Aside from the wine region of Tualatin Valley, Portland offers a world of nature and adventure activities outside of the city. Here, we discovered our top three places to visit outside of the Portland downtown.
1. Cascade Locks -
This region is a 45 minute drive from downtown Portland and is at the heart of the Columbia River Gorge. We visited for the Bridge of the Gods half marathon and 10K , which offers scenic views of the forests, gorge, and an epic cross-over the bridge.
Sign up for the race here: https://bridgeofthegodsrun.com/
The Cascade Locks region is known for its many waterfalls, including Multnomah - the second highest year-round waterfall in the USA. We visited at about noon, and the sun was just peaking over the top of the mountain ridge. The area also features a bridge hike to get a closer look at the waterfall.
2. Seaside Beach -
Known for its rugged beach landscapes, adventurous hikes, and plentiful beach volleyball activities, this beach is about a two hour drive from Portland.
3. Portland Japanese Garden
Perched like an oasis overlooking the Portland downtown, the Japanese garden features teahouses, sweeping views, forest trails, and delicious cuisine at Umami restuarant.
Japanese Garden Admission: https://japanesegarden.org/
Plan on spending at least an hour or two at this expansive Japanese garden.
What is your favorite city retreat in Portland? Comment below!
When it comes to travel, it's rare that the journey is as enjoyable as the destination. Such is the case with our trip on BC Ferries. We embarked on a journey with BC Ferries from Vancouver, to Victoria, the capital of British Columbia. The voyage makes for a perfect day trip or weekend getaway, as it the island is only an hour and a half from Vancouver. Along the way, we enjoyed a prime view of the Pacific Northwest landscapes, including the islands and wildlife.
Behind the scenes video of the BC Ferries trip:
Victoria has a unique blend of nature and European charm, all found on the Pacific Northwest. There are numerous gardens, wineries, and historic buildings on the island. The downtown area is easily stroll-able, where you can visit the Empress Hotel, the harbor, and the Parliament within a few blocks of each other. We took our car on the ferry, which enabled us to explore many regions of the island.
Here are the TOP 6 reasons to cruise from Vancouver to Victoria:
1. Nature and wildlife
From BC Ferries, you can enjoy the spectacular nature. We spend the majority of the ferry ride on the sun deck, where we could view the wildlife, such as otters, eagles, and sometimes even orcas. Be sure to bring your binoculars and telephoto lens to capture these views.
2. Craigdarroch Castle:
The largest residence in the province, with a wooden interior and stunning views from the top. The castle reminded me of Hearst Castle and was a great way to experience the history of Victoria.
3. Parliament Building of Victoria:
Historic landmark building that serves as the parliament of British Columbia. Take a guided tour of the interior or enjoy the extensive gardens.
4. Nearby islands such as Salt Spring, spotted from BC Ferries.
5. Empress Hotel:
An iconic landmark in Victoria where you can dine at the restaurant or enjoy high tea.
Did you know that Victoria is home to numerous wineries? We visited Church & State, a beautiful winery and tasting room that makes for perfect place to relax with friends and sip the regional wine.
Have you been to Victoria? What was your favorite part about the journey and the island? Comment below!
Shop for items for your trip:
Wondering which island to visit on a day trip from Athens? With an estimated 6,000 islands in Greece, each with their own charm, it can be hard to choose. But if you are short on time, some of the islands such as Corfu, Santorini, and Crete may be too far. Luckily, Athens is only an hour away from some of the most beautiful and quaint islands. Look no further than the beautiful island of Hydra.
From the Athens port of Piraeus, we take the ferry on an hour and a half journey across the Aegean Sea to Hydra, an island filled with history, beautiful ocean, narrow cobblestone alleyways, hilltop views, cats, al-fresco Greek dining, water sports, relaxation, and old movie charm. Best of all, the island is traffic-free and does not have any cars.
Behind the scenes video:
Hydra is rich in history. At one point, it was part of Venice and later the Ottoman Empire. We visit the island's historic Greek Orthodox churches, then venture to the top of the hills to capture the views.
We visited during Spring in March, and the weather was in the low 70's with crystal clear waters. While we didn't see any swimming beaches near the port, there were many ocean activities such as kayaking, water taxis, and even a diving area to take a dip in the water.
In Greece, there are "community" cats and dogs, which roam all over Hydra. As you can see, they are well taken care of by the local community.
On our way back, the ferry stopped at another port called Poros, which had a similar vibe as Hydra, only with cars. The ferry had many convenient times throughout the day, some running every hour, making it easy to island hop.
If you are looking for a quick island getaway from Athens, check out Hydra. What is your favorite island in Greece?
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We are two adventurous young professionals who turned our passion for travel into a blog to help others travel more.