Combined, the states of Oregon and Washington have over 100 mountain ranges. Plus, there’s the Pacific coastline, which stretches from northern Washington on down to the southern edge of Oregon, and all the quaint coastal towns and endless miles of beaches in between. Toss in the over 30 state and national forests, a combined total of 8 national parks, more than 1700 miles of hiking trails, and the countless lakes and rivers, and you’d be hard-pressed not to find something naturally fun to do in Washington and Oregon.
And when we say naturally fun, we mean activities that involve nature’s playground as the entertainment venue. Many tourism sources call the Pacific Northwest a yearround playground. Hiking, biking, kayaking, swimming, fishing, skiing…the list goes on and on for fun of the natural kind whenever you visit these two gems of the Pacific Northwest. Here’s a quick bucket list for outdoor adventure when visiting Washington and Oregon.
Stand-up Paddling in Bend: Back in 2014, Outdoor Magazine named Bend as the world’s best stand-up paddleboard (SUP) getaway, citing the Deschutes River as an optimum spot to SUP. The snow-capped Cascades provide paddlers with fabulous scenery.
Explore Mt. Hood National Forest: From day hikes to zip-lining and winter fun, including skiing, tubing, and snowboarding, it is a wonderland of fun. You can also choose to drive one of several scenic byways to take in the unparalleled beauty of the area.
Horseback Ride along the Beach: There are plenty of outfitters in the Pacific City area that will set you up to enjoy the beauty of Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area atop a horse. The rugged coast and the sandy dunes never looked better
Other outdoor adventures could include snowshoeing in the Deschutes National Forest, fat-tire biking the Central Coast and the Florence Dune Exploration, or a ride on the Mt. Hood Railroad, which takes you through the valleys of the Columbia River Gorge
Hike Skyline Trail: Located in Mt. Rainier National Park, this hike is a 5.5-mile loop of moderate difficulty. Rewards include the beautiful wildflower views, bubbling streams, and the incredible view from Panoramic Point.
See Snoqualmie Falls: This stunning 270-foot waterfall, which is also a significant source of hydro-electric power for the area, is a must see. Hike or walk the shaded trail for prime viewing or take in the view from the convenient observation deck just off the parking lot – watch out, though, you will get wet from the waterfall’s spray!
Fish in Leavenworth: There are plenty of places in this beautiful spot of Washington state to toss in a line. Check out the Icicle River for salmon or the Wenatchee River for steelhead. Fly fishing is the name of the game here.
Stroll the Long Beach Boardwalk: The Long Beach Peninsula is one endless stretch of beach, and a great way to explore it is to take a stroll on the boardwalk, which stretches about a half-mile along the beach. This is not your typical boardwalk – instead, the Long Beach Boardwalk is a serene stroll offering glimpses of shorebirds and even a whale or two!
Other outdoor adventures could include a whale-watching cruise, a trip to the San Juan Islands, and white-water rafting the Wenatchee River.