1 Week in the Pacific Northwest

The Skinny:

Place: Pacific Northwest (Portland, Oregon/Washington Coast, Olympic National Park, Seattle)
When: First Week of September
Days: 7
The Best Parts **

The Deets:

Note: We flew to Seattle instead of Portland because it was way cheaper, rented a car at the airport, and drove straight to Portlandia from there.

Monday: Portland

Check in at your Airbnb. We loved this little cottage ($73/night) walking distance from Mississippi Ave. If you have more time in Portland than we did, we also highly recommend staying at the Kennedy School. It’s the coolest. Shout out to our McMenamin friends! Take a bus downtown to explore the Pearl District. IF you want to take advantage of the legal marijuana thing on this trip, visit a dispensary in town. Be sure to buy a weed chocolate bar and save it for later (you’ll see). Hitch a ride back to your place, get ready for the evening, and walk to StormBreaker Brewing at the end of Mississippi Ave. From there, bar hop and snack your way all the way down this hip street.**

Gritty city image of Portland, Oregon

Rest your head: at your Airbnb.

Tuesday: Multnomah Falls & Hood River

In the morning, visualize yourself miraculously snagging a seat at the Tasty ‘N’ Sons bar. Ask the universe hard enough and you shall receive. If they have the fried chicken biscuit breakfast sandwich on the menu, do not fight it.** Make the 45-minute drive to Multnomah Falls to hike around a bit and take your classic horizontal pic of the waterfall. It really is breathtaking and worth the trip. Then head another 30 minutes east to Hood River for the best tomato soup ever (and great brews) at PFRIEM Family Brewers. Hood River has a small collection of other bars and restaurants. Hitch it back home, then to Pok Pok in the Southeast District. Note: when things on the menu say they’re spicy, they’re effing spicy. After dinner, bar hop around the area until you’re ready to tuck yourself in.

Rest your head: at the same Airbnb.

Wednesday: Drive to Olympic National Park

Rise and shine and make the four-hour drive across state lines, through epic forests, into Olympic National Park. If there’s still plenty of daylight, make a stop at Ruby Beach. ** You can also do this on your way up to Second Beach the next day.

Rock formation at Ruby Beach, Olympic National Park

There’s no camping allowed at Ruby Beach, but you can tent camp at a number of campgrounds on the water in Forks. We stayed at Kaloch, where you can make a reservation. You can also camp off the coastline closer to the Hoh Rainforest to save yourself the extra driving, but we wanted to spend as much time on the coast as possible. Note: Make sure you have cash on you to pay for your camping in an envelope at the campground the old school way. Pitch your tent, settle in, have some grub, and toast up the best s’mores of your life with that weed chocolate you bought in Portland for dessert. You’re welcome.

Rest your head: in your tent, happy as a clam.

Thursday: Hoh Rainforest & Second Beach

Break down camp early and drive an hour to the Hoh Rainforest. There are trails for every level at Hoh ranging from a short, flat loop to a full 10.6-mile hike on the Hoh River Trail. The Hoh is truly magical. You will be dazzled by the majestic trees, brilliantly colored mushrooms and encounters with wildlife.**

Mushrooms in the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

From the Hoh, it’s an hour and a half drive back out to Second Beach. You’ll be hiking about a mile down to the beach from the road, so pack wisely! Note: Don’t forget to bring a bear canister down to the beach. Fill it with other items and strap it or stick it in your backpack for the hike in. You don’t need to reserve a spot to camp on Second Beach. Just show up and seek out the perfect nook. Be sure to get there well before sunset so you can set up shop and enjoy the magic.**

Second Beach Sunset

Rest your head: in your tent and fall asleep to the waves. Your white noise machine will never do it for you again.

Friday: Overnight Dungeness / Royal Basin Hike

Say farewell to Second Beach and drive three hours to the Dungeness Trailhead. Get packed and get trekking. This was our first overnight hike and it was the perfect level of difficulty for us. The top stretch to the Royal Basin is challenging, but those who call it quits before then will still be completely fulfilled. The trail is seven miles to the summit and a mile and a half back to the Lower Royal Meadow where we camped.

Dungeness Trail, Olympic National Park

You can camp at multiple points along the trail, but we recommend camping at Lower Royal Meadow for a shorter hike out the next day. Note: The water is not drinkable in Olympic, so make sure you bring a filter. Also, we were VERY cold at night, even with proper sleeping bags and long johns. Make sure you bring a sleeping bag that keeps you warm down to 20 degrees F and don’t skimp on packing warm clothes. Heat packs for our hands and feet came in clutch.

Rest your head: In your tent and force yourself to get up and out in the middle of the night if it’s clear. These were some of the best stars we’ve ever seen.**

Saturday: Hike Back & Drive to Seattle

If you camp at Lower Royal Meadow it’s a five and a half mile hike out. We were back to the car by noon and on our way to Bainbridge Island (a three-hour drive). Take the ferry from Bainbridge into downtown Seattle and let the Pacific breeze make you feel somewhat refreshed, no matter how bad you smell at this point.

Seattle Ferry View

We stayed with a friend in Capitol Hill, but there are Airbnbs in the area for $80-100/night. Once you’ve settled in and showered (hallelujah) head over to Pike Place for the market experience of your life. We’re snobby New Englanders and still can’t help but admit that Pike Place Chowder is out of this world and worth the wait.** Hop around Capitol Hill for the night, beginning at the Starbucks Reserve Roastery AKA Santa’s caffeine workshop. Then head to Rachel’s Ginger Beer for frozen ginger beer cocktails, and up to either or both of the carnival-themed bars Unicorn & Narwhal.

Rest your head: At your Airbnb.

Sunday: Travel home


Check out the Pacific Northwest Tripsheet here.

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