Weekend Getaways | SPONSORED

6 Vacation Spots Just South of the Border (That Aren’t Seattle or Portland)

You’ll be amazed at what you find if you roll down the roads less travelled.

April 12, 2017

By Catrina McCrae / Photo: Abigail Keenan

It’s happening. Flowers are starting to bloom, the days are becoming longer, and the sun is finally making more casual appearances in Vancouver—spring has officially sprung. That means it’s time to start planning your first big road trip of the season.

Conveniently for Vancouverites, we’re perched atop two states with an abundance of natural and historic sites perfect for hiking, swimming and star-gazing. But there’s more to see than just Seattle and Portland. Washington and Oregon boast a number of unique destinations for you and your senses to see, munch and explore.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

Photo by: Caleb Jones

A quick 90 minutes from Portland, Cannon Beach has been voted Best Overall Beach in the State of Oregon. Take a pit stop at Sleepy Monk Coffee Roasters for your morning Americano and head down to the beach to explore. Breathe in the salty air while gazing up at the well-known landmark, Haystack Rock (located southwest of downtown Cannon Beach). It’s huge at over 235 feet and is a perfect spot to take a ‘gram-worthy shot. Once you’re beached out, head over to the highly walkable seaside village to peruse the stunning courtyards, public art displays and tasty eats.

Bend, Oregon

Looking for something a little unusual? Take a trip over to Bend during mid-summer and float down the Bend Whitewater Park by paddleboard, kayak or boat. The float finishes up in Drake Park in downtown Bend. Then enjoy the culinary delights of 900 Wall, a spot that offers modern American cuisine mixed with a bit of Italian.

Bend is also host to the Lava River Cave, which sends you and your lantern into rugged overarching caves. While in the area, stop in at the High Desert Museum, located just up the highway from the cave, and explore the natural and cultural history of Eastern Oregon.

Cape Perpetua, Lincoln County, Oregon

Photo by: Abigail Keenan

Nestled between the unruly, powerful ocean and a majestic Sitka Spruce forest, the Cape Perpetua Scenic Area is one that demands your attention. With over 26 miles of hiking trails stamped in old growth forests, Cape Perpetua is a hiker’s dream. Amidst the trails you’ll cross paths with a 600-year-old Spruce tree standing at over 185 feet high. While along the ocean, you’ll find Thor’s Well, a rocky sinkhole that engulfs the crashing seawater that surrounds it.

Thor’s Well is best viewed an hour before or after high tide. Once you’re tired of exploring, pitch a tent at the beautiful Cape Perpetua Campground, known for its incredible location between the forest and the beach, and access to various hiking trails.

Olympic National Park, Washington

Photo by: Mark Smith

From glacier-capped peaks to hot springs, to dense forests, the Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington is home to diverse natural and striking environments. The Hoh Rain Forest is lined with massive 500-year-old-trees that thrive from the rain forest’s annual rainfall of 14 feet (Vancouver averages at 57.3 inches)! This rain makes the Hoh Rain Forest’s conditions perfect for lush sights like the Hall of Mosses to grow in. Before your hike, hit up the fittingly named Hard Rain Cafe for coffee and food to boost your battery.

Whidbey Island, Washington

A short drive from Vancouver, Whidbey Island prides itself on being a “great antidote for big city pressures” (and we could all use a little drop of that, couldn’t we?). From horseback riding to cycling, there are plenty of ways for you to explore and see the stellar views of lakes, farmland and wildlife that paint Whidbey Island. One local gem is The Oystercatcher, where you can sample fresh ingredients from local farmers and regional treats such as raw oysters, bone marrow, pickled mussels and housecured prosciutto.

The Palouse, Washington

Photo by: hip shooter

The Palouse, located just south of Spokane, is highly-photographed—and for good reason. This rich farming area is one of the seven wonders of Washington State, characterized by rolling hills of wheat, canola and mustard. During the spring and early summer, canola fields become a striking shade of yellow. Take it all in on the Palouse Scenic Byway, which links you to spots like Palouse Falls State Park, where you stand over a massive salt-rock canyon, and Steptoe Butte, which leads you up to an incredible 360 degree view of Palouse that you can hike or paraglide down.

Although Portland and Seattle are great cities to hit on your pending road trip, we promise that these less-frequented spots will leave you in wonder and wanting more. Wherever you decide to go, accidents can happen, make sure you are prepared and covered with BCAA. Protecting yourself with travel insurance should be as second-nature as slathering yourself with sunscreen. So save yourself the burn and get Travel Insurance before you go.

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