6 Essentials for Your Trip to the Pacific Northwest

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6 Essentials for Your Trip to the Pacific Northwest

Have you decided when you are coming to the Pacific Northwest? There is so much to do here anytime of year.

The entire Pacific Northwest is an outdoor lover’s paradise, and that holds true no matter what the season. Boating–anytime. Fishing—anytime, though you will definitely want to fit salmon season into your schedule. Imagine hauling in your own! Camping—year round. Hiking too. You might need snow for most winter sports, and surely waterskiing would be more comfortable in the summer. But you get the idea. Hiking, camping, surfing, lake activities, rafting, mountain climbing, sailing, fishing….

Even if you aren’t an outdoors person, it is hard to resist all there is to fill your time. One of the most popular reasons to visit the area is photography. Photographers flock to the area between the stunning coastline, the intricate waterways, and the variety of topography throughout the eastern portions of the states.

Perhaps more important to some, let’s not forget the shopping! Portland and Seattle offer some of best stores you could want between specialty shops and department stores. Walking around within a few blocks in Portland, you’ll see Keene’s shoes (perfect if you need some excellent hiking or walking shoes), Whole Foods, and Nordstrom. Book lovers won’t want to miss the famous and enormous Tom’s Book Store—you can easily get lost there for hours, wandering through the huge store. Seattle offers similar variety, but when there be sure to see Pike Place Market.

You know what to bring for your specific activities. Winter wear for the ski slopes, wet suits for surfing, camera gear for photographers. Here are several suggestions that might be overlooked by the traveler to the Pacific Northwest.


Hats, for sun or rain. When you go for a hike or to walk the beach, you are liable to spend more time at it that you expected.

A simple hat, one you can secure on your head, will come in handy for protection against the sun, to keep your head warm in a chill, and to keep it dry during the sudden rain.

If it will roll or fold to go in a backpack, even better.


Columbia Bora Bora Booney II Sun Hats, Fossil, One Size


A lightweight raincoat or jacket.

A hood could be handy. It often seems warm enough without it, but again, when the wind comes up or if it starts to mist, you might like to have another layer, one that will block wind and rain.

I suggest light so you can roll it up and stash it when you don’t want to wear it.


Columbia Women’s Splash A Little Rain Jacket


That next recommendation would be a lightweight backpack. Obviously if you are going backpacking, I am not talking to you. For that you will have a sturdier, heavier pack with the special equipment you need. But for the walk on the beach, a few mile hike, or even a day of shopping, a little pack would be so handy.

On my last visit to the beach at Bandon, I walked down to the beach, expecting to walk for a half hour or so. Two and a half hours later I started back, then only because my cell phone battery had died because of all the photos I’d taken. I would have stayed longer if I had my emergency charger, a snack and an extra bottle of water. A light backpack will hold the rain jacket, sunscreen, a towel, any camera gear, and binoculars. Plus it leaves your hands free.

Free knight 35L Big Packable Handy Lightweight Travel Backpack Water Resistant Daypack FK0710 (black)


Which brings us to my next suggestion.

Binoculars would be a handy addition to pack if you’ve room. Twice a year you can watch for whales as they travel to and from warmer waters. Seals offshore on the huge rocks, puffins at Haystack Rock, osprey and eagle nests you may see while hiking.

You will be surprised how much you will use a pair of binoculars on your trip. You can bring any size if you are driving, but a small set for air travel will work well and take less space in your suitcase.

Bushnell Powerview Compact Folding Roof Prism Binocular


Extra Phone/Camera Charger for your phone or camera would be very handy.

They make them so small and light these days. Whether you use your phone or a camera, I bet you will be taking a lot of photos! It was a surprise to me how quickly the battery drops when using my smart phone for photos.

If you are using a camera, I would bring an extra media storage card too!

PowerBot® TNT PB2611 2600mAh Universal Power Bank External Back Up Battery w/ 800mAh Output, 0.8A Rapid Charge + Built-In USB Port Output (MicroUSB cable included) + Premium Stainless Aluminum Design Silver


An extra pair of shoes for hiking or walking is highly recommended as well.

Chances are you will be covering some ground here, so a comfortable pair is essential. I’d suggest a back up in case of rain, a surprise wave, or a muddy path. A pair of water shoes would work for the beach. Handy if you want to play in the sand or in the river too. They are usually soft and easy to fit into a suitcase (or that backpack) too. Naturally the rivers have stones along the shore, but many of the beaches too can be quite rocky.

Men’s Wave Water Shoes Pool Beach Aqua Socks, Yoga , Exercise

Those are a few of my suggestions for essentials. Actually these items are handy no matter where you are traveling. Be sure to include the sunscreen and hair ties, perhaps an umbrella. If you are driving, throw in a few extra towels too.

If you are traveling via car in the winter season don’t forget your tire chains.


You’ll find a variety of temperatures in the Pacific Northwest too. Here on the coast alone it can vary a lot city to city. In summer so many come here to escape the hotter inland temperatures. We have a few hot days, but more often we stay in the 60’s and 70’s during the summer months. That sounds like a lovely break when your temps are closer to 100 degrees. Even the winters are fairly mild on the coast. That is the rainiest season but we have plenty of sunny comfortable days too. As a matter of fact, it’s supposed to reach 60 degrees today.

One thing you can expect often is the wind. It seems most afternoons the wind comes up, and it can be a chilly wind at that! Another reason to pack that raincoat or jacket for a top layer. If you are traveling inland, you can expect warm temps in the summer and cold temps in the winter.

Every season has so much to offer. In spring you will find flower filled trees as the rhodies bloom. In the fall we even get some of the fall colors. The rivers, the incredible beauty of the mountains and forests, the waterways and the ocean, are constant and memorable. It’s one of the most beautiful areas to visit. Add in the charming, fun cities like Portland and Seattle, and you will be wishing you had planned more time here!





Merry Citarella, often writing as Merrci, writes on a wide range of topics. Recently relocated to the Oregon Coast in the northwest United States, she frequently writes travel features on the beautiful Pacific Northwest. She specializes in health and aging, Alzheimer’s Disease, food, lifestyle, and book reviews. For more information you can see her on The Writers’Door. You can read more articles here or at her websites Alzheimers HQ and Simple Living Ideas

Author: Jackie Jackson

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