An Introduction to the Pacific North West
Cooler than California to the south, but no less spectacular, these two diverse states are split by the great north-south spine of the Cascade Mountains, where regular rainfall and a moist climate create a verdant landscape.
The Pacific region’s two capitals are strikingly different. Seattle is a modern, commercial and cultural city, as well as being known for its high-tech and aerospace industries. Meantime, smaller and charming Portland holds more historic appeal for its old time terracotta architecture, with ten stately bridges crossing the scenic Willamette River and a nationally regarded culture of cycling.
Beyond the region’s bigger cities lie diverse and interesting towns such as Bend in central Oregon. With a backdrop of the Cascades, Bend makes a great base for exploring the surrounding mountains and the beautiful Columbia River Gorge.
Add to this exciting mix several pristine and diverse National Parks, vineyards, delightful coastal towns, hundreds of state parks, lighthouses and lookouts and any trip to the Pacific North West will be a delightful journey.
Washington - The Evergreen State
The Columbia River Gorge is one of the USA’s best natural attractions; home to waterfalls, historic highways and a huge U-shaped gorge, carved from colossal Ice Age floods. Mount St. Helens is still a haunting sight, nearly three decades after it blew its top. It is the most renowned volcano in North America and is well worth a visit. The San Juan Islands are perched in the upper corner of America and make for a beautiful and very scenery day-trip from the mainland, particularly in the summer months.
Seattle’s Pike Place Market holds an array of fine restaurants, seafood and produce vendors as well as street entertainers and is well worth a visit during your time in Washington State.
Featured in our National Parks of the Pacific North West, Seattle to Vancouver Pacific Explorer and Pacific Coast Explorer Itineraries.
Oregon - The Beaver State
The laid back capital city of Oregon, Portland is a delight to visit with shops, restaurants and galleries galore. The smaller but no less exciting town of Bend is nestled in the foothills of the Cascades and offers endless outdoor recreational opportunities and is a great base to explore this lovely region.
Hells Canyon is deeper than the Grand Canyon and boasts excellent white-water rafting on the Snake River. Crater Lake is cradled in what’s left of a hollowed out volcano, this sheer blue lake is a stunning must see destination.
Featured in our Oregon Scenic Byways and Pacific Coast Explorer Itineraries.