Recently, a cousin was going to Portland to visit her sister and invited me along. As I have both family and friends there, I decided to see if I could make it work. I researched options on Delta to see if I had enough points to warrant a ticket. Turns out I did, so for points and a small processing fee, I was on my way!! My agenda had me spending the first day with a friend, so I could focus on family for the rest of the weekend. With an early morning flight behind me, I easily found my way thru the airport to their MAX station. Portland’s Light Rail system is very clean, inexpensive, convenient & easy to use and got me a stop close to my friend’s house, making it easy for him to pick me up. We headed out towards the coast and stopped to get some provisions for the day. My favorite was the Old Oregon Smokehouse where we picked up an amazing Crab Cocktail. Some of the freshest crab I’ve ever eaten! We spent the day hanging out and exploring the beach between Netarts Bay and Oceanside, OR. It was windy and overcast, but still beautiful. There’s something so soothing about the ocean, and waves. It can relax any tension and cure any ails. Saturday, I headed over to my cousin’s place and we spent the day catching up, running errands, and preparing for a birthday party that evening. I got to experience the amazingness called Burgerville and their Walla Walla Sweet Onions. It’s a thing. You need to try them at least once. They were so good, I didn’t even get a picture before they were gone! By the way, these were some of my housemates in Portland – Maya (left) and Axel (right) – are they not two of the cutest dogs ever?!! The next morning, after a couple hours of “Cousins’ Coffee Conversation” on the backyard patio, we headed out for some brunch (a Pulled Pork Po’ Boy and Strekla Cocktail at Delta Café!) and sightseeing. We set out on the Historic Columbia River Highway. First stop was the Crown Point Vista House – a beautiful observatory and ‘comfort station’ (as Wikipedia puts it so delicately). Originally built in 1916 (and renovated in 2000) it offers gorgeous views of the Columbia River Gorge on the outside and very pretty marble bathrooms on the inside. From there we continued on to the highlight of the day: Multnomah Falls! Multnomah is the tallest waterfall in Oregon (620’) and according to some sources, the 2nd tallest year-round waterfall in the US. It’s split into two sections and you can walk across the Benson Footbridge between the two cascades for some unique views. (Truthfully, you can also follow a trail from the bridge up to the top of the falls, but we weren’t quite that adventurous.) We were, however, slightly more adventurous the next day when we went on the Willamette Jetboat Excursion! Have you ever ridden on a jetboat? I haven’t. Picture a flat-bottomed boat that holds ~50 people, with a captain who deliberately stops, swerves, & spins to create as much splash as possible! I was told I’d get wet and wet we all were!! In between the spinning and splashing the boat captain also shared a great deal of information about the history of the river and bridges along our route. We choose the 2 Hour Tour that took us past Downtown Portland, 7 bridges and to the Willamette Falls. All in all, it was great fun and the scenery was quite beautiful.Our final event of the weekend was dinner at the nearby Bunk’s Bar. All-in-all, it was a fun, four-day, family weekend – for just $200! DETAILS:Date: July/August 2016Starting Point: Los Angeles, CATrip: Destination visit to Portland, OR BUDGET:Total: $203.74Lodging: $0 (Family/Friends)Transportation: $8.10Food: $151.64 Activities: $44 (Willamette Jetboat) TIPS/TRICKS: Although a 4-day trip, this ended up on budget due to 2 very big factors – all lodging was FREE (yay for family & friends w spare bedrooms!) and my flight was done on airline points, so I only had a $5.60 surcharge w Delta. **Note: the links are for your convenience only, I am not an affiliate with any company and do not make money off recommending them. I just want to make it easy for you to find them if you’re interested!