Summer 2010 in Pacific northwest

Old Jan 10th, 2010, 10:55 AM
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Join Date: Dec 2009
Posts: 25
Summer 2010 in Pacific northwest

I am planning a trip next summer with my husband and three grown up children (aged 22,19 and 16). The current idea is to visit the Pacific northwest and I have been recommended Washington or Oregon.
We are from London and have had 3 fantastic trips to US and would like to explore another area. The 1st was Miami , Kennedy Space Centre, Everglades and Key West.. Then a 2nd trip to San Francisco, Yosemite and LA, the 3rd was to New York.
We are quite adventurous and could have 2 or 3 bases over the fortnight or perhaps hire an RV so we can see more of the area. Our interests are wildlife, outdoors, music, food and just getting to know more about an area.
Any suggestions?
sal56 is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2010, 11:34 AM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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You have lots of options, and I'm sure many others will chime in and give you additional ideas. So here's one idea.
Do both OR and WA in two weeks. If you fly into Seattle make that home base for a few days. There are the ususal stops, Pike Place Market, Space Needle, Pioneer Square, waterfront, Lake Washington ship canal and fish locks, Music Experience Project and the adjacent Science Fiction Musuem, etc. Also from there you can make day trip to the Boeing factory tour if interested, to Snoqualmie falls park and the Northwest Railway Musuem and Woodenville and visiting several Washington wineries.
Then move to the Olympic Peninsula for a few days. If you have and RV, HQ in Olympic National Park or Port Angeles. Hurricane Ridge, Hoh Rainforest, Lake Cresent. Also day trips to Port Townsend, maybe Whidbey Island.
Now follow US 101 around the Peninsula to Forks, Aberdeen and the Long Beach peninsula. Great beach views (cold water).
With anothge HQ near Astoria, OR, you can explore the Oregon coast on day trips as far south as Newport. Also day trip into Portland and OR wine country if desired.
Then follow the Columbia River until you can catch I-5 north. At least a day in Mt. St. Helens area and then a final base in or near Mt. Ranier Nat. Park.
Have fun!
boom_boom is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2010, 11:58 AM
Join Date: Oct 2006
Posts: 667
If you do go to the Seattle area, be sure to take the ferry out to Friday Harbor. It's a lovely trip, and once there you can explore the island. I believe that the ferry leaves from Anacortes, which is north of Seattle.
cferrb is offline  
Old Jan 10th, 2010, 12:56 PM
Join Date: Jan 2003
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I have hosted a number of friends from the UK on similar holidays. My take:

No to the RV. It will be too limiting in terms of maneuverability. Frankly, with 5, I'd look either at a minivan, or else two vehicles plus some throw-away walkie talkies or pay-as-you-go mobile phones in order to coordinate yourselves. You might get away with a larger SUV, but even then someone gets the middle seat.

Anyway, Oregon and Washington can make for an ideal 2-week trip. Or, just to complicate things, you could do as some Scottish friends of ours did a couple of years ago, and take a week to tour some of the highlights in Oregon/Washington, then spend the second week on an Alaska cruise, which can be extremely cost-effective as well as providing superb scenery. Just a teaser...

Anyway, absent the cruise, you can do a number of very enjoyable loop trips, featuring rocky ocean coast, rain forests, mountains and glaciers, "Old West" red rock country, the Columbia Gorge, and some very interesting and historic towns and cities.

Partly it depends on your travel style. You mention having 2 or 3 bases over a fortnight, but then also talk about a more mobile approach. Do you prefer to motor hard, then stay for a couple of days in one location? Or are you okay with breaking camp every morning and re-settling someplace else that night? Obviously logistics become more taxing with the latter, but you can also get a better view of the amazing variety this region holds.

Both Seattle and Portland lend themselves to day-trips to a number of scenic and interesting destinations - Mount Rainier, Puget Sound and Whidbey Island in the case of Seattle; Mounts Hood and St. Helens, and the Columbia Gorge in the case of Portland.

In terms of music, you don't mention specific timing, but the marvelous Bumbershoot Festival in Seattle - - the first weekend in September, is a not-miss if doable with school-aged people in your party. Or two remarkably good Shakespeare festivals - the long-standing Oregon Shakespeare Festival in Ashland in southern Oregon -, or the very fun Bard on the Beach series in downtown Vancouver BC - . In Seattle, the local mid-summer festival, Seafair, features parades, hydroplane races, and the US Navy Blue Angels (late July - early August) while in Portland there's a Rose Festival in early June, and a jazz festival in August. And big (and little) 4th of July celebrations everywhere.

On your trip to California did you happen to see the Redwoods? If not, I might suggest a great alternative itinerary - fly into San Francisco, then drive north along the coast (Calif. Hwy 1 - the northern half - for the first couple hundred miles) and through the Redwoods, then the Oregon coast, the Washington Coast, Seattle and Puget Sound, cross the Cascades and see some great "old west" country on the way south to the Columbia Gorge, and end up in Portland. (No nonstop air service to the UK from Portland, but easy connections to Seattle, SF or Vancouver, from which there are numerous flight options.) This would easily fill a fortnight, and the Redwoods are like nothing you can see anywhere else.

Just a thought.
Gardyloo is online now  
Old Jan 10th, 2010, 03:14 PM
Join Date: Jul 2007
Posts: 7,443
We spent 12 days this past July in Oregon(side trip to Redwoods) and it was great. We did take an entire day for a wild waterfall expedition.

Flew into Portland: allow 2-4 days
we arrived about noon and headed straight for Papa Hadyns for desert. This place is fantastic
Saw International Test Rose Garden and Japanese Garden across the Street. See Powell Bookstore( my wife spent a lot of time here- it is fantastic if you like to read-travel section was huge). Be sure and have Coffee @ Stumptown Roasters. We ate at several super good places and tried a couple of other coffee places that were also good. Voodoo Doughnuts is an interesting place. We also did Chinese Gardens. We did a daytrip and saw Mount St. Helens.

We then drove to the Columbia River Gorge: see Multnomah Falls, maybe have a meal there. See Horsetail Falls. Tons of great hikes to waterfalls is in this area. A super easy hike (it is just long, it isn't strenuous anywhere) is the 12 mile hike called Eagle Creek Trail. You pass by 7 0r 8 waterfalls(punchbowl and tunnel falls are the two awesome ones). Tunnel Falls you actually walk behind it-very powerful! From there we drove the "fruit loop" and spent the night @ Timberline Lodge on Mount Hood. The Gorge and Hood are just as impressive as most National Parks.

The morning from Timberline took the ski lift to the top of the mountain and hiked down it. Also hiked around Trillium Lake at the bottom of Mount Hood.

Then we were on to Crater Lake. This reminds me of the Grand Canyon. Wow Factor is way up there. We did take the boat to Wizard Island and hiked up to see the cone at the top. Had a picnic there and then I jumped in the 38 degree water. The blueness of the water is hard to describe. After I jumped in, 10 other people followed. A couple of guys stripped down to there underwear and jumped in.

From there we went to Grants Pass and did a Jet Boat Ride, then on to Oregon Caves National Monument and spent the night there at Oregon Caves Chateau.

The next day we saw the Redwoods-drive the dirt road and see the Stout Grove. We then took two days and drove the coast stopping many times along the way. I would pick just Oregon or just Washington (Rainier, Olympic, Northern Cascades, San Juan Islands). I wouldn't combo Glacier with either of these. I would keep Glacier a trip all to itself.

Here is a link to our photos:

here is a link to our waterfall/hiking/rappelling-unbelievable
spirobulldog is offline  
Old Jan 15th, 2010, 04:32 PM
Join Date: May 2003
Posts: 12,074
Even though I've lived in Washington State most of my life, I am still awed by the Cascade Mountains. No matter how many times I drive I-90 to Seattle, I am always impressed by the beauty of the area.

Another especially stunning drive is the North Cascades National Park (highway 20). It's really awesome (in the true sense of the word). Ýou can drive to Winthrop, a old-West town, which is kind of fun.

The Columbia Gorge is also impressive. In the western reaches, it's quite verdant, but as you drive further east, the greenery pretty much disappears and you're left with a rugged, barren landscape.

The Pacific Northwest has a great deal to offer, as you can see from the above suggestions. I hope you have a really great trip.
Pegontheroad is offline  
Old Jan 17th, 2010, 01:03 AM
Join Date: Mar 2003
Posts: 21,081
If truly adventurous, you could car camp. The cost of the equipment will be quickly recovered because campsites are cheaper than motels or hotels, the cooking would save you on dinner and breakfast costs, and you might see more nature because a car, even a station wagon, is more flexible than an RV.

If interested, you could look up my two trip reports to that area by just clicking on my name and looking for my trip reports.

To whet your appetite:
Michael is offline  
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