Best Waterfront Daytrips

By Kasey Cordell, Rachel Ritchie, Aaron Scott, and Martin Patail April 29, 2013

Day Trip #1: Gearhart, Oregon

Gearhart’s quaint streets hold relief from the arcade-and-bumper-cars mayhem three miles to the south in Seaside. Here you can play one of the West’s oldest golf courses, Gearhart Golf Links, or wander the quiet beaches (relatively) free from worry over errant Frisbees. Should you decide to turn your outing into an overnight, you’re in luck. Portland’s first brothers of beer added another hotel property—their ninth—with the debut of the McMenamins Gearhart Hotel last year. From $115 

Day Trip #2: Little Crater Lake

Little Crater Lake is a fraction of the famous one’s size, but it packs just as much beauty (and requires less freeway time). Nestled in an evergreen-and-huckleberry forest on Mount Hood’s southern slopes, this jewel-hued wonder’s see-to-the-bottom waters are a frigid 34 degrees, a fact you’ll appreciate in July. The only drawback: you have to wait till June, when the snow has melted, to access it. 

Day Trip #3: East Fork of the Lewis River

Summertime floating in the Northwest can be a choice between extremes. The rough Kalama may cause bruises (or worse), while the boozy Clackamas may cause hangovers (or worse). The East Fork of the Lewis River melds the best of both: a relaxing, sun-drenched float without the Daytona Beach vibe. Put in at Lewisville County Park and settle in for a two-hour float to Daybreak Park, or all the way to La Center. 

Day Trip #4: Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler 

For a bite-size version of the Columbia and Snake Rivers Journey, book a seat on the Columbia Gorge Sternwheeler for a five-hour jaunt up the Columbia Gorge on its triple-deck boat. $84; Wednesdays June–October 

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