The Pacific Northwest is known for it’s old-growth forests sustained by a constant rainfall. In contrast, the summer season brings sunshine and blooming wildflower fields. This season invites celebration, festivals, and outdoor adventures.
While Pacific Northwest vacations may not be the most budget-friendly option when compared to other destinations, their value becomes apparent when considering the region’s unique landscape and the frequent comparisons to Alaska. Our budget-friendly vacations in the Pacific Northwest are centered around maximizing the value of your expenditure.
Whitefish and Glacier Getaways
Whitefish, Montana, is a charming mountain town at the front door of America’s most beautiful National Park (in our opinion) – Glacier National Park. It’s fun for every season, with summer offering warm-weather operations at Whitefish Mountain Ski Resort and watersports on Whitefish Lake. However, you could hike Glacier every day of your vacation and still not see it all. If you’re coming in the early summer before Logans Pass is open to automobiles, you can cycle to the pass without sharing the road, one of America’s most spectacular bike rides.
Accommodations are reasonable, especially if you can secure lodging in Glacier National Park. However, the logistics of getting to Whitefish dissuade many budget travelers. However, with Amtrak service from Seattle, a select few will disagree. You can spend less than $150 for round-trip train tickets and check your bikes, so you will not need to rent a car.
Coeur d’Alene Escapes
The Coeur d’Alene has 55 lakes within easy driving distance of the city, including the impeccable Lake Coeur d’Alene just outside town. Ten Thousand years ago, these massive sheets of ice slid down from the Bitterroot Mountains, which now house the Coeur d’Alene National Forest. Of course, there’s plenty of hiking and watersports, but don’t forget the magnificent Route of the Hiawatha Scenic Bike Trail. This 15-mile ride takes you through nine dark tunnels and seven sky-high trestles. Best of all, it’s all paved, and local shuttle and bike rental companies will take you up the hill, so your ride will be predominantly downhill.
Coeur d’Alene is close enough to Seattle for a weekend getaway and flights from LAX to nearby Spokane for under $400. Once you arrive, you’ll find reasonably priced lakeside resorts, mountain ranches, and charming boutique hotels. The food (and wine!) is sourced from local farms and vineyards, making it fresh, delicious, and a terrific value.
Cannon Beach and Oregon Coast Drive
Oregon coast road trips are another way to escape the cities and experience the real Pacific Northwest. Oregon has 364 miles of coast, but the crown jewel of the rugged shoreline must be Cannon Beach.
Cannon Beach has seaside hotels and delicious restaurants (you must try the clam chowder). It’s also home to the photogenic Haystack Rock and beautiful Ecola State Park, with forested hiking trails and sweeping panoramic ocean views. Be sure to work in a visit to nearby Astoria at the mouth of Columbia River for a visit to Fort Clatsop and Lewis and Clark National Historical Park.
Bend is a fun mountain town with a romantic and sophisticated side. You can hammer on single track in the morning before breaking for lunch at the Bend Ale Trail, the largest beer trail in the West. You can visit a spa in the afternoon before indulging in dinner at an award-winning restaurant.
Lather, rinse, repeat – Bend is a lot of fun. Bend is also surprisingly affordable; just look at these hotel prices! As for things to do, don’t forget kayaking on the Deschutes River, visiting Tumalo Falls, caving in Lava River Cave, and climbing at Smith Rock State Park.
Seattle Southside Getaways
For most people, Seattle is the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, but the Emerald City is notoriously expensive. Also, technically, the gateway is Sea-Tac Airport, which is in the middle of Seattle Southside. We love staying at the Cedarbrook Lodge, with its “living room” setup and airport shuttles, but you’ll find Seattle Southside hotels to be an exceptional value compared to Seattle proper.
Not only are there homegrown romantic things to do in Seattle Southside, but it’s an excellent base of operations. You’re right around the corner from Mt Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula and you don’t have to fight the notoriously bad Seattle traffic to get there. You can even take the light rail directly into the city and not worry about traffic or parking at all.
Olympic Peninsula Road Trips
Another great way to avoid Seattle pricing is to leave Seattle. Hotel prices immediately drop once you cross over to the Olympic Peninsula, but that isn’t why you’re going. The Hoh Rainforest in Olympic National Park is the largest temperate rainforest outside of Alaska. Seattle, AKA Emerald City, receives 36 inches of rain a year. The Hoh Rain Forest gets 168 inches of rain plus enough fog and mist to contribute another 30 inches of precipitation. The Hoh Rainforest isn’t just emerald; it’s iridescent.
It’s about an 8-hour drive to drive the entire Olympic Peninsula loop, but that doesn’t leave you enough time to let it all soak in. Instead, plan to spend a few days hiking in the old-growth forests. We like to run the loop counterclockwise and spend the first night on the coast. Then go to the Hoh Visitor Center on day two before spending the night at a hot spring hotel. From there, you can continue to Seattle or, better yet, the San Juan Islands.
San Juan Islands Excursions
San Juan County has 172 named islands. The three most popular, San Juan Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island, are the most popular with ferry service, affordable hotels, and plenty of things to do. We like the laid-back feel and bicycle-friendly roads, but we love the opportunity to see orcas in the wild. Whether you’re sea kayaking or on an excursion boat, nothing compares to seeing these magnificent creatures in their natural habitat.
The quaint hotels and B&B of the islands are less expensive than a comparable property in the city, but the bucket list experiences bring real value to a San Juan Island vacation.
Read More From Coleman Concierge:
There are many reasons for couples to take cheap vacations. You may be on a budget and trying to retire early or want to balance expenses on a trip between luxury stays and heart-pounding adventures. Most importantly, you shouldn’t sacrifice your fun just because you’re looking for low budget vacation ideas.
Hiking in Glacier National Park – 9 Hikes You Have To Experience
Hiking in Glacier National Park among the rugged mountains and crystal blue alpine lakes is an adventure that can change you forever. This article will introduce you to the nine best hikes in Glacier NP, plus local trips and tips to help you make the most of your time in the park.
11 Romantic Places to Eat and Things To Do In Seattle Southside
Seattle Southside is so much more than a Seattle bedroom community or the halfway point between Seattle and Tacoma. It’s a vibrant, thriving community with a unique history and bright future. Whether you’re in for a day or staying for the weekend, there are so many romantic things to do and places to eat and drink in Seattle Southside that you’ll wish you would have stayed longer.
The Best Things To Do in Whitefish Montana for Every Season
Looking for the best things to do each season in Whitefish Montana? A former local gives you the tips you need to know to plan your own trip to this charming mountain town. From skiing and summer fun in Whitefish Mountain Resort to hiking and biking in Glacier National Park to the inside scoop on everything Whitefish, we have you covered!
How to Spend a Romantic Weekend in Bellevue Washington for Active Couples
Why do active couples want to spend a romantic weekend in Bellevue, Washington? Experiencing the restorative power of the great outdoors, exploring a visionary city, maybe just relaxing and unwinding. Follow along and we’ll give you the perfect itinerary for a long weekend getaway to Bellevue with swanky rooms, delicious food, and the joie de vivre that make Bellevue unique.
Hi! We are Jenn and Ed Coleman aka Coleman Concierge. In a nutshell, we are a Huntsville-based Gen X couple sharing our stories of amazing adventures through activity-driven transformational and experiential travel.