The Final One-Week Pacific Northwest Highway Journey Itinerary

Jenna of Tales of the Vineyards just lately traveled to Napa Valley, California for a 5-month wine harvest job. After wrapping up lengthy hours working within the cellar and scrubbing her wine-stained fingers, one other epic journey was all she had on her thoughts.

Leaping in a campervan along with her harvest finest pal Sarah, she journeyed out on the last word one-week Pacific Northwest street journey. Right here’s Jenna with all the information!

As a first-timer on the West Coast, my listing of locations to go to and issues to do was infinite. Coming from South Africa, a rustic that’s solely a tenth of the dimensions of america, it’s straightforward to overlook the sheer measurement of 1 US state.

All I knew was that I used to be prepared for a USA street journey of a lifetime (one other first) and needed to tick off at the least one nationwide park from my listing.

After chatting to a few my pals in Napa and doing my very own analysis, I got here to the conclusion that venturing out to the same old suspects of California like Yosemite and Massive Sur simply wasn’t going to chop it.

Sitting on the sofa one night time with my housemate, she talked about Glacier Nationwide Park in Montana and that was it—Sarah and I had been going to drive over 1,400 miles from San Francisco to Glacier Nationwide Park with just a few stops alongside the way in which…in winter!

Right here’s the last word one-week Pacific Northwest street journey itinerary!

The Finest  Time to Go to

Fact be informed, winter isn’t everybody’s cup of tea. Whereas the Pacific Northwest by no means reaches excessive summer time temperatures, if rain, snow, and -17 levels Celsius don’t sound like a enjoyable time, then make sure you schedule this street journey for summer time.

Regardless of the season, the Pacific Northwest has magnificence round each nook.

Whether or not it’s sunny days wandering via the plush vineyards of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, frequenting the summer time markets of Portland, or trekking via the snow-covered mountains of Glacier Nationwide Park, each season affords one thing particular.

Prime Spots to Go to on a Pacific Northwest Highway Journey

Whether or not you’re beginning your street journey in California and seeing a few of the high websites on Pacific Coast Freeway, otherwise you’re desirous to discover the entire West Coast—I’ve received plenty of locations so that you can try!

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Traveling in a Campervan in Winter

Going on a road trip in a campervan in winter seems daunting (and foolish) to most, but really, it’s doable as long as you go prepared. An extra duvet, a warm jacket, fairy lights, and plenty of coffee go a long way!

The main reason we chose to get a campervan was the freedom it would give us in staying wherever we wanted, especially when it came to National Parks. We rented our campervan from Lost Campers primarily based in San Francisco as their choices had been extraordinarily reasonably priced and included limitless miles.

We went with their Sierra Class van which included:

  • A mattress for two with linen
  • Kitchen equipment (pots, espresso mugs, cups, cutlery)
  • A double burner range (whats up, espresso!)
  • A sink with water
  • Cupboard space
  • Battery-operated cooler field

After just a few pals saying we had been loopy to even take into consideration sleeping in a campervan in winter, we determined to deliver alongside an additional quilt and blanket simply in case. If you hit these detrimental temperatures, these positively come in useful.

Touring and sleeping in a campervan has its highs and lows. I’ve little doubt that getting one throughout summertime would positively be just a little simpler – sleeping, altering, and socializing in a small van may be difficult to navigate while you’re attempting to keep away from stepping foot out into snowy or wet climate.

With that stated, it actually simply provides to the journey and we wouldn’t have modified a factor. It allowed us to be versatile, to at all times have our issues shut by, and made us notice how little it’s essential to go on an unbelievable journey.

Easy issues like standing to alter your garments or rummaging via a cabinet begin to really feel like luxuries.


Day 1 – San Francisco to McMinnville

By way of I-5 – Roughly 9.5-Hour Drive

Wanting to get the present on the street, begin your day early and knock an enormous distance out of the way in which. Take within the lovely surroundings on the drive with snowy mountains within the distance, lush forests lining the freeway, and a fair chillier chew within the air.

On arrival in McMinnville, a historic little city within the coronary heart of Oregon’s wine nation, throw on a jacket and wander its streets adorned with twinkling lights. Discover one of many many bars earlier than settling in at a comfortable restaurant.

After a well-deserved meal and with hopefully a second wind kicking in, pop into the Conservatory Bar. Serving up unbelievable cocktails and native beers, they’re identified for his or her winter heaters which might be good for combatting the surface chill.

In case you see their scorching buttered rum on the menu, do your self a favor and order one instantly.


One of many many Willamette Valley wineries

Day 2 – McMinnville to Portland

By way of Pacific Freeway W – Roughly 1-Hour Drive

Earlier than hitting the street, seize a espresso and breakfast on NE third Avenue at Community Plate (pictured above). A cute, upbeat cafe that’s nice for a fast chew to eat or one thing just a little slower paced should you’re not in any rush.

Oregon is thought for producing unbelievable Pinot Noir wine (and lots others), so a visit to a few wineries in your option to Portland is a should for any wine lover. Ensure that to make an appointment beforehand and be ready for unreal picture alternatives.

After a day of vino and vineyards, arrive within the lovely metropolis of Portland. Recognized for its hipsters and low tradition, seize a cuppa joe in your option to the Pearl District for dinner. Wander down NW 13th to admire the refurbished deep-red buildings earlier than settling down for a tasty meal.

Willamette Valley Wineries to Go to:

  • Bergström – Unimaginable Pinot Noir and Chardonnay utilizing fruit from 4 of the Willamette Valley’s finest appellations
  • Lingua Franca – Producing wines that replicate the true expression of their fruit, Lingua Franca is thought for his or her premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
  • Chateau Deluxe – For these in search of one thing particular, Chateau Deluxe is a small producer creating critically good Pet-Nat (pure glowing wine)

Day 3 – Portland

Winter in Portland is assured to be a moist one so be sure you’ve received an incredible waterproof jacket for wandering the streets.

Begin your day at one of many many cute espresso retailers scattered all through the town or head straight to Mississippi Avenue for a little bit of morning procuring. Browse the boutique shops or cease at The Meadow to top off on scrumptious snacks for the street.

In case you’re as huge a fan of cheese as I’m, take a drive to the Cheese Bar on SE Belmont Avenue for top-of-the-line cheese boards of your life paired with a glass (or bottle) of native wine. Subsequent up, head to Powell’s Books – the world’s largest unbiased bookstore – to seize an fascinating learn for the street forward.

A culinary spotlight and dinner-must when visiting Portland is Pok Pok in SE Division. Serving unbelievable dishes impressed by Thai avenue meals since 2005, Ike’s Vietnamese Fish Sauce Wings and the Papaya Pok Pok salad are what foodie goals are made from.

Seattle Waterfront

Day 4 – Portland to Seattle

By way of I-5 N – Roughly 3-Hour Drive

Begin your morning early for the 3-hour drive to Seattle. You’ll need to get there earlier than the loopy afternoon site visitors hits – one thing we positively didn’t take into consideration.

Though fairly wet and gloomy throughout winter, don’t be fooled, Seattle by no means sleeps. Park your automotive for the night time and hit the streets. Head to the George Washington Memorial Bridge to snap an image with the well-known Fremont Troll – a huge troll sculpture residing underneath the bridge with roots in Norwegian people tradition.

Subsequent up, go to the long-lasting Space Needle for unbelievable views. And if twinkly lights tickle your fancy, head there later at night time to see the town gentle up – it’s open till Eight pm on weekdays and 9 pm on weekends.


Day 5 – Seattle

Like Portland, Seattle has develop into often called the “mecca of espresso” providing completely brewed espresso on virtually each avenue.

Begin your morning off on Cherry Avenue with a freshly baked pastry and a cup of espresso from Cherry Street Coffee House earlier than strolling all the way down to the waterfront. Absorb views throughout Elliott Bay to the Olympic Mountains as you head in the direction of iconic Pike Place Market.

Undoubtedly one among Seattle’s most-visited sights, Pike Place Market is house to scrumptious seafood, contemporary produce, and artful shops. However be careful – don’t get in the way in which of the fellows behind the seafood counters and their killer fish-throwing abilities.

Each couple of minutes you’ll see fish casually flying via the air as they move it jokingly between one another.

A fast 15-minute stroll away, go to the must-see Olympic Sculpture Park. See spectacular works from high modern artists with the Area Needle and the Olympic Mountains as your backdrop. And the perfect half – the park is free!

Would you check out all that snow?!

Day 6 – Seattle to Spokane

By way of I-90 E – Roughly 6-Hour Drive

Rise and shine – in the present day’s the day you head in the direction of the Montana mountains!

Whereas Google Maps might make the route from Seattle to Glacier Nationwide Park look doable in a single day, the snowy circumstances of winter positively throw a curveball. Begin your day early with a pit cease at a grocery retailer on the outskirts of Seattle to top off on necessities earlier than heading in the direction of Spokane for the night time.

Take it gradual on the roads and watch as your environment change. The snow will get thicker and the temperatures shortly begin to drop as you get nearer to Montana – Massive Sky Nation.

When you attain Spokane, select from just a few campgrounds for the night time and comfortable up for an evening’s relaxation earlier than the ultimate journey to Glacier.

Spokane to Glacier Road Trip

Day 7 – Spokane to Glacier Nationwide Park

By way of I-90 E – Roughly 7-Hour Drive

Placed on these woolly socks and light-weight up the fuel range, a cup of espresso can be important to knock off the coolness and kickstart your day.

Get on the street early because the drive in the direction of Glacier isn’t extremely far however anticipate the icy roads of the move and doubtlessly snowy circumstances to delay your journey by at the least 2 hours.

Take pleasure in a leisurely drive via dramatic landscapes with towering mountains and frozen lakes passing by. The roads begin to quieten down rather a lot, so be sure you’ve stuffed up with fuel, have one thing packed for lunch, and are stocked up on meals on your time within the park.

After a superb couple of hours on the street you’ll lastly attain Glacier Nationwide Park and boy, is each mile value it!

Only some roads are maintained over winter and the one space to remain in is on the Apgar Campground, so be ready for max peace and quiet. Choose your spot amongst the snow overlooking the McDonald Lake and soak up scenes that few folks ever get to witness of their lifetime:

Deer wandering previous, snow gently falling to the bottom, and views for miles.


Day 8 – Glacier Nationwide Park

Get up cuddled underneath your quilt surrounded by full magnificence and tons of animal tracks! Begin the day as gradual as you want however espresso and heat breakfast comes extremely advisable.

Glacier Nationwide Park over winter actually is a spot of serenity. With just a few mountain climbing paths open and never a lot else to do, throw in your (waterproof) mountain climbing boots and hit a path to benefit from the views and wildlife. That is actually the last word journey should you’re desirous to immerse your self in nature and keep away from any crowds.

The remainder of your time? Drink loads of tea, atone for some studying, do some journaling, and benefit from the wonderland round you.

A Native’s Information to Glacier Nationwide Park

In case you’re desirous about heading to Glacier, you’re in for a deal with. There’s a cause there have been greater than three million guests there final yr!

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Buying Checklist

Just about your preparation procuring may be accomplished at any sporting good retailer. Listed below are a few of the key issues to deliver alongside!

Last Ideas

Don’t be afraid of seasons, you might simply find yourself on the perfect journey of your life.

Main as much as our journey, there have been many events the place I assumed we had been downright loopy to need to street journey in a campervan throughout winter. Sure, it could possibly get just a little crowded and sure, it was robust braving the chilly particularly once we hit Glacier and needed to make a cup of tea.

However would we do it over again? A thousand occasions, sure.

Our journey prolonged all the way in which all the way down to Yellowstone, Zion, Vegas, and again up the coast to San Francisco – an epic journey that I’d advocate to anybody and everybody.

What are you ready for? Pack these baggage, lease that campervan, and get exploring.

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