Thanks to all on TripAdvisor – the forums and reviewers – for sharing your knowledge and experiences with us all. Our trip to OR /WA wouldn’t have been nearly as fantastic w/o all of the extra input, and there was a lot that changed from the itinerary originally planned (mainly so we could stop and smell the roses a bit). I’d like to share our trip in hopes it helps someone else w/ their planning. Doing one report and posting in both OR and WA forums, as we encountered lots of people doing the same loop as we did.
8/9: DD (10), DS (7) and I flew from BWI to PDX to meet DH (already in Portland for a conference). Flew United, and instead of arriving at PDX at 11:30 am, we arrived shortly after midnight courtesy of LOTS of mechanical difficulties.
8/10: Breakfast at the hotel (Crowne Plaza – Convention Center). Visited the Japanese Gardens; drove past the rose gardens and kind of wished we had stopped there first since we had limited time. Lunch from food trucks (Hawaiian pork and Schnitzelwich – delish!), VooDoo Donuts (the raspberry jam w/ dark chocolate icing was insanely good)!
Lovely drive to Cannon Beach; the Tolovana Inn was better than expected. Explored the beach then Mo’s for dinner. I’ve read the Mo’s of today isn’t as good as it used to be, but not having any point of comparison, we loved it!
8/11: Ecola State Park - hiked the Clatsop Loop Trail (and learned very quickly that we are not in as good of shape as we thought, LOL!). Explored Indian Beach tidepools, lunch at The Lumberyard – Tillamook Mac & Cheese and Dungeness crab salad were excellent! DH/DS checked out the tide pools at Haystack Rock. DH said the tidepooling at Indian Beach was significantly better, as Haystack Rock was very monitored and you couldn’t really get close enough to see anything good.
Drove to Seaside (reminded us of a small-scale Ocean City, MD). Fed the seals at the Aquarium (fun!), rode some rides, had some yummy marionberry ice cream. Dinner at the Wayfarer – the mac & cheese w/ Tillamook cheese curds was absolutely the highlight, followed by more marionberries (this time in a cobbler). Back to the Inn, where the kids watched movies we rented from the front desk, and the adults passed out from exhaustion, LOL!
8/12: Walked to Waves of Grain for breakfast. Drove to Astoria; flew planes at the Astoria Column, then the Maritime Museum. Lunch at the Wet Dog Café – local beer/cider, pretzels, fish sandwiches and live jazz, doesn’t get much better!
Settled into the car for the long stretch to Forks, WA. The landscape reminded us of driving through coal country here on the East Coast. Dinner at Pacific Pizza (service was horrible, and I felt a tourists-not-welcome vibe there), stopped in the grocery store for provisions, then to LaPush and the Quileute Oceanside Resort. The resort was MUCH better than expected after reading the reviews here. Out to the beach for a campfire.
8/13: Morning at Second Beach. The hike down to the Beach was a bit more strenuous than I was expecting (see earlier comment about the shape we learned we were in, lol!), but totally worth it! We weren’t able to get there at low tide, but the tide was heading out enough that there was plenty to explore.
Lunch at the Hard Rain Café – again, really good salmon burgers and fries. Rafting trip w/ Rainforest Paddlers - knew there wouldn’t be any rapids, which was perfect for our kids. After rafting, the Hall of Mosses trail (otherworldly!), then a quick dinner at Three Rivers Resort (awesome milkshakes!), and another campfire on the beach. Thought I’d do some much-needed laundry this evening, but the laundry facilities were really sketchy and I didn’t feel safe being there alone.
8/14: Breakfast sandwiches from Three Rivers, took DD to the Twilight store, then off to Hurricane Ridge. The kids were pretty wiped out by now, and protested any real hiking, so we just explored the area around the Visitor Center, going out to Sunrise Point. Dinner at the Three Crabs (DH’s pick – it was a pretty dismal meal). Took the Bainbridge Ferry into Seattle. The ferry ride was one of the highlights of the trip – the sun had set and the approaching skyline was simply beautiful! Stayed at the Maxwell Hotel and were wowed by it.
8/15: Did an emergency load of laundry at the Queen Anne Launderette, and left the rest. Walked over to Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Space Needle (bought a combo ticket). Took the monorail downtown and walked to Pike Place Market. Bought some fish to be shipped home, and grazed at different food stops (bay shrimp, chowder, meat pies, fresh fruit, ice cream – all good!). Rode the Seattle Great Wheel, then over a couple of piers to the Tillicum Village Cruise, worth every penny (and I had a AAA discount). Monorail back to Seattle Center and a lovely walk back to our hotel, where the kids swam for a bit before bed.
8/16: Picked up the rest of our laundry, then off to the Boeing tour. We could’ve skipped this – there wasn’t enough action on the floor to keep DS’ interest. Lunch at Ivar’s Seafood Bar – again, delicious! – then out to Leavenworth, stopping at a river along the way to explore.
Checked into the Enzian Inn, and immediately hit the lovely outdoor pool with a glass of wine. King Ludwig’s for dinner (we love German food and this didn’t disappoint!). The town is adorable!
8/17: Breakfast at the Inn was everything I hoped it would be. Sent DH fly fishing w/ Red’s Fly Shop – his guide was great! The kids and I went on a trail ride w/ Eagle Creek Ranch – a great experience! Then tubing that afternoon on the Wenatchee. More pool time for the kids, then shopping and dinner at Andreas Keller (liked the schnitzel at AK better than KL, but KL had an awesome assortment platter for 2).
8/18: Another great breakfast at the Inn, then its beautiful mini-golf course. Drove through the forest fire areas and stopped in Yakima for lunch (Second Street Grill), then down to the Dalles. Hopped on the CRHH and stopped at every waterfall, then up to Vista House for sunset and the last scenery of our amazing adventure. Absolutely exhausted, we found our hotel (Courtyard Marriott at PDX – WONDERFUL airport hotel!) and had a late dinner at Shari’s (surprisingly good, but we might have just been delirious).
8/19: Headed back East, more United problems (this time, drama w/ “re-configured” seating, but our flights were on time), and as happy as we were to be home, we already missed marionberries, roadside espresso stands, and all the amazing landscapes we had seen during our trip. OR/WA is truly an amazing part of the country, and we feel blessed to have spent the time we did exploring all of the beauty of the area.