Easy road trips offer vacation choices

Jul 01, 2014

Road trip season is here, and AAA Washington is highlighting five Northwest drives and destinations for a memorable summer.

“Travelers traditionally plan trips within 600-800 miles of home around the 4th of July weekend, with the majority choosing to drive to their destination,” said Jennifer Cook, AAA spokesperson.

“AAA has more than 30 free, pre-planned Northwest auto tours on our website that everyone can access. We’ve tried to make it easy for people to pick up and go, so they can focus on enjoying their trip.”

Northwest Drives and Destinations:

• Olympic Peninsula: One of North America’s scenic gems. Saltwater shores form its western, northern and eastern flanks, complemented by a dense forest of the Olympic Mountain range that covers much of the peninsula. AAA’s self-guiding auto tour explores the Olympic Peninsula in a clockwise direction, traveling via the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway.

• Walla Walla: There is more flavor to this region than the iconic Walla Walla sweet onion; the community is known for its vineyards, outdoor activities and local art scene.

Located just 5 miles north of the Oregon border, and less than a five-hour drive from Seattle, Walla Walla is a must-see destination for wine tasting, cycling, golf and accommodations.

• Palouse Falls State Park (LaCrosse, WA): Palouse Falls is located within Palouse Falls State Park, a 105-acre park known for its camping, wildlife and scenic views. The falls drop nearly 200 feet in a 377-foot canyon. Palouse Falls was recently designated as the official Washington state waterfall in March 2014.

• Newport (OR):  Newport has been attracting visitors since its first hotel opened in 1866. The colorful Bayfront District, with its backdrop of steep bluffs, extends several miles along the north shore of Yaquina Bay. Approximately a five-hour drive from Seattle, the area is prime for camping, outdoor activities, water sports and beach adventures.

• Canadian Rockies (Canada): For travelers who have time for a longer trip, the Canadian Rockies are a must-see destination with sites and attractions for all ages.

Seattle to Banff is roughly 600 miles, with several routes to choose from including the scenic North Cascades Highway, which offers many worthwhile stopping points along the way.

For a more relaxed and luxurious experience, travel through the Canadian Rockies by rail via the Rocky Mountaineer. The train travels through Vancouver, Ontario and Québec, offering picturesque views of the Atlantic Canadian provinces.

Information about border crossing points and documentation needed, visit aaa.com/travel for details.

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