Affordable and unique: these are the best weekend getaways in the Pacific Northwest.
Long weekend getaways are one of our favorites activities here in the Pacific Northwest. From the coast to the mountains, we have a little bit of everything. Everyone deserves a long weekend here and there. A trip outside your hometown is the perfect way to spend an extra few days of R&R. Whether you’re looking to hit the trail or kick back and relax, these 10 destinations will be the perfect place to spend a long weekend.
Cannon Beach, OR
The Oregon coast is one of the most famous in the world for its beauty. Driving along this coastline will tell you why. Towering cliffs, crashing waves, luscious green trees, and a diverse array of wildlife give the Oregon coast many things to boast about. If you’re seeking easy walks on long stretches of sand or a beach picnic with some kite flying, be sure to head to Cannon Beach. Nearby Ecola State Park offers countless trails to explore deeper into the Oregon coast. Cannon Beach is also home to the famous Haystack Rock seen pictured on postcards in stores across the state.
Hoh Rainforest. WA
Did you know the Pacific Northwest had a rainforest? The Hoh Rainforest in Washington State will capture your imagination and heart. This emerald paradise sees around 140 inches of rainfall per year. There are campsites throughout the area for a weekend stay (see here for updates related to COVID-19) and trails winding through the forest. Please note that pets are not allowed in the forest and the visitor’s center is closed January through March. The best time of year to visit is in the peak of summer.
Bend is a favorite destination in Oregon anytime of year. Winter enthusiasts rave about the snowy slopes for skiing and snowboarding. For slower winter activities, try snow-shoeing in one of the countless forests throughout Central Oregon. In the summer, the trails and rivers come to life as outdoor sports like rafting, kayaking, rock climbing, hiking, and more are popular among locals and visitors. Don’t forget to check out the Newberry Crater, High Desert Museum, and Tumalo Falls. Bend is also famous locally for its microbrew scene.
Pacific Crest Trail
While conquering the entire Pacific Crest Trail isn’t possible in a single long weekend, spending a couple nights on a part of the trail is definitely doable. The entire trail is about 2,650 miles long and takes around 5 months to complete. If you’re interested in hiking a part of the trail, first select which part you’re most interested in. Next, make sure to secure the necessary permits for your trip. Finally, assemble your gear and plan your weekend getaway on the PCT.
Olympic Peninsula, WA
The Olympic Peninsula in Washington might be one of the most diverse destinations on this list of Pacific Northwest weekend getaways. Bordered on one side by the breathtaking Olympic Mountains, the landscape here is something to marvel at. Visit waterfalls, rainforests, and seaside towns all near the peninsula. Try a farm-to-table dining experience and discover some of the best seafood the Northwest has to offer. Take a day hike into the Hoh Rainforest or a beach trip out to La Push. The Sequim and Dungeness Valley is a unique site to find in the Pacific Northwest. With easy access to the mountains, coast, and forest, the Olympic Peninsula is a prime destination for a weekend getaway.
Crater Lake, OR
As the only National Park in Oregon, Crater lake never ceases to amaze. These crystal clear and vibrant blue waters are picturesque. Crater Lake was formed when Mount Mazama exploded several thousand years ago, leaving behind a massive crater that filled with water. The island sitting in the lake is Wizard Island and is available for visitors to explore. A visit in winter means snow-shoeing and wonderfully white views. If you choose to visit in the summer, you’ll be able to walk one of the many trails around the lake and take a dive in its frigid waters.
This Bavarian-style village is a slice of Europe in the Cascade Mountains. Located in central Washington State, this village highlights German beer and food, and some more unique sites like the Nutcracker Museum. If you’re looking for a pleasant weekend getaway that doesn’t leave you in the wildness, but still provides a taste of some of the Pacific Northwest’s finest scenery, Leavenworth is a good option. The village is a prime destination in both summer and winter. During the winter holidays, Leavenworth adorns itself with lights, tinsel, and trees, becoming a truly festive destination.
Wallowa Mountains, OR
As one of the Seven Wonders of Oregon, the Wallowa Mountains in northeastern Oregon shouldn’t be a surprise destination on this list of weekend getaways. Perhaps underrated due to their somewhat distant location from the famous Cascades, the Wallowa Mountains are another stunning natural site of the state. Sacajawea Peak stands as the highest in the range at 9,839 feet. Wallowa Lake is a popular fishing and camping destination. The Wallowa Lake Tramway offers visitors spectacular views of the area.
Cle Elum, WA
Located in the heart of the Cascades, Cle Elum is the jumping off point for many trails in the area. However, the city offers those interested in a longer stay plenty of opportunities for enjoyment. Climb to the top of Peoh Point for a 180-degree view of the Cle Elum Valley or tackle the Rat Pack Trail, a popular downhill mountain bike path. The trail connecting Palouse to Cascades State Park is another favorite with spectacular views along the way. For a quieter activity, check out Swiftwater Cellars Winery for some premium Northwest wines and cuisine.
Sun Valley, ID
Sun Valley, Idaho is best known as a winter resort town for those looking to ride Bald Mountain and Dollar Mountain. However, in the summer, Sun Valley comes to life with miles of backcountry trails and wildflower-filled meadows. Fox Creek and Trail Creek are favorite jump-off points for trails that lead to the top of Proctor Mountain, which offers epic valley views. The local Sun Valley Museum of Art or a visit to the Hemingway Memorial are less demanding daily activities. For something a little different, check out Sun Valley for your weekend getaway.