If you’ve never been to the Northwest, you just don’t know what you’re missing out on. Often overlooked, the Northwest has numerous dreamy cities and limitless cozy getaway locations. Whether you’re a fan of the scenery, something that keeps you active (like hiking, biking, boating, or skiing), or you just want a relaxing experience like nothing you’ve ever encountered before – the Northwest is definitely for you.
The Northwest has some of the most beautiful forests, waterfalls, mountains, and lakes in the country. Not to mention many of them are just minutes away from the city, which means you don’t have to travel far in order to find some charming scenery. The landscapes couldn’t be a better backdrop for a hobbyist photographer, and it doesn’t matter what season you choose to visit. No matter the weather, prepare to be in awe over some of the most gorgeous terrain in the U.S. With such an array of landscapes, you’ll want to snap pictures all day. I suggest packing everything you’ll need to shoot a variety of photos. For example, traditional photography and long exposure photography are both perfect for this territory. However, if you have the opportunity to do something really creative, like aerial photography, you won’t be disappointed.
If water activities are your thing, you’ll experience no shortage of lakes and rivers in the Northwest. Idaho, Oregon, and Washington are all filled with areas for boating, kayaking, or just going for a casual swim. If you’re really feeling adventurous, you can even check out some extreme water sports like whitewater rafting, lake surfing, and wakeboarding. There are plenty of courses available for anyone of any skill level. Don’t be intimidated – even beginners can give it a try.
The further west you travel, the closer to the ocean you’ll be. The Oregon and Washington coasts are simply astonishing in their beauty. Many houses and cabins are available for rent right on the beach.
If you want to try your hand at some hiking, mountain biking, or mountain climbing, the Northwest is the place for you. Countless mountainous areas envelop the area. The Cascade mountain range runs straight through Oregon and Washington, and the Northern Rocky Mountains cover a large portion of Idaho’s terrain. Again, you don’t have to be a pro in order to have some fun. Just find a guide, grab some gear, and get active.
For you snowbunnies, picking a ski resort will be a real challenge because there are simply too many to choose from! There’s Mt. Hood, Bogus Basin, Timberline, and Crystal Mountain just to name a few. Since there are so many gorgeous ski resorts across the country, skiers and snowboarders often forget about what the Northwest has to offer. No matter where you choose, you’re bound to have a great time.
The cabins available in the Northwest are unparalleled. If you need some space to think, but vacationing to a tourist island or major city seems too stressful, cabin life might be just what you need. Private cabins come in all shapes and sizes to fit your dream oasis in the forest. Many are quite affordable compared to traditional hotel lodging. In addition, most come equipped with all the amenities you’ll need for a long or short stay. Grab a cup of cocoa and a good book, you’ll want to stay for a while.
Another beautiful thing about the Northwest is the amount of natural hot springs littered throughout. No matter where you travel in the Northwest, there’s undoubtedly a hot spring near you. What’s more, the hot springs vary largely depending on what type of experience you prefer. You may want to travel an hour or two to find that perfect romantic location for you and your sweetie, or you might prefer a location that is more family friendly so you can bring the whole gang.
For those of you who might not be crazy about the idea of staying in a cabin for too long, luckily there are more options available. The Northwest has a few of the most humble, yet urban cities in the country.
Seattle, WA – Lovingly known as the city where “grunge” music got its start, Seattle is the largest city on this list. The population is almost double that of Portland and five times that of Boise. Seattle offers a larger variety of tourist destinations than the other two options, like the iconic Space Needle and Pike Place market. Although, Seattle has much more to offer, such as several museums like the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum and the Museum of Pop Culture. You can grab a ferry ride, which will guide you around the sights of Seattle, the surrounding islands, and peninsulas. The city also has some of the most beautiful gardens and parks around, like the Seattle Japanese Garden and the Washington Park Arboretum. You can even get guided tours up to Mt. Rainier if you’re feeling up to it.
Portland, OR – Known as one of the most progressive and cleanest cities in the entire U.S., Portland has a lot to offer. If you’re a fan of history, you can stop by OMSI (The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry) or the Portland Art Museum. The dining scene in Portland is known for being one of the largest vegan/vegetarian collections in the U.S. So, if you’re a healthy eater or just want to try something new, there’s something interesting on just about every corner. Portland is also just under 2 hours away from the coast, which is riddled with astounding views and sightseeing locations – including whale watching.
Boise, ID – Boise is called the City of Trees for a reason. The capital of Idaho is thoughtfully tucked away in a dreamy valley filled with plant and animal life. Take a trip down to the many greenbelt walkways and bikeways, where you might catch a glimpse of some native deer. Check out some of Boise’s rich history including the Idaho State Penitentiary or Train Depot. You can also visit Zoo Boise, check out the Boise Art Museum, or stroll through the Idaho Botanical Garden – one of several lush gardens in the downtown area.
Overall, the Northwest simply has an air of happiness and tranquility. We’re grateful to live in such a wonderful place and can’t wait to share its beauty with you. Whether you choose to go skiing, check out the metropolitan areas, or just take a walk down the greenbelt, the Northwest welcomes you.
Trisha is a writer from Boise, ID. She is a dedicated vegan, an avid gamer, cat lover, and amateur SFX artist. You can find her on twitter @thatdangvegan or check out her blog thatdangvegan.com