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jnhayes Jul 12th, 2007 04:13 PM

oregon/washington/british columbia
My mom and I have decided to plan a 3-week vacation along the coast of Oregon, Washington, & British Columbia. I will actually be splitting the vacation in half with my my mom & husband - half with my mom and half with my husband. I will also be traveling with my son who, at only three (four when we go), already loves traveling!

Our first question is when to go? We are thinking spring - possibly early May or early June. We want to avoid the crowds as much as possible. So summer is out. But is spring better than fall?

Second question is if this is doable in three weeks or not? Will we see enough? Or would we be better off just doing two of the three? There is a lot to choose from. So we are going to be choosy. But want to be able to also see as much as possible.

Now to start researching and planning and thinking. Fun stuff! Oh and trying to decide which half to do with mom and which to do with my husband (who would love to go on the whole trip but has to work)!

Thanks in advance. And I am sure my research and planning will lead to loads of questions. Looking forward to it so much. I seriously love traveling. And road trips are some of my favorite.


Scarlett Jul 12th, 2007 04:33 PM

I can only speak about Oregon, and my own preferences, but I always prefer Fall to Spring vacations. Spring in the Pacific NW will still be pretty wet and pretty chilly. In Portland, the joke is that summer does not begin until July 5th..Sept and Oct are still quite nice..and with some of the trees changing colors, it will be even more beautiful..
I would imagine it all depends on what exactly you want to do and where you go, if 3 weeks is doable, but you can make it is a nice amount of time...Have fun planning !

Otis_B_Driftwood Jul 12th, 2007 05:02 PM

I think you will find better weather in BC during August rather than September or October. We have traveled up there several times in August and never found it over crowded. In fact some of the attractions keep more extensive hours then and the weather is fantastic.

Why not the last week of August in BC and then come down to Washington and Oregon in early September after the schools are back in session?

A great drive in BC is to take the ferry from N Vancouver over to the Sunshine Coast and drive as far as you can. Then take the ferry and go over to Vancouver Island. Make sure you go out to Tofino and Long Beach. This is where the Pacific Rim National Park is. It was just featured on the Discovery Channel show "1000 Places to See Before You Die". Make sure you spend a couple of days in Victoria.

Then take the ferry over to Port Angeles and explore Olympic National Park. This is one of the few National Parks that has outstanding alpine scenery and a wild sea coast. I think Acadia is the only other. Also, Olympic has a neat rain forest hike.

Well, that's enough to get started. It's a great trip and I would think hubby might enjoy the first half more since the area is a little more rugged. And Mom might enjoy more the scenic drives along the Oregon Coast and the nice towns along the way.

NWWanderer Jul 12th, 2007 06:53 PM

I would definitely go in the fall rather than the spring if you can. And I've done many outdoors focused trips in BC in Sept and even into early Oct and had decent, even warm and sunny weather, so I wouldn't be too concerned if your trip starts in Sept rather than August. But going north to south is a good idea--it also then puts you in the best position to make stops along the coast. Othert than that, I agree with the suggestions Otis has made.

If you stick to the coast, then yes, you can do all three in 3 weeks, although you'll probably end up doing more like 10 days in BC, 3-4 in WA (again, if you just stick to the coast), and the rest in OR.

calabia Jul 12th, 2007 10:02 PM

In Oregon, I'd like to suggest Pacific City. My sister-in-law and her husband own a beach house right on the beach and we've been going up there for the 4th of July holiday week for the last 5 years. There are homes you can rent up there (pretty reasonable, I think) and there is so much to do in the area. On a couple of days we went fishing, we went crabbing another day, and yet another day we went clam digging. We drove to Lincoln City and Newport as day trips and there's even an Outlet Mall about 30 minutes south if you're itching to do any shopping. And if you like the gamble, there are casinos to frequent as well. On our quiet days, we would either hang out at the beach or read a book out on the deck while catching some rays. It was not crowded at all in July and we enjoyed ourselves immensely! Be prepared though because it does get COLD even though the sun is out. It gets pretty windy and most of our pictures show us in sweatshirts and jackets.

Orcas Jul 13th, 2007 08:09 AM

I agree with other posters. I'm not sure what you are thinking of as "crowded" but Victoria is the only place I think is really adversely affected by the number of tourists in the summer. Come in May and June only if you don't mind chilly, wet weather. Also, there will be lots of snow in the mts so you can't go high into the mountains.

I like Europe off-season and even in winter. The difference is that seeing Europe isn't so much about scenery as it is culture and history, whereas the northwest is really glorious geographically.

Three weeks is great, but even with three weeks, you will have to make choices, as this area is large and diverse. Which end you take your Mom on depends on your itinerary and interests. What are you interested in? I think it would be nice to mix up city, mountain, coast and dry areas east of the Cascades.

The northern end has the bigger cities - Vancouver and Seattle. Victoria is also at that end, and is very picturesque and interesting, though it is very touristy in summer (I like it a lot better off season). Portland is the only city on the southern part.

The biggest mountains are in the middle. Mt. Rainier and Hurricane Ridge are awesome, I think. Mt. Rainier is not really accessible until late July due to snow. The Northwest Cascades National Park is also awesome. Mt. St. Helen is an interesting volcano and has really good NPS programs.

We have rain forests up and down the coast. I haven't been to Tofino, but I think you'd find rain forests up there. On the Olympic peninsula, the Hoh Rainforest is a National Pk. Mt. Rainier has a rain forest too, Ohanapakosh. Also, Cape Lookout OR has rain forest, but it isn't a national park so there are no ranger lead walks, which are worthwhile. (It used to be all rain forest up and down the coast, but logging has finished most of it)

The coast is most accessible in Oregon, where 97% is public, route 101 hugs the coast, and there is park after park. It is spectacular.

Southern OR has Crater Lake. You can see Shakespeare in Ashland if you can find a sitter. There is also a lake there with big waterslides.

On up the east side of the Cascades is high desert, which is an interesting contrast and beautiful in itself. There are volcanic areas, resorts with bike paths.

The Columbia R. Gorge is full of waterfalls and lovely vistas. You have a lot to choose from....

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