Close this search box.

8 Magnificent Pacific Northwest Gems to Explore This Summer

Check out these Pacific Northwest gems before you start making your summer plans!

This year, enter a majestic land of lush forests, towering mountains, and breathtaking coastlines, otherwise known as the Pacific Northwest! As summer begins to cast its golden rays upon this enchanting region, it unveils many hidden gems waiting to be discovered.

So Must See Places is embarking on a journey to explore the most magnificent Pacific Northwest gems that promise unique adventures and timeless memories. This part of the US beckons with its awe-inspiring landscapes and natural splendor.

Whether you’re an outdoor adventurer, a nature enthusiast, or simply seeking new horizons, there’s something for everyone in this diverse and vibrant corner of the world. What are we waiting for?

Pack your bags and get ready to uncover the wonders of the PNW. Let’s delve into the beauty and majesty of these 8 Pacific Northwest gems that await you this summer.

Pacific Northwest Gem
Photo by Art Boardman at Shutterstock

Embark on an Oregon Coast road trip adventure

Portland is a fantastic spot for beginning many Pacific Northwest outdoor adventures, including a trip to the coast.

Make your way west for a day trip from Portland when searching for sites to see in the Pacific Northwest, enjoying many famous pit stops along the way, like Pacific City, Cannon Beach, and Lincoln City.

Beaches, nature sites, and incredible ocean sceneries all make up the stunning views of this route, and summer in Oregon is one of the best times to go. The Nestucca Bay National Wildlife Reserve is a stop we recommend when planning this day trip.

One of the most captivating spots on this Pacific Northwest gem will fall under the Three Capes Scenic Route, which includes Cape Lookout, Cape Meares, and Cape Kiwanda.

No matter where you decide to take a break, this area is perfect when you need family vacation ideas in the Pacific Northwest.

Plan your escape to Astoria: A Northwest retreat

This Pacific Northwest gem is a charming town on the Oregon side of the Columbia River mouth. What started as a humble fishing village in the 1800s has evolved into a popular tourist destination.

There are so many things to see and do that it’s best to enjoy this spot when planning an Astoria weekend getaway. There are many historical, natural, and cultural attractions, and the coastal area greatly contrasts ocean and forest life.

It’s only a short 10-minute drive across the giant Astoria-Megler bridge, which connects Washington’s neighboring state.

Experience summer bliss in British Columbia

This Pacific Northwest gem is one of our favorite places to visit in the summer, specifically between Squamish and Whistler. We recommend taking a ride on the Sea to Sky Gondola to see a spectacular view of the area and walk over a suspension bridge.

Whistler is one of the most sought-after tourist destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and once you go there, you’ll understand why. This Pacific Northwest gem is an excellent option for summer vacations.

Although skiing and other snow-related activities are fun, exploring Whistler during the summer is a must-do experience at least once in your lifetime.

While there, you can head out into the mountains on the many beautiful trails, try mountain biking around the Whistler Mountain Bike Park, or relax in one of the many restaurants, spas, or cafes the area is known for.

Go on a train journey through the Willamette Valley

The Willamette Valley in Oregon is a popular tourist destination with many unique things to see and do. One of the best ways to explore this Pacific Northwest gem is by taking the train from Seattle in the north to Eugene in the south.

The train was originally known as the Willamette Valley Express but has since been integrated into the Amtrak Cascades corridor.

The day trip from Seattle to Eugene will allow you to experience the magnificence of the Willamette Valley without having to drive yourself around everywhere during one of the top things to do in the Pacific Northwest.

Pacific Northwest Gem
Photo by Monika Wieland Shields at Shutterstock

Spot majestic orca and humpback whales

Whales are considered some of the most exquisite creatures in the ocean, so why not go to one of the best whale-watching sites in North America?

The waters between Vancouver and Seattle are overflowing with opportunities for things to do in this Pacific Northwest gem that get you up close and personal with sea life.

The nearby San Juan Island and Orcas Island in Washington are also excellent spots we recommend you check out. You can also start your trip from British Columbia at Victoria or anywhere else on Vancouver Island.

The best time of year to visit this Pacific Northwest gem is between April and October, when you’re practically guaranteed to see an Humpback, Orca or both.

Journey to the stunning Snoqualmie Falls by car

Many of the best waterfalls near Seattle require a fair amount of hiking. But one of the biggest reasons why people consider this Pacific Northwest gem one of their favorite places to visit is its easy access.

You can park directly above the falls, where you’ll find a small cafe, a gift shop, and an incredible observation deck. You can watch the water tumble 285 feet into the river beneath.

We recommend taking a bit of extra time to stroll down to the base of the falls, where you’ll get a much better appreciation for its magnificence. Those in wheelchairs can also visit this accessible tourist destination.

And you even have the option to stay at the lodge on the waterfall, making it a romantic weekend trip for you and your significant other!

Explore an eerie ghost town in Idaho

Central Idaho actually has quite a few ghost towns streaking its landscape. So you might want to add this to your list of things to see and do in the Pacific Northwest if you like visiting these types of places.

One of the most notable stops is the Bayhorse Ghost Town, located in the Land of the Yankee Fork State Park. This once-thriving mining town of 500 residents was deserted in 1915 after the silver mining became futile.

Nowadays, tourists can visit this Pacific Northwest gem to return to a long-forgotten period. Some unique attractions are still left standing for you to explore, like the old mill standing at the top of the hill and the kilns used to make charcoal.

But don’t worry! There are lots of information boards scattered along the way to help guide you along.

Pacific Northwest Gem
Photo by Roman Khomlyak at Shutterstock

Take a stroll through the wildflowers of Mount Rainier

Mount Rainier National Park is a huge tourist hotspot any time of the year, with over 2.5 million visitors stopping by annually looking for things to see and do in the Pacific Northwest.

But almost half of them visit during August when the wildflowers are in full bloom, and we don’t blame them. There’s nothing quite like walking along a mountain trail, taking in the many colors lining the majestic meadows.

The best places to view them are the Sunrise, Paradise, and Chinook Pass trails, but there are multiple hikes at Mount Rainier. Besides that, this Pacific Northwest gem has lots of other fun things to do, as well.

You can take a train ride, visit a waterfall (don’t forget your water shoes), or participate in their Citizen Ranger Quest. With so many fun activities, planning a day trip to Mount Rainier is definitely one of the best Pacific Northwest things to do.

Don’t forget to leave a comment to let us know if you’ve been to any other Pacific Northwest gems and you’d like our readers to know about them.

And in the meantime, Must See Places has many more fantastic getaway ideas for your next trip. For instance, did you know about these 9 Incredible Shoulder Season Travel Destinations in the US for Your Bucket List?

Leave a Comment

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Related Posts