What to Do on Your Pacific Northwest Roadtrip

cooks chasm bridge

Looking for a Pacific Northwest Itinerary? Look no further!

Last week I had the privilege of road tripping up from Eugene to Seattle with Mazda in their gorgeous 2019 Miata MX5.

When they reached out about this press trip, I could hardly believe it was true. A four day vacation in a dreamy convertible exploring the Pacific Northwest with a fellow travel blogger? Sign me up!

It sounded too good to be true but IT WAS TRUE! Two weeks later, I was on a flight to Eugene where fifteen other bloggers and I would meet up for the start of our trip.

2019 miata road trip
Right past the bridge that cuts through Newport, Oregon

I was paired up with the lovely Sierra from @passportvoyager, and the two of us made our way from Eugene to Portland on Day 1, and then Portland to Seattle on Day 2.

girl in miata convertible

We were given free reign on where to go and what to see- the only requirements were to be in Portland and Seattle by our scheduled dinner time.

So after researching a ton before arriving, I had a map comprised of all of the things I wanted to do and places I wanted to see.

We were also given a list of ideas for things to do that Mazda had created. After combining that list with my own, I realized two days was not nearly enough!

Sure, you can do what we did and fit it into two, but I guarantee you won’t be able to see everything on this list!

So here’s a 5 day itinerary for you!

P.S. Don’t worry if you really only have a few days, you can still explore a ton! We saw so much on our two day road trip!

P.P.S. Want to learn how to be a travel influencer? Check out this page!

Complete map of places to visit

** Color coded: places to see are in blue, places to stay are in pink, places to eat are in yellow, and places with activities are in purple!

Expand the map for a breakdown of each day and where each item is located. You can click on each point to see google photos from the location!

Your 5 Day Itinerary

Day 1: Eugene to Portland along the coast

  1. Cascades Raptor Center– over 50 birds and 30 different bird species (opens at 10AM, so only include this if time permits!)
  2. The Dunes Cafe– for breakfast
  3. Sea Lion Caves– this paid tourist attraction takes you down into caves where you can see the sea lions in their natural habitat
  4. Heceta Head Beach and Lighthouse- stunning views and a pretty lighthouse
  5. Neptune State Scenic Viewpoint– as you’d guess, this offers a scenic view
  6. Thor’s Well– a stunning rock formation that creates an epic water hole/drain at high tide
  7. Chubby’s (or any of the lunch spots on the map!)- I picked Chubby’s for this list because they have THE BEST burgers… ever.
  8. Yaquina Head Lighthouse & Marine Garden– a pretty lighthouse along the coast situated next to the Yaquina Head Marine Garden
  9. Domaine Serene Winery– or any of the wineries in the area- there are so many!! Once you’re in the area, you’re in wine country!
  10. Willamette Falls– it’s actually the second largest falls in the US by water volume!
  11. Oregon City Municipal Elevator– one of four municipal elevators in the world! It connects two neighborhoods together
Heceta head beach
Heceta Head Beach

Day 2: Portland to the coast and back

  1. Octopus Tree– a massive roughly 300 year old tree that looks like an octopus
  2. Cape Meares– a gorgeous viewpoint 200 feet above the ocean
  3. Tillamook Creamery– a farmer-owned dairy co-op
  4. Twin Rocks– ancient 100-ft-high rocks on Rockaway Beach
  5. Cannon Beach– a stunning beach with sandy shores; the site of Haystack Rock
  6. Camp 18 Restaurant– for giant cinnamon rolls!
  7. Northwest Saint Johns Bridge– a classic Portland bridge
  8. Forest Park– offers a great view of the bridge
  9. Portland Japanese Garden– a gorgeous oriental garden
  10. International Rose Test Garden– has over 10,000 rose bushes! 
Sunrise at Joseph Wood Hill Park

Day 3: Portland along the Columbia River and back

  1. Joseph Wood Hill Park– for the best sunrise view over Portland (pictured above)
  2. Multnomah Falls– this iconic Oregon waterfall is known for the stunning view from the bridge in front of it. When we went, the road was closed and you had to take a shuttle to the falls.
  3. Latourell Falls– a smaller (and less crowded) waterfall in the same area as Multnomah Falls
  4. Oneonta Gorge trail– a rugged trail that requires wading through a creek to access stunning waterfall views
  5. Hood River– a city named after a small portion of the Columbia River with a view of Mount Hood
  6. Rowena Crest Viewpoint– pictured below, Rowena Crest offers a tremendous view of the bend in the road and a stunning overlook over this part of Oregon
  7. Mount Hood– a huge, beautiful mountain next to Portland
  8. Trillium Lake– a simply stunning lake with a view of Mount Hood
  9. Candy Basket Shorthill Taffy– this cute shop has a giant chocolate waterfall and is located in Portland
  10. Urban Farmer Portland– for dinner, located within a hotel
The view from Rowena Crest

Day 4: Portland up to Seattle

  1. Voodoo Donuts– for breakfast. It’s open 24-7, so stop by whenever. They are famous for their eclectic donuts!
  2. Lake Sacajawea Park Japanese Gardens– a beautiful park with Japanese elements and a man-made island
  3. Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument– there are some fantastic hiking spots here
  4. Cliff Droppers– for lunch, it’s a burger restaurant located right in Mt. Rainier National Park
  5. Ohanapecosh Hot Springs– an easy, one mile trail that features hot springs along the way
  6. Grove of the Patriarchs Trail– gives you a gorgeous view of some of the oldest trees in Washington
  7. Skookum Falls Viewpoint– gives you a great view of the 250-foot Snookum Falls
  8. Snoqualmie Falls– these falls, pictured below, are massive and beautiful
  9. Salish Lodge & Spa– located next to Snoqualmie Falls, spend a night in the quaint Salish Lodge or just stop in for dinner or a spa visit

Day 5: Exploring Seattle

  1. Pike Place Market– a public waterfront farmer’s market. Go here for fresh flowers, produce, and so much more
  2. Starbucks– go to the original Starbucks, located in Pike Place
  3. Smith Tower Observation Deck– for an incredible view over Seattle
  4. Bill Speidel’s Underground Tour– a tour of the interconnected tunnels beneath Seattle
  5. Seattle Great Wheel– this Ferris wheel overlooks the city and the Puget Sound
  6. Salumi– grab some handcrafted meat and salami for lunch (it’s only open for lunch)
  7. Gum Wall– if you’re not grossed out by a huge wall covered in gum!
  8. Troll’s Knoll Park– an 18 foot tall sculpted troll underneath Interstate 5!
  9. Dick’s Drive-In– a drive-in burger joint built in 1954
  10. Point Wilson Lighthouse– venture up north for a quaint town with a gorgeous lighthouse

Of course, note that you can cut a day out, switch up the order, just go from Portland to Seattle, etc. I hope this itinerary gives you plenty of things to do and places to see on your road trip!


A glimpse of the views you’ll see

You’ll find so much beauty everywhere you look. On the drive to the coast, pine trees appear and envelop your senses.

“Oregon welcomed me like a beloved child, enfolded me in her cool arms, shushed my turbulent thoughts, and promised peace through her whispering pines. ” 

– Colleen Houck

Along the coast the fog rolls in, temperatures drop (for us, coastal temperatures were 60 degrees when it was 99 inland!) and you can see the beach through the dense clouds.

When you get to Portland, you’ll find a walkable city with great restaurants and hotels. My favorite hotel we stayed on our entire trip was the Kimpton Hotel Monaco Portland.

Kimpton Monaco Portland
You can see our other blogger friends returning their Miata as the Mazda rep waits for us to pull in 🙂

When you head to Washington, the terrain becomes mountainous and there are notably less places to stop for local eats- but this is mainly due to  driving inland. Definitely cut through Mt. Rainier National Park for some stunning views.

Washington State views
Washington state views from the highway

I didn’t get much time in Seattle (my flight took off at 7AM on our last morning), so I don’t have much personal advice there. But I’ll be back for you someday, Seattle!

Safe travels,

Jasmine

If you found this itinerary helpful, please share it or save it for later on Pinterest! You can use this pin to make it easy!

This ultimate Pacific Northwest Itinerary shows you everything to do on a road trip that includes Eugene, Portland, and Seattle. This vacation on the West Coast will fuel your wanderlust with gorgeous places to visit and essential travel tips. Including state parks and beautiful destinations, these travel ideas are perfect if you want a fun Oregon and Washington road trip. #RoadTrip #Oregon #Washington #PacificNorthwest #PNWTravel #PNW #Travel Itinerary
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2 Comments

  1. August 23, 2018 / 1:05 pm

    So many great recommendations on here – I loved taking this trip together and definitely need to make a return visit to squeeze in all the things we didn’t get to this time! Thanks for being the best Miata driving buddy ever 🙂

    • September 4, 2018 / 5:00 pm

      Yes for sure! Let’s do the whole thing over again, or even try exploring someplace new someday! 🙂

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