Antarctica & Arctic
Explore the best of the Pacific North West on this self-drive adventure through Oregon and Washington.
a Destinations d > West Coast USA > Majestic Northwest
14 nights accommodation, 14 days car rental, driving directions and information package.
Daily, 01 May - 31 Oct 2018
From the stunning natural beauty of Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier, to the vibrant arts culture of Newport and culinary scene in Portland, this self-drive trip encompasses the best of the Pacific North West.
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Explore the rainforest valleys, alpine meadows and wilderness coastline of Olympic National Park, a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve.
Visit the beautiful river town of Grants Pass, named "One of the top 12 places you've never heard of" by Mother Earth Magazine.
From food carts, to farm to table dining and micro-breweries - enjoy Portland's foodie culture.
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Arrive in Seattle and make your own way to your hotel in the heart of the Emerald City. Pike Place Market is a great place to begin your visit of Seattle. Take in the food, flowers, buskers and assorted vendors at this massive open-air bazaar with hundreds of stores and vendors selling fresh fish, handmade cheeses, souvenirs and much more. From there, descend the Harbour Steps to explore the waterfront, with its shops, and restaurants with seafood-inspired menus.
Begin the day by taking in views of Elliott Bay and the Olympic Mountains. Visit the Seattle Centre, and take an elevator ride to the 520-foot-high observation deck in the Space Needle, explore Museums, visit Chihuly Garden and Glass, which showcases the most comprehensive collection of Chihuly’s artwork ever assembled. This evening, why not take a sunset dinner cruise along Puget Sound orr cruise to Tillicum Village for a Native American cultural experience to enjoy a traditional salmon dinner.
Bordered by the Pacific Ocean, the Hood Canal and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the Olympic Peninsula is anchored by the Olympic Mountains. Olympic National Park is a designated UNESCO* World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, and is the dominant feature of the Peninsula, consisting of nearly one million acres of rain forest valleys, alpine meadows and wilderness coastline.
This morning, cross the Hood Canal Bridge to reach the Olympic Peninsula, Take a quick detour to Port Townsend, "the most sophisticated place west of Seattle," known for its Victorian architecture, art galleries, and wine bars. Then its on to the Dungeness Spit, one of the world's longest natural sand spits, designated a national wildlife refuge because of the abundance of bird species. Alternatively, head straight to Hurricane Ridge, popular for it's many hiking trails and magnificent views of snow-capped mountains, glaciers and coastline. Continue on to the shores of Lake Crescent, and spend the night at the rustic Lake Crescent Lodge. With views that rival anything in the Alps, many consider Lake Crescent "the most beautiful lake in the United States."
This morning head up to Sol duc Hot Springs for a cool hike through misty forests or a hot soak in the heated pools. Then drive through the town of Forks, where the Twilight movie series was filmed before arriving in the Quinault Rain Forest. Drive the 30-mile (48-kilometer) loop around Lake Quinault for great views of forests and mountains. Stay at the romantic Lake Quinault Lodge, listed on the National Register of Historic Places.
Enjoy the scenic drive from Lake Quinault along Highway 101, crossing the Columbia River into the Oregon town of Astoria, the oldest settlement west of the Rockies. While visiting Astoria, climb the 120 foot high Astoria Column located in John Jacob Astor Park, 600 feet above the city, or hike the 1.5 mile Cathedral Tree Trail.
Venture off the beaten path today for a grape escape and taste the unique terroir of the regions Pinot Noirs. Besides unforgettable wines, discover the architectural artistry of wineries and tasting rooms, from charming Tuscan-style estates to sleek, modern, light-filled edifices. Some wineries offer vineyard hikes or guided tours, and many boast sweeping valley and vineyard vistas.
Drive to the coastal city of Newport and enjoy one of the many white sandy beaches. Take your pick among the unique beauty and sound of Cobble Beach, the secluded dunes of South Beach, the art and history of Nye Beach, and the miles of unspoiled sand at Agate Beach to spot Orca Whales. Alternatively, soak up Newport's vibrant arts community with a visit to one of its many museums or galleries.
Eugene is snuggled in the Willamette Valley, hugging the scenic Willamette River. This afternoon explore some of the city’s highlights such as The Tiffany Building, a WPA-era building in the “Chicago-style” of architecture, and Park Blocks, the centre of the city and its history. Eugene is affectionately dubbed "Brewgene" and crowned by the Whiteaker neighborhood, a new and edgy brewery destination. This evening, why not enjoy a leisurely pub crawl or partake in a brewery tour led by local brewmasters.
Travel south to Ashland. and on the way, stop in Grants Pass, named “One of the top 12 places you’ve never heard of” by Mother Earth Magazine. It is best known for the Rogue River and a white water river trip is a must-do while here. There are a number of companies from which to choose for this unforgettable experience. You can also take a tour of Oregon Caves National Monument, one of the world's few marble caves. Upon arrival in Ashland, tour Ashland's historic disctrict and make sure to attend a performance of the Oregon Shakespeare Festival.
This morning, depart for Crater Lake, the deepest lake in the U.S., and the ninth deepest in the world. The park is open year-round but winter access is limited. Hike the Cleetwood Trail (only trail to the lake surface), or drive around the lake for optimal scenic photograph spots. Continue on to Sunriver for the night.
Depart for Portland, Oregon’s largest city and a model of “green” living, both in its ecological-minded culture and in its multitude of parks. A must-visit is Washington Park. Meander through the Japanese Garden, the International Rose Test Garden, and the Hoyt Arboretum for sweeping views of the city and the Cascade Range.
Today is yours to explore the city of Portland. Stroll alongside the Willamette River and check out "The Portland," a still-working steamboat often docked by the seawall. Visit Asian and Native American artwork at the Portland Art Museum, or stroll the North Park Blocks in the Pearl District, followed by a walk around the neighborhood's many art galleries and independent boutiques. Portland is known for its many breweries so why not take a brewery tour by bicycle for a behind the scenes look at the city’s breweries, and see where some of the city’s best bars, restaurants and local hotspots in the downtown area are located.
Drive to Mount Rainier this morning. Ascending to 14,410 feet above sea level, Mount Rainier stands as an icon in the Washington landscape. An active volcano, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A., spawning six major rivers. There’ll be time this afternoon to hike one of the maintained trails to explore some of the forests, lakes, fields of wildflowers and network of glaciers.
Today is yours to enjoy the wilderness and beautiful landscapes surrounding Paradise. Start with a 21-minute film, "Mt. Rainier, the Restless Giant" at the Jackson Visitors Center before exploring the Paradise Valley Conservation Area. Drive 40 minutes to the Grove of the Patriarchs Trail Loop, a hike for all ages, where you will follow a wooden boardwalk as it loops through these ancient giants, weaving under their canopy and learning about the life of a forest with an assortment of interpretive signs.
For more adventurous hikers, follow the Skyline Trail, Mount Rainier’s south side hub and most popular destination, providing visitors a unique opportunity to experience the breathtaking beauty of Washington’s grandest mountain. In peak season (July and August) your trip along the Skyline Trail will be filled with views of cascading waterfalls, mighty glaciers and subalpine meadows brimming with colorful splashes of lupines, mountain heather, scarlet paintbrush, cascade asters and bistort.
Continue north towards Seattle and stop at the famous 270 foot Snoqualmie Falls, one of Washington State's most popular scenic attractions, before returning your rental car at SeaTac International Airport.
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