Route for Oregon/Washington Trip

Old Jan 13th, 2017, 07:42 AM
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Route for Oregon/Washington Trip

My hubs and I are planning a 2 week trip in July to explore Oregon and Washington. We've never visited the area. So much to see, so little time! Would like to travel the coast, visit a winery or two (or three - ha), enjoy some good eats along the way. I'm assuming in order not to backtrack we'll be flying in and out from different locations. I know this is a tall order but any thoughts or suggestions on a route would be greatly appreciated - also any must sees!
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 08:17 AM
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I'm guessing you will be flying in to either SEA or PDX.
Depending on where you are coming from you might want to come to Seattle, Portland or Eugene on an Amtrak train.
Please make a big loop and return the car where you rented it.
Head to the coast first from whichever city you choose and go south as far as Reedsport OR on US 101. The Oregon Dunes are just north of Reedsport. East of Reedsport on OR 38 is the Deans Creek elk viewing area. I've seen as many as 40 Roosevelt elk there.
Continuing east on 38 to Elkton where you turn off onto OR 138 back to I-5. Go south on I-5 to Roseburg where you get on Rt. 138 east up the Umpqua River past Diamond Lake to get to the north entrance of Crater Lake NP. If you can get a room at Crater lake Lodge do it. Otherwise stay at the Diamond Lake Resort and head to Crater lake the next morning.
Leaving Crater Lake north entrance it is 90 miles to Bend which I consider a great tourist destination.
Leaving Bend, head north on US 97 to Madras and then US 26 to Government Camp. If you can, get to Timberline for a night. Otherwise head down Rt. 35 on the east side of Mt. Hood to the town of Hood River along the Columbia River.
Stay in Hood River instead of Portland.
Between Hood River and Portland see the waterfalls including Multnomah Falls (Oregon's tallest).
See Portland, Mt. Rainier (or Mt. St. Helens), Seattle and a winery or 3 in the Willamette Valley south of Portland.
McMinnville would be a good base for seeing wineries and the Evergreen Aviation Museum where the "Spruce Goose" and some other neat stuff is housed.
If you do a search on my profile, you can check my latest post "19 things to see in Oregon".
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 09:17 AM
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Well of course there's a lot to see, and you'll have to make some tough choices. Much also depends on your travel style - do you mind frequent changes of scenery or would you prefer to stay a couple or a few days in one area to see things in depth?

For example, you could easily spend a week around the Puget Sound/Salish Sea region - island hopping in the San Juan Islands, or visiting the lavender fields on the Olympic Peninsula, maybe with a day trip to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park or one to Victoria BC.

Or you could focus several days just along the Columbia River - from Cape Disappointment at the river's awesome mouth east to Portland, farther east to the waterfalls and vista points in the western Gorge, farther east to the marvelous Hood River Valley with its orchards, vineyards and Mount Hood looming above, and even further east out into the sagebrush and red rocks, to Maryhill with its funky museum (Rodin in the Old West) and nearby replica of Stonehenge overlooking the canyon walls.

There are wineries in the Willamette Valley in Oregon, the Hood River Valley, the Columbia Valley and Palouse in southeastern Washington, and the Yakima Valley, which you could transit on the way to Mount Rainier from the east. The area is also very full of craft breweries, if your tastes run to beer. Look at McMenamins - http://www.mcmenamins.com/ - for fun lodgings with a beer/wine theme. (I'd fly into Portland and spend the first night at the Edgefield if it was me.)

There are popular - maybe too popular - Oregon beach towns and national park beaches on the Olympic Peninsula that exemplify the term "wild coast." There are surprisingly little known nooks and crannies - google Joseph Oregon and the Wallowas - and some of North America's most vibrant (and in summer, expensive) cities. I could go on.

Here's an imaginary "no-holds-barred" route that could be done in two weeks if you don't mind staying in motion pretty much every day if not every other day. https://goo.gl/maps/kMHjssFcVa72

It starts and ends in Portland (one-way car rental surcharges are terrible, by the way) and does a big figure-8. You start with the Columbia Gorge, then head up through great "old west" country and the Yakama res to US 12, then west through Mount Rainier NP and out to the coast for a loop around Olympic NP, with its rain forests, alpine meadows, and amazing beaches.

You cross Puget Sound on a ferry into Seattle, then south to Olympia and back out to the coast at Cape Disappointment. Visit the northern Oregon coast then follow the Columbia back to Portland. You could swing inland and transit the Willamette Valley wine country between the coast and Portland.

But like I say that's a very aggressive plan and might not fit at all with your interests. But it's a start.
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 02:11 PM
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I have no specific route for you (but live in Seattle).

Some of my favorite places around here are: the Oregon coast, Willamette Valley (has wineries!), Portland, Seattle, and Whidbey Island.
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 03:03 PM
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tomfuller and gardyloo - you've given me just the kind of info/help I was hoping for. Now to sit with maps and information and make decisions! I'm sure I'll be back with more specific questions. Thanks ever so much! Suze thanks for chiming in. I love hearing from locals and look forward to seeing your side of the country!
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Old Jan 13th, 2017, 07:04 PM
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We have almost always done Washington Oregon as a camping trip. Because we are coming from BC, we head east along Highway 20 through the N Cascades National Park. This is an incredibly scenic drive, and on the east side you are in the Okanogan region, Winthrop, a cool little western themed town on near Pearrygin State Park.

Going south, drive through Lake Chelan, Ellensburg, Yakima, then branch off to Topenish, Goldendale, Maryhill. As you come south on 97 down from the plateau to the Columbia River, you see why it's called the Gorge.

It's as beautiful as anything I have ever seen.

We like to stay on the Washington side of the river until maybe Cascade Locks, can't remember exactly. Cross over and you'll be on the right side of the river then for Mt Hood and Multnomah Falls.

Stop in Portland, beautiful little city, then from Portland take 26 out to Cannon Beach. Just south of there is one of our favorite campgrounds at Nehalem Bay. The state parks are just awesome along the Oregon coast.

You want to drive down the Oregon coast to be on the right side to see the coastline.

Go as far south as Florence, where the Dunes are (dune buggy rides) then take 126 back to Eugene.

For us that would be a full 2 week vacation, and we would head north on the I5 homeward, towards Seattle.

Not saying anything wrong with other ideas, this is just what we enjoyed, and in all our trips, we have still not made it to Crater Lake!
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