Planning a Trip to the Pacific Northwest

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Planning a Trip to the Pacific Northwest

If you are planning a trip to the Pacific northwest, you may already have a purpose—and destination–in mind. You might be bringing the snowboards, downhill or cross country skis along with your winter weather clothing. You might be towing a boat, carrying bikes or packing light with just your fishing gear. A kayak perhaps? Hiking shoes? Climbing gear, surfboard (wetsuit highly suggested)? The possibilities are endless.

If you don’t have plans set, you will find some suggestions here to suit. Even if you have a destination selected many of these will be near enough to fit in for a few hours of fun.



Going to Tahoe? Try a night snowmobile ride Isolated beauty, the snow lightened by the moon. Travel through pristine forests, enjoying the stars. Sweet. In Idaho, boating and fishing are always a highlight, but you can consider white water rafting, back country biking, or dogsledding too.

Throughout the Pacific Northwest you can arrange snowshoe hikes. You can take a lesson, brush up, go on a guided hike. For something unusual and beautiful, try an evening snow shoe walk in the wilderness. You can reserve a spot while you are in Portland for a hike in Mount Hood.

Visit the exquisite Crater Lake.

If your trip is scheduled for January, go on a mushroom hunt! The hard to find, delicious truffles are found in Oregon’s Willamette Valley. Check the schedules for other mushrooms. The picking times vary, as does the number you are permitted to collect, depending where you find them. Might be a good idea to go with a guide the first time.

Also in January, you can whale watch along the coast as the whales make their way north.


Tour the wine country that runs along the Columbia river or other areas. Both Oregon and Washington have well recognized wineries. You can sample and see for yourself.

Lighthouse hunting can be as much fun. There are more than a dozen just between Oregon and Washington. All different, all popular to see. Pick up a card and get it stamped at each, to verify you were there. You could spend several days visiting them all, but I would plan more time than that so you can sample the towns near each. There are many charming fishing towns that will lure you in.

Plan a stop in Ashland enroute to catch a performance at the shakespeare festival.

Go birding. There are opportunities in all the states, but in Klamath falls in February you have a good chance of catching a wonderful variety of birds migrating. The highlight might be the bald eagles you will see. The coastal areas too offer marshland and other areas that are popular stops for birders.

Horseback ride on the beach.


Take the ferry to Victoria, BC for afternoon high tea (be sure to make a reservation)

Island hop on the ferries to see Friday Harbor, Fidalgo Island, Orcas Island, or Whidby Island (you can drive there too). Those are just a few of them. They dot the waterways in Northern Washington.

Visit Port Orford in spring for the Cape Blanco Country Music Festival. Brad Paisley headlined with others in 2014, this year so far, on the schedule is Blake Shelton, Florida Georgia Line and the Band Perry. I think Sara Evans and Lonestar have been added to the schedule, but check to be sure! They expect lots more performers.

Drive south a ways to visit Mount St Helen’s, the site of the volcano that erupted in the 1980’s. It’s fascinating.

The Lewis and Clark Expedition met the Pacific ocean in the Pacific Northwest. Check on their route, the museums for the rich history of the early settlers.

Take a clam chowder challenge on the Oregon Coast. Sample chowder wherever you stop and keep score. Let me know where you find your favorite please.

Plan your trip around a festival. Throughout the year, throughout the state you will find festivals galore. There is the Azalea Festival, the Cranberry Festival, the Rose Festival, the Blossom Festival, the Tulip Festival, and the Crab, Seafood and Wine Festival. Just to name a few.

Take a hike on any of the hundreds of beautiful trails in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy the solitude of the thick forests, hike back to one of many waterfalls, walk the circumference of a mountain lake. You can find short, long, easy and difficult trails. Something for everyone.


Last but not least, visit Portland. Walk the compact, fun city. Enjoy fine dining, food carts, and specialty shops. Same in Seattle, only there be sure you stop in at Pike’s Market.

There is so much to do here no matter what time of year you visit. Pack your camera and come see for yourself. It would be hard to be disappointed here. If you want to look around and check out flights, hotels, or activities, you can find tons of info here at Trip Advisor.

If you want a great book to help you find your way around, I recommend this guide. Actually there are three or four of them I think you would love if you want to explore further.





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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