Author Topic: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer  (Read 4262 times)

davisgang90

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Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« on: August 22, 2013, 01:49:12 PM »
Mustachians,

Trying to start planning a family vacation to the northwest next summer.  3 goals:

1. See the Northwest part of Washington as a potential retirement spot

2. Show kids some of the National Parks/Landmarks out west

3. Secret goal to include portions of Idaho in our trip to show SO Idaho as a potential retirement spot

I've kicked around renting a car/RV etc to get around, but I'd really like to hear some ideas from you folks.  Goal would be to make the trip as inexpensive as possible while maximizing what we get to see/experience.

mustacheme

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #1 on: August 22, 2013, 02:15:24 PM »
You'll definitely need some form of transportation, car or RV. There are a lot of camping spots as you travel through the Northwest, so you could consider working in some camping if you're so inclined. Many camping spots allow you to reserve online (reserveamerica.com). Many parks also offer yurts or small cabins at reasonable rates. A van might give you more room to make the trip more comfortable than by car if you are willing to camp in a tent of course that can get tiresome depending on how long your trip is. If you plan your route out well, you can definitely see a lot of sights along the way.



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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #2 on: August 22, 2013, 02:33:41 PM »
I'd recommend mid-July through Mid-September to maximize your chances of good weather.  It's great camping weather that time of year, not too hot and any rain will be probably be light (though it will be overcast some days and cooler than what you're used to that time of year).  I think you could easily do this with a car and a big tent, with sleeping bags for everyone.  A car would make it easier to visit potential retirement spots too, which I'm guessing will be cities and towns.  I would, in no particular order and depending on how much time you have, drive out to the coast to see the beaches, then head up to the peninsula to visit the Olympics, head over on the ferry to the islands in the Puget Sound, and make your way to the upper I-5 corridor to visit Seattle, Bellingham or whatever retirement town you're thinking of (I assume that's what you mean by NW part of the state).  Also visit the Cascades -- Mt. Rainier natl park is amazing, and there are other spots.  Could visit Mt. St. Helens.  Don't know that much about the Eastern part of the state.  If you're heading towards southern Idaho, you might head down to see Portland OR first before heading east towards Boise. Lots of things you could do, really.

Daniel

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #3 on: August 22, 2013, 03:02:41 PM »
Some magazine ranked Portland as their number 1 retirement spot in the US a couple years ago. I think it was because it has a lot of cultural events, a lot of green space, great public transit, and no sales tax.

Seriously though, I recommend at least checking out Portland while your in the area. I've also heard crater lake is phenominal, and would have seen it myself if I'd had a car. Also Portland has the most breweries per capita of any large city in the US (which was very exciting for me...)

No Name Guy

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #4 on: August 22, 2013, 03:09:17 PM »
In re 2:  pop pop hit some good ones.  St. Helens and Rainier.  Other typical tourist stuff in Seattle is also Space Needle, Pike Place Market and the fish throwers & first Starbucks (always amazing how many people get a pic of that).  Chiually (?sp) art glass. 

Don't forget the North Cascades if you're thinking of St. Helens or Rainier.  A nice loop drive trip is north I-5, east Highway 20 through the North Cascades National Park, S / SE Hwy 153 through the Methow (pronounced MET-how) to the Columbia.  From there, a side trip out and back east to the Grand Coulee Dam is a possibility.  If not, then south on 97 to Chelan - optional trip up lake here to Stehekin for backpacking / camping. Continue south on Hwy 97 to Wenatchee then head back west on Hwy 2 via Leavenworth or go south Hwy 97 from Hwy 2 to I-90 then back west on I-90.

While doing the drive loop, day hike north on the Pacific Crest Trail from Rainy Pass on Hwy 20 for 5 miles to Cutthroat Pass (and push north a couple more miles for a super cool view of a glacially carved valley and Tower Mtn).  When heading back on the drive loop via Hwy 2, bring the overnight backpack gear and hike north (again) on the PCT from Stevens Pass for ~5 miles to Lake Valhalla and stay the night.  Ideal time for the Rainy Pass is late September on a clear, cool early fall day when the Larch's have turned color.   Valhalla is best in late August / early September when the bugs are toast for the year, yet there's still good weather.  Bring the rock rack, rope & shoes with you and climb the Becky Route on Liberty Bell near Washington Pass on Hwy 20.  Lots of other hikes / climbs / camping options on the loop.

More options:  Hike up Mt. Adams via the south side.  Take a kayak trip / tour around Lake Union.  Day hike the Issaquah Alps or anywhere on the I-90 corridor (maps from the flagship REI store in downtown Seattle - Granite Mtn, Mailbox, Tiger Mtn, Kendall Katwalk, Lake Annette is a nice overnight trip).  Do a walk on ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island / Winslow - walk off for lunch and touristy stuff, walk back on for return trip.  Check out the Future of Flight / Boeing factory tour in Everett.  Snoqualmie Falls.  The list is endless......

yolfer

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #5 on: August 22, 2013, 03:27:16 PM »
I don't have much to add in terms of suggestions, but when you've got your trip dates, post a message on the Seattle thread:

http://www.mrmoneymustache.com/forum/meetups-and-social-events/seattle-oz/

We'll organize a Seattle MMM meetup in honor of your visit!

PS: If your kids are into the National Parks passport, there's a cheater National "Park" here in Seattle. It's really a museum, but there's a passport stamp for it:  http://www.nps.gov/klse/index.htm  Most accessible National Park in the USA (afaik)!

Dee18

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #6 on: August 22, 2013, 03:32:17 PM »
I  did a couple vacations with my young daughter up in the Pacific Northwest.  My favorite way of traveling is to rent an inexpensive car and take along a tent and minimal camping gear.  We camp 2 or 3 nights and then stay in hotels or B&Bs a couple nights.  If you do not own camping equipment, you can rent it from REI in Seattle (although you can buy a good tent for the cost of one night's hotel from Campmor).  An RV is much more expensive and quite a hassle if you plan to spend any time in cities.  In National Parks, the campsites are often wonderful and quite inexpensive, and they have great evening programs for kids. We also traveled this way in Alaska.  Camping also resulted in major cost-saving for food; since there were no restaurants near the campsites, we cooked our own simple meals using a backpacker's stove. 

sol

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #7 on: August 22, 2013, 08:38:52 PM »
The PNW is a terrible place.  You definitely do not want to retire here.  Move along.

Rangifer

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #8 on: August 22, 2013, 09:53:57 PM »
How much time do you have?

If you are flying in and rent a vehicle you could do:

Fly to Spokane
Drive to Glacier NP
Work your way back to Washington and get what you'd like there
Head south to Oregon and do Crater Lake, Lava Beds, Portland, the high desert, etc.
Continue south to N California and do the Redwoods
Then drive inland, jump on I5 and get back to Spokane

mgreczyn

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #9 on: August 22, 2013, 10:13:04 PM »
Some magazine ranked Portland as their number 1 retirement spot in the US a couple years ago. I think it was because it has a lot of cultural events, a lot of green space, great public transit, and no sales tax.

Seriously though, I recommend at least checking out Portland while your in the area. I've also heard crater lake is phenominal, and would have seen it myself if I'd had a car. Also Portland has the most breweries per capita of any large city in the US (which was very exciting for me...)

Yes.  All around, just yes.  If I weren't already in love with Colorado, Portland would be a potential move.  Note that you should definitely only move there AFTER retiring.  Oregon state income tax will make your teeth hurt.

davisgang90

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Re: Trip to Pacific Northwest next summer
« Reply #10 on: August 23, 2013, 03:03:25 AM »
Thanks for all the great responses.  You've given me lots of options to consider.