Bridal Veil Falls

Trip Planning

Portland Escapes

Jeff Crider shares a few vacation destinations in the Portland, Oregon area. Here's where to visit and where to stay.

Situated along the southern banks of the Columbia River with easy access to the Pacific Ocean, Portland, Oregon is the third busiest port on the West Coast and the second largest metropolitan area in the Pacific Northwest after Seattle. For RV enthusiasts who live there, Portland is also an easy drive to some of the most scenic locations in the country, all of which are terrific destinations for mid-week or weekend escapes.

Portland sits near the western end of the famed Columbia River Gorge, an 85-mile-long chasm that features spectacular mountains, wildflowers and waterfalls, including Bridal Veil Falls, Latourell Falls and 620-foot Multnomah Falls, Oregon’s tallest waterfall.

(Photo courtesy of Travel Oregon)

Some of the best locations to see wildflowers in the Pacific Northwest are also in the Columbia River Gorge, including the Tom McCall Nature Preserve and Badger Creek Wilderness, according to, an online travel resource produced by Friends of the Columbia Gorge.

The Mt. Hood Region itself is less than a two-hour drive from Portland and has many attractions in its own right, including great places for hiking, cycling, kayaking, and rafting. Other unique attractions include the Mt. Hood Railroad, which complements its scenic railway tours with e-bike rentals and opportunities to explore the area on “rail bikes,” which are custom-designed recumbent bikes with two seats that enable riders to use pedal power to move along the railroad track.

Campgrounds in the Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood areas include Timberlake Campground RV Park in Stevenson, Washington, Lost Lake Resort in Hood River, Oregon, and Mt. Hood Village Campground in Welches, Oregon.

More adventures await south of Portland in Oregon’s famed Williamette Valley, which features great places for hiking, biking, paddling and other outdoor recreation activities. The valley also has more than 700 wineries, breweries, cideries and distilleries as well as numerous farms and ranches. Festivals and other special music, food, wine and cultural events are also planned across the valley throughout the year, including the annual Oktoberfest celebration in Mt. Angel, Sept. 14-17, one of the largest Oktoberfest events in the Pacific Northwest.

(Photo courtesy of Mount Angel Oktoberfest)

Willamette Valley campgrounds include Sun Outdoors Portland South in Wilsonville, Olde Stone Village RV Park in McMinnville, and Williamette Wine Country RV Park in Dayton.

(Photo courtesy of Willamette Valley Visitors Association) 

Portland area RVers seeking escapes along the Pacific Coast are only 90 minutes from Cannon Beach, one of the most photographed locations in the Pacific Northwest with its beautiful rock formations and scenic forests at Ecola State Park, which is home to roaming herds of Roosevelt elks and bald eagles.

Other unique attractions along the coast not far from Portland include the annual Washington State International Kite Festival, which is slated for Aug. 21 to 27 in Long Beach, Washington. Nearby campgrounds include Wallicut River RV Resort in Ilwaco and Ocean Park Resort in Ocean Park.

Of course, one of the best known vacation destinations in Oregon is Crater Lake National Park, which is about a four to five hour drive from Portland, depending on traffic. With a depth of 1,943 feet, Crater Lake is not only the deepest lake in the United States, but one of the most pristine lakes in the world, according to the National Park Service.

Several campgrounds can be used as base camps for day trips to Crater Lake, including Crater Lake Resort in Fort Klamath and Lemolo Lake / Crater Lake North KOA Holiday in idleyld Park. Crater Lake Resort is also close the Crater Lake Zipline, the longest in Oregon with over 8,000 feet of cable, and Train Mountain Museum, which features the world’s largest private caboose collection and the world’s largest model railroad.

Lemolo Lake / Crater Lake North KOA Holiday is next to a 540-acre lake and features a boat launch as well as kayak, canoe, fishing and pontoon boat rentals. The campground also has access to a recently completed 10-mile-long hiking and biking trail that goes around the lake.

Jeff Crider


Jeff Crider, President and CEO of Crider Public Relations, has been involved in covering the campground industry for over 25 years. Jeff has worked as a freelance writer for publications such as RV Business, Motor Home Magazine, Trailer Life, Highways and other Affinity Group Inc. publications since 1995. He has also successfully pitched many of the nation's top tier media outlets, including CNN, The New York Times, The Wall Street Journal, The Washington Post, the Los Angeles Times, USA Today, The Financial Times, Reuters, The Associated Press and National Public Radio. In addition to writing, Jeff is also a talented photographer and humanitarian.