The Ultimate Guide to the Pacific Northwest

What do you think of when you think of the Pacific Northwest of the United States and Canada?

Lush green rainforests

The cosmopolitan cities of Vancouver, B.C., Seattle, and Portland

The magnificent Pacific coastline

Or something else? 

I cannot think of any other area in the world that has such diverse climate, cultural activities and friendly hospitality than the PNW. Want incredible hiking/camping/skiing opportunities? Check. Want a lazy beach weekend? Check. Want a kick-ass night on the town, involving fine dining and world-class theater? Double-check!  We’ve even got desert landscapes!

I could go on…and on… 

Facts about the Pacific Northwest


That’s why I have created this entire website. Because the great Pacific Northwest is just that huge and diverse. I could spend years pounding away at blog articles, and still not cover everything. But I am doing my best. I strive to be your main resource for exploring and helping you to discover the very best of what Oregon, Washington State, and British Columbia have to offer. Whether your desire is to take in the culture of the big cities, hike up that storied mountain, relax next to the wonder that is the Pacific Ocean, or all of the above, this website is dedicated to helping you realize your PNW dreams.


Haceta Head

Photo courtesy of Restore Oregon.


How does one begin to plan such a wonderful holiday in this area of the world? Well, that depends. What are your interests? What haven’t you done before? What do you want to do again, but haven’t had the time? Chances are, you can check several things off your “bucket list” in the Pacific Northwest. It is a cliché, but there is literally, something for EVERYONE here.

So where do you start?

Well, in this age of internet web-awesomeness, you should let your fingers do the walking. After all, you are at THIS website (well done!) and that is a GREAT start. But allow me to lead you to other killer websites to help you plan your PNW holiday

Travel Oregon

Experience Washington State

British Columbia Adventure

Also, you can visit my Resources page.


The Cities of the Pacific Northwest

Most people come to the PNW to visit one of the main metropolitan areas:

Seattle’s distinctive neighborhoods, and who can forget the famous Pike Place Market?

Portland – the big city with the small-town friendliness.

Vancouver – the cosmopolitan jewel of the PNW


visit the pacific northwest

Haystack Rock in Cannon Beach, OR

The Coastline

Seriously, you could spend a lifetime fully exploring the thousands of miles of rugged coastline. If you intend on visiting the coast, (we don’t call it “the beach” here, it’s “the coast”) start here, here and here.

The Mountains

Whether your crème du jour is hiking, backpacking, skiing, fishing, or just plain gawking at gorgeous scenery, the mountains have got you covered. The Cascades run all throughout the Pacific Northwest, offering up majestic mountains a’ plenty. Mt. Rainier, Mt. Hood, Mt. Waddington, just to name a few.

The Rainforest

Read about my lack-of-planning adventure in America’s incredible rainforest, and learn from my mistakes! The Olympic Peninsula is home to the Hoh rainforest, the wettest area in the continental U.S. The near-constant rainy forecast gives rise to some of the most breathtakingly beautiful visions on the globe.

The Desert

A different kind of awesome. Here you can see the stars the way nature intended in the high desert’s open landscape. See wildlife not found in other climates. Witness wide-open spaces that bring Montana’s Big Sky Country to shame. The deserts of Oregon and Washington are so expansive, you will be booking your next trip there before your current one ends.

High Desert Oregon


Where to Stay

Wherever possible, I highly recommend AirBnB. You will get a local’s perspective on what to do and where to go, and in most cases, it’s less expensive than a hotel. A no-brainer, right? It’s so much more personal than a sterile hotel, and you also get to stay in a unique space. But if you like the sterile hotel experience, well then, more power to ya.

Okay, let’s choose a middle ground. Say you want a unique Pacific Northwest experience, but you aren’t quite comfortable staying in something as personal as an AirBnB, or any bed and breakfast for that matter. Here’s a happy medium. If you’re staying anywhere near the I-5 corridor in Oregon or Washington, try a McMenamins hotel. These guys started out with a fantastic pub chain, and they’ve grown into a Pacific Northwest empire. Do try them out.

Since you are vacationing in the PNW, why not go camping? I mean really, what better way to experience the beautiful scenery than through the front flap of your tent, or YURT, or cabin. Here are the official camping sites for Oregon, Washington, and British Columbia.

I hope you will find this website useful in answering your questions and helping to plan your next holiday or vacation in the the Pacific Northwest. My website gives you personal accounts of PNW destinations that most other travel websites don’t offer. If you have a specific question that is not answered as you browse (gasp!), I encourage you to drop me a line or leave a comment below. I AM HERE FOR YOU.


Yaquina lighthouse

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About Me

Hi, I’m Susan, a travel writer based in Portland, Oregon. THANKS for stopping by my Pacific Northwest travel site! This blog focuses on Pacific Northwest travel, but also is a place showcase all of my travels, and is a great place to start when planning your next vacation to my area of the world. Please e-mail me or leave a comment, I’m here to help!

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