Seek out the naturally-made wonders that exist in the Pacific Northwest! A host of National Parks contain breathtaking sights.
A Free Personalised Road Book is included as standard with our Self Drive itineraries.
Please note: – This is a suggested itinerary only and is intended to give an overview of what is possible. All of our holiday itineraries are fully customisable and can be tailor-made to suit your own individual requirements. If you would like to start in a different destination, use specific hotel accommodation, include an extra night here, a side-trip there and/or include tickets to an event please let your Discover North America travel specialist know. They’ll also book you the best value flights to ensure a seamless holiday experience.
Welcome to Portland, a vibrant destination in the Pacific Northwest known for its eccentric locals, dynamic downtown and the sweeping natural scenery that surrounds it. Upon arrival, pick-up your rental car and proceed to your hotel. Residents boast, ‘It’s hard not to eat local in Portland’. The city’s culinary scene is known for its originality, evident in the number of homegrown craft breweries, food carts grouped around town for easy sampling, and many restaurants and cafes specializing in locally sourced produce. You’ll find food vendors at the open-air Portland Saturday Market, too, along with live music and local crafts people selling unique items. Dinner at Olympic Provisions Restaurant is a must to experience its cured meats and sausages. At the International Rose Test Garden, view more than 10,000 roses, especially in May and June during the Portland Rose Festival, then take a tour of elaborate Pittock Mansion, former home of the festival’s founder.
Harken to the early 1800s, when explorers Meriwether Lewis and William Clark led an expedition that ended in the Pacific Northwest. At Lewis and Clark National Historical Park, visit 12 sites along the Columbia River and the Pacific Coast. As you imagine what life might have been like then for them and the Native Americans they met, follow trails through forests and wetlands, along the river and by the beach.
Today explore Olympic National Park, a diverse park spanning many ecosystems, including the glaciated peaks of the Olympic Mountains, ancient rainforests and the shores of Lake Crescent and the Pacific Ocean. The park is an outdoor enthusiast’s paradise, and a definite multi-night destination for climbing, hiking, skiing and sightseeing.
Follow the breathtaking coastline to Seattle, Washington, where there’s no better introduction to this lively city than Pike Place Market, a historic bazaar known for its amazing array of goods, including handmade crafts and colorful produce, and the famous fish mongers tossing fresh catches to their customers. Seattle’s Chinatown is legendary for Asian food, grocery stores and attractions. See the panoramic views from the top of the Space Needle, marvel at the glass sculptures at Chihuly Garden and Glass and explore the Frank O. Gehry- designed Museum of Pop Culture, all within walking distance of each other. Stroll to the nearby waterfront to see the Olympic Sculpture Park. Harbor cruises are a fantastic way to get picture-perfect views of the city, mountains and bay.
Leave Seattle and travel southeast to the gateway to Mount Rainier National Park. With its summit over 14,400 feet above sea level, the dominant feature of this park is the frozen peak of Mount Rainier, an active volcano. The valleys, meadows and rivers surrounding the base of this peak are strewn with wildflowers and home to many species of wildlife.
Part of the Pacific Ring of Fire, the Cascade Range is home to Mount St. Helens National Historic Monument and Mount St. Helens (or Louwala-Clough to native people), an active volcano that last erupted in 1980 and is known for its ash explosions and pyroclastic flows. Continue along the Pacific Crest Scenic Trail to Mount Hood (Wy’east to the Multnomah tribe) and another active volcano. With its year-round snow-capped peak and 12 glaciers, Mount Hood is home to six ski resorts and surrounded by crystal-clear lakes, forests and wildflower meadows.
At Oregon’s southern end of the Cascade Range and the Pacific Crest Scenic Trail is Crater Lake National Park, home to Crater Lake. Formed by a volcanic eruption, and the collapse of the volcano more than 7,000 years ago, the lake is the deepest in the USA and one of the deepest in the world.
Head to the Siskiyou Mountains and Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve, where you’ll explore the caves, known as the ‘Marble Halls of Oregon’. Inside the chilly caves - 44 degrees Fahrenheit (7 degrees Celcius) - that formed as rainwater from forests eroded the marble below, learn about the geology and see fossils, spectacular formations and bats. From the caves, return to the breathtaking Oregon Coast and the Pacific Ocean.
Follow the ever-changing Oregon Coastal Highway, exploring quaint towns and seascapes, before entering the Willamette Valley, considered Oregon’s Wine Country, known worldwide for its pinot noir. More than 300 wineries operate in the region, and this is a perfect place to stop on your way back to Portland for some wine tasting and lunch. Look for wineries with on-site restaurants.
Return your rental car prior to your departure flight.