vacation in Oregon and Washington

Mar 21st, 2002, 04:57 PM
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vacation in Oregon and Washington

My husband and I are planning a vacation to the Pacific NW in late July/early August. We will fly to either Seattle or Portland, rent a car, and spend two weeks exploring the area. My current plans include the coast and Olympic Peninsula, then a return trip through the Cascades. Is there any reason to pick either Seattle or Portland as a better place to fly into and out of? Are there any special places between or in the two cities that I might not read about in a guide book, but are "must sees"? We both love history, the out doors (but not camping), easy hiking, gardens, good food, art--in fact, most everything. Thanks in advance for sharing your ideas. Sincerely, Lynn, Winston-Salem, NC
Mar 21st, 2002, 05:20 PM
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why not fly into one and out of the other? that would maximize your time.
Mar 21st, 2002, 06:56 PM
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IMO, Portland would be the best bet to fly into if you had to choose. Webfoots suggestion would save alot of backtracking however. But PDX is alot faster getting in and out of than seatac.
From Portland you can travel east up the gorge, into the cascades,lots of waterfalls. West to, IMHO the most scenic spots on the Oregon coast. Check out Cannon beach, Newport. About a hour south of Portland is the new Oregon Garden, havent been there yet myself but hear it is very nice.
A trip up to Mt. St.Helens would be a must see. In Seattle check into the "underground" tour for a little history.
Mar 21st, 2002, 07:03 PM
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Lynn, thanks for asking this question. We are planning on driving out to WA & OR about the same time, so am very interested in the answers that come up here. I have gone to the State tourism sites and requested information and have gotten very quick responses along with maps and event caledars, and other assorted info. Can't wait to get there!
Mar 21st, 2002, 09:41 PM
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Hi Lynn-we've lived in Oregon for 18 years now - and the Portland airport is much easier than Seattle. Yes, the Gorge for hiking and sightseeing. There's a great loop from Hood River up Hwy 35 to Mt. Hood with Timberline Lodge. You may have time to head into Central Oregon for some incredible mountain viewing.(It's also a High Desert). Seattle is at least 3 days of fun - the Westin always has deals and every room has a view! Oh, bring your raincoat! Enjoy!
Mar 21st, 2002, 09:58 PM
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Lynn, sounds like you are doing your research! I live in WA and am rather partial to the North Cascades Highway--UNBELIEVABLE mountain scenery --at least on the the east side if the west side is cloudy If you do it you MUST STOP at Washington Pass overlook!
I will warn you that summer accomodations can be very hard to find "spur of the moment" in some parts.
Mar 23rd, 2002, 05:33 AM
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Thanks for the helpful info. I'm new to asking for advice from complete strangers, and am amazed that people who don't know me take the time to answer. I've kept your e-mail adresses and may write you individually if I have more specific questions later. If that is inappropriate, just let me know at this site (Fodor's). Thanks again, Lynn
Mar 23rd, 2002, 08:08 AM
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Two weeks allows for a great big loop - start in Portland or Seattle, loop out to the coast, back across the Cascades, tour the east side, back across the mountains again, second big city, close the loop, home.

The issues you'll have to decide are which parts of the coast and which parts of the east side. My recommendation would be to start in Seattle then out to the Washington coast because it offers the rain forest as well as the rocky beach scenery (available in Oregon but better in the southern part of the state, which is probably too distant given your itinerary.) Loop around the Olympic Peninsula, stop for two nights at Port Angeles, 1 day for Hurricane Ridge, the other for a day trip (no car) by passenger ferry to Victoria BC for oldie worldie scenery and the Butchart Gardens. I'd then cross Puget Sound on ferries (Port Townsend/Whidbey/Mukilteo), then across the mountains either via the N. Cascades Hwy (WA SR20) or at Stevens Pass (US2); then the Grand Coulee country; then south (US97) to the Columbia River, down the Columbia Gorge to Portland, loop Mt. Hood, back to Seattle via Mt. St. Helens and/or Mt. Rainier, done. This route constitutes around 6 driving days, so with 2 weeks you'll be able to choose where to lay over for extra nights. Be warned: there is so much to see that choosing will be tough.

The weather in late July/early August will be as good as it gets hereabouts; it is seldom hot at the coast and can be breezy or damp at any time; east of the mountains and around Portland it can be downright hot, too - like in the 90s-100s, but less humid than NC.

You should plan your route pretty early if you're intending to spend time on the Olympic Peninsula coast; accommodation is fairly scarce and you will be there at the peak demand period.
Mar 23rd, 2002, 03:27 PM
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Lynn, let me join with John in also suggesting you try to work in a visit to Vancouver Island and visit the Butchart Gardens.
They are simply magnificent. Really, I'm not a big fan of gardens and flowers and went simply because our neighbors raved on and on about them. Have to say they were a highlight of our trip. We only went over for a day trip and missed seeing them at night which is also supposed to be a wonderful experience.
Good luck and have a great vacation.

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