Tanner and I decided months before our trip that we wanted to visit the West coast for spring break. We LOVE Portland and it had been much too long since I had been to Seattle. Tanner and I did a lot of researching to find out where we wanted to spend our time and decided most of the trip would be spent in Washington. After talking to friends and asking for suggestions from my friends, we decided to look up Olympic National Park and were sold!!! Have you guys ever seen any pictures of the park?? If not, go look–right now! Especially Hoh Forest & Quinalt. Breathtaking!
Tanner and I spent a lot of time booking AirBNBs and making travel plans. We decided we would stay in Oregon for the first night, camp in Olympic for one night, and stay in WA for the rest. We were so excited!!! About three weeks before we were to leave I was talking to my friend, Fallon, about our trip! Spontaneously we decided that her and her boyfriend(now husband) should come!! So…Tanner and I canceled all of our airBNB’s and started changing our plans!! Definitely worth it! Nothing beats traveling the country with your best friends. Plus, just to clarify, it wasn’t a big deal at all to cancel our airBNB fees. It think in total we lost like $20.00 in airBNB fees.
Working around everyone’s schedule we left Tremonton, Utah around 3pm and finally made it to my sister-in-laws house in Donald at like 1am the next day. Long drive, but with 4 full time college students driving is definitely the most affordable route. Donald, OR is the cutest little town about 40 minutes south of Portland. It’s population size is a little over 1,000. It’s a super quiet town with fields of grapes and marionberries growing all around. I am super grateful I have family living in one of my favorite states!
Our first day started off early at the Latter Day-Saint Portland Temple. Since we were come from the South the Temple was a quick stop right on the exit and we didn’t want to miss the opportunity to see it. I mean look at it–beautiful!
After the temple we drove straight to 24th street in Portland. About 5 minutes before we parked the car it started to rain. Not to worry though because I packed like 4 ponchos & I was the only one to wear mine ;). It rains frequently in Portland and Seattle so we were prepared with multiple umbrellas too. We walked the streets along 24th and eventually stopped at the famous Salt and Straw. With the rain we were the only ones in line so, fortunately, the cashier’s let us try every single flavor. I’m not joking!! The service was incredible and we love taste testing all the flavors. YOU CANNOT GO WRONG WITH ANY FLAVOR. I promise. Tanner and I ended up sharing a Ganache and cookies and cream cone. Fallon and Alex got the potato chips one & something else.
After we went to the Farmer’s Market on the Waterfront and Powell’s bookstore. We decided to park and just walk from place to place. It was easier than moving our car multiple times. Hands down our favorite thing we did in Portland was going to Kennedy School Hotel and relaxing in the soaking pools!
Activity Recommendations for Portland, Oregon:
Kennedy School Soaking Pool
The road to Olympic National Park from WA was so crazy! Literally day 2 we experienced beautiful, crisp spring air, sunshine, rain, hail, snow, snowstorm(insane. & yes there’s a difference in my mind between snow and snowstorm), and then more sunshine and more snowstorm. Luckily we packed warm clothes because I don’t remember looking at the weather forecast beforehand…what was I thinking?!
Tanner and I woke up early Sunday morning and went for a walk around our Aunt & Uncles neighborhood. When we arrived at their house last night it was dark and so we weren’t able to see much outside. I was so shocked at the beauty of WA! Everything was so green, the trees were so tall, and the air was so crisp. Just a few hundred feet from our Aunt’s house we were walking along side forests that looked just out of the Twilight Movie! Their was moss along the roads and on the tree trunks making everything more green and beautiful. To this day walking with my hubby on the WA streets is a favorite memory.
We started our drive to Olympic Park around 10am. The drive was so interesting and fun. Seeing this side of WA was a first for me and I quickly noticed how many logging communities we passed. Everything we passed consisted of green forests. The drive started out sunny, but within an hour turned to rain, then hail, then snow, and then onto an immediate snow storm.
A few hours later we finally made it to the coast inside of Olympic National Park!! Once we got close to the coast the weather dramatically changed. It was so crazy, but we were feeling really lucky to experience clear skies. We walked around the coast, took pictures, skipped rocks, and enjoyed the ocean sound. Nothing better than relaxing with nature after being in the car!
After our stop along the coast we made a few other quick stops. One recommended stops we made was at Ruby Beach(shown below). We parked and enjoyed the views from the viewpoint, but the coast isn’t more than a few hundred yards to from the parking lot.
Afterwards we set up camp at a random campsite we found while driving through Olympic National Park. The further we left the coast, the more snow we saw. Originally our hope was to set up camp close to Hoh Forest, but realized that we wouldn’t be able to visit Hoh due to the snowy weather.
We woke up to a few inches of snow on the ground, made quick breakfast burritos, and headed on our way. Olympic Park is so beautiful with and without snow! I couldn’t believe my eyes how tall and green the trees were!
We left our campsite and headed to Northern WA to a place called Port Angeles. Here you can catch a ferry to Victoria, Canada if wanted. Tanner and I debated going to Canada for multiple weeks while planning, but we decided we would have to do that with a little more time (and money). Remember–poor college students here, and I want to show how affordable it can be to travel. Oh, I guess I should mention that so far all of our night’s stays have been for free! Booyah–family, I love you.
Port Angeles presented us with different sights and beautiful views as we continued on to Seattle.
We arrived in Seattle with hungry stomachs and daylight to spare. After cleaning up we ate at Noi Thai Cuisine near Pike’s Place. We found it on TripAdvisor and it had good reviews. We were more than satisfied-I would definitely recommend eating there. Great service, fun atmosphere, and delicious food. I got a yellow curry with rice, Tanner got Pad Thai, Fallon got some sort of a salmon dish, and Alex got Cashew Chicken. All of them were super good!
We stayed at the Best Western near the Space Needle in Seattle. After pricing out airBNB’s for 4 people, the hotel ended up being the cheapest. Per night we paid $55. The only downfall about Seattle is that parking is outrageous! Whether paying for parking at your hotel or along the streets–it adds up quickly. We decided to park our car at the hotel for about $30.00/day and would recommend that to anyone who’s staying in a hotel that’s walking distance to the sites you want to see.
Before leaving on our trip we pre-purchased Seattle’s CityPass (found here) for about $70.00/person and we were so glad we did! The CityPass is awesome because you can choose 4 different things to go. Our first full day in Seattle started out with using our CityPass at the Space needle. We then walked a few feet over to the Pacific Science Center. We watched a movie in the big IMAX, and toured the facility. I was really surprised at how much I enjoyed it. We stayed for about 3 hours in total. If you go, you have to go into the Tropical Butterfly House.
Our fifth day was dedicated to Pike’s Place Market & the Aquarium. You can’t go to Seattle without stopping at Pike’s Place! Ka-peesh? The environment is kicking and the vendors are local. I recommend eating at Pikes Place Chowder for the most fresh tasting clam chowder.
The 6th day was designated to Seattle’s Woodland Park Zoo. The zoo is huge! Due to th weather we didn’t stay nearly as long as we would have. I would say the zoo is a must if: 1) you use the citypass 2) it’s good weather. If it’s not good weather, you might want to hold off when it’s warmer weather. You’ll see a lot more animals this way. Either way though we had a blast and made the most of the time. Tanner loves ducks so he was in heaven while we were in the bird section of the zoo. I love the kid in him.
The last day was one of our favorites in Seattle. We used our CityPass and enjoyed the Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. Unfortunately it was a cloudy day, but the views of Seattle still amazed us. Our tour guide was amazing and definitely made the experience what it was. If you go, I recommend stepping outside onto the ship deck to take pictures. That night we stayed at an AirBNB along the outskirts of Seattle for $40/couple.
Overall, our trip to OR/WA was about $700/couple ($350/person). Totally affordable-especially for what we did!
Hotel(3 nights), AirBNB(1), Camping(1), Family (3): $250 ($210=Hotel + parking, $40 AirBNB)
Parking around Seattle: $40
Attractions: City Pass $140, Kennedy Soaking Pools $10