We agree that some research before taking a trip can be helpful, but hindsight is 20/20 and there's always things that could have been done differently. We often look back at our trip to Oregon and Washington and how we can't wait to take another trip back. It's during those times that we also reflect on the things we could've skipped and things we're glad we didn't. Here's our list of things that we now know about traveling the PNW.
We planned four days in Portland and honestly, it was two days too many. Portland has some great boutiques and the food we tried was some of the best on our trip. We still dream about our breakfast at Screen Door and the amazing vibes at Cup and Bar. The city itself was just not what we expected. It makes us wonder if we somehow didn't do Portland right. Were we in the wrong area? Were our expectations set too high? We desperately wanted to love this city.
EXPECT THE UNEXPECTED: WEATHER
When traveling to the Pacific Northwest, bring lots of layers! During our 10 days of travel, it rained once. The rest of our time in Oregon and Washington was bright and sunny, which apparently is not the norm and quite frankly not what we hoped for. If you haven't noticed on our blog or Instagram we like all of the feels that an overcast day brings. Regardless of rain or shine, layers are perfect for the warmer days and the colder nights.
EXPLORE OUTSIDE OF THE BIG CITIES
Some of the most beautiful places that we saw in Oregon and Washington were not even in Portland and Seattle. Our impromptu trip to see Mirror Lake (only to have a big cloud hover over the mountain) magically ended with a sunset dinner overlooking the peak of Mt. Hood. Those things just don't happen in the city.
HEAD TO THE OREGON COAST
The Oregon coast is simply magical. It was love at first sight. If you've never been, you need to plan a trip. There were such spectacular sights like Cannon Beach and Cape Kiwanda. If you have an SUV or Jeep, make sure you check out our Cape Kiwanda tip to drive out on the beach. It was one of Nicole's favorite things we did. If we were to do things over again, we'd plan a couple days to stay in places along the coast and slowly make our way up.
FIND THE BEST TRAILS
Chris suggested the AllTrails app that he found while hiking in Colorado. This app helped us find Cascade Head Trail and Burroughs Mountain Loop. You're able to find trails in your area and filter by difficulty and ratings. Don't forget to check out the comments that are within each trail. You can find great tips!
STAY SLEEPLESS IN SEATTLE
We didn't spend more than 10 minutes in Seattle when Kyle exclaimed that he could live there. Yes, we understand that the traffic is terrible and we still don't know how people can parallel park on those steep hills, but Seattle is something special. The views, the food, the shops, the people. We had about a day and a half and it wasn't nearly enough. Anita was able to explore more of the city while Nicole took to the mountains. There's no doubt that we'll be back to both.
BOOKING YOUR NEXT AIRBNB
If you're like us and bouncing from place to place, make sure that your Airbnb's have all of the necessities that you need. Nicole told Kyle that he could pack light since we could wash our clothes and that was not the case. Of the four Airbnb's, only one had access to laundry and even that was shared with neighbors. Kyle ended up making a trip to Target to get more essentials.
ALL ABOARD THE AMTRAK TRAIN
If you're going from Portland to Seattle (or vice versa), take the Amtrak Train. Not only was it a inexpensive ticket (we booked ours for only $26.00/person), the four hour ride is beautiful. You'll see gorgeous sights like this perfectly timed shot that Anita took.
We have much to see still of the PNW. We'd love to hear what your favorite places in Oregon and Washington have been. Send us a message so we can add to our travel list!