Washington is known as the Evergreen State, and it’s no wonder – lush evergreen forests, beautiful national parks and wildlife preserves and more. Hopefully your trip to Washington will explore some of these wonders as well as the traditional stops in Tacoma and Seattle. Here are some out-of-the-way sights you won’t want to miss:
Port Angeles Underground. While Port Angeles is the headquarters for Olympic National Park, there is so much more to this small town than meets the eye. One of the most interesting sights is the Port Angeles Underground Heritage Tour. At the turn of the 20th century, residents were faced with increased flooding risks in the downtown area. In 1914, they decided to raise the city by about 15 feet, which left a maze of underground tunnels and buried storefronts that are yours to explore during this 2-hour tour.
Mount St Helens. On May 18, 1980, this active volcano erupted and made headlines the world over. Today, you can tour the blast zone to see the devastation. Visit the Johnson Ridge Observatory to get an overview of the area and then hike the Eruption Trail to see how this volcano changed the landscape forever.
Leavenworth. Tucked away in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains is the picturesque Bavarian-themed town of Leavenworth. After enjoying the old world charm of the city’s restaurants and shops, there are plenty to do to keep you busy. Take a hike along Icicle Ridge, go tubing or white water rafting down the Wenatchee River. Take a tour of the Eagle Creek Winery and do some wine tasting. And when you’re back in town, don’t forget to visit the Nutcracker Museum, home to over 6,000 nutcrackers!
Fall City Wallaby Ranch. Ever want to see wallabies and kangaroos up close and personal but didn’t want to go to Australia? Then visit the Wallaby Ranch in Fall City, a USDA-certified breeder of Gray and Albino Bennett’s Wallabies and Red kangaroos. Book an appointment for your tour, learn more about these marsupials and get a chance to play with them at the petting zoo.
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Located on the site of a former Hudson’s Bay Company trading post, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum offers visitors a chance to step back to experience life in the 1850s.
Yakima Valley. Want to know a secret? Yakima Valley is the #1 hops region in the world, beating out Germany for this important component of beer making. Take a hop tour of the area’s craft breweries, or if wine is more your style, visit some of the areas leading wine cellars for some wine tasting.
San Juan Island. If you’re ready for a laid-back trip, then San Juan Island will fit the bill. Walk around the quaint fishing village of Friday Harbor. Explore the nature trails of Lime Kiln Park. Take a whale watching or kayaking tour around the island. Visit the American and English Camps with garrisons left from the Pig War of 1859. Tour the Pelindaba Lavender Farm and immerse yourself in all things lavender. Or visit San Juan Vineyards for some wine tasting.
Are you ready to plan your trip to Washington? Give Luxury Destinations concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan your vacation to the Pacific Northwest!
Famous for stunning beaches and breathtaking views, a trip along the Oregon Coast is a marvel to explore. Add these to your must-see destinations on your next down Oregon’s Coast Highway:
Peter Iredale and Fort Stevens State Park. The Northern coast of Oregon is infamously known as the Graveyard of the Pacific due to over 2,000 shipwrecks off its shores. While most are still under water, the Peter Iredale – a 275-foot sailing ship – sits along the shore near Fort Stevens exactly where ran aground in 1906 and was abandoned. During low tide, you can walk right up to it. While there, take time to explore the beaches, hiking and biking trails and historic Fort Stevens at the Fort Stevens State Park.
Cannon Beach and Haystack Rock. Named as one of the 100 most beautiful places in the world by National Geographic, no trip along Oregon’s coast is complete without a stop at Cannon Beach. While there, make a point to visit Haystack Rock – one of Oregon’s most recognizable landmarks. Formed millions of years ago by lava flows, this 235-foot rock is home to a variety of wildlife that can be seen at low tide – everything from colorful sea stars and other tidepool creatures to puffins. For movie buffs, this is where The Goonies was filmed.
Hug Point. Before Highway 101 was completed in the 1920s, beaches were the main way to travel the Oregon Coast. For obvious reasons, this was a challenge even at low tide. Today, you can walk along the old road that stagecoaches took and see the wheel ruts left from their trips carved in the ruts. While there, visit the beautiful waterfall at Adair Point.
Depoe Bay. Besides being the Whale Watching Capital of Oregon, Depoe Bay is also the world’s smallest natural navigable harbor. If you don’t want to go out in a boat to see the whales (which we highly recommend), head over to Boiler Bay to see migrating and resident gray whales, oceangoing birds or just take in the spectacular panoramic view.
Devil’s Punchbowl. Devil’s Punchbowl began as a sea cave created over hundreds of years by the ocean. At some point, the cave’s ceiling collapsed and exposed the sea’s undercurrents you see today. Visitors can stand by the edge and observe this site, and perhaps glimpse the frequent groups of seals and sea lions congregated nearby. If you are brave enough, you can take a short hike down into Devil’s Puchbowl itself during low tide and explore the tidepools and the various sea creatures that live there.
Tillamook Cheese Factory. Don’t miss the opportunity to tour the Tillamook Cheese Factory on your trip down the Oregon Coast. The self-guided tour of this dairy farm gives a close-up view of the cheese-making process and draws more than one million visitors each year. While Tillamook is best-known for its cheese, try some of its other products too – yogurt, ice cream, sour cream and butter.
Yaquina Head Lighthouse. At 93-feet tall, the Yaquina Head Lighthouse is the tallest along the Oregon Coast. Take a tour of this lighthouse that’s been active since 1873, or walk along the rocky shore to explore the tide pools, see bald eagles, the resident peregrine falcons and other sea and wildlife.
Samuel H. Boardman State Scenic Corridor. This 12-mile corridor encompasses high cliffs, stunning seastacks, beautiful beaches and secret coves. Take time to get out and explore the area as you pass through. Visit the Natural Bridges and Thunder Rock Cove, picnic at Arch Rock, or hike around Cape Ferrelo.
These are just some of the highlights for a trip up the Oregon Coast. Looking for a more extensive itinerary? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan your next vacation!
Sometimes you need a diversion away from the tried and true day trips to amusement parks, beaches and the like. Here are some fun “alternative” day trips to take if you are in Northern California.
Malakoff Diggins State Historic Park (North Bloomfield, CA). Malakoff Diggins is a park like no other. Located in the Sierra Nevada Foothills, it’s the home to California’s largest hydraulic gold mine. Here, you can walk back into history and experience the historic gold rush of the mid-19th century. Instead of panning for gold, miners here set up huge water hydraulics that literally washed away the mountains just to find gold. What’s left are large cliffs that define the area.
Mystery Spot (Santa Cruz, CA). Discovered in 1939 by a group of surveyors, the Mystery Spot in Santa Cruz is a gravitational anomaly where your perceptions of gravity and physics will be questioned. Here, balls roll uphill and chairs sit on walls. It’s one of a dozen or so places in the US where the optical illusions make visitors do a double-take. No one knows for sure what causes it, but speculations run the gamut from UFOs and aliens to a magma vortex or a hole in the ozone layer. Whatever the cause, this is certainly worth the trip.
Old Faithful Geyser of California. While not as big (or well-known) as Old Faithful in Yellowstone National Park, this geyser in Calistoga shoots steam about 75 feet into the air every 30 minutes. It’s also a great predictor of area earthquakes – when the eruptions are delayed or diminished, chances are good that there will be an earthquake within 500 miles in the next few weeks. While there, don’t forget to visit some of the local wineries.
Safari West African Wildlife Tours. If you’ve ever wanted to go on safari in Africa, the Safari West African Wildlife Tours in Santa Rosa, CA may be the next best thing. This former sheep ranch has zebras, cheetahs, giraffe, and more. The 3-hour tour led by an experienced guide takes you through the 400-acre preserve. Afterwards, you can see some animals up closer. If you are adventurous and want more than a day trip, you can stay overnight at the preserve in an authentic safari tent! Advanced reservations for the tour are required, so make sure you plan ahead.
Point Reyes National Seashore. A visit to Point Reyes National Seashore is jam-packed with things to do. Take a drive along the Cypress Tree Tunnel. Visit the historical Pointe Reyes Lighthouse. From the lighthouse, walk down the road to the Sea Lion Overlook and catch a glimpse of sea lions sunning on the shore. If you’re ambitious, hike to Alamere Falls where the water falls over cliffs to the beaches below. And don’t forget to take a drive down the Cypress Tree Tunnel!
Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works. If you’ve ever wanted to explore the wonders and mysteries of volcanoes, this is the place. Located in Lassen Volcanic National Park, the Bumpass Hell and Sulphur Works areas are teaming with boiling springs and mud pots, hissing steam vents and roaring fumaroles. These are all an indication of the volcanic activity below Lassen Peak which last erupted in 1914 and is currently dormant.
Need help planning your day trip in Northern California? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan a great day!
Southern California is just bursting with things to see and do beyond the usual theme park attractions. The options are endless – from a day at the beach to exploring the mountains or desert. Here are our top picks for a day out:
Catalina Island. Located about 22 miles off the coast of Southern California, Santa Catalina Island is a wonder to explore. Take the Catalina Express from Long Beach, Dana Point or San Pedro and enjoy the 1-hour ride to this island paradise. There you can explore the town of Avalon. Take a glass-bottomed boat tour of the harbor where you can see dolphins, seals, sea lions and, of course, the fish. Or get your feet wet by exploring in a kayak or paddleboat. You can take a walking tour of the Catalina Casino – an art-deco building built during the Great Depression that housed a theater, ballroom and more. And don’t miss the Wrigley Memorial and Botanic Garden – built by William Wrigley Jr. , the head of the Wrigley chewing gum empire - with 38-acres of California island endemic plants.
Ojai. If you’re looking for a laid-back trip to the countryside, then Ojai is a great escape. Don’t miss the Ojai Olive Oil Company, a family-owned business that produces 3 different types of olive oil from 2,000 trees. Visit the tasting room where you can sample the oils and balsamic vinegars they have for sale. The town is brimming with shops to explore, wineries and more. If you are up for a hike or bike ride, The Los Padres National Forest is right around the corner.
Temecula. For the wine-tasting afficionados, Temecula is Southern California’s answer to Sonoma or Napa Valley. There are more than 30 wineries in the area, which you can explore on your own or take a guided tour from one of the local wine touring companies. Don’t miss the opportunity to take a hot air balloon ride over the wineries either – it’s a spectacular view you won’t want to miss.
Solvang. Solvang is a step back in time to Old World Denmark. Here, you’ll find windmills, quaint shops and even a replica of Copenhagen’s Round Tower. Taste some Danish specialties, explore the Christmas shops and breweries. On the outskirts of town you’ll find Quicksilver Ranch with adorable mini horses and OstrichLand to see, pet and feed the ostriches and emus.
Mission San Juan Capistrano. California is dotted with missions founded by the Franciscan order of Catholic priests. The mission at San Juan Capistrano, founded by Father Junipero Serra, is probably one of the prettiest of all the missions. Known for celebrating the swallows migration in February, it’s a wonderful glimpse of life during that time. Take a stroll through town and explore the Los Rios Historic District of historic homes and museums.
Palm Springs. Palm Springs is known for it’s hot springs, luxury resorts, famous residents and great golf courses. Take a ride on the Aerial Tramway up to the San Jacinto Mountains. Explore the nearby Cabazon outlets. Or just relax by the pool, get a massage and enjoy your day.
Julian. The heart of the San Diego gold rush in 1870, Julian is a charming historic town and popular mountain getaway. Shop downtown in historic buildings, explore the hiking trails, or enjoy the self-guided History Walk. And don’t forget to sample their famous apple pie!
Venice of America Canals. What started out as a whimsical experiment, tobacco millionaire Abbot Kenney set out to create his own version of Venice in America – a seaside luxury resort that mirrored its counterpart in Venice, Italy. The network of canals lined with flowerbeds, crossed by charming bridges, and dotted with colorful gondolas fell into disrepair, but after 40 years of neglect, the canals have been renovated and it is now a fun (and funky) place to visit.
Looking for other day trip ideas in Southern California? Give Luxury Destinations Concierge a call at (805) 236-4437. We’re happy to help you plan a great day!
Now that we are emerging from lockdown, it’s time to start thinking about vacations. While a long vacation with lots of travel may not be in the cards right now, you can always plan fun day trips and explore some of the hidden treasures nearby. Here are seven tips to help you make the most of your outing:
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