Northwest By Design - 10 Great Ideas for Road Trips by ‘Theme’

10 Great Ideas for Road Trips by ‘Theme’

Our readers say that Port Townsend is a favorite place for a getaway

With record-breaking gas prices, why not set your sights on exploring your very own Evergreen State? We offer some unique getaway ideas and travel suggestions “by design” – including reader-favorites – whether your interest lies in exploring scenic byways, touring Washington Wine Country, taking in the Great Washington State Birding Trails, hitting the casinos, or following festivals across the state. The resources listed below are designed so that the journey, not so much the destination, will be sure to create rich and lasting memories. Enjoy!


Cape Disappointment near Ilwaco is home to the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Courtesy Washington State Parks.

Washington’s Scenic Byways

No other place in the world can you visit a rainforest, wine country, a river gorge, two mountain ranges, five volcanoes, an ocean, numerous rivers, streams and lakes, a desert and a myriad of islands – and all without leaving Washington. Scenic Byways are chosen not only for their scenic and recreational qualities; they must also possess historic, cultural or archeological significance, or provide outstanding natural habitat to the state’s diverse wildlife. The roadways take you to places that are unique and unforgettable. Maps, route information, and the “not to miss” attractions along 23 scenic byways can be found at www.experiencewa.com/experience-washington/scenic-byways.aspx.

Rediscovering Washington

A Guide to the Evergreen State was first published in 1941 as our state’s contribution to the America Guide Series, which included volumes on all the states. The guides are part history, part cultural record, and part travel maps. Over a period of almost a decade, thousands of writers, artists, photographers, mapmakers and professional wanderers traveled the country’s roadways in a remarkable effort to record the landscape of America. An updated guide is available in CD form, which contains the historic content of the original but is updated with current field notations and digital navigation tools. It includes a collection of images and graphics, historic audio and video selections, and a colorful scrapbook of roadside Washington. The CD can be downloaded at http://revisitingwashington.org or call the Washington Trust for Historic Preservation for more information: 206-624-9449.


NW heritage audio tours describe natural features and places of interest, along with stories on historians, folk artists, musicians and other interesting tales from the region

Northwest Heritage Tours

The Heritage Tour series offers narrated audio guides accompanied by printed guidebooks and feature eight distinctive trips in Washington. The audio guides are timed to coincide with the speed limits, so the narration unfolds in real time corresponding to the landscape, and include traditional music and stories from local residents along various routes through Washington State. The tours point out spectacular natural sites and places of historic interest, and introduce you to the people along the route and their rich array of traditional expressions of our culture. The guides can be purchased online (from $10-$18 plus shipping and handling) or ordered through your favorite bookseller. For more information, visit www.washingtonfolkarts.com/index.html

Exploring Washington’s Wine Country

Washington wines have garnered worldwide fame and acclaim. With over 600 wineries scattered across all four corners of the state, touring Washington’s Wine Country is also experiencing a surge in popularity. One of the great things about visiting wineries is that many are family-owned, providing the opportunity to sample small-production, award-winning varietals that may not be available at stores. Growers and winemakers often delight in sharing their craft with visitors. For more information about touring and tasting opportunities and to design your own tour, visit http://washingtonwine.org/explore or call the Washington Wine Commission (206-667-9463 – press 0) to order the booklet “Touring Washington Wine Country”

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