Need help with Washington/Oregon trip

Old Apr 14th, 2010, 12:30 PM
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Need help with Washington/Oregon trip

We want to visit Washington for 7 days in August. We were thinking of flying into Seattle, but it is cheaper from here (Buffalo) to fly into Portland, OR. This is our rough itinerary. Is it doable?
Saturday: arrive Portland and stay somewhere near because we will probably get in around 7:30 pm. Unless we can make it to somewhere along the Columbia River gorge in an hour or two. Any suggestions on a place to stay? Somewhere rustic/scenic (lodge or a B&B)
Sunday: explore gorge & Mt Hood
Monday: head towards Mt Ranier (via 141?) Find a nice place to stay
Tuesday: head towards Olympic NP (most scenic route?) Stay somewhere (?)
Wednesday: explore Olympic Peninsula
Thursday: Port Angeles or beaches?
Friday: head back to Portland along coast for Saturday flight home

I am open to any advice. We have never been to this part of the country. We are on a budget, but are willing to splurge on some things. We like scenic drives, photography, short hikes and eating at local restaurants. Thanks.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 06:38 PM
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Spend your first night at Edgefield, http://www.mcmenamins.com/54-edgefield-home. You'll be in just the right place to start out the next morning.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 07:14 PM
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Ditto recommendation for the Edgefield- very fun place to stay
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 07:28 PM
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Can you fly into Pdx and out of Sea?

I would give another day to cr gorge and Mt Hood, visit Mt St Helens on drive to Olympic, 2 days Olympic, an overnight at Mt Ranier and Seattle is a good city to give a day before flying home. It'll work if you can fly out of Sea. Go to the nps website for lodging in the parks. There is another recent Fodors thread that recommends good places around CR gorge.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 09:01 PM
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If you are doing the Olympic Peninsula in a counter-clockwise direction, my lodging recommendations would be: Tuesday night in Port Townsend, Wednesday night in Forks, and Thursday in the Astoria area. That way you can have Friday to see some of the Oregon Coast and Cannon Beach before heading back to Portland.

Re: Mount Rainier; I don't know what your reference to "141" is. The quickest way to get there from the gorge would be to go back out to 5 and up to Highway 12. There are motel-type lodgings in Packwood, Randle and Ashford.

For a scenic route between Rainier and The OP, I would head back to Olympia and then up 101 along Hood Canal.
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Old Apr 14th, 2010, 09:24 PM
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I would stay a full day at Mt. Rainier - stay 2 nights. The National Park is quite large with a lot of attractions. It is the most beautiful place you will go on your trip. Mt. Hood is, in fact, unnecessary if you are going to Mt. Rainier. It is beautiful but it does not compare, nor is it a national park with full ranger services. Mt Rainier is massive, with many attractions and ranger guided hikes/walks.

I would consider this:

Saturday, arrive.
Sunday, Columbia R. Gorge, fish hatchery at Bonneville Dam, head to Mt. Rainier and stay near park.
Monday, All day Mt. Rainier.
Tuesday, Mt. St. Helens
Wednesday, Olympic Peninsula - Hurricane Ridge
Thursday, OP - Lake Crescent Lodge, Hoh Rain forest. Stay at Kalaloch
Friday - Back to Portland. Visit Portland.

The Washington coast is not like the Oregon coast. There is not a scenic drive but the park has some good hikes in. Astoria is a nice town but not the scenic Oregon coast everyone talks about. That coast starts at Canon Beach. I think it is too far.

Also, remember the Pacific coast is mostly cold and often wet. You may not find the "beaches" very beachy. You will need warm cloths and people don't hang out at the beach unless they are real diehards. People fly kites, take photos, look for starfish, enjoy the scenic beauty.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 07:44 AM
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Thanks for all the suggestions. I think we will stay at Edgefield Saturday night. We'll skip Mt. Hood and concentrate on the gorge and Mt. Ranier. Then counter clockwise on the OP and try to find a way to see some of the Oregon coast on our way back to Portland. I'd like to fly into Portland and out of Seattle, but it is too expensive. I'm open to anymore advice. We want to see as much as possible on this trip because we'll never be able to go back.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 08:59 AM
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Right, don't shortchange the Oregon Coast for sure - it's one of the highlights of the area and as noted, NOT like the Washington Coast.

The Edgefield is a unique place, and a visit at least is essential if you are nearby. Just note that some (all?) of the rooms are "European Style" hotel rooms which may have the bathrooms in the hall. And the prices may not be so great if you are on a budget. I would personally like to stay there sometime, though.

If you are on a budget, you might stay in Portland (and have a dinner there at least, have some time to explore) and use Priceline.com or Hotwire to save money. These services are non-refundable so your plans have to be solid - and you don't know the name of the hotel til you book, but I've been using Priceline for years and am comfortable with the hotels I get and the great money I save. Priceline probably won't work on the rest of your trip other than Portland, FYI - works best for bigger cities. If you are interested, you can look at www.betterbidding.com for info on what hotels people have received with Priceline in Portland in what areas and what they paid.

Also look at www.travelportland.com for Portland hotel package deals.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 09:51 AM
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You can see the beauty of the Oregon coast at Canon Beach. From there to the south, it is fantastic. Visit Ecola State Park, just north. You can also drive south and do a circle, for a spectacular ride, and include the 3 Capes Loop at Tillamook. You will need a day for this. If you are going to do the Oregon coast, I suggest you skip the OP. You will be seeing the best of the mountains at Mt. Rainier, and interesting volcano, and the Oregon coast - truly the best of the PNW. You can see a rainforest at Mt. Rainier (Ohanapakosh), so you can skip the Hoh.

Saturday, arrive.
Sunday, Columbia R. Gorge, fish hatchery at Bonneville Dam, head to Mt. Rainier and stay near park.
Monday, All day Mt. Rainier.
Tuesday, Mt. Rainier
Wednesday, Mt. St. Helens, long drive to Canon Beach
Thursday, Canon Beach (go funcycling on the beach, lunch at Ecola state park and little hike)
Friday, Drive to Tillamook and 3 Capes loop and back to Portland.

Bring shoes that can get muddy.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 09:56 AM
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It may be too late, but try to book at the National Park lodge at Paradise at Mt Rainier, or at Longmire if Paradise is not available.

At Mt Rainier there are beautiful trails on streams with the mountain towering overhead, the rain forest at Ohanapakosh and on to the east side at Sunrise, which is usually sunny, if it is clouded in at Paradies. You will not regret spending time there. It is so beautiful, I cannot tell you.
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Old Apr 15th, 2010, 10:16 AM
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Andrew--The Edgefield has some suites that have private bathrooms. We have stayed there and love it! We have stayed at other McMenamin properties opting for rooms with shared baths and they were always spotlessly clean and never had a problem with waiting or anything.
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Old May 6th, 2010, 03:26 PM
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Hi

Not to confuse things too much but I wanted to weigh in on a couple general points ... I've bicycled and driven all the areas you've asked about (and Buffalo, too, by the way). Frankly I think you would be trying to do too much in 7 days. Just driving a loop around the Washington Cascades (including the Columbia) is about a thousand miles. I know you've said you don't think you can get back to the Northwest again so you want to do it all. But you'll spend most of the time in your car in a busy season and -- as they say -- more is very often a lot less.
In Buffalo you have the Great Lakes and the Falls, and New England beaches are just a long day's drive away. St. Catharines reminded me a lot of the ocean towns in Oregon. Yes the Oregon coast is stunning but I think you might really appreciate the Cascade volcanos as well as the Gorge even more, since these are unlike anything you will see in New York
State. Washington's San Juan Islands are worth a stop but then again, they have a marine flavor you might not get the most out of. Of course you can't go wrong whichever way you choose -- Oregon or Washington -- but I honestly think trying to do both will be exhausting and frustrating.

Also I agree with one of the posts about your first night. Portland is a much easier airport than SeaTac, but even so you will be arriving at 7:30 (10:30 your time) and by the time you get your baggage and car it will be really late for you. If I were you I'd get some cheap stay near the airport
(maybe rent the car the next morning) and then start out fresh with a full day of exploration.
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Old May 11th, 2010, 08:13 AM
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All good comments, but I would agree with PaulCyclist-you will be in your car seeing too many tar roads and freeways. An avid traveller, and Oregon native, I would suggest choosing one state and focusing on its merits. I guess I would have to ask the attaction to the beautiful Mt. Rainer? If the weather does not cooperate, you will not see much. If you chose to focus on Oregon, Mt. Hood and Timberline are so spectacular, an easy drive from Portland, then you could do a two day tour down south through Bend to Crater Lake. Then cut back to Florence via Eugene-scenic the entire way, and you avoid 1-5 for nearly the entire trip. Florence to Newport or if time allows, Cannon Beach-then back to Portland truly gives you the best of everything, beach-mountains-a wonder of the world and a little flexibility if the weather does not cooperate.

The Gorge can easily be down in 1/2 the day, you only need to go as far as Hood River. Since you arrive so late, a suggestion would be stay at the Marriot Courtyard near the airport $75, free shuttle-get your car the next day and head up the Gorge right from the airport. Take Hwy 35 to Timberline Lodge. Stay at the Lodge one night, treat yourself to an amazing dinner, then head south or to the coast and do the above tour backwards-depending on weather.

Hope this helps. Washington State offers so much, but not much so see off the main interstate, and that includes Hwy 97 until you get into the mountains. Plenty of interesting stops along the way with the Oregon tour and get your ocean/mountain fix.

Wherever you go, have a blast!
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