I am cruising to Seattle (arrive on 8th) in August 2004. I am looking to spend 3 days somewhere nice after that with my wife. I want something that is really WOW but I am really not familiar with the Western states and what is a must see. I am thinking either we drive somewhere for a few days or we fly a little further for a few days.
I have heard good things about the Mojave Desert spa but it will likely be too hot at that time. Also the oregon coast gets high praise it seems but have learned little of it on searches.
There is so much to do, it's almost hard to start naming things.
Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, Washington Coast, Olympic Peninsula, Oregon Coast, Columbia River Gorge.
My top picks would be a trip to Mt. Rainier or Mt. St. Helens, and the Columbia River Gorge, if you are wililng to drive a ways. Also, the Olympic Peninsula and Washington Coast is tops in my book. From my various relatives visiting me over the years, those have always gotten high marks,and in August are beautiful.
it depends on what you are most interested in. If you let me know how adventurous you are and how far you're willing to drive, I can probably help you more. I probably wouldn't drive all the way down to the Oregon Coast from Seattle, as it doesn't have that much more to offer than the Washington Coast does and is much closer, but if you'd really like to go ahead.
A good trip is to take a ferry over to the Olympic Peninsula (Pt. Townsend area), and drive to the olympics up Hurrican Ridge, than make the circle all around the peninsula to come down and stay in one of the resort towns on the coast (Ocean Shores). From there, you could drive down to the Columbia River gorge (bordering Oregon/Washington) and stay for the evening at one of the resorts or nice hotels, and then drive north via Mt. St. Helens back to Seattle. Keep in mind this is lots of driving, but you'd get to see the really beatiful sites of Washington.
Or, if you'd like more relaxing time at sites, just do the Mt. St. Helens/ Columbia River gorge part of the trip. It's beautiful, and hiking near waterfalls in the gorge area is one of my favorites.
We are visiting Washington after our cruise in early June and I have made reservations at Cape Disappointment. Can you recommend other places to see in the area? We also plan to do Portland and the river gorge. Would you recommend a tour or just drive ourselves? Also, do you have any recommendations on places to stay in that area. You sound like you really know the area. Was glad I say this post.
Well, of course you should see the lighthouses in the area, as well as check out the multiplier marshes/tide pool type areas around. From there, you could drive directly north to the Pacific Pines day park, which is located on a little jetty from the coast. It has beautiful views of the ocean as well.
I'd highly recommend the Columbia Gorge area, and I would drive. It's very easy to get around. There's a couple things I'd recommend doing--one, stop at Multnomah Falls area(on the Oregon side of the river). Even if you don't hike there's some paved trails to some of the waterfalls. A very pretty area, and you could take the Gorge scenic highway there to see some of the area. There's also the Maryhill museum (on the Washington side of the river) http://www.maryhillmuseum.org/. Very neat museum--it has a full size replica of Stonehenge.
I'd recommend driving past one of the moutains on your way back from the gorge though--probably Mt. St. Helens would be the easiest to drive past on your way back to Seattle (if that's where you are going back to). I wouldn't miss the chance to drive by it or Mt. Rainier.
Cannon Beach is a really nice place to visit on the Oregon Coast, 3-4 hrs. outside PDX Airport and SEA Airport (It's about 1/2 way between them). I took a trip Portland-Cannon Beach-Seattle, it was also a nice drive between destinations.