Hi! I am planning on visiting Washington in June/July. I am coming from Michigan and I have been as far as Montana on US2,and am looking forward to touring as much of WA as possible, and returning in the future. Should I do the southern circuit first, east to west southern half first; or east to west northern half first (clockwise or counterclockwise, or is there a better way? I'd appreciate any ideas on how tour WA natural/man-made wonders and can't wait to see the Pacific. I'll be pulling a 5er.
Don't know how long you're going to have in our fair State but this is what I would do to see the most. Take I84 thru the Columbia River Gorge to Portland. Most of the waterfalls are on the Oregon side of the river so you won't miss much on the Wa. side. I might even take a side trip up around Mt.Hood. You say you want to see the Pacific. To be honest, the Washington coast,at least until you get up into the Olympic park is rather dull IMO. Just miles of sand. I would suggest heading over to the Oregon coast from Portland, maybe as far south as Lincoln City and then head north on 101 for some stunning scenery.
Head back east from Astoria to Longview Wa. and head up I5. At Castle Rock you can head east to see Mt St Helens.After that get back on I5 north to Olympia, then west on 101. I would take 101 clockwise up around the Olympic park taking in the sites.
The rain forest, the Olympic coast, Port Angeles, Hurricane Ridge is not to be missed. You could even take a ferry over to Victoria BC.
Then you can head up to Port Townsend. Fort Worden State Park is one of the best in Wa., right on Puget Sound. Explore the old bunkers. Pretty cool.You can either drive back down to Tacoma and up thru the Seattle area or take the ferry from Port Townsend over to Keystone. We do this all the time with our 30ft fiver for $75. From Keysone you can head north thru Deception Pass. Very Scenic area. You can take whale watching tours up into the San Juan's out of Anacortes
From here head west to I5, head north on 5 to the North Cascade Hwy 20, probably the most scenic in Wa. Winthrop is a neat little town, and from there down to Lake Chelan and of course Leavenworth. Then I90 east home
Washington State!?! We live just north in BC and have done almost every road. Some people talk about how great the scenery is, etc. but I don't agree. Fantastic, brilliant, amazing....that sort of description comes closer but doesn't get near to describing.
The Hood Canal on the east side of the OlympiPeninsulala is more to my taste than the outside (Pacific Ocean) side but you likely should do both then make your own judgment.
Problem with Washington is similar to British Columbia, Canada in that there is so much variation in scenery, topography and climactic zones that the area which will wow one person is another's second choice. Like ocean views- they're there; like dry semi-desert- it's there; like high mountains with snow- yep; like open, open, open spaces ...drive Highway 97!
Actually the scenery in Washington is only second, the people in the small towns are fantastic with whom to interact. Last motorcycle trip down the coast (Highway 101) we had two waitresses rush out to flag us down on leaving. We'd left a 20% tip and they were sure that we'd left too much money. Not many places that will happen!
FWIW, your questions are too general for Washington or Oregon. What, other than a general sense of the state are you wanting to experience?
Like aircraft museums? Boeing, Everett has a museum of flight with about 30 WW2 aircraft, all of which fly. The aircraft restoration museum is fantastic if one is into detail, otherwise go shoe shopping with your wife. (VBG) About two full days at a time is all I can handle there.Goggle some Google Street View of some areas but don't miss Chuckanut Drive from just north of Anacortes up into Bellingham. Check out Fairhaven, which is the old city part of south Bellingham. For something interesting, rather than going south from Bellingham on I5, jog east and take the road from Deming south through Acme and stop at Everybody's Store in Van Zandt.
I've heard that there are some nasty people in Washington but only been going there for 60 years so haven't had time to run into them.
We always hit the small town ccafés shops and cafes, never the chains and ask the waitress, "What is your special here? When people talk about this restaurant, what do they say that you do better than anyone?"
Never, ever been disappointed.
Only thing close to a misunderstanding was a couple of years ago, on a motorcycle trip, an old friend & I pulled into a motel in Okanagan, Wa. The lady in the office came out and asked, "May I help you?"
My friend replied, "Yes. We'd like a room."
She responded, "Two queens?"
I had to clear than up right away so told her, "It may look like that but actually we're just two older guys riding together!"
Post some specific questions/wants but beware of those misunderstandings! (VBG)
I think seeing the San Juan Islands is well worth taking a ferry from Anacortes (you can find an RV site there) and I agree that one part of your journey should take you down Oregon I-84 with WA on the other side of the Columbia River. I-84 is a great freeway (and I don't like freeways) for both surface condition and scenery. Go over the river to the Maryhill museum (stay at Maryhill State Park).
The national parks are not very accommodating to larger rigs but there are plenty of places to stay within about an hour's drive of both Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens. If you happen to take US12 west through White Pass (very doable, BTW), you might glimpse a terrific view of Mt. Rainier if the weather's clear.
While there are some nice views of the Pacific on WA beaches, they don't really compare to the Oregon Coast, IMHO. Here's a scene from LaPush, WA:
Most of 101 is inland from the ocean and the west side is, for the most part, woodsy but monotonous. Kalaloch has a nice campground, though, on the ocean.
Highway 20 is beautiful and so is Highway 2, both through the mountains, snowy all year.
I'd stay as far away from Seattle as possible. I-5 is a bugger to drive with an RV due to heavy traffic pretty much all the time. I-405 is no better. Others may think Seattle (we used to live there) is a must-see. But if you 'must see' it, ride across in the ferry to see it. JMHO, of course.
WA doesn't spend the tourist dollars that OR does but we have spectacular scenery here that is well worth a visit. Have a wonderful trip! :-)
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