Share story

Looking for a bigger escape than a quick overnight in the Cascades? Midsummer is the perfect time to set that out-of-office reply and check out one of our region’s farther-flung outdoor destinations.

Oregon’s Columbia River Gorge: Got waterfalls? The historic Columbia River Highway winds through the heart of Waterfall Alley, with at least seven major falls to break up the journey. More of a wide-open-views kind of hiker? Several trails on both the Oregon and Washington sides of the river lead to lofty perches with breathtaking views. No visit to the Columbia Gorge would be complete without a stop at one of the area’s many microbreweries; the town of Hood River has the biggest selection and also a walkable downtown to explore.

Methow Valley: The journey is just as rewarding as the destination when you take Highway 20 across the North Cascades. This milepost guide includes pit stop-worthy sights, hikes and restaurants. From Mazama or Winthrop, there are miles of hiking and biking trails to explore, not to mention the expansive Pasayten Wilderness. Complete the Cascade Loop by returning home via Stevens Pass.

Vancouver Island: From hiking to kayaking and dense forests to wide, sandy beaches, the many provincial parks on Vancouver Island could keep an outdoor enthusiast occupied for weeks. Spend a day or five hiking the Juan de Fuca Marine Trail, then continue north to Tofino, a funky beach town that’s popular for its rolling surf and remote hot springs. Hungry? Tofino’s thriving culinary scene has plenty of options to fuel your adventures.

Yosemite National Park: Summer is a busy time at Yosemite; start hiking early or choose one of the paths less traveled to avoid a full-on crush of people. Looking for last-minute lodging? Hotels and tent villages typically fill months in advance, but you can check for last-minute cancellations. And several of the park’s campgrounds operate on a first-come, first-served basis.