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7 Pacific Northwest Road Trips for 2023

Summer in the Pacific Northwest is unlike anywhere else in the county. It’s sunny and 75, the wildflowers are blooming, rivers are rushing with snow melt, and the mountains are clear, allowing you to hike from sun up to sundown. Pacific Northwest road trips allow you to immerse yourself in lush forests or on lake shores, see the sights without worrying about rushing home, and truly feel alive.


Here, we’ve outlined seven different road trips with places to stay along the way, but also make use of the RV Parks and Campground finder to key in on the locations you plan to visit.

Plan Your Adventure: The Ultimate PNW Road Trip Guide

Photo courtesy of Camping World

Avoiding crowds during a Pacific Northwest road trip

While avoiding summer crowds entirely is impossible in the PNW, you can still mitigate them. First, visiting popular areas on the weekdays allows you to explore with fewer people. Secondly, arriving early or staying late for sunset gives you more peace and quiet to soak in the views. 


When is the best time of year to do a Pacific Northwest road trip?

Between July and September is the most immaculate time to do a PNW road trip. The weather is perfect, and you’ll have long days to explore and hike as much of this beautiful landscape as you want. Just keep in mind everyone else is planning the same thing!


Scenic Routes for Unforgettable Views in Washington

Hurricane Ridge Trail in Olympic National Park, Photo by Alec Sills-Trausch

1. Seattle to Olympic Peninsula


Why go?

The Olympic Peninsula is one of the most enchanting places in Washington. With moss-covered trees, stunning coastlines, and snow-capped peaks, Olympic National Park and the prevailing peninsula offer an incredible amount to travelers.  

While the Hoh Rainforest can get busy during the summer, there are plenty of places along the coast to escape the crowds and enjoy undisturbed scenery. 


5 things to see and do

1. Visit the Hoh Rainforest

2. Sol Duc Falls

3. Rialto Beach

4. Hurricane Ridge

5. Mt. Storm King


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:



Where to stay 

There are a plethora of places to stay on the Olympic Peninsula, including the Good Sam Elwa Dam RV Park in Port Angeles. Outside of Port Angles, you’ll find campgrounds along Lake Crescent and Olympic National Park, hotels in Forks, and beachfront cabins near Cape Flattery. It won’t be difficult to find a beautiful place to call home, just reserve in advance. 


2. Seattle to Wenatchee/Central Cascades


Why go? 

The Central Washington Cascades is a widely beautiful area with less fanfare than the National Parks. However, the peaks are just as jagged, and alpine lakes are just as, if not more, beautiful.  

One of the best parts of this PNW road trip is its accessibility. You’re never too far away from Seattle or a city with amenities. Even so, you can find an immense amount of hiking and adventure to spend your days. This is the hidden gem of the Pacific Nor road trips listed here.


5 things to see and do 

1. Lake Wenatchee State Park

2. The Bavarian town of Leavenworth

3. Thorp Lookout

4. Colchuck Lake

5. Barclay Lake


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:


Where to stay

Good Sam has three campgrounds in the Central Cascades area if you want to camp. 

Whispering Pines RV Campground Thousand Trails Crescent Bar Ellensburg KOA Journey

Additionally, you can camp at Lake Wenatchee State Park or choose other lodging options in Leavenworth, Wenatchee, and Cle Elum while on your Pacific Northwest road trip.


3. Seattle to Mount Rainier National Park


Why go?
Summer at Mount Rainier National Park may be the most idyllic place in the entire state. With endless hiking trails (easy to hard), plus views that will make your jaw drop, there’s something for everyone to love.  

You can choose Paradise (south side) or Sunrise (north side) to adventure out of. Both are incredible, but if I had to pick one, Sunrise offers more unique hiking options.


5 things to see and do

1. Skyline Trail Loop

2. Fremont Lookout

3. Tolmie Peak

4. High Rock Lookout

5. Naches Peak Loop


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:


Where to stay

There is a lot of camping around Mt. Rainier, though it fills up fast. The park has three official campgrounds, with a handful of others just outside in all directions. For those not looking to rough it, Ashford is a cute town outside the park entrance with plenty of cabins and hotels. For those looking for a Good Sam Campground:

Harmony Lakeside RV Park  Thousand Trails Chehalis


4. Seattle to North Cascades National Park

Why go?

The North Cascades are some of the most visually pleasing mountains in all of Washington. Rising to heights over 9,000 feet, they tower over you as you wind through Highway 20, giving you goosebumps.

Even though the National Park boundaries are in hard-to-reach locations, there are lots of hiking and adventures in the North Cascade Range. A word to the wise, if you plan to hike the popular trails on the weekend, start your hike early or prepare for a sunset ascent.


5 things to see and do

1. Maple Pass hike

2. Enjoy Diablo Lake

3. Cascade Pass hike

4. Blue Lake Trail

5. Drive Highway 20 to Washington Pass


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:


Where to stay

There are three National Park campgrounds once you get into the North Cascades and Highway 20. As you can expect, these fill up during the summer months. However, you’ll have more options once you get past Washington Pass and onto the eastern edge of the Cascades!


These include Good Sam Campgrounds, seen below:

Riverbend RV Park of Twisp Silverline Resort


Beauty of the Pacific Northwest on an Oregon road trip adventure

Winchester Fire Lookout, North Cascades. Photo by Alec Sills-Trausch.

5. Portland to the Columbia River Gorge


Why go?

The waterfalls of the Columbia River Gorge are unlike anything else you’ll experience. Almost everywhere you look, water pours over cliffs into Columbia River tributaries. It’s a beautiful and magical site. Multnomah gets all the love, but there are a dozen waterfalls to enjoy if you have the time. 


5 things to see and do 

1. Multnomah Falls

2. Fairy Falls

3. Bridal Veil Falls

4. Falls Creek Trailhead

5. Dog Mountain Trail


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:



Where to stay

Most of these places are within an hour of Portland. Due to that luxury, you can make your home base in the city if you like. 

However, if you want to get under the stars, there’s also camping on the Columbia River. 


Take a look at these Good Sam Campgrounds:

Jantzen Beach RV Park  Umatilla Marina & RV Park  Boardman Marina & RV Park Brookhollow RV Park 


6. Portland to Mount Hood Area


Why go?


Who doesn’t enjoy adventuring under the watchful eye of a volcano? Mount Hood is an iconic mountain offering so much exploration around or on it. So whether you want to try your hand at a summit, check out waterfalls, or relax by a lake, the Mount Hood area has you covered. 


5 things to see and do

1. Drive up Mount Hood to Timberline Lodge

2. Tamanawas Falls

3. Trillium Lake

4. Mirror Lake

5. Ramona Falls


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:



Where to stay


You can stay directly on Mount Hood at this historic Timberline Lodge. However, that can be pricey. For those with small budgets, plenty of camping (Mount Hood Village, Trillium Campground, and Clear Lake Campground) and motels in the area will still give you fantastic access to the surrounding vistas. 



7.  Portland to Bend/Central Cascades


Why go?


Sunny skies. Volcanoes. Lush waterfalls. The mountainous Central Cascades spanning to Bend offer incredible sights and adventure. However, I only recommend 3-4 days because it’s hard for most people to allocate 7+ days of their vacation in one area. 


5 things to see and do


1. Smith Rock State Park

2. Tumalo Falls

3. Mt. Bachelor and the 3 Sisters Wilderness

4. Koosah and Sahlie Falls

5. Silver Falls State Park


Days needed for this Pacific Northwest road trip:



Where to stay


Across Oregon’s Central Cascades, there are many places to stay, with the best hub being Bend, Oregon. Near Bend, there are a handful of Good Sam Campgrounds.


·      Bend/Sisters Garden RV Resort

·      Silver Spur RV Park and Resort

·      Crooked River Ranch

·      Expo Center RV Park



Wrapping Up Your Pacific Northwest Road Trip


With some of the most gorgeous scenery in the country, a road trip in the Pacific Northwest will leave you with an overflowing number of memories to take home with you. Undoubtedly, the volcanos, waterfalls, lakes, and vistas will last in your memory, beckoning return trips and further adventures.

The post 7 Pacific Northwest Road Trips for 2023 appeared first on Good Sam Camping Blog.


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