Ultimate PNW Bucket List – Things to Do in the Pacific Northwest

Ultimate PNW Bucket List – Things to Do in the Pacific Northwest

During our RV adventure across the US, we really fell in love with the Pacific Northwest, so we decided to move to Portland for the year. We toyed with the idea of moving to Portland last year, but San Diego won out (Sorry, we hear there’s mad hate for Cali folk in PDX, but it’s so hard to say no to 70 degrees year round). This year? Portland, here we come! We didn’t mean for you to be second choice, but we were really intimidated by your rainy weather (good thing our friend recommended we take vitamin D so we won’t go into depression).

We already put together a bucket list of 101 things to do in Portland, and while Portland may be a fun city to explore, we’re even more excited to see all 200+ waterfalls in the state as well as explore the parks in Washington, Montana, Idaho and BC. We’re going to keep adding as we go, but here’s our current bucket list for the PNW (some are new and some are places we hope to revisit).

PNW Bucket List - Ultimate List of Things to Do in the Pacific Northwest // localadventurer.com

ULTIMATE PNW BUCKET LIST – Best Things to Do in the Pacific Northwest

Last Updated: Jun 1,2018      Date Created: September 12, 2016


  1. ☐ Abiqua Falls (need a 4 wheel drive with high clearance)
  2. ☒ Astoria
  3. ☒ Bandon
  4. ☒ Bend
  5. ☒ Cannon Beach (+ Ecola State Park)
  6. ☒ Cape Kiwanda State Natural Area
  7. ☐ Cascade Head Hike
  8. ☒ Columbia River Gorge
  9. ☐ Cougar Hot Springs / Terwilliger Hot Springs, Willamette National Forest
  10. ☒ Crater Lake National Park
  11. ☒ Devils Punchbowl State Park
  12. ☐ Downing Creek Falls (upper)
  13. ☐ Eagle Creek Trail (26.5 mi) to Metlako Falls↠ Punch Bowl Falls↠ Loowit Falls↠ Tunnel Falls↠ Twister Falls
  14. ☒ John Day Fossil Beds National Monument (including Painted Hills)
  15. ☐ Lewis and Clark National Historical Park
  16. ☒ Lost Lake
  17. ☒ Oneonta Gorge
  18. ☒ Oregon Coast Road Trip (all 363 miles)
  19. ☐ Oregon Caves National Monument and Preserve
  20. ☒ Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
  21. ☒ Portland
  22. ☐ Mt Hood – Timberline Trail or Summit
  23. ☒ Multnomah Falls
  24. ☒ Munra Point Hike
  25. ☒ Samuel H Boardman State Park
  26. ☒ Silver Falls State Park, Trail of Ten Falls
  27. ☒ Smith Rock State Park
  28. ☐ South Sister Hike (11.8 miles out and back near Bend)
  29. ☐ Tamolitch Blue Pool (temporarily closed)
  30. ☒ Thor’s Well in Cape Perpetua
  31. ☐ Toketee Falls
  32. ☒ Trillium Lake – picnic or kayak in the summer or snowshoe in the winter
  33. ☒ Wallowa Lake / the Wallowas
  34. ☒ Willamette Valley Wineries
  35. ☐ White River Falls
  36. ☒ Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival (Mar-April)


  1. ☒ Cape Flattery Trail (most northwesterly tip of the lower 48 states)
  2. ☐ Deception Pass State Park
  3. ☒ Dog Mountain Hike (best in the spring)
  4. ☐ Doe Bay
  5. ☐ Dungeness Spit + National Wildlife Refuge
  6. ☐ Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve
  7. ☐ Enchantments in Leavenworth
  8. ☐ Franklin Falls (in the winter it’s iced over)
  9. ☐ Fort Vancouver National Historic Site (also Oregon)
  10. ☐ Gold Bar (for climbing)
  11. ☐ Lake Chelan National Recreation Area
  12. ☐ Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area
  13. ☐ Langley at Whidbey Island
  14. ☒ Leavenworth (for climbing but also a cute touristy town)
  15. ☒ Mount Rainier National Park
  16. ☐ Mount St Helens
  17. ☒ North Cascades National Park
  18. ☒ Ross Lake National Recreation Area
  19. ☒ Seattle
  20. ☐ San Juan Islands + San Juan Island National Historical Park
  21. ☐ Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in La Conner (April 1-30)
  22. ☒ Snoqualmie Falls
  23. ☒ Olympic National Park
  24. ☒ Palouse Falls
  25. ☐ Port Townsend
  26. ☐ Whitman Mission National Historic Site
  27. ☒ Yakima Valley

Everyone agrees that Washington and Oregon are part of the PNW. Some folks loosely consider Idaho, Montana, and British Columbia to be part of it too. All I know is we’re going to try to explore as much as possible while we live in the upper left coast.


  1. ☐ City of Rocks National Reserve
  2. ☐ Craters of the Moon National Monument and Preserve
  3. ☐ Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument
  4. ☐ Minidoka National Historic Site
  5. ☐ Nez Perce National Historical Park
  6. ☐ Palouse (rolling hills, also in Washington)
  7. ☐ Sawtooth Mountains (hiking / backpacking)
  8. ☐ Shoshone Falls
  9. ☐ Thousand Springs State Park
  10. ☐ Yellowstone Bear World
  11.  Yellowstone National Park


  1. ☐ Big Hole National Battlefield
  2. ☒ Bighorn Canyon National Recreation Area
  3. ☒ Flathead Lake
  4. ☐ Giant Springs State Park
  5. ☒ Glacier National Park
  6. ☐ Grant-Kohrs Ranch National Historic Site
  7. ☐ Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
  8. ☐ Kerr Dam
  9. ☐ Lewis and Clark Caverns State Park
  10. ☒ Little Bighorn Battlefield National Monument
  11. ☐ Missouri River

British Columbia / Alberta

  1. ☐ Banff National Park
  2. ☒ Jasper National Park
  3. ☐ Pacific Rim National Park Reserve
  4. ☒ Vancouver
  5. Victoria and Vancouver Island
  6. ☐ Whistler
  7. ☐ Yoho National Park

After 2 months of visiting with friends and family in Atlanta, TODAY we’re starting our first leg of our 38-hour drive to Portland with our cats (they are going to hate us). We keep going back and forth about whether we should make a couple stops along the way or do it straight (not so easy road tripping with cats). Wish us luck!

Anything else we need to add? If you could live in any city in the world, where would it be?



Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, which is one of the top 50 travel blogs in the world. They believe that adventure can be found both near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They move to a new city every year and currently live in Portland, Oregon.

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This Post Has 2 Comments

  1. I would add that if you’re in Deception Pass State Park, you should go tree climbing. It gets you at the top of those beautiful pines—a view of the bridge and the bay that few (other than the flying bald eagles) get to see. Worth the splurge.

    While at Deception Pass, head over to Mt Erie in Anacortes (15 min drive). You can climb it, or just drive to the top for magnificent vistas. And, of course, stop into Gere-A-Deli in Anacortes for lunch on your way to the islands!

    1. That sounds awesome, Carly! I’ve been wanting to try tree climbing.. at least once while in the PNW haha Thanks for all the tips!

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