Where should we go on our vacation?
March 21, 2012 5:00 PM   Subscribe

Travel recs? SO and I are doing a road trip through Idaho, Oregon and Washington

We are traveling from Alberta and want to make it to the west coast to visit family, thought we would go through the US to do something different. We have never been to any of those states so we feel a bit overwhelmed in the planning! We want to skip through Montana and head to Idaho straight away. Any recs of must see places? Outdoorsey things,cities/towns, hotels, cabins, attractions etc? Neither of us are campers really but we do like to be outside. We will be gone for about 2 weeks and want to plan everything in the next month or so, we're open to any suggestions!
posted by bluehermit to Travel & Transportation around Idaho (13 answers total) 4 users marked this as a favorite
 
You should really, really, really go to Crater Lake.
posted by feets at 5:45 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


What month are you traveling?
posted by jennstra at 5:48 PM on March 21, 2012


We will be traveling in late July or early- mid August
posted by bluehermit at 5:56 PM on March 21, 2012


Apologies to Idahoans, but why are you skipping Montana to get straight to Idaho? I highly recommend Missoula, Glacier National Park, the Flathead Lake area, and Yellowstone.

If you've done those things, here are some cool things to do in Washington: take Route 2 instead of 90 and drive by the Dry Falls near Ephrata; then stay on it to stop in Leavenworth (touristy Bavarian style mountain town, but still has its charms). San Juan Islands are lovely. A trip through Conway and LaConner and the Skagit Valley, and then up to Anacortes and over to the San Juans is really nice. Deception Pass state park is nice for an afternoon, too, and you can catch the ferry to Port Townsend and from there drive around the Olympic Peninsula; Second Beach and the Hoh Rain Forest are great.

If you're here in the summer, Mount Rainier NP is beautiful.

I think the Columbia River Gorge in Oregon is a don't miss, and while I think the Oregon Coast is beautiful, I'd choose the Gorge if I personally had to pick. It's also closer to Portland, and I love visiting Portland.
posted by MoonOrb at 5:58 PM on March 21, 2012 [2 favorites]


That time of year the best thing to do is stay off the interstates. REALLY. The interstates purposefully were designed to stay away from anything interesting. The weather is great that time of year, usually clear and dry and if do find a storm it will be a passing thunderstorm that is worth seeing all by itself. I would have just one or two major destination and a travel time of about 5 to 6 hours a day, that way you can stop and explore the out of the way stuff that is not listed anywhere. Little shops and restaurants and small state parks and national parks. Me and the wife did that coming back to oregon from a wedding in new mexico, it was awesome. Enjoy the lack of children or any constriction on your time or a need to get somewhere by some time to see something you were told how awesome it was. The big national parks are going to be crowded that time of year but the smaller stuff is great and there is SO MUCH to see in that part of the US. Just enjoy the trip stay on state and county roads (and by some of the state atlases/gazetters that show all the small things) and just enjoy seeing that part of the world in the best time of the year to enjoy it.
posted by bartonlong at 6:12 PM on March 21, 2012


MoonOrb has some great suggestions. If you're willing to dip really south into Washington, the Olympic Peninsula is just mind-blowing. I've lived in Washington (Anacortes) practically my entire life, and I still can't get over the fact that there's a freaking rainforest right over there.
posted by xedrik at 6:20 PM on March 21, 2012


Seconding Crater Lake. You'll be going at the perfect time.
posted by bink at 8:24 PM on March 21, 2012


If you find yourself along the coast of Oregon, it's easy to stop at the Tillamook cheese factory along Highway 101 west of Portland for some free samples and a tour. Heading North, Cannon Beach is amazing, and Astoria, Oregon is a nice easy place to stay overnight.
posted by belau at 8:29 PM on March 21, 2012 [1 favorite]


Out and About Treehouse, 15ish miles southwest of Grants Pass, Oregon, is pretty neat. Continuing on that path, you can check out the Oregon Caves, and go through a section of the Redwoods, ending up near the Oregon/California border on the coast, and then take 101 all the way through Oregon in its winding glory.

Alternatively, Ashland, at the southern tip of the I-5 corridor in Oregon, is pretty neat. You could then take highway 66 east to Klamath Falls - that drive is one of the prettier ones in Oregon, in my view, and then go north on 97, take the Crater Lake cutoff, and see Crater Lake.
posted by Happydaz at 9:26 PM on March 21, 2012


+1 on not skipping through MT, but that's just me. Maybe it's a little too reminiscent of Alberta.

While in Washington, I'd certainly check out Deception Pass, Mt. Rainier, and maybe Leavenworth. Take a ferry ride for the fun of it too.

As for Oregon, I recommend stopping to see Multnomah Falls and Cannon Beach. If you're into history/Lewis & Clark, Astoria is a quaint little town with much to see.
posted by karizma at 10:16 PM on March 21, 2012


Only reason I'm skipping Montana is I've been many times, just want to see some new places :) Great recs so far! I'm googling like crazy this evening...
posted by bluehermit at 10:19 PM on March 21, 2012


Two words: Sawtooth Mountains.

Okay, a few more words: US 93 between Missoula and Challis, ID is exceedingly lovely. Then hop off on Idaho 75. Plan to spend the night (or a couple) in Stanley. There's a hotel, restaurant, and gas station/grocery, everything you need for a base camp for a couple of days. Lots of good day hikes.

I also very much liked Craters of the Moon. Some good day hikes there.

Seriously. Google Image Search on Sawtooth Mountains. Everyone goes nuts over the Tetons, but for my money the Sawtooths are way more picturesque and less crowded, to boot.
posted by OHSnap at 3:31 AM on March 22, 2012


Oh, and also! Google the Palouse in western Washington. Not much to actually do that I'm aware of, but very pretty.
posted by OHSnap at 3:34 AM on March 22, 2012


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