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Top 5 Unique Places Outdoors To Visit In The Pacific Northwest This Winter

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Living in the pacific northwest? Or maybe you’re just planning a trip – either way, you might be wondering what some great winter attractions are. If you’re a lover of the outdoors – or you’re just wanting to mix things up a bit – this is the list for you! Here are 5 memorable, gorgeous places you’ll want to visit. 

1. Ruby Beach (Washington)

Head over to Washington State’s Olympic Peninsula to visit Ruby Beach! The area does get some snowfall at points in the winter, however, due to its location on the coast, chilly temperatures and rain are more common. This makes it a great option for those looking for stops in the pacific northwest region who don’t want too much snow. Some things to do include taking a stroll down the beach to take in the gorgeous views. Tidepooling is a popular activity in the area, and far from the only opportunity to see wildlife. The surrounding areas are also a great place to potentially view wildlife, including deer, black bears, and giant snails. Because it does still get pretty cold, you’ll want to be sure to bring a warm coat and shoes when you visit! 

Ruby Beach

2. Mammoth Hot Springs (Wyoming)

While the pacific northwest’s heart consists of Oregon and Washington, it sometimes includes states such as Montana and Wyoming. If you’re willing to head a little more east, Mammoth Hot Springs is more than worth the journey! Located in the Northern part of Yellowstone National Park, Mammoth Hot Springs is one of the few parts of the park open to cars year-round. Mammoth features some of the most unique thermal features in the park due to the amount of limestone in the area, creating breathtaking terraces. Lodging is also available in the area at Mammoth Hot Springs Hotel and Cabin (the winter season runs from mid-December through March), or in the nearby town of Gardiner, Montana. 

Mammoth Hot Springs

3. Lake Crescent (Washington)

Lake Crescent is another gorgeous spot on the Olympic Peninsula that makes for a great visit. A bit more inland than the Hoh Rainforest, Lake Crescent does get a good amount of snow. You can look forward to gorgeous white blanketed hills surrounding this lake, as well as spots for activities such as snowshoeing and skiing nearby. If you’re visiting on the weekend, consider staying at one of the historic Roosevelt Fireplace Cabins, which run along the lakeshore. 

Lake Crescent

4. Multnomah Falls (Oregon)

If you’re looking for a memorable outdoor attraction without venturing too far into the actual great outdoors, Multnomah Falls is the stop for you. Located along the Historic Columbia River Highway, Multnomah Falls has several viewing opportunities. They are technically visible from the highway – making this a naturally occurring roadside attraction, in a way. however, for the best view, you’ll want to head to the base of the falls – a short, 5-minute walk from the parking lot – or embark on a longer, uphill walk to Benson Bridge. If you’re looking to make a day – or more – out of your visit, Multnomah Falls also has a lodge, restaurant, and shop at its base. However, it's also only a 30-minute drive from Portland – perfect for an afternoon outing. This variety of ways to experience the falls, as well as its “feels remote without being too remote” setting makes it perfect for travelers of all kinds! 

Multnomah Falls (Oregon)

5. Crater Lake (Oregon)

Crater Lake is a gorgeous, unique natural feature to visit any time of the year. It holds the title of the deepest lake in the continental United States. The lake's current maximum measured depth is almost 2,000 feet. In the summer, activities include hiking or going for a dip in the lake. Winter has some different possible activities – but equally fun! These include downhill skiing and snowboarding, sledding, and cross country skiing. For seasoned outdoors lovers, winter backcountry camping is also a possibility in the park. 

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