Pacific nw - where?

Old Mar 12th, 2016, 10:38 AM
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Pacific nw - where?

We have 10-12 days and I'm overwhelmed with choices.
My husbands wish list:
San Juan islands
Olympia natl park
Mt ranier
The Oregon coast
Columbia gorge

My wish list:
portland
Bend (someone told me this is a very cool place to visit. Thoughts?)
Maybe crater lake

We'll be traveling with an active 12 year old. I don't want to be driving 3-4 hours every day, but I don't mind moving around. Thoughts or suggestions on the best itinerary in the allotted time? We'd like to include a day of white water rafting but it's not essential. any advice appreciated. Thanks.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 11:52 AM
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What month? Coming by plane or would an Amtrak train make sense?
My thoughts: Arrive in Seattle whether by plane or train.
Take a boat trip to see the Islands and if you're lucky a whale.
Back in Seattle, rent a car and go to see either Mt Rainier or the Olympic NP.
Return the car and take an Amtrak Cascades train to Portland.
Spend at least 6 days in Oregon with a rental car.
If you've already seen enough of the coast in Washington, go east of Portland and see the waterfalls and Mt. Hood before heading for Bend. Bend is in the transition between the Cascades and the High Desert.
Bend is known as one of the few places where you can ski in the morning and play golf in the afternoon.
There are some good bicycle trails in the area as well.
Leaving Bend, the north entrance of Crater Lake NP is 90 miles. The north entrance SHOULD be open by July 1.
If you have enough time left after Crater Lake, you can go to the coast on Rt. 138 or US 20 to Newport.
Return the car and fly home from PDX or take a train home.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 11:58 AM
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Well, something has got to go, I think. Maybe several somethings....because as your list stands, 10-12 days would be good for either state but not both. First: what are your interests? What do you like to do? What does you husband want to do at all those places? And where do you fly in/out? When is this?

Some thoughts:
I like Bend, and it would fit with your rafting idea. It's not top of my list- but I tend to like coastal places more, so I think it depends on your preference. I don't know how interested your 12 year old would be. I'd do Bend if you want to do a good amount of outdoor activities.

I'd personally cut Crater Lake- it's a long drive from practically everywhere.
It's beautiful, but I didn't find it very interesting at 12 (and I didn't enjoy the car ride, but that's because I got carsick mostly).

ONP wipes out 3-4 days. The coast wipes out minimum 2-4 days. San Juan Islands is worth at least 2-3 nights (you can do one as a day trip, but you don't see much). Rainier can be done as a day trip, but it is a long day.

Gorge is at least one night, but worth 2-3 nights.

(All of that assumes you want to stop and do stuff, like hiking).

So just with minimums, that's 9 nights right there. That doesn't count travel time or the cities. Portland would be 2 nights, Seattle would be 3, at least if you've never been.

I think you need to sit down and figure out what you actually want to do in each place and then come back to ask more specific questions.

I think the 12 year old would have the most fun if you did something like Seattle- Rainier-ONP- Gorge- Coast. Except for the ONP, that involves relatively little driving. And maybe I'd even cut Rainier out of that. But it really depends on your kid.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 12:06 PM
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Forgot to say on that last part that you could fit Portland in between gorge and coast. And Portland is really good for just hanging out- food and breweries. Seattle has more to do with a kid that age.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 12:07 PM
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It would be a shame not to take a peek at Portland, but otherwise I prefer your husband's wish list.

At the height of the tourist season, ferry travel in the San Juan Islands is a headache. San Juan Island and Orcas Island are the big favorites. I prefer SJI, others prefer OI. Make reservations well ahead of time.

I disagree with whoever suggested you skip Mt. Rainier. Driving to the foot of Mt. Rainier is one of the great experiences in the NW. I have been doing it at least once a year for decades, and it always thrills me.

Cannon Beach, Ecola State Park, Newport, and the stretch of Highway 101 between Florence and Yachts are among my favorite places on the Oregon Coast.

Hood River is a pleasant town in which to spend a night in the Columbia River Gorge.

HTtY
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 01:23 PM
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thanks everyone. We'll be going in August and flying in. I haven't booked any flights yet.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 01:27 PM
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I forgot to mention, we like to hike but not heavy duty. Basically see the scenery, maybe check out music, just get a feel for the places we visit, but not necessarily biking or actual activities other than rafting and light hiking.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 04:12 PM
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There are several flights into Redmond from various cities including SLC if you would want to start with Bend and Crater Lake NP.
There are several rafting companies that run on the Deschutes River. There are others that run on the Rogue River on the west side of the Cascades.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 04:54 PM
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We really enjoy rafting with SunCountry Tours in Bend. Their Big Eddy trip is perfect for beginners. It is a half day trip, and I would opt for the afternoon when it is warmer, so more enjoyable for being in the water.
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 07:16 PM
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A note about rafting - by August some rivers have low water levels that make rafting difficult if not impossible. This has been a snowy winter so hopefully things won't be completely dried out, but it's always a crap shoot. In that regard, there's quite a lot of rafting available on the White Salmon River, which empties into the Columbia right across from Hood River. So it would be easy to combine the Columbia Gorge, Mount Hood, the Hood River Valley "fruit loop" (also lots of local wineries) and rafting all from a base in Hood River for a couple of days.

In my view Mount Hood also can take the place of Mount Rainier; while it's not a national park Mount Hood is very scenic, and given your time constraints, Mount Hood's ease of access is a major benefit.

That way I could see flying into Portland, spending 2 or 3 days in the Gorge/Mt. Hood area, then heading down the Columbia to Cape Disappointment at the mouth, then up US 101 to Olympic National Park. Spend 3 days visiting the national park's ocean beaches - which will easily take the place of the Oregon beaches - and the Hoh Valley rain forest, followed by Hurricane Ridge near Port Angeles.

I'd skip the San Juans - the logistics are tough in high summer - and substitute Whidbey Island, reached by ferry from Port Townsend. Whidbey has charming little towns like Coupeville and Langley, marvelous Deception Pass - the narrow gap between Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands, where at tide change the water rushes through in a scary fashion - along with beaches, lighthouses, whale watching (from Port Townsend) if you want.

Then take the ferry back to the mainland at Mukilteo and fly out of Seattle, or if you want to save money on a rental car, head back to Portland. If you still have half a day, detour to Mount St. Helens as you head south on I-5.

This would make for a busy but doable 10-12 days (12 is way better) with lots of variety. Map - https://goo.gl/maps/nsmYe9Pxvhr
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Old Mar 12th, 2016, 07:22 PM
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Oops, map glitched on me. Try this - https://goo.gl/maps/364M1vhLuHK2
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 11:52 AM
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We have an extra day and night to travel between Vancouver and Portland. Coming from Burlington, the description of Whidbey and Hidalgo Islands sounds like a perfect side trip from Hwy 5. Any other suggestions for the Islands - where to stay or eat? This would be the first week of April.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 12:24 PM
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..the description of Whidbey and Hidalgo Islands sounds like a perfect side trip from Hwy 5. Any other suggestions for the Islands - where to stay or eat? This would be the first week of April.

It's Fidalgo, not Hidalgo, and the first week of April is smack in the middle of the Tulip festival in the Skagit Valley.

http://www.tulipfestival.org/
http://www.tulips.com/bloommap

Look for accommodations in La Conner on the mainland, or Coupeville or Langley on Whidbey. All three are gorgeous little waterfront villages, with numerous restaurants, bars, etc. Don't miss Deception Pass, stunning at tide change. Use this table - http://tides.mobilegeographics.com/locations/1528.html - to time your visit; go for peak flood or ebb.
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Old Mar 23rd, 2016, 02:05 PM
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Thanks! Booked the Saratoga Inn in Langley as they have a Tesla charger at the inn. Deception Pass looks awesome; noticed distilleries also on the Island. Love finding out about new places and the Tulip festival also deserves a stop as well.
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