Your PNW spring road trip bucket list

March 8, 2023 by PEMCO Insurance

spring-road-trip_pnw.pngSpring is a wonderful time to hit the road and explore the Pacific Northwest. In fact, travel experts say it might be *the best* time. As the snow melts and the flowers start to bloom, the region comes alive with color and activity. Plus, it’s before the boom of summer travel and tourists, so you’re less likely to encounter crowds.  

Whether you're a local looking for a quick weekend getaway, a week-long vacation, or a day trip to a part of your state you’ve never visited, we've got you covered. At PEMCO, we’ve planted roots firmly in the PNW (we've been a NW company since 1949!) and we are excited to share our favorite places and spaces in the home we love so much.  

We encourage you to worry a little less and live a little more as you check a couple of these must-see destinations off your bucket list.  

Cannon Beach, Ore.  

This Oregon beach town is famous for its iconic Haystack Rock and stunning sunsets. With its breathtaking coastline and charming downtown (so many great places to eat and shop!), it makes the perfect spring break destination for people of all ages. Visitors can enjoy long walks on the beach, explore the tide pools, and hike through the nearby Ecola State Park, which offers stunning views of the Pacific Ocean against craggy, wind-carved cliffs. In the spring, the crowds are smaller, making it a peaceful and relaxing getaway. 

If you're looking for a family-friendly restaurant in Cannon Beach, Oregon, one great option is Pizza a' Fetta. This casual, family-owned pizzeria--an icon with a loyal following--offers a menu of thin-crust pizzas with a variety of toppings, as well as salads, sandwiches, and calzones. The atmosphere is relaxed and welcoming, with indoor and outdoor seating options available. The restaurant is located just a block from the beach, making it a convenient spot for families to grab a quick and tasty bite to eat after a day of beachcombing and exploring the town. 

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival 

Located in La Conner, Washington, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a must-see destination for flower enthusiasts. From April 1-30, the fields come alive with millions of tulips in every color of the rainbow with Mount Baker as a stunning backdrop. Take a leisurely drive through the valley or rent a bike for a closer look. We recommend this be a day trip you plan in advance and make sure you’re aware of all recommendations for traffic and parking, as it can get busy, especially during peak bloom time. 

In addition to the fields, the festival offers a variety of activities and events, such as a parade, street fair, and guided tours. Visitors can also enjoy local food and drink, including wine tastings and fresh seafood. The festival provides a unique and memorable experience for anyone who loves nature, photography, or simply enjoying the beauty of spring. 

Be aware that the blooming season can vary each year, so it's important to check the festival's website for updates on the bloom status before visiting.  

Chelan, Wash., 

We like to call this the “Gem of the East.” Chelan is a great place to visit in the springtime, with its mild weather, scenic views, and fun outdoor activities. Here are some things you can expect if you visit Chelan in the spring: 

  • Wineries: Chelan is known for its wineries. Many wineries offer tastings and tours during this time of year, and you can also enjoy the beautiful scenery while sipping on some local wine. 
  • Events: There are several events that take place in Chelan in the spring, including the Lake Chelan Wine and Jazz Festival and the Spring Barrel Tasting. These events offer a chance to experience local wine, food, and music. 

Finally, don’t forget the unique experience of taking the Lady of the Lake boat to Stehekin—a perfect way to take in the natural beauty of Chelan. The boat ride takes you up the crystal-clear waters of Lake Chelan, with stops at points of interest such as the picturesque community of Lucerne. Upon arriving in Stehekin (accessible only by boat, plane, or hiking trails), visitors can explore the remote community nestled in the heart of the North Cascades National Park, with its scenic hikes, sparkling waterfalls, and quaint restaurants and shops.

We think this is a “must” on all bucket lists! 

Columbia River Gorge, Hood River, Ore. 

This natural wonder spans the border of Washington and Oregon and offers some of the most breathtaking sights in the region. Take a scenic drive along the historic Columbia River Highway, hike to one of the many waterfalls, or go windsurfing on the river. 

Known as a mecca to many PNW hikers, the Columbia River Gorge has numerous trails, including the popular hike to Multnomah Falls. Spring is one of the best times to hike this trail, as the weather is milder and the falls are their most impressive due to snowmelt. 

If hiking isn’t your thing, opt for staying warm and comfortable in your car! The Historic Columbia River Highway offers a scenic drive with spectacular views of the gorge and its surrounding mountains. The highway features numerous pullouts and viewpoints for taking in the views and capturing them with your camera (or snapping an epic TikTok dance...we don't judge).

Finally, spring at the Columbia River Gorge offers a vast array of outdoor activities including kayaking, fishing, and biking. There are several golf courses in the area that are open year-round. 

Mount St. Helens, Wash. 

The Pacific Northwest is home to many natural wonders, and one of the most spectacular is Mount St. Helens. Located in southwestern Washington state, Mount St. Helens is an active volcano that erupted in 1980, leaving a lasting impact on the region. Today, visitors can explore the area and learn about the science and history of the eruption. 

The spring season is an ideal time to visit Mount St. Helens. The snow from winter has melted away, revealing new growth and wildflowers. Here are some of the top activities and sights to see during a spring trip to Mount St. Helens: 

  1. Visitor Center: Start your trip at the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center, located in Silver Lake, Washington. Here you can learn about the history of the eruption, the science behind the volcano, and the recovery efforts of the area. The center features exhibits, a theater, and a gift shop. 

  1. Johnston Ridge Observatory: Located at the end of State Route 504, the Johnston Ridge Observatory offers some of the best views of Mount St. Helens and the surrounding landscape. The observatory features interactive exhibits, a theater, and a bookstore. 

  1. Hiking: There are many hiking trails in the Mount St. Helens area that offer stunning views and opportunities to explore the natural beauty of the region. Some popular hikes include the Harry's Ridge Trail, the Hummocks Trail, and the Ape Cave lava tube. Don’t forget Lava Canyon! 

No matter where you go in the Pacific Northwest, there's always something new to discover. So, pack your bags, hit the road, and get ready to experience the beauty of spring in this magical region we are so lucky to call home. All of us at PEMCO are cheering you on as you tackle your next adventure 

What “Northwest Secret” will you uncover? 

Share on social media

Comments on this post