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USA Pacific Northwest Self-Drive Tour

15 days from £4,520pp

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Tour highlights

  • Enjoy the hustle and bustle of Pike's Place Market in Seattle.

  • See the iconic Haystack Rocks at Cannon Beach.

  • Explore the gorgeous Japanese and Rose gardens in Portland.

  • Walk the trails and explore the waterfalls around Hood River and Cascade Locks.

  • Explore alpine meadows around Mount Rainier.

Price includes:

  • Scheduled international flights
  • Fully insured vehicle hire
  • All accommodation
  • 24-hour support while you travel
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Itinerary idea in detail

Includes international flights from a choice of UK airports, including London, Birmingham, Manchester, Newcastle, Edinburgh and Glasgow.

  • Today you begin your journey by boarding your international outbound flight to Seattle. On arrival in Seattle make your own way to your downtown hotel. The remainder of the day is free to relax. You could head to Kerry Park for a view of the iconic Seattle skyline and the distant Mount Rainier — a sight that's particularly impressive at sunset.

  • Spend a day exploring Seattle. Seattle is famous as the headquarters of Microsoft and Boeing, and is the home of Starbucks — founded here in the 1970s. There's a great public transport system making it easy to get around the many attractions. The bars and cafés of Capitol Hill, the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Flight are all worth visiting.

  • Stand at the top of the Space Needle or the quieter Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center for panoramic views over the city. Take the monorail around the downtown area, learn about the history of old Seattle in Pioneer Square and see its abandoned underground streets, or wander around bustling Pike Place Market, home to hundreds of food and arts and crafts vendors. There are also lots of museums to explore, including the EMP (Experience Music Project) Museum, which has a collection of film props and pop music memorabilia, and Chihuly Garden and Glass, where you can learn about and see the work of glass sculptor Dale Chihuly.

  • Make your own way to your nearest car hire depot, where your car will be ready to collect. All insurances, road maps and a sat-nav are included. You then head two hours west to the wilderness of Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site. Here you can spend the rest of the day exploring the park's different ecosystems, strolling through ancient forests, valleys and wildflower meadows.

  • Spend the day enjoying the magnificent driftwood-strewn beaches and moss-draped rainforests of Olympic National Park. Look for Roosevelt deer, perhaps take a boating trip on the lake, or enjoy a scenic walk or two — the Lodge staff have lots of suggestions.

  • Enjoy the journey meandering along the rugged Oregon coast down to Cannon Beach.

  • Cannon Beach was discovered in the early 1800s by William Clarke, as part of the Lewis and Clarke expedition to the west coast, and settled shortly after. The beach quickly became famous for its iconic Haystack Rocks which marked it out as one of the most unusual beaches on the west coast. In 1846, a cannon from the US Navy schooner Shark washed ashore just north of Arch Cape, a few miles to the south of the community. The schooner hit land while attempting to cross the Columbia Bar, also known as the "Graveyard of the Pacific." The cannon, rediscovered in 1898, eventually inspired a name change for the growing community. The town now named as one of the top 100 art towns in Northern America and is now home to a plethora of pretty Victorian cottages turned art galleries, museums and an ideal hiking destination.

  • A short journey inland today to Portland. Portland is a laid-back and friendly city, located on the Willamette River and surrounded by lovely scenery and fertile valleys. Just outside the city lies the huge expanse of Forest Park and the 130-acre Washington Park, home to the International Rose Test Garden and the tranquil Japanese Garden, one of the largest and most beautiful displays of its kind outside Japan.

  • Today explore the Old Town, the area where Portland was founded in 1843, the Hawthorne and Mississippi districts, Chinatown, and the smart Pearl District. In addition there is a wealth of museums, restaurants and micro-breweries and some evocative Victorian buildings. Portland is very bike and pedestrian friendly. The MAX transport system is largely free making it easy to get around and enjoy its easygoing charm.

  • Today a short drive along the south bank of the Hood River to the town of the same name. Stop and enjoy the waterfalls and trails en route. Multnomah Falls is a particular is a favourite of ours.

  • Enjoy a wonderful trip today through the vineyards of Hood River. Your knowledgeable guide will take you past vast orchards and the breathtaking scenery of Mount Adams before stopping at three local vineyards where your tastings are included.

  • Paradise is an ideal region to start your day in Mount Rainier. The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center provides useful information and is also the start of many trails. For a nice, easy walk on a paved trail, head along the Skyline Trail to Myrtle Falls which has Mount Rainier as a backdrop.

  • Coniferous trees dominate, and the volcano's lower slopes have dense forests of giant Douglas firs, western red cedars and mountain hemlocks. The park’s wildlife is abundant and varied and includes deer, Roosevelt elk, bears and mountain goats. There are also more than 140 bird species. One of the park's most scenic drives runs from the Nisqually Entrance in Elbe to Paradise. This 48 km (30 mile) drive winds through river valleys, lowland forests and glaciated peaks. En route, you'll find a variety of walking trails, some more taxing than others.

  • As you travel north from Mount Rainier, you will pass other mighty mountains of the Cascade Range before following the White River through Federation Forest State Park and back to Seattle.

  • Arrive home today to complete your journey.

Accommodation options

While the itinerary price reflects the suggested accommodation, Audley trips are 100% tailor-made, and a specialist can help you select the option best suited to your tastes and budget.

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The specialist who designs your trip to the USA will have explored the country many times and, in some cases, lived there. Their first-hand knowledge gives us the belief that no other travel company can match our expertise in helping you plan your trip.

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When to go

Jan Feb Mar Apr May Jun Jul Aug Sep Oct Nov Dec
Place Daily max temperature (°C) Monthly rainfall (mm)
Seattle
 
Lake Crescent
 
Cannon Beach
 
Portland
 
Mount Rainier National Park
 

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