It’s the most wonderful time of the year—the sun is out, the flowers are in bloom and gas prices have yet to reach their mid-summer spike. So why not pile in the car for a scenic road trip outside of Portland? These three beautiful, kid-friendly spots offer everything from beaches and parks to museums and trails—and they’re all less than two hours driving time from downtown Portland.

Road Trip #3: Astoria

Driving time from Portland: One hour and 45 minutes

Located just a few miles from the Columbia River’s convergence with the great Pacific Ocean, Astoria has gained fame over the years as the setting of the 1985 classic The Goonies. And although Goonies never say die, there is much more to entertain kids and families in this waterfront city than a search for long lost pirate treasure.

The mouth of the Columbia River is one of the most dangerous passages in the world, so it only makes sense to begin your visit at the fascinating Columbia River Maritime Museum. Kids can explore a collection of model boats, walk the bridge of a scrapped World War II warship, learn how to tie knots and participate in a variety of other interactive exhibits. You’ll also be just six miles from Fort Clatsop in Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, the site of the Corps of Discovery’s winter encampment after reaching the Pacific. Kids will enjoy exploring the fort replica, learning from costumed rangers and taking a lovely walk along the 1.5-mile Netul River Trail. Ready to call it a day? Don't miss out on the tasty pub fare (and brews for mom and dad) at the Fort George Brewery and Public House.

photo: Granger Meador via flickr

What are your favorite short road trips from Portland? Let us know in the comments below!

— Maura O’Brien