18 Seriously Underrated Destinations in the Pacific Northwest

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Are you craving Pacific Northwest beauty without the crowds? Ditch the usual tourist traps and explore these 18 hidden gems. The Pacific Northwest offers unforgettable adventures for those looking beyond the typical path.

Bend, Oregon

Escape to the high desert playground of Bend and hike through volcanic landscapes. Explore lava caves. Enjoy whitewater rafting on the Deschutes River. In the winter, hit the slopes at Mt. Bachelor for epic skiing or snowboarding.

San Juan Islands, Washington

Kayak through the crystal-clear waters of the Salish Sea, spotting orca whales and harbor seals along the way. Enjoy hiking the scenic trails of Orcas Island. Visit the charming towns of Friday Harbor and Roche Harbor on San Juan Island.

Owyhee Canyonlands, Oregon

Immerse yourself in the rugged beauty of the Owyhee Canyonlands. Hike through deep canyons carved by the Owyhee River and camp under a blanket of stars. Experience the real, wild spirit of the Pacific Northwest.

Astoria, Oregon

Step back in time to the Goonies’ heyday in Astoria, Oregon. Explore the town’s historic waterfront. Climb the Astoria Column for wide views. Visit the Oregon Maritime Museum to learn about the region’s rich maritime history.

Methow Valley, Washington

Discover a haven for outdoor enthusiasts in Methow Valley, Washington. In the summer, hike or bike through stunning alpine meadows. In the winter, try cross-country skiing or snowshoeing. It’s also known for its world-class fly fishing.

Joseph, Oregon

The town of Joseph nestles in the Wallowa Mountains. It’s a charming town steeped in history. Explore the Nez Perce National Historical Park. Visit the Chief Joseph Grave Site. Hike through the breathtaking Wallowa Valley.

Olympic National Park, Washington

The Olympic Peninsula is home to diverse ecosystems. It has temperate rainforests, rugged coastlines, and alpine peaks. Olympic National Park is a UNESCO World Heritage site and also an International Biosphere Reserve. It offers hiking, camping, and wildlife viewing. Explore tide pools teeming with life. Hike to the top of Hurricane Ridge for breathtaking views. Try kayaking through the calm waters of Lake Crescent. The National Park Service notes that the park gets over three million visitors each year. Yet, much of the peninsula stays uncrowded and pristine.

Mount Adams, Washington

Mount Adams is often overshadowed by its more famous neighbor, Mount Rainier. But it offers a challenging yet rewarding climb for experienced hikers. Hike through wildflower meadows and explore the glaciers. Also, witness the stunning panoramic views from the top.

Hood River, Oregon

Hood River is a paradise for windsurfers and kiteboarders, thanks to the steady winds of the Columbia River Gorge. Hike through the scenic trails of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area. Visit charming wineries, or take a boat tour up the Columbia River.

Steens Mountain, Oregon

Explore the dramatic Steens Mountain. It’s a high desert plateau with stunning views and unique rock formations. Hike through colorful canyons and go stargazing under the night skies. Visit the Steens Mountain Wilderness Area for a true wilderness experience.

Ashland, Oregon

Immerse yourself in the arts and culture scene of Ashland, Oregon. Go to a show at the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival. Explore the Ashland Art Center. Visit the Ashland Historical Society Museum to learn about the town’s rich history.

Port Angeles, Washington

The town of Port Angeles nestles on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It’s an unforgettable paradise with a mild climate. Hike on the breathtaking trails. Unwind with fresh seafood and stunning sunsets on the waterfront. Delve into the town’s history and culture with underground tours. Admire vibrant murals. Celebrate Native American culture at events and museums. Hop on a ferry to Victoria, BC, and experience a different charm. There’s always something exciting happening in this town.

Cape Disappointment State Park, Washington

Despite its name, Cape Disappointment State Park is far from disappointing. It’s a great place to hike along the dramatic coastline, explore tide pools full of life, and camp under the starry night sky. The park is also a popular spot for whale watching.

North Cascades National Park, Washington

North Cascades National Park is a true wilderness paradise. It has tall peaks, clear lakes, and lush forests. Hike through alpine meadows. Explore hidden waterfalls. Go rafting on the Skagit River. In winter, you can enjoy both cross-country skiing and snowshoeing.

Walla Walla, Washington

Walla Walla is a premier wine destination for wine lovers. Explore over 130 wineries in the Walla Walla Valley. The valley is famous for its Merlot and Cabernet Sauvignon grapes. Beyond the vineyards, Walla Walla has a charming downtown. It has restored historic buildings, art galleries, and a lively farmer’s market. You can hike or bike through the scenic countryside. Visit the Whitman Mission National Historic Site to learn about the region’s rich history.

Yachats, Oregon

Yachats is the place where nature takes center stage. This charming coastal town offers peace instead of crowds. Explore rough beaches for hidden agates. Marvel at the churning wonder of Thor’s Well. Then, savor fresh seafood after casting a line. Cozy shops and cottages line the streets. Enjoy an evening stroll to witness crackling fireplaces and Pacific serenity.

Leavenworth, Washington

Leavenworth is a charming village. Styled like those in Bavaria, it nestles in the Cascade Mountains. It is famous for its festive vibe. It hosts popular events like Oktoberfest and the Christmas Lighting Festival. Visitors come year-round to enjoy the picturesque streets and lively feel. Leavenworth has quaint architecture and scenic surroundings. It offers a unique escape, like a European fairy tale. It charms people with enchanting festivals and mountain appeal. It’s definitely a must-visit destination.

Chelan, Washington

Chelan is famous for its clear lake. It has sunny weather, which attracts summer visitors. It gets over 300 days of sunshine yearly. The lake is a hotspot for boating and kayaking. The region’s vineyards offer wine-tasting tours with scenic views of the lake. Hiking trails in the nearby mountains provide stunning views for outdoor fans. Chelan’s downtown is charming. It has quaint shops and cozy cafes. They are perfect for leisurely exploration.