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  1. Default PNW 3-4 Day Road Trip- Advice needed please!

    My husband and I are in the very early stages of planning a long weekend trip to the PNW next year, most likely over Memorial Day Weekend (simply because I will have that Monday off work, making it ideal for us to fly back on that day without me having to take an additional vacation day). Our plan would be to fly out either late Wednesday evening or early Thursday morning and renting a car, giving us Thursday evening, all day Friday, all day Saturday and all day Sunday to drive and explore. Here is where advice is needed. We can't decide whether we want to fly into Portland or Seattle and road trip, ending in the the opposite city to fly home (i.e.: Portland to Seattle or Seattle to Portland), or whether we should pick one to fly into and out of and just focus on exploring around one or the other. Does that make sense? We would ideally like to go to the coast at some point, and drive east another day with the hopes of doing a moderate day hike or two to see some of the stunning mountain views. When we aren't driving or hiking, we enjoy visiting breweries and trying out restaurants (particularly love wood fired pizza, ice cream, good coffee/donut shops), and really enjoy towns/cities that have kind of a bohemian/artsy vibe. (Asheville, NC has been one of our favorite spots we've road tripped to, for example). So we'd like any overnight stays to be in areas that are maybe fairly walkable with the above food and drink options available. Any advice and input would be so appreciated!

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Mar 2005
    Tucson, AZ

    Default Rules and Preferences

    Welcome aboard the RoadTrip America Forums!

    There are a few general rules that can be applied to RoadTrips. Just like all rules there are exceptions, but they are 'rules' because they work most of the time. The first of these is that it is almost always cheaper to do a loop trip, starting/ending in the same city, than a one way trip where you fly into one city, drive to another, and fly home from the second city. This is getting less true as 'open jaw' flights are becoming less costly and as workarounds to one way drop-off fees on rental cars become more prevalent. So you'll need to price things out for yourself, but I would think that the closed loop sort of trip would be better.

    My own preference would be for Portland over Seattle. There is a lot of history (Lewis and Clark), scenery (the coast, Mount Hood, Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge), culture (world-class gardens, art and science museums), and 'bohemian' (clothing optional beaches, craft breweries, funky restaurants) in and around Portland to more than keep you entertained. You could easily stay in Portland for your entire weekend, taking day trips to outdoor settings and returning each night to a vibrant urban setting.


  3. #3
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    I would agree with Buck that starting and ending in the same city usually works out better. A loop could take you along the Columbia river Gorge and up to Mt Rainier NP and then across to the coast where you could head south a while and then back inland to Portland. Seattle would give you the option of visiting Olympic NP and some of the Washington coast, it depends on what appeals to you the most as all of it is quite spectacular.

  4. Default

    Thanks so much for the input! My husband has definitely been leaning more towards Portland over Seattle anyway, so that is the direction we were leaning towards. We wanted other opinions and ideas though. As far as where we stay, would you recommend choosing a "home base" so to speak for the duration and returning there each night? Or stopping along the way on the loop in different towns? From what I understand, most everything is within a few hours from each other correct? Does anyone have any good recommendations for must see places (hikes, restaurants, breweries, etc?) I'm a little overwhelmed with all the options for hikes in the area!

  5. #5
    Join Date
    Jul 2007
    South of England.


    Whether to set up a base or keep on the move is a personal choice/preference and either one can work. I am a keep moving forward type traveller, rather than going out and back each day but it's what works for you and your itinerary that's important. There have been a few ideas suggested above but the only 'Must see's' are your 'Must see's', so do a little research and see what appeals and once you know what places you want to see perhaps we can help fill in the gaps and make suggestions.

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