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Must-See Places in the Pacific Northwest

The Pacific Northwest is one of the most beautifully diverse regions in America. From cities to coastlines to natural landmarks, here are the must-see places.

The Pacific Northwest is a region expanding from parts of Idaho to Oregon and into Washington. This area of the U.S. is known for its distinct beauty and diverse offerings. From cool cities and foggy beaches to the woods of the mountains and national parks, there’s bound to be a place that will fill you with awe and wonder. If you’re planning a trip to this region and are wondering where to go, take a look at these must-see places in the Pacific Northwestto get you started.

Washington: Mount St. Helens and Pike Place Market

While the woods of Washington State are gorgeous, many of the unique places to see here revolve around its geological features. The cascade range of Washington has five active volcanos: Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Adams, Mount Rainer, and Mount St. Helens. You’ve probably heard of the last one, which is what makes it a must-see location. This famous volcano erupted in 1980. What Mount St. Helen lacks in height, it makes up for in history. A visit to this mountain will showcase the beauty and devastation that lies in the natural world.

If you’re looking for a different kind of adventure, the largest city in Washington—and the whole Pacific Northwest region, for the matter—is Seattle. Seattle is known for its rainy weather, but it’s truly a vibrant city of culture and art. Seattle also boasts the site of the first Starbucks in the world. Coffeeshop culture exists today because of these roots. You don’t even have to be a coffee aficionado to enjoy a visit to Pike Place Market. After doing some shopping at the market, pick up your favorite café drink, and take it down to the Seattle waterfront to enjoy.

Oregon: Cannon Beach

One of the must-see places in the Pacific Northwest is just northwest of the city of Portland—a place called Cannon Beach. This beach is a treasured and well-known attraction because of the iconic Haystack Rock, an immense and breathtaking natural geographical occurrence. This 235-foot basalt rock, formed many millions of years ago from lava flows, is a recognizable landmark within the state and a great place to take Instagram-worthy photos. When the tides go out, the beach is also a wonderful spot to look at tidepools and other marine life.

Idaho: Shoshone Falls and Hells Canyon

The Snake River is a major river that begins in Wyoming and stretches west into Idaho before heading north along the border between Idaho and Oregon. Among the southern part of the river is the must-see location of Shoshone Falls. Shoshone Falls has been called the Niagara Falls of the west. These falls are a majestic sight to see, as they are even taller than their more-famous counterpart.

If you head north along the river, you’ll eventually find Hells Canyon. Hells Canyon is the deepest canyon in the country—even deeper than the Grand Canyon. Outdoor activities are bountiful here for adventure seekers. Whether you choose to explore, hike, fish, or take a boat tour to look at the scenery, the reasons to visit Hells Canyon are clear. It’s easy to fall in love with such a charming and diverse natural place in the Pacific Northwest.


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Karen LeBlanc

Karen LeBlanc is a travel host and writer with a popular travel show, The Design Tourist, and a companion lifestyle blog. As a widely published travel journalist and content creator, Karen is a member of the North American Travel Journalists Association. She also serves as the Design and Travel editor of the national lifestyle magazine, LaPalme. Karen believes that every destination has a story to tell through its local art, architecture, culture, and craft. This immersive creative exploration begins with authentic accommodations where the narrative of place unfolds through art, accessories, accouterments, furnishings, fixtures, and food. 

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