The Northwest is where I learned to spot whales and bald eagles, and to skip rocks in icy lakes and rivers. It’s where I spent summers bikepacking the rural backroads of the San Juan Islands, and its snow-covered Cascade Mountains hosted my very first powder turns.
The Pacific Northwest has always had my heart; here are seven reasons why I think it will steal yours too.
- Lindsey, CLYMB Adventure Travel Coordinator
The Mountains — No matter where you are, there’s almost always a snow-capped mountain in sight, whether you find yourself in the shadow of iconic peaks like Mt. Rainier, Mt. Baker, Mt. Olympus, Mt. Hood, or the Three Sisters (among many, many others). Thanks to these giants and their counterparts in the Cascade and Olympic mountain ranges, hiking, skiing, mountain biking, camping, and all sorts of mountain‑y pursuits abound.
The Coast — Rugged and wild, the coastline of Washington and Oregon stretches for hundreds of miles, giving you ample opportunity to wander empty beaches, explore sand dunes, surf, and hunt for crabs to your heart’s content.
The Islands — Whether you find yourself exploring the famed San Juan Islands or opt instead for one of the many islands closer to Seattle (I have a soft spot for Whidbey Island), you’re sure to be charmed by the rural farms and artist’s workshops, tight-knit waterfront communities, towering evergreen trees, and abundant wildlife that call these magical places home.
The Summers - The Northwest comes alive in the sunny summer months, when daylight has been known to stick around until 10pm. Make the most of the long days by taking advantage of seemingly endless opportunities for recreation like hiking, fishing, camping, sailing, kayaking, mountain biking, backpacking, climbing — you name it. Unwind at night at an outdoor concert or beer garden, or dine al fresco as the sun sets — anything goes during summer in the Northwest!
The Winters — First thing’s first — yes, it rains. But rarely is it more than a drizzle, meaning those with the proper rain gear can enjoy nearly all of the aforementioned “summer” activities, even in winter. And rain at lower elevations typically means snow in the mountains, where some of the best skiing in the country can be found.
The Ferries — When I daydream about the Northwest, I envision a Washington State Ferry sailing the waters of Puget Sound, Mt. Rainier towering in the background. This iconic mode of transportation is a lifeline for the thousands of people who call the islands of the Puget Sound and the Salish Sea home, and a ride on a ferry is one of the most quintessentially “Northwest” things you can do.
The Food & Drink — From Seattle’s cult favorite Dick’s Drive-In burger chain and Portland’s booming food truck scene, to world-renowned Willows Inn on tiny Lummi Island, dining in the Pacific Northwest offers something for everyone, especially if you enjoy salmon! Feeling thirsty? Wet your whistle at one of the Northwest’s countless craft breweries, or taste your way through the region’s celebrated wine country.