The Pacific Northwest often gets a bad rep: home to several of America’s most infamous serial killers, hipsters around every corner, and let’s not forget the incessant drizzle. However, the PNW is also home to some of the most diverse landscapes, outdoor adventures, and coffee that will keep you awake while shaving off a couple of years with each cup. For those who are brave enough to venture into the rainiest region of the United States, you will bet fantastically rewarded.
Many readers will recognize Astoria’s picturesque beach and hill-side town from “The Goonies”. Founded in 1876, Astoria was one of the foremost fur trading posts during the great expansion westward. Today, tourists come to Astoria for the beaches, the sea food, and the Peter Iredale Shipwreck. The Peter Iredale ran aground in 1906 and its remains still stand, making Astoria the perfect destination for the pirates at heart.
Mount Rainier National Park
This iconic mountain is often regarded as the guardian of the Puget Sound region. Whether you’re an avid outdoors person or just someone that appreciates a beautiful view, Mount Rainier National Park has a lot to offer. Towering over 14,000 ft., Mt. Rainier will flood your views but be sure to pay attention to the acres upon acres of wildflowers, the pristine glacial lakes, and you might even see a marmot.
Pike Place Market: Seattle, Washington
Perhaps the most iconic location in Seattle, Pike Place Market is a must-see. Overlooking Elliot Bay, Pike’s Market is a multi-block public market complete with insanely fresh seafood, local produce, and hand made crafts. The sounds and songs of dozens of street performers waft through the air, mixing with the salty smell of the bay, making Pike’s a gritty but beautiful place to spend your Saturday morning.
Olympic Sculpture Park: Seattle, Washington
The Olympic Sculpture Park, just a quick walk north of Pike Place Market, is a nine-acre outdoor museum complete with a public beach, expansive running paths, and (on a clear day) a breathtaking view of the Olympic mountain range. Many of the sculptures are built on a large scale and are difficult to miss; however, be sure to find the Neukom Vivarium. This small greenhouse is home to a fallen Western Hemlock. Visitors can pass through and observe how the Hemlock has changed over the last six years which now shelters hundreds of species of moss, lichen, and fungus.
Powell’s City of Books: Portland, Oregon
If the rain is really getting you down, and you’re willing to contend with hundreds of hipsters (or, God forbid, you are one), then Powell’s Books in the heart of downtown Portland might be your scene. With over 1.6 acres of floor space and hundreds of thousands of new, used, and rare books, Powell’s is any book-lovers dream. Sit down and read in their cafe, sell back your shameful “Fifty Shades of Grey” collection, or just browse–if you’re doing it right, it should take you a couple of days.
Third Beach: La Push, Washington
Unfortunately made popular by the Twilight series, La Push and the beaches along Washington’s Pacific coast, are definitely majestic in their own right. Glittering vampires aside, if you find yourself on Third Beach you should consider yourself very lucky. With towering islands peaking out through the morning fog, quiet pebble beaches, and ample wildlife, Third Beach cannot be missed. Go on a sunny day and take a dip (although tides can be tricky) or go when it’s raining and watch a truly blustery scene–hopefully your trip will remain blissfully Twilight-free.