The Pacific Northwest is home to some well-known wonders such as Snoqualmie Falls or Cannon Beach, but it also doesn’t have any shortage of hidden gems. From charming small towns perfect for a getaway to quirky adventures that are a memorable way to spend an afternoon, here are 10 off-the-beaten-path things to do in the pacific northwest.
1. Palouse Falls (Washington State)
Palouse Falls is a stunning, lesser-known waterfall in Washington State. While it was named the official state waterfall, its somewhat out-of-the-way location has kept it more of a hidden gem than other cascades in the state such as Snoqualmie. However, viewing Palouse Falls is well worth the trek to get to it. The falls plummet an astonishing 200’ into the Palouse River below and can be viewed from an observation deck across from them.
2. Visit An Oceanfront Town (Oregon)
This small ocean-front town in Oregon is the perfect destination for both a day trip or a longer getaway. Yachats has a charming, village-like feel to it despite being under 2 hours away from the larger city of Eugene, Oregon. Wander from shop to shop in the town, and save time to breathe in some fresh ocean air while strolling down the beach. You may also want to consider checking out the nearby Thor’s Well, a mesmerizing ocean sinkhole.
3. Leavenworth (Washington State)
Head up to this quaint town in Washington State to experience a slice of Bavarian charm in the United States. Leavenworth shows its European theme in nearly all aspects, from offering Bavarian delicacies at restaurants to the architecture of the storefronts. It’s also an amazing destination year-round, and spring break is no exception. Check out some of the unique shops around town, such as the Nutcracker Shop and Museum. Spend an afternoon exploring the trails surrounding Blackbird island, or go wine tasting at one of the town’s many wineries.
4. Hike The Hobbit Trail
Embark on a gorgeous hike to a secluded beach by heading out to Hobbit Trail. You’ll follow the trail as it winds through lush foliage that wouldn’t seem out of place in a fairytale forest. After slipping through a tunnel formed by trees, you’ll come out on the beach. The trail itself is 4-miles roundtrip, and generally good for hikers of all skill levels. This is also a great option for those traveling with pets, as leashed dogs are welcome on the trail.
5. Visit Stonehenge (Washington State)
Located near the Oregon border of Washington State, this is a great stop on a road trip or a worthy destination to consider visiting if you are staying nearby. Maryhill Stonehenge is a recreation of the world-famous Stonehenge in England. While it does feature a scenic location – look over the Columbia river below at sunset for an especially beautiful view – its origin is unfortunately not as mysterious as its predecessor. The Maryhill Stonehenge was built in 1918 as a memorial, and today sits nearby the Maryhill Museum.
6. Check Out Prehistoric Gardens (Oregon)
This roadside attraction in Oregon will definitely make for an out-of-the-box and memorable afternoon. Prehistoric Gardens feature a series of dinosaur sculptures spread along a gorgeous trail that winds through the forest. This is a great option for those traveling with children, and the dino-lined trail is also stroller and wheel-chair friendly.
7. Tour The Seattle Underground (Seattle, Washington)
Here’s one that will keep adults and kids alike on their toes – exploring the Seattle underground. Bill Spiedel’s Underground Tour highlights a unique aspect of Seattle’s history. Sections of the current city were actually built directly on top of older section of the city, effectively creating a series of underground streets and storefronts. The tour lasts 75 minutes, and tickets are available online as well as in person.
8. Visit Birds Of Prey At The Cascades Raptor Center (Lane County, Oregon)
This is a great option for animal lovers! Learn about – and see up close – a variety of birds of prey at the Cascades Raptor Center. This nonprofit animal sanctuary and hospital is home to several resident eagles, hawks, and falcons. It is open to the general public for visitation, and you can also book private tours for special events.
9. Sol Duc Hot Springs (Washington State)
Head over to Olympic National Park, located on the coast of Washington State, to relax at Sol Duc Hot Springs. This serene spot offers day passes as well as entry to overnight guests at the nearby Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort. The springs and resort are currently set to open for the season during the last week of March, making this a great option for those looking to plan a trip in the upcoming weeks.
10. Visit OMSI (Portland, Oregon)
Here’s another option for those traveling with kids. Looking for some fun and educational additions to your trip? A visit to OMSI not only makes science fun but will enthrall the whole family. Kids will love learning more about the world around them at the natural sciences lab, and even adults are likely to find touring an actual military submarine interesting.
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