear? 80 mph gusts on the coast? Stay warm and dry.