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I’m a little biased about exploring the Pacific Northwest. I grew up in Eastern Washington and, even after I moved away for 10 years, I came back. Winter is a little rough unless you’re into winter sports (I am not) but it’s still beautiful and only for a couple of months. Honestly the rest of the year makes up for it. If you’re into good food, outdoor activities, good wine and craft beer, then consider visiting the Pacific Northwest. Here are a few of my favorite places to visit.

Coeur d’Alene, Idaho

Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful little town in North Idaho. Admittedly, Idaho is not a state that people think of when choosing where to go on vacation but it has been consistently recognized as a fantastic vacation spot and there are a few reasons why. Coeur d’Alene and its surrounding areas have the sense of a small town but access to modern amenities. You can go hiking, parasailing, zip lining, swimming, and enjoy any winter sport all within the almost immediate vicinity of town. It’s beautiful in the summer and the winter and boasts a lot of options for food and drinks.

North America travel adventures

The Ironman triathlon descends on the city every August and brings thousands of participants, volunteers and spectators along with it. While you’re there enjoy a burger from Hudson’s or Capone’s and explore the many tasting rooms and breweries downtown. Then make your way to the beautiful Coeur d’Alene Resort and enjoy an ice cream “gooey” at Beverly’s. Coeur d’Alene is a beautiful and active town. It’s bike-friendly, so if cycling is your preferred mode of transportation you will be in good company!

Related: Top 8 Breathtaking Pacific Northwest Hikes You Need To Take

Exploring the Pacific Northwest - Top 5 Towns You Must Visit

A dose of fresh air in North Idaho

Cannon Beach, Oregon

If the beach is more your speed, consider the Oregon coast. While you walk along the beach take a moment to take in Haystack Rock then make your way over to Hug Point and Ecola State Park. Stay at The Ocean Lodge or the Stephanie Inn and eat at Newman’s at 988 and Sweet Basil’s Café. Really, any town on the Oregon would be fun to visit, and Cannon Beach is a little more crowded as it’s the most popular town.

You can also check out Newport, Lincoln City, Gold Beach, Yachats and Manzanita on the coast and you’ll have just as good of a time. If you’re flying, you can fly into Portland or Eugene and rent a car for the rest of the way.

Exploring the Pacific Northwest - Cannon Beach

Exploring the Pacific Northwest – Cannon Beach

Port Townsend, Washington

Here is another on the water. Port Townsend is near the Strait of Juan de Fuca and is a picture-perfect little port town. Try staying at the Old Consulate Inn or The Swan Hotel. Port Townsend has some neat little restaurants so try eating at the Blue Moose Café, Alchemy Bistro & Wine Bar and the Spruce Goose Café. I first tried them for their names, but their menus did not disappoint!

If you want to get out into nature check the Chetsemoka Park, which gives you access to the beach. You have to get there by ferry (and who doesn’t love a ferry!) so make sure you are planning accordingly. You can fly into SeaTac International Airport and take the light rail north.

Exploring the Pacific Northwest - Cannon Beach

Port Townsend, Washington

Ashland, Oregon

If Shakespeare is your thing, consider visiting Ashland, Oregon. This entire town has Shakespearean themes, so consider staying at the Bard’s Inn or the Stratford Inn. Additionally, the town hosts the Oregon Shakespeare Festival every November and you can see multiple Shakespearean plays during the festival. Besides the festival, there are rafting and safari tours on Upper Klamath Lake, boat tours, or you can take a walk through Lithia Park.

Exploring the Pacific Northwest - Oregon

Welcome to Oregon!

Chelan, Washington

Chelan is up in the mountains, just off of Lake Chelan. You can take wine tours and bike tours and they have a lot of excellent, quirky restaurants to try out. Try Bear Food Natural Foods Market & Café Creperie or Local Myth Pizza. You can get to a lot of places by walking. Stay at Campbell’s Resort that is right on Lake Chelan.

Exploring the Pacific Northwest - Lake Chelan Washington

Lake Chelan, Washington

Honorable Mention: Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is a little Bavarian town in the Cascade Mountain range.

Pro tip: Go for Oktoberfest. It’s one hell of a good time, but book your hotel early as they sell out quickly. You can enjoy all the traditional German activities – beer drinking, tons of food and then go explore the cute little shops in the town. (Disclaimer: shopping while intoxicated is always a bad idea.)

There are a lot of places to explore in the Pacific Northwest. I like to drive aimlessly around places I don’t know. I find getting lost is a good way to find myself.

Read more: Top 21 incredible things to do in the USA

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Exploring the Pacific Northwest's Top 5 Small Towns You Must Visit!

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