Fall is in full swing in the Pacific Northwest, and there’s no better time to grab your loved ones and hit the road for a seasonal getaway. There is an array of accessible weekend and weeklong options available that are only a short drive away. If you want to take in the last of this colorful season at a destination with stunning views and a variety of activities before the last leaf falls, consider one of the following locations.
Close to California’s Border, Ashland is beautiful anytime of year, but it’s particularly stunning during the fall season. If you love outdoor recreation, this small city’s remote location as well as its proximity to mountain ranges, lakes and rivers, makes it a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts. You can easily fill your days with activities like kayaking, hiking, mountain biking, fishing, and horseback riding all executed against the stunning backdrop of the wilderness’s fall foliage.
Ashland is perhaps best known for its arts, culture and entertainment scene. If you are looking for some great theater, you’ll have plenty of venues to choose from. Check out the Oregon Cabaret Theatre, Ashland’s Children’s Theater, or the Craterian Theater at Collier Center near Medford. You are sure to find an unforgettable production to enjoy.
Consider hitting one of the cities many museums like the ScienceWorks Hands-On Museum or the Schneider Museum of Art. Don’t forget to check out Lithia Park, where you just might catch a festival. And before you head home, hit one of the areas best wineries like Weisinger, Grizzly Peak or Belle Fiore, to name just a few.
Photo via Weisinger
The Pacific Northwest Coast
You can easily spend a handful of days traveling along the Oregon Coast. There are a large variety of towns worth checking out, regardless of the time of year. If you are looking for a little bit of a California experience, Seaside, OR is a must-see. It has large stretches of beach to enjoy and a 1920’s style oceanfront promenade that stretches 1.5 miles up the coast.
The town itself is super fun to explore, with plenty of shops to check out and a large, indoor Carousel. As you walk up and down the streets you will find candy stores, an arcade, and an impressive array of restaurants. When you are ready to move on, Astoria and Long Beach are just to the North. Astoria is a lovely little town with plenty shops to peruse. You’ll want to check out the Astoria Column overlooking the mouth of the Columbia River on Coxcomb Hill while you are in town and then head over to Long Beach to stick your toes in the sand.
Further north you’ll stumble upon a small, idyllic town on the Washington coast called Seabrook. It’s filled with adorable cottages and old-timey shops. You’ll feel like you’ve stepped into the Truman Show. Head just an hour north and you can stay at Kalaloch Lodge at the Olympic National Park where your accommodations overlook the sea. Ask the locals where you can find the Tree of Life and don’t forget to check out Ruby Beach.
What could be more magical than experiencing an alpine village in autumn? Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, this Bavarian-style village is a favorite around the holidays. Before the snow starts to fall, mountain biking, horseback riding, and hiking are favored activities.
Closer your trip is to the holidays, the more likely snow is to be on the ground (even in the fall). This is a great opportunity for some snowshoeing and skiing. Closer to Christmas, a sleigh ride or visit to the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm is a must.
There are an endless number of things to do in Leavenworth. How you fill your schedule depends on your interests. Breweries & Distilleries offer an array of spirits to enjoy. If you prefer wine and cider, tasting rooms and wineries are just waiting for your visit. Museum lovers can enjoy the Upper Valley Museum and the Leavenworth Nutcracker museum where you’ll find nutcrackers from Roman times to modern day and more. And, of course, make sure to pamper yourself at a spa before you head home.
Looking for the best spots to see some fall color? Check out our guide of the best places in the PNW here!