Five Northwest Places to Beat the Heat
Summer has finally hit the Pacific Northwest, and if you’re like most people you’re probably trying to find summer activities that are fun, family friendly and help beat the heat. Luckily for you, the Northwest has an abundance of cool, fun outdoor activities just waiting to be experienced. Here are five of the best summer outdoor destinations in the Pacific Northwest.
1. The Rogue River
Classified as wild and scenic, the Rogue River is one of the most beautiful outdoor destinations in the Northwest. Running for about 215 miles from the Cascade Range to the Pacific Ocean, the Rogue offers the best summer activities around: swimming, rafting, kayaking, fishing, camping, picnicking and more.
Stretches of the upper, middle and lower river are some of the best-known whitewater runs in the country. In fact, a large majority of the movie The River Wild was filmed on the Rogue River, and the rapids have attracted a number of celebrity rafting enthusiasts over the years. Parts of the run downstream of Grants Pass are home to class 3 and higher rapids, nicely broken up by calm stretches of deep, slow-moving water.
Jetboat excursions are offered by a number of local companies, providing visitors a beautiful look at Hellgate Canyon and surrounding wildlife. Camping and day-use areas abound, and the surrounding communities are quaint and friendly.
2. White River Falls State Park
This park is one of Oregon’s little-known treasures. Located east of Tygh Valley along Highway 216, White River Falls State Park features a towering 90-foot waterfall, a rugged quarter-mile hiking trail, and a number of picnicking and fishing spots.
Since this park is not as popular as other parks, the chance that you’ll run into other hikers or picnickers is slim. Make sure you bring appropriate emergency gear and emergency lights in case you get lost and can’t get out of the park until after dark.
Deep within the canyon sits a historic hydroelectric power plant that supplied electricity to Wasco and Sherman counties from 1910 to 1960. The dam is accessible via the hiking trail and stands as a testament to human ingenuity and the evolution of mankind’s relationship with nature. As far as outdoor activities go, spending the day at White River Falls State Park can’t be beat.
3. Millerslyvania State Park
If you’re looking to get lost in the beauty of nature this summer, look no farther than Millerslyvania. Located along Deep Lake, this 842-acre, multi-use park features 3,300 feet of freshwater shoreline, hiking trails and more campsites than you can shake a walking stick at.
The park is filled with old-growth cedar and fir trees and was constructed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps. Grab your camping equipment, emergency lights, and head to this enormous, activity-filled park. You’ll be glad you did.
4. Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass is a water enthusiast’s dream come true. Part of Puget Sound, this 4,134-acre park features an astounding 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline and 33,900 feet of freshwater shoreline. The park offers access to three different lakes, Skagit Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
Deception Pass State Park is the most-visited park in Washington, so if you’re looking for seclusion you might want to look elsewhere. However, making camping reservations and visiting the park on weekdays are great ways to avoid the crowds.
5. Farragut State Park
Farragut State Park is for outdoor enthusiasts who like to be active. The 4,000-acre park boasts a number of fun summer activities, including picnicking, swimming, boating, hiking, camping, volleyball, horseshoes, golf and disc golf. The campgrounds are numerous and set a short distance away from the main parking area, guaranteeing you’ll have a quiet, restful camping experience. Make sure to stock up on best UV LED flashlights and lanterns, as it can get mighty dark out there.
Yes, the Pacific Northwest is chock-full of beautiful outdoor destinations perfect for getting away from the summer heat. Whether you’re looking for the thrill of whitewater rafting, the serenity of a secluded campsite, or the awesomeness of a 90-foot waterfall, look no farther than your own backyard.