NATIONAL PARKS

PACIFIC NORTHWEST

While the region’s exact boundaries are often the subject of debate (to include or not to include northern California and western Idaho, southeastern Alaska and British Columbia), what is not up for question is the beauty and diversity of the Pacific Northwest. Bordered by the Pacific Ocean on the west and the Rocky Mountains on the east, this region is known for its natural beauty – the mountains (and volcanoes), parks, coastline, lush forests, and the mighty Columbia River – as well as its more human thrills – its wines, fishing, great cities like Seattle and Portland, and the many companies powering the digital economy. The states of Washington and Oregon are home to four spectacular national parks: Olympic, Mt. Rainier, North Cascades and Crater Lake. One or more of these are certain to be at the heart of your Pacific Northwest vacation.

In this corner of the world, you can explore not only by car and on foot, but also by ferry, floatplane, kayak, raft, horseback and more. The variety and diversity of this region is truly amazing. Consider Olympic National Park; it’s really three-parks-in-one, from the park’s namesake mountains to its moss draped rainforest to the rugged Pacific coast. From Seattle, so many adventures are just hours away – Olympic, Mt. Rainier and North Cascades National Parks, the San Juan Islands, Mount St. Helens National Monument and our neighbor to the north – British Columbia. From Portland, you’ve got the Columbia Gorge, Mt. Hood, the Willamette Valley Wine Country, the Oregon coast and further south, Crater Lake. Whatever you do, wherever you go, it’s going to be seriously fun. And we guarantee you’ll eat well, too. All this and more await you on your Pacific Northwest vacation.

HIGHLIGHTS

SEATTLE


SEATTLE

Whatever you’ve heard, however you’ve imagined, Seattle is all that and more. The Emerald City is a setting of superlatives – where mountain views will quite literally take your breath away, and new trends emerge every day. In true westward-ho fashion, there’s an entrepreneurial spirit here, as evidenced by the independent bookstores and microbreweries in every neighborhood, the hole-in-the-wall coffee shops and ice cream parlors never more than a couple of blocks away and, of course, those industry-changing behemoths, Microsoft, Starbucks and Amazon. Hike all morning, paddleboard in Puget Sound in the late afternoon, then finish the night in a haute Tom Douglas restaurant – it is all part of another perfect day on your Seattle vacation.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Like a dog-eared guidebook in your back pocket, we will lead you like an insider on your Seattle vacation, eschewing the overcrowded and aiming instead for the sights that make this city so enchanting. We’ll feature the natural side of Seattle, including Pike Place Market (newly revamped and showcasing spectacular Puget Sound views), the Pioneer Square historic district and the Ballard locks and fish ladder. Take a ride up the Space Needle on the 1962 World’s Fair site and overnight at the city’s sweetest hotels. A quilt of enticing neighborhoods, the city feels like a small town most of the time – wander through elegant Queen Anne, edgy Capitol Hill, charming weird Fremont, Scandinavian-centric Ballard, historic Pioneer Square and techy South Lake Union. You’ll likely be scanning the real estate ads before you head for home. And lest you forget – but how can you, with majestic Mt. Rainier ever looming to the south – the Olympics and Cascades mountains are just a short drive or ferry ride away.

COMBINE WITH
> Olympic National Park & Whidbey Island
> Northwest Washington
> Mount Rainier National Park & Mount St. Helens NM

OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK & WHIDBEY ISLAND


OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK & WHIDBEY ISLAND

If the definition of the Pacific Northwest is a rugged and varied landscape – from volcanic peaks to a unique rain forest – with a laid-back, independent spirit, Olympic National Park and Whidbey Island are the perfect examples. The former, a 1,400-square-mile expanse of mountains, glaciers, thousand-year-old cedar trees and alpine meadows; the latter, an idyllic escape from the city, accessible by ferry or by car through exceptional Deception Pass State Park. An Olympic National Park and Whidbey Island vacation – coupled with a day or two in Seattle – is the archetypal PNW getaway, with something for all ages.

WHAT WE REVEAL
As lush as one would expect for a national park that receives 12 feet of precipitation per year, Olympic National Park encompasses three distinct ecosystems: a subalpine forest and wildflower meadow, a temperate forest and the rugged Pacific coast line. Picnic on a beach at the most northwesterly corner of the continental United States, watch for orcas as you bike along the Strait of San Juan de Fuca and drink in the views from Hurricane Ridge.

If it’s the island life you’re after, we will explore the hidden gem of Whidbey Island, enjoying an iconic Seattle ferry ride, then disembarking and discovering the quaint seaside village of Langley with its welcoming shops, galleries, coffee houses and restaurants. Visit alpacas at an expansive island farm, sample local ice cream in Coupeville and hike on a windswept bluff above Puget Sound at the Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve. We’ll help you discover the best of the northwest on your Olympic National Park and Whidbey Island vacation.

COMBINE WITH
> Northwest Washington
> Seattle
> Portland
> Columbia Gorge

MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK & MOUNT ST. HELENS NM


MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK & MOUNT ST. HELENS NM

Mount Rainier presides over Seattle like a friendly, snow-covered giant – and yet it is an active volcano, making a trip here a chance to consider the ever-changing nature of our landscape. There are more glaciers on Mount Rainier than any other mountain, yet conversely, you’ll find meadows strewn with colorful wildflowers and streams teeming with coho and steelhead salmon. It is a place for a dreamy day hike – with an even better view at every turn – a place to ski, sled, snowboard, mountain climb and fish. Not far away is Mount St. Helens, which, while downright short compared to Rainier, is a volcano that has seen the other side of that changing landscape since its eruption in 1980. Combine these magnificent mountains on a Mount Rainier National Park and Mount St. Helens National Monument vacation and, with our local guides, you’ll see out-of-the-way places and get the most out of your visit.

WHAT WE REVEAL
The vastness of the Mount Rainier region becomes intimately accessible when you have the trusty leadership of a local guide who knows the landscape inside and out. You’ll hike through old-growth forests to waterfalls, rivers and scenic vistas, tromp through evergreen forests to sensational views of imposing glaciers, glimpse deer, black bear, marmots, Steller’s Jays and more. Picnic beside wildflower-bedecked slopes at Paradise (elevation 5,420 feet), where depending on the time of year, you might get a little snow on your boots, even when you’re in shorts. The second part of your Mount Rainier National Park and Mount St. Helens National Monument vacation highlights the immense effects of Mount St. Helens’ eruption on the surrounding landscape, as well as the new, $10.5-million-dollar visitors center. Use a wildlife spotting scope to see Roosevelt Elk up close. Tour the Johnston Ridge Observatory, with its fantastic film on the events leading up to the May 18, 1980 eruption, and drink in some of the best views of an active volcano anywhere in the world.

COMBINE WITH
> Seattle
> Olympic National Park & Whidbey Island
> Portland

COLUMBIA GORGE


COLUMBIA GORGE

From world-class river rafting and windsurfing to feasting on fresh cherries in July and sampling fine wines, a Columbia Gorge vacation is a boundless, nature-centric escape in one of the country’s most spectacular regions. The division between Washington and Oregon, the gorge was created by glaciers and massive floods approximately 15,000 years ago, resulting in sheer mountain walls and staggeringly high waterfalls, like Multnomah Falls. Sports enthusiasts flock here for the aquatic activities the Columbia affords, while oenophiles combine it with a foray into the outstanding Columbia River Valley wine country.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Get down to river level and spin cast from a small fishing boat – you may catch the tail end of the chinook salmon season or reel in a mighty steelhead or huge sturgeon. Explore the eastern part of the Columbia River Gorge with a memorable drive across the 1,856-foot Bridge of the Gods (open to vehicles and those on foot). The bridge is named after a Native American myth that describes a large natural rock bridge that stood over the river at the current bridge site. Visit charming Cascade Locks, where you can ride the river on a sternwheeler, hike to hidden waterfalls and cycle along traffic-free pathways. On the Washington side of the Columbia, picnic at Beacon Rock State Park, the rock itself being the core of an ancient volcano – look up and you’re bound to see intrepid mountain climbers attempting the park’s challenging routes. Your Columbia River Gorge vacation – however laid-back or adrenaline-packed – will renew your appreciation for Mother Nature.

COMBINE WITH
> Portland
> Mount Rainier National Park & Mount St. Helens NM
> Seattle

PORTLAND


PORTLAND

Bring your most comfortable walking shoes to Portland – this is a city best explored on foot to truly absorb the street-level beauty and eclectic ambience of Oregon’s largest city. A Portland vacation feels like an urban getaway with a welcoming home-town feel. With Mount Hood in the distance, a plethora of parks and both the Columbia and Willamette Rivers, nature is everywhere – as is coffee, microbrews, biking, food carts catering to every taste, renowned bookstores and on-trend shopping.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Starting with a centrally located home base in the heart of the city, your insider Portland tour hits all the highlights. Shop and dine in the trendy Pearl District, formerly occupied by warehouses, light industry and railroad classification yards. Hop on the eco-friendly MAX light rail and head out of downtown to discover beautiful gardens, such as the celebrated Portland Rose Garden and lush Forest Park, and museums like the Portland Art Museum (the nation’s seventh-oldest museum) and the hands-on OMSI science center. Wander in a daze through the book-lovers’ mecca of Powell’s City of Books – don’t miss the vast children’s section. Need to swap out those walking shoes? Trade them in for a snazzy pair of Nikes fresh from the source in nearby Beaverton. Indulge in world-famous VooDoo doughnuts with a steaming cup of locally roasted Stumptown or Courier Coffee brew. Then, park your weary feet on a bench in Pioneer Courthouse Square, an entire city block of public space lovingly referred to as “Portland’s living room.”

COMBINE WITH
> Mount Rainier National Park & Mount St. Helens NM
> Columbia Gorge
> Willamette Valley Wine Region

WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE REGION


WILLAMETTE VALLEY WINE REGION

Plan for long, leisurely days on your Willamette Valley wine region vacation so that you’ll have ample time to explore the plentiful wineries dotted throughout this verdant region, just a 45-minute drive from Portland. Believe it or not, there is more to the valley than the fine vintages you’ll taste. Take the charming town of McMinnville, for instance, the heart of the region. This warmhearted, laid-back city boasts farm-to-table dining, quaint boutique shopping, kitschy antiques shops and 220 – count them! – wineries to sip at. If time permits, you’ll want to include the Columbia River Gorge on your itinerary, a rugged, awe-inspiring feat of Mother Nature that really shouldn’t be missed.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Your Willamette Valley wine region vacation is sure to be centered on vineyards, including some of the United States’ top producers of Pinot Noir. The more popular Dundee Hills district AVA (American Viticultural Area) is worth a stop for its renowned wineries, yet we can also explore the Yamhill-Carlton district AVA and its smaller-scale outfits, enjoying intimate tastings with expansive valley views. We’ll recommend our favorite restaurants in the region, practically all of which offer a long list of local wines, craft brews and farm-fresh fare. We’ll match wineries to your personal interests and tastes and even send along a well-appointed wine expert to escort you through the valley, complete with progressive pairings of food and wine along the way. Tour an olive oil purveyor and the only olioteca in the Pacific Northwest. Enjoy a private tasting in the Red Hills of Dundee while riding Tennessee Walking Horses. Travel by helicopter to high-elevation wineries, where one-on-one tastings are married to spectacular views. And embark on scenic hot-air balloon flights high above the Willamette Valley, topped off with a gourmet picnic lunch.

COMBINE WITH
> Portland
> Columbia Gorge
> Oregon Coast

BEND & CENTRAL HIGH DESERT


BEND & CENTRAL HIGH DESERT

An outdoor enthusiasts’ dream, a Bend and Central High Desert vacation in Oregon is rife with adventure. If it’s mountain biking and mountaineering you’re after, there are trails and trails from which to choose. If it’s white-water rafting and kayaking, there are miles of river to explore. And you can do it all with the promise of almost 300 days of sunshine each year. Many liken Bend to utopia, that perfect place where beautiful, fit families wile away the hours pursuing outdoor activities with friends, then follow it up with a hearty and healthy farm-to-table meal, washed down with a cold one from the brewery down the street.

WHAT WE REVEAL
For those who seek the occasional adrenaline rush to wash away every-day stressors, a Bend and Central High Desert vacation is a quick cure. Spills (the fun kind!) and thrills take the form of white-water rafting along the Deschutes River, hiking the 500-foot cinder cone of Pilot Butte and setting out on world-class mountain-biking trails or the famous Three Sisters Scenic Bikeway. Not a single-track fan? Relax on a classic cruiser bike and wheel your way around the charming neighborhoods of Bend. Visit the engaging High Desert Museum to learn more about the regional wildlife, culture, artwork and natural resources of the region. Ride horseback in Sunriver. Ski pristine powder on Mount Bachelor. Take in the towering basalt cliffs of Smith Rock State Park. Explore Newberry Volcanic National Monument or the Oregon Badlands Wilderness. Or take the adventure down a notch with a tour of Bend’s amazing outdoor public art, a jaunt along the Bend Ale Trail or viewing the heavens at night from a local observatory.

COMBINE WITH
> Portland
> Columbia Gorge

OREGON COAST


OREGON COAST

Rugged, rocky and relaxed, an Oregon Coast vacation is an outdoor-lover’s dream. From craggy shorelines to vast sand beaches to the massive Oregon Dunes, there’s a vista or invigorating activity for everyone. Watch for gray whales migrating from Alaska to Mexico. Explore more than 70 state parks. Wander through charming and historic Astoria, fly a kite at iconic Cannon Beach, stroll the boardwalk in Bandon and surf at Battle Rock Beach. Bike, fish, hike, boat – it’s all here in 363 miles of dramatic coastline.

WHAT WE REVEAL
With so many miles of coastline to explore, it pays to have insider connections. We’ll craft an Oregon Coast vacation that hits all the highlights – plus explore a few off-the-beaten-path treasures. At Sea Lion Caves – America’s largest sea cave – you’re likely to glimpse the “aww”-inspiring Steller sea lion. Ride for miles through the Oregon Dunes by professionally driven Sandrail Buggy, across endless shifting sand, past unique tree islands and various wildlife and along the spectacular Siuslaw River. Hike at Heceta Head at the mouth of Cape Creek and tour the cliffside Heceta Lighthouse’s Interpretive Center. Keep an eye out for common murres, cormorants, gulls and passing sea lions and whales. Lighthouse buff? Continue on to Yaquina Head Lighthouse in Newport, the state’s tallest. Discover the lesser-known Indian Beach Trail at Ecola State Park with – we think – the most breathtaking coastal views in the state. Our veteran local guides will make an overwhelmingly long coastline manageable and memorable.

COMBINE WITH
> Portland
> Willamette Valley Wine Region
> North Coast & Redwoods

NORTHWEST WASHINGTON


NORTHWEST WASHINGTON

Birthplace of those tech giants that have become household names, inspiration for layers of Gore-Tex and fleece, breaching whales and soaring eagles … a Pacific Northwest vacation combines nature, culture and history (and, of course, a large dose of caffeine thanks to the ubiquitous coffee houses). From the bluffs of Whidbey Island to the historic underground of Seattle’s Pioneer Square, from the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula to the quaint village of Roche Harbor on picturesque Orcas Island, there’s much to discover.

WHAT WE REVEAL
Our local guides have the inside track on how to prioritize during your Northwest Washington vacation and, from island to peak, will make sure you cover as much as possible. Set off on a private three-hour kayaking tour off San Juan Island, the very best place to view orca whales. Island hop to Whidbey, where the friendly town of Langley boasts charming accommodations and the chance to try the famous Penn Cove mussels. Spend a day on an urban adventure in Seattle, taking in the revamped Pike Place Market, the Ballard Locks and salmon ladder, the Space Needle and a handful of eccentric neighborhoods. As the home of Boeing, we’ll enjoy a behind-the-scenes tour of the world’s largest building and view the planes being built for a worldwide base of airline customers. Through it all, you’ll notice that the spirit of the PNW far outweighs any drizzle you may encounter, and when the sun shines, this is heaven on earth.

COMBINE WITH
> Seattle
> Olympic National Park & Whidbey Island
> Mount Rainier National Park & Mount St. Helens NM

NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK


NORTH CASCADES NATIONAL PARK

With vertical and jagged peaks that top out at over 9,200 feet, the North Cascades are often referred to as the ‘American Alps’. The variety of ecosystems within the park is astonishing, including virgin forests, subalpine meadows, and hundreds of glaciers. The national park’s two units (North and South) plus Ross Lake National Recreation Area and Lake Chelan National Recreation Area form what is one of the largest uninterrupted ecosystems in North America. And yet North Cascades National Park is one of the least visited of our national parks, despite being less than 3 hours by car from Seattle. That’s a shame because it is a hiker’s paradise. You’ll have nearly 400 miles of trails at your disposal on your North Cascades National Park vacation. The scenery is stunning, and on the western side of the Cascade Range you’re never too far from one of the parks innumerable waterfalls.

WHAT WE REVEAL
On a North Cascades National Park vacation, our local guides will take you to some of the best mountain and cascade vistas in the park. They’ll introduce you to surrounding National Forest & Recreation lands that are accessed via less-used roads. As is probably no surprise, the driest and most popular time to take a vacation to North Cascades National Park is mid-June through September, although snow is typically present on many of the higher altitude trails well into July and sometimes August. Summer brings out a riot of wildflowers and golden larches in the fall. Without strapping on a backpack and heading into the heart of the park to camp in the wilderness, you can enjoy short scenic walks and easy to moderate day hikes and be back in your lodge or hotel to relax at day’s end over a glass of wine and dinner. North Cascades can also be paired up with Lake Chelan and/or the stunning and storied Stehekin Valley, accessed by foot, boat or plane only. We’ll help you discover the best of the northwest on your North Cascades National Park vacation from mountain to sound and everything in between.

COMBINE WITH
> Seattle
> Olympic National Park & Whidbey Island
> Mount Rainier National Park & Mount St. Helens NM

CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK & KLAMATH FALLS


CRATER LAKE NATIONAL PARK & KLAMATH FALLS

Want to experience Mother Nature in all its glory no matter your outdoor experience? A Crater Lake National Park and Klamath Falls vacation gives you access to one of the snowiest inhabited places in the US, the country’s deepest lake (and one of the world’s cleanest and clearest) and a region where the sun shines 300 days a year – all this without any need for technical climbing gear or mountaineering lessons. Drive, hike or even snowshoe around Crater Lake, or take a sail on its crystalline waters, past deserted Wizard Island. In Klamath Falls, on Oregon’s Lake Ewana, glimpse a huge population of wintering bald eagles and more than 350 other species of bird at the Klamath Basin National Wildlife Refuge.

WHAT WE REVEAL
During your Crater Lake National Park vacation our naturalist guides will lead you around strikingly blue Crater Lake, starting at the iconic Crater Lake Lodge where you can speculate as to what lies beneath this impossibly beautiful caldera – scientists still don’t fully understand it. You’ll hike to overlooks to glimpse mysterious Wizard Island and wander along low-impact hiking trails. Everything fun about Oregon is wrapped up in a tidy, friendly package in Klamath Falls, or K Falls, as the locals call it. One of those locals will be your expert guide. They’ll introduce you to the plethora of hiking, kayaking, fishing, biking, rafting, geocaching and birding opportunities in the region. Active, awe-inspiring and accessible to all, a Crater Lake National Park and Klamath Falls vacation is a wonderful introduction to the grandeur of the Pacific Northwest.

COMBINE WITH
> North Coast & Redwoods
> Portland
> Bend & Central High Desert

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