Hit List

Recession-Friendly Spring Break

Kick back close to home.

By Kaitlin Johnson and Isaac Darnall May 19, 2009 Published in the March 2009 issue of Portland Monthly

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Image: Breitenbush

1. For the Ocean Lover

Manzanita Beach
Less overrun than Cannon Beach but just as beautiful, Manzanita lies two hours west of Portland via US 26 and US 101. Neahkahnie Mountain comes right down into the surf, presenting a slew of adventure options (not to mention an awe-inspiring view). Spend the day on the beach with the seals that hang out by the jetty, or arrange for a sunset horseback ride through the surf. Windsurfing and kite-flying are a must. Accommodations include the lush, newly renovated Coast Cabins, where specials have been known to start at $95 per night. 503-368-7113; coastcabins.com

2. For the Camper

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Image: Jannie Huang

The Cove Palisades State Park
Fifteen miles southwest of Madras in high-desert territory, the Cove Palisades State Park sits in the midst of the jutting cliffs surrounding Lake Billy Chinook. Rent a ski boat or patio boat for the day from the Cove Palisades Marina ($140–335, covepalisadesmarina.com). Or hike the historic six-mile-long Tam-a-lau Trail, which leads to dazzling views of the Cascade Mountains as well as the Deschutes and Crooked River canyons. Snag a campsite for a mere $13 per night ($17 for one with water and electricity). Or rent a cabin that sleeps five for as little as $48. 541-546-3412; oregonstateparks.org

3. For the Nudist in You

Breitenbush Hot Springs
Breitenbush Hot Springs Retreat and Conference Center is tucked away in a picturesque forest in Detroit, and puts the focus on mental and physical wellness. Nosh on vegetarian meals, bunk in a cabin, and meet up for community events at the nearby "sanctuary," as the center calls it. Strip to your skivvies and steep in the springs, or layer up and hike through the woods. There are also plenty of places to meditate, practice yoga, and even walk a labyrinth. Cabins start at $68 per person per night, which includes meals. 503-854-3320; breitenbush.com

4. For the Culture Hound

Walla Walla, Washington
Home to Whitman College and dozens of wineries, Walla Walla has a burgeoning restaurant scene and has become a destination for oenophiles. (Stop by Chateau Rollat, where Christian LeSommer renders a series of luscious cabernets.) Don’t miss the Museum of Unnatural History & Black Door Gallery (Saturdays 10–4) for surreal 3-D art, or the Daily Market Cooperative for goodies like local soap. Overnighting? Consider the Weinhard Hotel (starting at $115 per night) in nearby Dayton, where Victorian ambience and a rooftop garden provide ample R&R. 509-382-4032; weinhard.com

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