Incredible Places to Visit in the USA’s Pacific Northwest

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Incredible Places to Visit in the USA’s Pacific Northwest

Encompassing the states of Oregon and Washington, the Pacific Northwest is full of some of the nation's most incredible scenery. Seeing far fewer numbers of tourists than further down the coast in California, this natural paradise and raw wilderness is the perfect getaway for those with a love for the great outdoors. Here are some of the most picturesque and beautiful places to escape to in the Pacific Northwest.

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Incredible Places to Visit in the USA’s Pacific Northwest

John Day Fossil Beds, Oregon

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Mostly known for the incredibly unique rock formations such as the 'painted hills' along with its wealth of prehistoric fossil deposits this national monument is well worth taking a day or two to explore. To check out some of the ancient fossils that have been uncovered in the region, head to the Thomas Condon Paleontology Center, the museum is a treasure trove of items and information on the history from the region.

Olympic National Park, Washington

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With some of the most incredible scenery in the US, Olympic National Parks juts out on a peninsula outside Seattle, covering the Pacific coastal area to the dramatic mountains inland. Inside the national park you'll find a stunning and diverse range of scenery, such as the Hoh Rainforest and the snowy peaks of Mount Olympus and the surrounding mountains.

Mount Rainier, Washington

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The tallest peak by far in the area, Mount Rainier towers over the national park and the backdrop of Seattle. Along with the vast amount of hiking and nature trails, some of the best scenic spots include Myrtle Falls, which has an incredible background of the iconic peak. Along with both the White Pass and Chinook Scenic Byways, two roads that provide stunning views across the national park and its picturesque scenery.

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington

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Another strong contender for the most picturesque view in the Pacific Northwest, Snoqualmie Falls is dramatic 268-foot waterfall, just outside the suburbs of Seattle. The falls are best viewed after periods of heavy rain when the river water is at its highest, so if you're not short on time try to head there after its rained for a few days. It's easy to get there from downtown Seattle and takes just over 30 minutes.

Oregon Coast Highway, Oregon

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Stretching across the Pacific coastline of Oregon, this section of U.S. Route 101 is easily one of the most picturesque roads in the country. Flanked by dramatic coastline, beaches and the Pacific Ocean on one side, along with seemingly never-ending forests and rocky mountains on the other, you'll be stunned throughout the whole drive. The whole section of highway takes about eight hours to drive down, though it's best to break it up into a few days or more and spend some time at sights along the way.

For those with a little more time, consider driving the whole of U.S. Route 101 from Seattle to San Diego in California. While the Oregon section is arguably the most beautiful, the rest of the journey is picturesque at most times too.

Cannon Beach, Oregon

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A beautiful long stretch of sandy beach on the coastline of Oregon, while Cannon Beach is best visited in the summer, the beautiful surrounding scenery makes it a great destinations throughout the year. There's plenty to do in the town that straddles the beachfront, but make sure to check out Haystack Rock, an incredible huge sea stack that towers over the mid-section of the beach.

Additional Information

The two major cities in the region, Seattle and Portland, usually serve as a gateways into the region. Depending on which national park or area you'd like to explore, it's usually best to fly into one of these cities and rent a car from there.