Destination request, western/northwestern US; 20th anniversary edition
April 24, 2013 2:33 PM   Subscribe

We're celebrating our 20th anniversary this summer (yay!) and we're trying to find a place to stay for a week in the western/northwestern US to celebrate this milestone. The catch is that this destination needs to be some place new to us. A few other particular requirements below the fold.

The kids will be with the grandparents, so this trip is just for us. Looking for a little peace and quiet, some quality time with each other, and also some opportunities to fish, hike, and lay around.

We're from Northern California, so we've seen a lot of NorCal, and I think we've visited many/most of the obvious choices. We'd like to try another western state. A preliminary search has given us some promising leads in eastern Oregon and southern Idaho. It looks like there are some cool places in Montana, too, but I think that may be too far to travel. Similarly intrigued by the Ruby Mountains in Nevada, but I don't think we can make it there and back and still have enough time left over to make it worthwhile.

We'll have about 8 days total, including travel time. We're willing to invest a solid day of travel on each end, but no more than that.

Here are our requirements:

1. In the Western US, within a single day's travel from the SF Bay Area. Prefer to drive, but flying is OK if all other requirements are met. If driving, this could be up to 12 hours of travel time.
2. As stated, this must be some place we haven't visited before. Tahoe and environs are out, NorCal wine country is out, central CA coast is out, Ashland and Oregon's Lake of the Woods are out. Yosemite is out. Some parts of Sequoia and Kings Canton Nat'l. Parks are out. We've visited other places, too, but those are the ones that come to mind.
3. Must be near great natural beauty and good hiking possibilities.
4. Must be near good fishing -- I strongly prefer to fish for bass, but trout would be acceptable. I have a small aluminum fishing boat that I'll bring if I can (hence the preference for driving).
5. Accommodations must be nice to very nice, where nice = clean and comfortable, and very nice = a little luxurious. This is our 20th anniversary, so no cheap motels, though a rustic cabin at a resort or lake is OK as long as it's reasonably clean. A hotel or resort with some spa facilities (or something nearby), a nice pool or lake, etc. is what we're looking for.
6. No camping this trip.
7. At least one very good restaurant within a 30-ish minute drive.
8. Off the beaten path would be an added bonus.
9. This will be in early August, so heat is a consideration.

Thanks for what ever suggestions you can pass along!
posted by mosk to Travel & Transportation (9 answers total)
My wife and I have rented a cabin in the woods in far eastern Oregon, too long of a drive for your requirements. One that might work in Oregon is the lodge at Crater Lake National Park.

Natural Beauty, hiking, restaurant, etc. covered.
Nearby (mostly trout, up to 26 inches, perhaps more) fishing at Diamond Lake
posted by Leenie at 3:24 PM on April 24, 2013

I was also thinking Crater Lake.

There's also Timberline Lodge on Mt. Hood in Oregon, though I don't think they have a spa. There are probably some spa options in nearby Government Camp.

Have you spent any time in Bend, Oregon? It's a charming town, but it's also easy to get out of town quickly. It's beautiful there.
posted by bluedaisy at 3:39 PM on April 24, 2013

Port Townsend, WA, which sits on the confluence of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and Puget Sound, is my very favorite town. The natural beauty is incredible (salt water, mountains, sunshine, old Victorian homes... what more can you ask for?), fishing is certainly possible, and there is hiking all around. It's a lovely historic town with several good restaurants. The Olympic National Forest is just southwest, which is wonderful if you'd like to branch out from the hiking near PT.

My favorite place is Fort Worden State Park, which has nice accommodations and & *incredible* views. Alexander's Castle and the Madrona Vista are particularly nice lodging choices. There's a trio of state parks - Fort Worden being one - that are built on retired World War I artillery installations, which are very fun to explore. At nearby Fort Flagler, you can also stay in a lighthouse keeper's house.

There are also several very nice hotels in the area... I've been there almost every summer since the year I was born, so feel free to MeMail me if you have any questions :).
posted by eenagy at 3:49 PM on April 24, 2013

St. Orres in Gualala (south Mendocino County) fits all of your criteria and is pretty darn cool. Some of the pricier cabins look nice/romantic and that whole area is gorgeous. The only aspect I'm not sure about is the fishing, but the ocean IS right across Hwy 1...
posted by lovableiago at 4:09 PM on April 24, 2013

I'm going to put my plug in for the most northwestern of all states, Alaska. Jetblue has just started to fly to Anchorage, which means that you can get a round trip ticket from Oakland/SFO up here for $400-500 a person if you book the right dates with them (some other carriers are matching fares, too). It meets all your qualifications pretty nicely (well- no bass fishing, but there's other fishing available, yes trout and of course salmon/halibut) and should be within 12 hours of travel time done right.

If you stay in Girdwood (a 40 minute drive from Anchorage) you have the rustic parts of Alaska, a charming little town, stunning beauty and hiking and also some really great restaurants. You can stay at the fancy resort or some fairly nice B and Bs, or there are also some really nice vacation condos too.

Of course, if you think Montana is too far...
posted by charmedimsure at 6:02 PM on April 24, 2013

This is a plane trip, but Jackson Hole is spectacular. Great fishing, great scenery, top notch accommodations if you so choose. I have never been in ski season because it's not my thing... but my, when the sun is shining and you can fish or hike all day in the Tetons, it is an absolutely breathtaking getaway. Congrats on 20!
posted by keasby at 7:38 PM on April 24, 2013

Wow- so many great places! I've two suggestions:

The San Juan Islands in Puget Sound are spectacular and absolutely unique. Not sure about the (freshwater) fishing, but everything else on your list is there.

The Oregon Coast is just about my favorite place to be in August. Natural beauty is a 10, hiking a 10, Weather a 10, fishing– well, I'd imagine it's pretty great. Biggest problem would be the restaurant, tho if you're close to Florence, Newport, Lincoln City or Cannon Beach there should be options.
posted by carterk at 8:04 PM on April 24, 2013 [1 favorite]

Best answer: Wallowa Lake in Oregon? Might be a bit far, as google says 14 hour drive from the Bay Area. Hiking, fishing (trout and kokanee), and several non-camping lodging options, some with outdoor heated pools and hot tubs.
posted by dormouse at 9:20 AM on April 25, 2013

Response by poster: Thanks for the suggestions, everyone. We think Wallowa Lake is almost exactly what we are looking for, so we made reservations. Thanks again!
posted by mosk at 3:17 AM on May 5, 2013

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