Road Trip Day Dreaming - The Dainty Squid

Road Trip Day Dreaming

Wednesday, January 28, 2015

Last June Jeff and I took a pretty epic road trip across six states out West. It was easily one of the best weeks of my life. We saw so much and had an AMAZING time. Plus since our relationship was so new then it was an incredible bonding trip for us. It wasn't long after we got home, probably about a week, before we were talking about taking another trip. Nothing serious, just mentioning here and there what might be fun. We both love traveling and want to see the world so just about every possible place got thrown out there.

Earlier in the week we started to make real plans. Not reeeal plans just started talking a little more seriously about this year's trip. Now it's eating at me. I can't stop thinking about our possible trip.  We're thinking the Pacific Northwest. Similar to our last trip, we'd fly into a major city, rent a car and just driiiiive.  The internet is obviously an amazing resource and we'll both be scouring it for things but I would hate to accidentally overlook something amazing. (On our last trip we were SO close to the other Wigwam Village and I didn't even know until it was too late. It's killing me now because we would have obviously stayed at it and I would be able to cross that off my bucket list!) We both love kitschy roadside attractions, tourist traps, and the like but on this trip we'd also like to do more "nature stuff" for lack of a better way to put it. I would LOVE to visit a tide pool and be able to see a starfish. I want to photograph mountains, waterfalls, all the weird critters you guys have out there (y'all, banana slugs! I saw one when I visited my brother in Seattle like five years ago and I still think about how cool that thing was all the time!) and I'd be one very happy lady if I finally got to see my absolute favorite mushroom, Amanita muscaria, in person! SO, PNW folks - what are some MUST SEE things out there? Parks, museums, beaches, great views, incredible abandoned places, etc - Lemme hear 'em!
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Like I mentioned above, I can't stop thinking about this trip despite the fact nothing is set in stone yet. I've just been constantly scheming how I can save money for the trip, where we'll go and of course, what I'll bring. I made a fun little wish list of a few things I wouldn't mind bringing along. I love window shopping, especially when I have a theme in mind. As someone who loved, but no longer gets to go, "back to school" shopping, shopping for a road trip is the next best thing! It's no surprise I'm always trying to think of an excuse to buy some new Palladium Boots. I bought a bunch of boots this winter but I'll be needing some shoes to wear with shorts in better weather. Lovin' the green pair. And that bag by Fjällräven?! Not only is it gorgeous, it'd be perfect to stash away at least a few of the many many cameras that will be accompanying me on the trip!
xoxo

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59 thoughts

  1. Last September, my boyfriend and I flew into Seattle and worked our way down the coast to Yosemite over two weeks. It was definitely the best adventure I've had yet. Here's some places we went to that I think you might enjoy:
    Seattle/Washington: Mt. Rainier (we took the 6 mile hike and it was amazing), Ye Olde Curiosity Shop & antiques district, EMP Museum.
    Astoria/Oregon: Cute little town on the border of Washington & Oregon, tons of little antique shops and they filmed the Goonies there :) Haystack Rock, Ecola State Park & the (ship)Wreck of Peter Iredale are all on the way down the coast towards Portland, if you choose to stick mostly to the coast (we did because it's beautiful).
    Wizards hat (rock formation) is in Bandon Oregon, with some other large rock formations but it's not really as crazy big as pictures might make it seem ;) On your way inland towards Portland, you can also stop by some Oregon Dunes, which are pretty neat (a lot of diversification in that state, if you want to see beach, desert, or mountains - they have everything)
    Portland/Oregon: Mt. Hood is a great hike, and you can see the Timberline lodge (which they used outside shots for the Overlook hotel in The Shining). Portland is an amazing city full of oddities and antiques if you do a little searching. Definitely go to Powell's City of Books. I happened to be there when one of my favorite authors was in town, which was definitely a bonus. If you enjoy beer, check out the Rogue Brewery.
    Humbolt County/California: we worked our way down the coast to north California, as I have family there. There are quite a few Sequoia forests.
    Napa Valley/California: Even if you don't like wine, wine county is beautiful. Castillo di Amoroso is a bit more touristy but it's a beautiful winery built like a castle.
    San Francisco/California: SO many amazing little shops! Definitely head to Haight/Ashbury and check out the thrift stores :) Muir woods is just outside the city and has some amazing Redwoods.
    Yosemite/California: Camp Curry is where we stayed, and it's in the valley. Lots of beautiful stuff to see if you make the venture over.
    San Jose/California: We stopped in San Jose for a couple nights to see the Winchester Mystery House. Super interesting stuff, I think you might enjoy it :)

    Whatever you plan, I look forward to seeing your photos! The pacific NW is by far my favorite place in the world (until I travel some place more amazing?) and there is so much to see. If you're looking for hiking you can find about a million other places within those three states, there were parks EVERYWHERE.


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    1. Woahhhh! Thank you SO much for all the recommendations! That is so helpful! :D

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    2. No problem! My boyfriend and I are working on putting together a travel blog, so I have travel on the mind often ;)
      I forgot to mention Big Sur, but it is one of the most beautiful places I've ever seen. There's a beach with bits of purple sand & bright turquoise water. If you just follow highway 1 down the coast you can see some incredible things!

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  2. Dude, I've got road trips on the brain too! I live in Nashville and I think I want to drive to Arizona, but not 100% sure yet. With gas prices as low as they are now ($1.68 a gallon down here!) sooner would probably be better though!
    Hey, I've seen the lomo'instant pop up on your blog a few times lately...are you planning on getting one? I almost got myself one, but when I thought about it, I don't really see anything it can do that my Diana Instant Back doesn't (except maybe it's more compact...). I ended up upgrading my 7s to the 90 neo classic instead and I am so glad I did!

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    1. Woweee, $1.68?! A trip down south is sounding preeeeetty awesome right now! :P

      I'm not 100% sure. Probably not because I don't necessarily need it but it does look pretty cool. I just love cameras, there isn't a camera out there that I don't want to shoot with at least once.

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    2. Yes! I can fill my tank up for $25 bucks. A couple months ago, it took at least $50! If you do head back down this way, check out McKay's - it's a huge used book store that also sells records and some other stuff. I'm convinced it's one of the best places in the world!

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  3. Please do another road trip! An old boyfriend and I once did something similar. We had only been dating for a few months and decided to spend two weeks together driving from the middle of the country out to San Francisco and L.A. Road trips are the best. I haven't gone on a major one since that journey, but I'd love to start planning something similar soon!

    The What's In Between

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    1. They really are the best! I wish I had the opportunity to go on more of them.

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  4. Visit Forks Wa. It is a great little town but with the Olympic Forrest right there it is amazing for exploring.
    We stayed at a little family place "Huckleberry lodge" (3 cabins on a property) You can explore around the property for hours (I did at least) Walk to the river and just be in awe of all the moss and mushrooms!
    They also have washers and dryers there, so it is a nice place to have along a roadtrip.
    But def check out the Olympic Forest!

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    1. Awesome, thanks! I was just drooling over some photos from the Olympic Forest. Deeeeefinitely need to go.

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  5. You really need to travel up to New England. There are SOOOO many great places in Maine, and along Rte. 1. :D

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    1. Definitely on my list! Maybe this spring!

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    2. Also, importantly, there is a cryptozoology museum in Portland ME!

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  6. I've also started to dream about our future travel adventure, and although I am ready for a road trip (so ready!) I think we will change it this year to a walking-public transportation one. No matter if it is a road trip or not we need this wonderful bag for the cameras!!! I think Daniel would be a happy fella with one of these :) I think it could be nice to invest in a bag that both could use.

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  7. I still need to take a proper road trip! I'd love to go down the West Coast!

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    1. Oh me too! Doing the West coast is something we have discussed as well.

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  8. I've been reading your blog for years. Of course if you're coming to PNW you're going to drive into Portland OR because why would you skip it? I'll send you an insider email of spots for Portland and ask my friend for summer hang out areas (he seems more out of the city limits than myself) too. There's so much to do here honestly even in 5 years I haven't touched on a fraction yet myself. Mostly hiking and eating since our homeless population makes urban exploration impossible. (Nothing stays abandoned) It would be cool to meet you and your dude but I know how hectic travel can be -- still I love showing people my adopted city as much as you must love to show off Clevo :)

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    1. OF COURSE, we both really want to hit up Portland, I'd love to hear your recommendations.
      :)

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  9. That eye shirt and that backpack are to-die-for! So cute! I'm taking a road trip (with my mom!) in a couple of weeks and have been dreaming of outfits.

    Circus & Bloom
    ♥♥♥

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  10. Multnomah falls. Wahclella Falls. Pix Patisserie in Portland for macarons. As cheesy as it sounds, go to the top of the Space Needle. Its a pretty cool view.

    There's probably other things, but can't think of them right now.

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    1. Thanks for the macaron recommendation. Obviously something very important I forgot to ask for in the post! :P

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  11. Cute take a hike pullover :)
    xo katie a. // http://bluepoppyblog.com

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  12. Ah! This post has me so excited for you! My fiancé and I took our first cross country road trip in September of last year and the pacific northwest was by far my favorite part! We drove on the one from LA to Oregon and Washington. If you start off your trip in northern California, the chandelier tree is a fun little diversion, it's a giant redwood that cars can drive through. There are also amazing elephant seal rookeries near big sur where you can see fat baby seals. I also recommend both Crater lake and Olympic National parks. Olympic was incredible, especially the hall of mosses, it's a primordial rain forest. It's also a good way to save money because back country camping is free with a permit! There are also a lot of "worlds largest" trees along this route, like the worlds largest spruce at lake Quinalt. We also spent some time on the Washington coast just west of Olympic, we saw a bald eagle and lots of little jellyfish in tide pools. The one thing I really wanted to see but didn't? A banana slug haha, I was obsessed with finding one but couldn't! I bet you will have better luck!

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    1. Oh man, I'd love to go through that tree. I've seen so many pictures of that, I have to do it for myself.

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  13. There are SO many cool places in the PNW. If you're looking for touristy AND nature, definitely come to Portland/Vancouver area. There are so many places to drive to and things to see. Plus we have a ton of amazing hikes like Angels Rest, Fairy Falls, Beacon Rock, or even just taking the plunge and hiking up Mt Hood! For touristy stuff I'd recommend Voodoo Doughnuts, the Portland Saturday Market, Powells, the food carts, and basically anything in Portland that sounds interesting to you!

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  14. I have been in Seattle three years and have had a great time exploring! A few highlights: River raft/bald eagle watching trip on the Skagit River, Hoh rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula, and visiting Orcas Island in the San Juan Islands. I still want to explore the Olympic National Park more, visit Leavenworth, and make it to the beach more. I really like Le Panier at Pike Place for macarons. It would be so fun to have a reader meet-up when you're here!

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    1. Awesome! Thanks for the recommendations, Jess! The Hoh rainforest looks like a must!!

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  15. I've definitely got the road trip itch too, something about this cold weather makes me dream about summer vacations. I think the pacific northwest sounds like an amazing place to visit, I can't wait to hear more about your plans and see the awesome places you discover!

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    1. Yeah, cold weather is good for doing that to people!

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  16. PNW is my dreaaaammmm!! Coming from a little town Australia which is surrounded by flat paddocks out to the horizon and is always the main view out the window for the majority of any road trip. And unfortunately we can't get Palladiums here, but I'm loving the lomo camera and backpack - I need to do my school bag shopping this year for a big stack of nursing textbooks, but no bag seems like it would be strong enough. :( Any recommendations you know of for a strong thick school bag would be great - don't worry if you can't think of any! Getting most out to Aus would be a stuggle anyway!) :)

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    1. Hmm, I can't really think of anything off the top of my head. I'm much better at recommending camera bags instead of book bags. :P

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  17. yes! bookmarking this because my husband and i are planning on doing the pacific northwest in the fall this year! last fall we drove from nashville up to salem, then over to niagra falls, then cleveland then back to nashville. it was amazing! i love road trips too.

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    1. Hah! It's the year of the PNW! If when you're doing your research for stops you find anything that looks super awesome shoot me an email. We definitely seem to have similar roadtrip styles! :)

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  18. I had to google banana slug after reading this, and whoa! Haha. On our honeymoon, my husband and I drove cross-country (from SC to Texas, up the entire west coast to Seattle and back) and the PNW was my absolute favorite place I've ever been. I thought the California coast was gorgeous, but driving through the hills in Oregon completely blew my mind! I had gaping jaw for like two hours. I don't have any specific suggestions for ya, but we're planning another vacation there soon, so I'll be stalking this post. GO! It's SO beautiful and perfect for outdoorsy nature things.

    Kelsey
    Chaos Parade

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  19. Actually, I do have one suggestion that we detoured for. I follow a ton of PNW photographers and I remembered a picture of Crater Lake as we passed the sign for it. AMAZING!! It's the deepest lake in the US. :)

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  20. I live in Portland :D
    Grilled Cheese Grill, Sizzle Pie Pizza, Cloud City Ice Cream, Stumptown Coffee. Check out Cape Kiwanda on the coast(an hour and a half away, it's my fav place in the world), Neskowin(right next to Cape Kiwanda, check out Lincoln City, the sea lion caves in Florence, The Tillamook cheese factory in Tillamook, and just pretty much everywhere on the coast

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    1. Daaaang, Cape Kiwanda looks incredible. Thank you so much for the awesome list! :)

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  21. Just sayin, if you ever make your way out to the Southern California coastline, I'm very familiar with the tide pools in Laguna Beach (being a bio major has its perks, every research trip we take is to the tide pools to observe specimens!) Plus, low tide is the BEST time to go to the neighboring beach, Huntington (and my personal fave). So much crab exoskeletons, seashells, and sea glass to be found.

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  22. Hey yo! I'll be looking forward to your posts if you make it up to the PNW. I'm in Portland, and I love it but I don't really get out much (oops). Something delicious, fun or silly things to check out:
    - Mill Ends Park (smallest park in the world)
    - Washington Park
    - Stark’s Vacuum Museum
    - Ken's Artisan Bakery
    - The big Adidas shoe statues
    - Ground Kontrol Arcade
    - Tilt (PIE SHAKES)

    Anywhoo, I used to work at the Jupiter Hotel. If you're planning on staying a night in the city, I would recommend that place. It's super kitschy and fun (and totes hit me up for discounted rate!)

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    1. Thank you so much for the awesome list!! Those places all sound amazing. I'm getting super pumped for Portland!

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  23. OMG! I don't know how I forgot, but you have to check out Old Taylor Electric Supply building in SE Portland. http://www.yelp.com/biz/old-taylor-electric-supply-co-building-portland

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  24. I live in Washington and would definitely recommend driving 101 along the coast. Lake Crescent is the second deepest lake in Washington and is absolutely gorgeous. In the 30s a woman was drowned in the lake and when her body was discovered three years later, it was completely preserved due to the lake temperature. Her skin had turned to soap because of the minerals in the lake interacting with her body fat. Pretty weird.

    Quinault Rainforest and Lake Quinault are awesome. In Aberdeen there is a very kitschy Star Wars store. Marsh's Free Museum in Long Beach has a mummified half-man, half-alligator on display.

    Diablo Lake in the North Cascades is gorgeous.

    I'd recommend the Sky View observatory deck over the Space Needle. It's in the Columbia Tower which is the tallest building in Seattle, has awesome views, and is a lot cheaper than the Space Needle.

    Take a ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island or Bremerton. Awesome views of the city and much cheaper than any of the harbor cruises. I've seen tons of seals while taking the Bainbridge/Seattle ferry.

    Spend some time in the Columbia River Gorge. There are a ton of waterfalls in the area.

    Portland has a ton of pods of food trucks.. and of course everyone loves Voodoo Doughnuts.

    God, there is so much to see here. I could go on forever.

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    1. Duuude. Thank you for the list. Those places all sound awesome. Diablo Lake looks amazing! I can't even believe places like that exist. It's so different from Ohio. I can't wait to see it with my own eyes.

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  25. You should really consider Alaska for one of your trips. Soooo gorgeous.

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    1. Oh, Jeff is alllll about getting to Alaska some day so I'm sure I'll make it eventually.

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  26. Can't help you with the travels (living in Sweden) but check out Fjällrävens Kånken (either Kanken or Konken in english I think). It is the only bag I use and is even comfortable carrying heavy things in.

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  27. We have a major road trip on the brain too... we're thinking cross country style with a final stop somewhere in the PNW. It's a doozy to save up for, but we are so excited! I'm looking forward to seeing what other folks recommend to see out there!

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  28. I grew up in the Portland area and now live in the Seattle area, but I almost don't know where to start! I'll try anyway... :)

    Portland
    - Powell's Books (as another commenter mentioned) - biggest physical bookstore in the world. Full of used books, some old out of print ones, etc. for great prices (no sales tax in OR too)!
    - Salt and Straw - crazy ice cream flavors concocted by local chefs! I think you've mentioned being a bit finicky about food before so it might be a little too wild, but you can always get some free samples first.
    - Portland is basically foodie heaven so I'd recommend scouting out some good restaurants ahead of time.

    Seattle
    - Molly Moon's - more ice cream! Can you tell I like ice cream? They have more normal flavors than S&S. Very true to the ingredients (i.e. strawberry ice cream really tastes like strawberries).
    - Hiking - Lots of hiking around here! Tiger Mountain, Mount Si, & Cougar Mountain are popular spots. Some may require day parking passes.
    - Mailbox Peak - I haven't done this one but it's supposed to be a pretty good hike. Also known to be tough due to the elevation climb. There's an old mailbox at the top that would be cool to see/photograph (hence the name). http://www.wta.org/go-hiking/hikes/mailbox-peak
    - The Fat Hen - Delicious, small breakfast place. It does tend to have a very long wait unless you go early and it's closed on Mondays. But it is AMAZING.
    - Toulouse Petit - Another delicious restaurant (mostly for their brunch menu). Cajun/Creole food. Yum!

    There are a LOT of vegetarian/vegan restaurants/options in both Seattle & Portland if you're looking for them, which is really nice. I like Habibi (Lebanese) in Portland, Veggie Grill (American) in both OR & WA, Araya's Place (Thai) in Seattle, Silence-Heart-Nest (I've been to breakfast there) in Seattle.
    http://www.seattlemet.com/eat-and-drink/nosh-pit/articles/the-best-vegetarian-restaurants-in-seattle-june-2013

    Can you tell I'm a little food obsessed? Hehe. :)

    <3 Kelsea | Kels Shark

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    1. Haha, well, Jeff will love this list. That boy is all about food! Thank you so much!! :)

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  29. Make sure to go see the redwood forest! There are a few Bigfoot attractions there as well. If you can I would drive down route 1 in California too. I did a whole road trip along the PNW and California coast actually it it was amazing.

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  30. Oh MAN. I can't wait to see what you check out in the PNW. Seattle was my home for seven years (until this summer) and I'm suffering sharp pangs of homesickness. My favorite neighborhood is Georgetown (find Larry and ask him for great stories) but if you don't have a ton of time, Capitol Hill is one of the easiest to explore on foot- youngish, hip, the occasional drag superstar, the mystery Coke machine, lots of great food. Scarecrow Video in the U-District for sheer awesomeness and Cafe Racer down the way. On the more touristy side, the main library with its Koolhaas angles and blood red loop hall; the Fremont Troll and Lenin statues; Olympic Sculpture Park's pocket beach (perfect at sunrise when no one's there). Dunno if you're a bars 'n' greasy spoon person but Shorty's pinball and the Five Point Cafe- I miss those constantly. Every neighborhood has its gems. I worked for a comics publisher in residential Maple Leaf and even there- an incredible junk art house next door and a mini dinosaur garden up the road. The mister and I met when he was still living in Tacoma which is a fantastic and criminally underrated city if you get to stop- ditto Olympia. Outside of cities: Snoqualmie Falls, Mount Rainier, and the H'oh Rainforest (aka- most breathtakingly beautiful park I've been). Sorry to gush and babble; there's just a ton of great stuff out there.

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  31. Hey Lady!

    An hour north of Seattle is Skagit Valley. It's a gorgeous little place. Take HWY 20 East to Lake Diablo. Make a stop in Sedro-Woolley at the old asylum. You can freely visit the barns but getting into Northern State Mental Hospital is trickier. After that continue to Concrete and go to the Devils Tower! It's part of an old quarry mine.

    On your way back from Diablo you have to check out Bellinghams downtown & Fairhaven areas. Take Chuckanut Drive back to Skagit. It has the most beautiful views of the bay. Lots of places to stop and hike down to the traintracks and water. If you are feeling a little risky there is Teddy Bear Cove. It's sometimes a nudist beach but it's a beautiful place. Drive Chuckanut at Sunset. I lived there most of my life and Chuckanut never gets old.

    You are going to fall in love with the PNW. No doubts about that.
    Much luck!

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  32. I was so happy to see someone excited to come to the PNW!! I've lived in the Seattle area my whole life and I think it's the perfect place. (In my extremely biased opinion, haha) There is a ton of outdoor activities to do. Some of my favorites is the hike up to the ice caves (it's a pretty easy hike), snoqualmie falls and deception pass (it's gorgeous). Downtown Seattle has lots of touristy (but fun) stuff. I like the Seattle underground tour, there's even a haunted one if that's your thing. There is a Pike Place Market tour, also a haunted version there too. There's a couple different food tours around there that I recommend too, really good food! For fun factor I'd visit the troll under the bridge in Fremont. Ah, too much fun stuff! Can't wait to see where you go! I hope you enjoy your trip if you make it up here.
    Jessica

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  33. I've always lived in/near Seattle, so I have lots of favorites. I agree with a lot of the suggestions of others: Olympic National Park (Hurricane Ridge is amazing, as is all the rest), the Washington/Oregon coast, The Hwy 101 loop around the Olympic Peninsula, Skagit Valley, Olympia, my hometown of Bainbridge Island (a 30-minute ferry ride from Seattle), Bellingham, and oh my god so much more. Even the city I live in, Renton, which is just south of Seattle, has a cute downtown with lots of shopping and amazing places to eat!

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  34. I live in Seattle now and grew up in the Columbia River Gorge. For waterfalls I highly recommend driving west along the Historic Columbia River Highway from Cascade Locks, OR. There are tons of places to park and hike to waterfalls. Multnomah Falls is cool but there are lots of other ones that are better hikes and less crowded with tourists. I also recommend a stop at the Vista House, along the same highway. There are amazing views of the Columbia River. On the Washington side of the Columbia River, Beacon Rock is a cool hike with a great view at the top and lots of great photo-taking opportunities along the way.

    One lesser known waterfall that you should really see is Falls Creek Falls. It's near my hometown of Carson, WA and it's a nice hike up to an amazing triple waterfall. http://www.waterfallsnorthwest.com/nws/falls.php?num=5245

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