How to have a fantastic road trip

Oregon and Washington make up the Pacific Northwest, a rugged, beautiful region dominated by mountains, volcanos, waterfalls, wineries, spectacular coastlines, and four national parks.

This road trip is one of the my Epic Road Trips To Take In The United States!

Whatever kind of adventure you want to have, these states have you covered. Seattle and Portland are also two of the Top Destinations To Visit In August.

So here’s the ultimate Pacific Northwest Road Trip Itinerary!
Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Four nights in Seattle

Start your road trip in Seattle. I went to college here, so this city is near and dear to my heart! My favorite accommodation in the city is The State Hotel, an Instagram-perfect boutique hotel across from Pike Place Market. You can also check out the Best Airbnbs in Seattle.

Spend your first two days exploring the city. My top activity recommendations are to watch the sunset from Kerry Park, shop in Pike Place Market, visit Pioneer Square, see a show at The Crocodile, go up in the Space Needle, and see the city from The Sky View Observatory in the Columbia Center.

For your third day, take a day trip to Woodinville Wine Country. This picture-perfect valley is known for its wide variety of local wineries, microbreweries, and eateries. My top winery pick would be Chateau Ste, but you can’t go wrong with any winery or brewery.

On your fourth day, take a day trip to North Cascades National Park. If you have more than two weeks for this road trip, then I recommend spending a couple of days in this national park instead of visiting it as a day trip.

Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Two nights in Mount Rainier National Park

On your fifth day, make the relatively short drive from Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park. For your accommodation, I recommend The National Park Inn or the Paradise Inn inside the park. These can book more than a year in advance, though, so if there’s no availability, then the park has several campgrounds, and a variety of other lodging is available in nearby towns.

Mt. Rainier National Park is open year-round, though some portions of the park close in Winter. I recommend visiting Paradise, which has some of the best wildflower fields in the warm months and some of the best snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and tubing in Winter.

Other things you should do when you’re here are drive to Sunrise (the highest point in the park reachable by car) and hike the Grove of the Patriarchs, Silver Falls, and Skyline trails.

Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Two nights in Olympic National Park

On day seven of your road trip, head to Olympic National Park, home to glacier-capped mountains, old-growth temperate rain forests, and over 70 miles of gorgeous coastline.

Olympic National Park has three lodges, log cabin rentals, and several rustic campgrounds. If the in-park lodging is booked, then the National Park Service has a great list of the nearby towns with accommodation options.

When you’re here, you should hike Hurricane Ridge, visit Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, hike in the Hoh Rain Forest, paddle on Lake Crescent, hike to the Sol Duc Falls overlook, and marvel at the cliffs and coastline at Mora and Rialto Beach.

Best things to do in Portland Oregon
Staying at The Benson: the best hotel in Portland
Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Three nights in Portland

On day nine, head south into Oregon and plan on spending most of your day at Cannon Beach. Cannon Beach is most famous for Haystack Rock and for being a filming site for movies such as The Goonies and Point Break (the original). Make sure you spend some time on the beach and in the charming seaside town.

Then arrive in Portland this evening. The best hotel in Portland is The Benson, a historic, elegant hotel that sets the standard for luxury hotels in the United States. You can also check out the Coolest Airbnbs in Portland.

On your tenth day, explore Portland. I highly recommend doing a pub crawl, riding the Arial Tram, visiting Cathedral Park, touring the Japanese Garden, and hiking in Forest Park.

On day eleven, take a day trip to Mt. Hood and the Columbia River Gorge. This gorge is the largest national scenic area in the U.S., and it has the highest concentration of waterfalls in North America. Make sure you visit Multnomah Falls!

Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Three nights in Crater Lake National Park

On your twelfth day, head south to Crater Lakes National Park, the deepest lake in the U.S., and one of the most pristine on earth.

The best accommodation for Crater Lake is The Cabins at Mazama Village or Crater Lake Lodge inside the park. There are also Airbnbs, campgrounds, and hotels in nearby towns.

Things to do when you’re here are: drive the Rim Drive, take a boat to Wizard Island, hike Garfield Peak, and hike to Plaikni Falls.

From Crater Lake, you can head to The Redwood National and State Parks to start a California National Parks Road Trip, or you can catch a flight out of Bend or Portland, or you can drive off into the sunset to another destination!

Plan Your Trip

Need help planning your road trip? Then you should use Roadtrippers, my favorite app for mapping-out road trips and finding Roadside America stops. If you’re going to rent a car, then I recommend Momondo, and if you want to rent an RV (which would be SO much fun for a Pacific Northwest road trip), you should use RVshare.

This post is not a sponsored post, and, as always, the thoughts and opinions expressed in this article about a Northwest Pacific road trip are entirely my own. Some of these links are affiliate links, and, at no cost to you, I may earn a small commission.

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