The Pacific Northwest region stretches from Oregon, through Washington and into the Canadian province of British Columbia. Idaho and Montana are also included in the Pacific Northwest region. However, visiting both the seaside attractions of the Pacific coast and inland destinations like Yellowstone National Park is almost impossible in a single road trip. These 47 destinations across the western portion of the region are more than enough to fill a Pacific Northwest road trip itinerary of two weeks or more.
The southernmost part of the Pacific Northwest is an excellent starting point for your road trip. Just like Washington and British Columbia, there are both urban hubs and natural wonders to fill your itinerary. Many of the most popular attractions, including Portland and the Columbia River Gorge, are along the Oregon-Washington border. This makes including them great candidates for a more compact road trip.
As Oregon’s largest city, there’s something for everyone in Portland, including Washington Park, gourmet coffee and donuts, and microbreweries. From Portland, explore Columbia River Gorge. There are dozens of points along the historic Columbia River Highway worth stopping at. Consider adding Eagle Creek Trail, Rainy Lake Trail, Multnomah Falls, Bridal Veil Falls, Mosier Twin Tunnels and the Bonneville Dam.
The Oregon coast is a stunning natural phenomenon. Rocky cliffs, beach camping and sand dunes are plentiful here. Highlights include Cannon Beach (80 miles from Portland), Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area, Seal Rock State Recreation Site and Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area.
If your schedule is more relaxed, or you’ll be spending the majority of your road trip in Oregon, consider these pit stops as well.
- Cape Arago Highway
- Crater Lake National Park
- Hells Canyon National Recreation Area
- John Day Fossil Beds National Monument
- Ladd Marsh
- Mirror Lake
- Mt. Hood
- Nehalem Bay State Park
- Punchbowl Falls
- Wallowa Lake
- Willamette Valley
Heading north from Oregon, your next stops will be in the northwest corner of the continental United States, Washington. Much of the state is made up of a peninsula and islands jutting into the Pacific Ocean. Plenty of coastline, along with inland mountains, rivers and attraction-filled cities make Washington a stunning destination.
Seattle is home to many well-known attractions worth a stop on your Pacific Northwest Itinerary. Spend a few days visiting Pioneer Square, Freemont, Pike Place Market, either the Space Needle or Skyview Observatory, and Puget Sound.
From Seattle, make as many or as few stops as you like on The Cascade Loop, which stretches across the state. Some of the most picturesque places to spend time include Lake Diablo, Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Chelan Falls and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. There are also charming towns along the Loop, such as Winthrop and Leavenworth.
Next, head to the Olympic Peninsula to take in all the Olympic National Park offers. There are hot springs (both the Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and backcountry Olympic Hot Springs), Hoh Rainforest and its stunning Hall of Moss Trail, Lake Quinault, Lake Crescent, Marymere Falls, the Enchanted Valley, Hurricane Ridge, and Kalaloch and Ruby Beach.
North of the Olympic Peninsula lie the San Juan Islands. Enjoy the distinct personalities of the three largest of the islands: San Juan, Orcas and Lopez. Here, there are state parks, small towns, markets and more.
While in Washington, consider adding these stops to a more leisurely road trip with time to spare.
- Bainbridge Island
- Mt. Rainer National Park
- North Cascades National Park
- Port Angeles
- Port Townsend
- Snoqualmie Falls
You can drive from mainland Washington to mainland British Columbia and head straight to Vancouver. It’s also possible to take the ferry from Washington’s San Juan Island to either Vancouver or Vancouver Island. While starting from Oregon is a popular option, it’s also possible to start in the northernmost part of the Pacific Northwest.
Vancouver is a modern city with historic charm just 140 miles from Seattle. Hit Granville Street, walk across Catalano Bridge, and explore Stanley and Queen Elizabeth Parks. You’ll also want to take a boat along False Creek to visit Granville Island and the Olympic Village.
Vancouver Island is home to Victoria. This cute coastal city has British charm and grandeur, which can be found in the expansive Butchart Gardens and lavish Fairmont Empress Hotel.
Across mainland British Columbia and Vancouver Island are plenty of other destinations worth a stop on your road trip itinerary.
- Cape Scott Provincial Park
- Cowichan Valley
- Garibaldi Provincial Park
- Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
- Sea to Sky Highway