Home Holidays & Travelling The Ultimate One-Week Pacific Northwest Road Trip Itinerary • The Blonde Abroad

The Ultimate One-Week Pacific Northwest Road Trip Itinerary • The Blonde Abroad

by kyngsam

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 palms, one other epic journey was all she had on her thoughts.

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

As a first-timer on the West Coast, my record of locations to go to and issues to do was infinite. Coming from South Africa, a rustic that’s solely a tenth of the scale of the US, it’s simple to neglect the sheer dimension of 1 US state.

All I knew was that I used to be prepared for a USA road trip of a lifetime (one other first) and needed to tick off not less than one nationwide park from my record.

After chatting to a few my mates 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 Huge Sur simply wasn’t going to chop it.

Sitting on the sofa one evening with my housemate, she talked about Glacier National Park in Montana and that was it—Sarah and I have 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 final word one-week Pacific Northwest street journey itinerary!

The Greatest  Time to Go to

Fact be instructed, 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 be 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 by way of the luxurious vineyards of the Willamette Valley in Oregon, frequenting the summer time markets of Portland, or trekking by way of the snow-covered mountains of Glacier Nationwide Park, each season affords one thing particular.

Top Spots to Visit on a Pacific Northwest Road Trip

Whether or not you’re beginning your street journey in California and seeing among the prime websites on Pacific Coast Freeway, otherwise you’re desirous to discover all the West Coast—I’ve obtained a variety of locations so that you can try!

Read More

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 based mostly in San Francisco as their choices have been extraordinarily inexpensive 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 (howdy, espresso!)
  • A sink with water
  • Cupboard space
  • Battery-operated cooler field

After just a few mates saying we have been loopy to even take into consideration sleeping in a campervan in winter, we determined to convey alongside an additional quilt and blanket simply in case. Once you hit these detrimental temperatures, these undoubtedly come in useful.

Touring and sleeping in a campervan has its highs and lows. I’ve little doubt that getting one throughout summertime would undoubtedly be slightly simpler – sleeping, altering, and socializing in a small van will be tough to navigate while you’re making an attempt to keep away from stepping foot out into snowy or wet climate.

With that mentioned, it actually simply provides to the journey and we wouldn’t have modified a factor. It allowed us to be versatile, to all the time have our issues shut by, and made us understand how little you could go on an unbelievable journey.

Easy issues like standing to alter your garments or rummaging by way of 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 good 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 comfy 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 can be good for combatting the surface chill.

For those who see their sizzling buttered rum on the menu, do your self a favor and order one straight away.


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 Road at Community Plate (pictured above). A cute, upbeat cafe that’s nice for a fast chew to eat or one thing slightly slower paced in case you’re not in any rush.

Oregon is understood for producing unbelievable Pinot Noir wine (and many others), so a visit to a few wineries in your solution to Portland is a should for any wine lover. Be certain that to make an appointment beforehand and be ready for unreal photograph alternatives.

After a day of vino and vineyards, arrive within the lovely metropolis of Portland. Recognized for its hipsters and occasional tradition, seize a cuppa joe in your solution 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 greatest appellations
  • Lingua Franca – Producing wines that mirror the true expression of their fruit, Lingua Franca is understood for his or her premium Pinot Noir and Chardonnay
  • Chateau Deluxe – For these on the lookout for one thing particular, Chateau Deluxe is a small producer creating severely good Pet-Nat (pure glowing wine)

Day 3 – Portland

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

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

For those who’re as massive a fan of cheese as I’m, take a drive to the Cheese Bar on SE Belmont Road for among the best 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 impartial 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 manufactured 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 wish to get there earlier than the loopy afternoon site visitors hits – one thing we undoubtedly 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 evening 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 folks tradition.

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


Day 5 – Seattle

Like Portland, Seattle has change into generally known as the “mecca of espresso” providing completely brewed espresso on virtually each avenue.

Begin your morning off on Cherry Road 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 direction of iconic Pike Place Market.

Undoubtedly certainly one of Seattle’s most-visited points of interest, 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 blokes behind the seafood counters and their killer fish-throwing abilities.

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

A fast 15-minute stroll away, go to the must-see Olympic Sculpture Park. See spectacular works from prime modern artists with the Area Needle and the Olympic Mountains as your backdrop. And one of the best 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 – at the moment’s the day you head in direction of the Montana mountains!

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

Take it sluggish 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 – Huge Sky Nation.

When you attain Spokane, select from just a few campgrounds for the evening and comfy 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 gasoline range, a cup of espresso might be important to knock off the coolness and kickstart your day.

Get on the street early because the drive in direction of Glacier isn’t extremely far however anticipate the icy roads of the cross and probably snowy circumstances to delay your journey by not less than 2 hours.

Get pleasure from a leisurely drive by way of dramatic landscapes with towering mountains and frozen lakes passing by. The roads begin to quieten down quite a bit, so be sure to’ve crammed up with gasoline, have one thing packed for lunch, and are stocked up on meals in your time within the park.

After an excellent 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. Decide your spot amongst the snow overlooking the McDonald Lake and soak up scenes that few individuals 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 sluggish as you want however espresso and heat breakfast comes extremely really useful.

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

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

A Local’s Guide to Glacier National Park

For those who’re fascinated 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 12 months!

Read More

Procuring Record

Just about your preparation procuring will be performed at any sporting good retailer. Listed here are among the key issues to convey alongside!

Remaining Ideas

Don’t be fearful of seasons, chances are you’ll simply find yourself on one of the best journey of your life.

Main as much as our journey, there have been many events the place I believed we have been downright loopy to wish to street journey in a campervan throughout winter. Sure, it will probably get slightly crowded and sure, it was powerful braving the chilly particularly once we hit Glacier and needed to make a cup of tea.

However would we do it once more? A thousand instances, 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 suggest to anybody and everybody.

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

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