7 Reasons To Visit the Pacific Northwest: A Seattle Native Weighs In

Mount Shuk­san and Pic­ture lake, North Cas­cades Nation­al Park, Washington

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.