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The Great Pacific Drive

Starbucks to Seaside

The Great Pacific Drive

15 Nights From €1699 (Per Person)

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United States 3 Fly Drive Holidays

Oregon|| Washington

Photograph of The Great Pacific Drive

Starbucks to Seaside

The Great Pacific Drive - Starbucks to Seaside

Seattle (Washington) - Port Angeles (Washington) - Lake Quinalt (Washington) - Seaside(Oregon) - Newport (Oregon) - Crater Lake NP(Oregon) - Bend (Oregon)- Portland(Oregon) - Mount Rainier (Washington) -Seattle (Washington)

Millions of years ago, Mother Nature sent a cascading stream crashing down a mountainside, cutting a path through rocks and ridges.  It cut so deep that in some places canyon walls tower 4,000 feet above the river.  Somewhere along the line, the cascading stream collided with the Pacific Rim of Fire, where volcanoes of astounding proportions uplifted majestic mountains.  Some 200 inches of annual rainfall keeps lush the rainforests of the “cold jungle” that sits below 8,000-foot-high glacier capped peaks.  Welcome to the Great Pacific Northwest, where the landscapes are unique to the geography and unlike anything else in America.  The natural beauty of the region is unprecedented.  Here you can experience forests, rivers, mountain wilderness, jungles, mountain top glaciers, wild Pacific Coast and seashore – all in one state!

This area was inhabited by Native Americans over 15,000 years before Europeans arrived in 1592 and centuries before woodsmen and pioneers discovered its unique geography.  Native American influences still give the arts an intriguing nuance.  Wineries, scenic roads, and historic landmark lodges with roaring fires and the promise of relaxation dot the landscape.  As many as 77 waterfalls accompany your travels on one scenic drive.  Magnificent alpine views, hundreds of hikes, beautiful nature walks and exhilarating climbs await the adventurous.  Portland and Seattle are very sophisticated and environmentally friendly cities.  In between, you’ll find authentic towns, unspoiled seacoast and dramatic views, all within comfortable driving distances to allow plenty of time for open-mouthed gaping!       


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The Great Pacific Drive - Starbucks to Seaside


 Day 1: Arrive Seattle

Begin your exploration of the Pacific Northwest in Seattle, one of the most dynamic cities in the United States, and the undisputed capital of the Great Pacific Northwest.  The city has seen gold rushes and labor strikes, business booms and busts, fires and earthquakes, only each time to bounce back even stronger.  You can still see sections of the original downtown on the colorful Seattle Underground Tour.  With descendants of the original settlers still a vital part of the region, Seattle has developed a rich and diverse multi-cultural mix that is overlaid with the sophistication brought by several of America’s largest corporations including Boeing Aircraft, Microsoft, and Starbucks.

Day 2: Explore Seattle
Today, you can scale the Space Needle, watch fish being pitched at Pike Place Market and explore sections of Seattle’s original downtown that were destroyed by fire in 1889 on the Seattle Underground Tour.  Alki Beach, the original landing place of Seattle settlers, stretches for two miles along West Seattle.  The 140,000 square foot Experience Music Project music museum is a must see, along with Seattle Center and the Science Fiction Museum. Be here when Bumbershoot, Seafair or one of the other major community events take place and prepare for a great celebration.

Day 3: Port Angeles
Port Angeles is the gateway to the beautiful and fascinating Olympia National Park on the Olympic Peninsula. The spectacular Olympic Mountains, the centerpiece of the Peninsula, form a circular range in the central area of the park. The ice and snow covered slopes are a great contrast to the deep green forested areas of the lower elevations. Nearer Port Angeles, you’ll discover the cultural diversity and heritage of the Native Americans who lived in the area, coexisting peacefully with fishing villages and a Victorian seaport or two. You can also stroll along the shores of the 12 mile long glacially carved lake at Lake Crescent.

Day 4: Port Angeles
Today you’ll be headed for a “cold jungle;” the lush rainforest which engulfs the central portion of Olympic National Park.  In fact, the largest undisturbed old-growth temperate rainforests are found here.  After exploring this surreal landscape, make a loop around to the coast to include traveling along a portion of the 60 miles of wild Pacific Coast that ring the Peninsula. 

Day 5: Lake Quinault
The Quinault Rain Forest and ever present central mountains are an even greater contrast to the southern portions of the rugged Pacific coastline where Ruby Beach, covered with driftwood and rocks delivers prominent views of the “seastacks,” the headlands that used to be attached to the mainland protruding from the sea.  As you near Quinault, the rainforest changes to evergreens and the landscape opens up into the Quinault Valley.  This area serves as a wilderness gateway to alpine meadows, jeweled lakes and ice clad peaks.  The Quinault Rain Forest Loop Drive is a 31-mile scenic loop around Lake Quinault. Along the route, there are many opportunities to hike, walk to a waterfall and take in exceptional views of the Olympic Mountains and Quinault River.  Keep watch for Roosevelt Elk, Black-tailed Deer, bobcats, bald eagles and black bears.  

Day 6: Seaside
Oregon’s first seashore resort has been a beach playground for more than 150 years.  After serving as a fur trading post, Seaside’s first guest house opened in 1850, followed in 1870 by its first luxury hotel. By 1910, the beach was attracting more than 10,000 visitors each summer, earning it the title Coastal Capital of Oregon.  Prosperous families referred to it as the “oldest fashionable summer resort” on the Oregon Coast.  Today, you can enjoy the fun and relaxing atmosphere of this delightful seaside town that visitors have enjoyed for generations.  Be sure to visit the Seaside Aquarium and Saddle Mountain State Park.

Day 7: Newport
Newport, nestled between the Coast Mountains, Pacific Ocean and Yaquina Bay, has also been a playground for visitors since the late 1800s.  Early in the 1900s, Nye Beach became the number one  attraction on the coast with hot sea baths, taffy and agate shops. Today, the Oregon Coast Aquarium, the Yaquina Bay Lighthouse and a thriving arts community will entertain you.  The unique collection of shops at Aquarium Village includes a resident glass blower.  Bayfront is a working waterfront with more shops, art galleries, chowder houses, restaurants, fish processing plants and attractions located in turn-of-the- century store fronts.

Day 8: Newport
Discovery of oyster beds in Yaquina Bay in 1862 generated huge profits for the region exporting the delicacy to San Francisco and beyond.  Newport was officially founded on July 4, 1866 and resorts quickly followed, establishing the community as a premier tourist destination on the Oregon Coast. Pretty amazing, considering there was no road along the Oregon Coast until 1927.  Other attractions include the  
Yaquina Head Lighthouse, Hatfield Marine Science Center Free and Devil’s Punchbowl State Park.  You can also take a Marine Discovery Sea Life Cruise or go whale watching off Newport.

Day 9: Crater Lake
The dramatic beauty of Crater Lake will astound you.  Surrounded by sheer cliffs nearly 2,000 feet high, the lake is the 7th deepest in the world and the deepest in the United States.  The violent volcanic explosion that created Crater Lake some 7,700 years ago when Mount Mazama collapsed, is so recent that the story is still told in Native American legends.  The Klamath Indians so revered the lake that they kept it undiscovered until 1853 when three gold prospectors broke the spell.  Be sure to watch the film, “Mirror of Heaven” at the Visitors Center. 

Day 10: Crater Lake
Consider taking a boat ride out to Wizard Island, which sits in the middle of Crater Lake.  The island is a miniature cinder cone that supports a vast array of plant and animal life.  The tours are accessible by hiking the Cleetwood Cove Trail.  Approximately 90 miles of other hiking trails traverse the 180,00 acres of the park, some of which can be hiked in as little as twenty minutes. Others take as long as three hours.  Every trail offers up spectacular scenery.

Day 11: Bend
A sophisticated and relaxing mountain town, Bend offers everything from authentic rodeos to cosmopolitan wine tastings.  Outdoor enthusiasts are drawn to Bend for the world-renowned rock climbing in Smith Rock State Park, hiking and biking opportunities in the Cascade Mountains and along the Crooked River, and blue ribbon fly-fishing along the Deschutes River.  If you prefer a more leisurely experience, take the scenic chairlift to the summit of Mt. Bachelor for breathtaking views of this fabulous landscape.  In the high elevations of Central Oregon, the night sky is so close you can almost touch it.  The stars can be seen clearly from the University of Oregon’s Pine Mountain Observatory. You can also visit the Newberry National Volcanic Monument, the High Desert Museum and take a Wanderlust Naturalist Tour.   

Day 12: Portland
Portland is in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, a bioregion very distinct from the rest of the American West.  The immediate region integrates the world’s largest “cold jungle” temperate rain forest, numerous wild landscapes, Victorian villages and small seaport towns. You’ll find the arts, nightlife and fashion thriving in The Pearl District, the cultural heart of downtown.

Day 13: Portland
You can visit Asia without crossing the Pacific Ocean at the Classic Chinese Garden and Japanese Garden in Portland.  New roses from all over the world are tested at the International Rose Test Garden.  Pittock Mansion was built by the local lumber baron, and the Oregon Museum of History and the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry tell the rest of the story. There are many great restaurants around Pioneer Courthouse Square. Musical performances, art shows, theatre and cultural highlights are a daily event. Portland You can also visit the Portland Art Museum, the World Forestry Discovery Center and the Museum of Contemporary Craft. 

Day 14: Mount Rainier
Travelling north from Portland, a scenic side trip takes you to Mount St. Helens. On Sunday, May 18, 1980, a massive avalanche of rocks and debris came crashing down on 230 square miles of forested land changing the landscape forever. If you anticipate hiking above 4,000 feet, you will need a permit to climb.  Further north, magnificent Mt. Rainier, an active Cascade volcano encased in 35 square miles of snow and glacial ice, is the highest peak in Washington.  Here, you can walk in the footsteps of the many explorers to explore the glaciers, discover life in the rain forest, hike part of the Wonderland Trail, experience sub-alpine ecology, watch clouds shroud the mountain, meander through old growth forests dating back over 200 years, visit rustic historic buildings, or listen to the glaciers crack...

Day 15: Seattle
Explore more of Mount Rainier today before returning to Seattle.  Try a Food on Foot Tour, a culinary tour of Pike Place Market or any number of other entertaining adventures in the city. 

Day 16: Depart Seattle


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