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  • An eco-friendly ferry ride with views of the Olympic Mountains in Washington
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    Seattle and Coupeville, Washington

  • The Hoh Rainforest, one of many stunning locales in Washington State’s Olympic National Park
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    Port Townsend, Olympic National Park and Port Angeles, Washington

  • The welcoming streets of Port Angeles, Washington
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    Port Angeles, Washington, and Portland, Oregon

  • Stunning sights at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
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    Crater Lake National Park and Klamath Falls, Oregon

  • Kayaking at J. F. Kimball State Park near Fort Klamath, Oregon
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    Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Winnemucca, Nevada

  • The Downtown Riverwalk along the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada
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    Lovelock and Reno, Nevada

  • Walking by the Nevada Governor's Mansion in Carson City, Nevada
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    Carson City, Nevada

An aerial view over a beautiful day in Winnemucca, Nevada
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Travel Nevada

Coastlines, Craters and the Wild West: Washington, Oregon and Nevada Road Trip

By Keely Parker

  • Route distance:
    2,083 km
  • Suggested Time:
    1-2 weeks

Unforgettable stops and unexpected treasures abound on a trip through the Western USA, where rich history meets one-of-a-kind natural beauty.

Experience Pacific Northwest splendor in Washington State, forest beauty in Oregon and Western heritage in Nevada, checking out unique sights in colorful cities and friendly small towns along the way. As you set off on your adventure, look for eco-friendly attractions and sustainable travel options to keep these lands beautiful. This itinerary offers options for how to spend your time in the West, but there are a multitude of exciting attractions and stunning landscapes waiting for you. No matter how you choose to explore, you’re sure to leave with a deep appreciation for the diverse sights and sounds of this distinct region of the USA.

01
An eco-friendly ferry ride with views of the Olympic Mountains in Washington
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State of Washington Tourism

Seattle and Coupeville, Washington

Fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) and rent a car to drive a half-hour into Seattle, where your journey begins. Seattle’s original farmers market, Pike Place Market beckons with hundreds of shops where independent farmers and crafters sell their goods. Spend some time browsing specialty stores, then enjoy a walk down the Seattle Waterfront, where each pier offers unique experiences. Enjoy a meal overlooking Puget Sound, then hop back into the car and make your way toward your next stop, Coupeville.

Drive about 45 minutes north to Mukilteo to catch the Whidbey Island Ferry across Puget Sound. Panoramic views of the water and Olympic Mountains are not the only benefit of your peaceful voyage: Washington State’s Ferry System is committed to eco-friendly travel and even boasts a Green Marine certification for excellence in low-emission maritime activities.

Arrive on Whidbey Island and take a short drive north to Coupeville, your destination for the evening. This quaint town exudes Pacific Northwest charm, from its rustic wharf to its wooden boardwalk. A stroll along the water reveals colorful historic homes. You may recognize some of them as the backdrop of the 1996 film “Practical Magic,” which was filmed here.

495 km
5 hours by car
02
The Hoh Rainforest, one of many stunning locales in Washington State’s Olympic National Park
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Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau

Port Townsend, Olympic National Park and Port Angeles, Washington

The Washington wonders don’t end there. For the next leg of your tour, take another ferry ride from Coupeville to Port Townsend. Take a historical walking tour for a deep dive into this small town’s past as a Victorian seaport. Spend a little time browsing downtown's artisan shops and gourmet restaurants. Port Townsend’s food scene is regularly recognized in local and national publications.

Next, it’s time for some outdoorsy sightseeing by way of the Olympic Peninsula Loop. This drive connects some of the most striking spots in the state of Washington; look out the window and take in views of Olympic National Park along the way. Ruby Beach, about 2 hours and 45 minutes away from Port Townsend, makes for a great stop: Explore its sparkling tide pools, unique rock formations and expansive hiking paths. Tread lightly, remaining on the designated pathways and collecting any trash before you depart, to preserve the unique beauty of the area.

Next, head to Port Angeles, a cozy town tucked away between the Strait of Juan de Fuca and the Olympic Mountains. About an hour away from Ruby Beach, it makes for a great destination to cap off your night at a local haunt like Harbinger Winery, Camaraderie Cellers or Olympic Cellars Winery.

372 km
4.25 hours by car
03
The welcoming streets of Port Angeles, Washington
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Olympic Peninsula Visitors Bureau

Port Angeles, Washington, and Portland, Oregon

Spend the morning continuing your exploration of Port Angeles. Enjoy a leisurely breakfast at one of the many restaurants at The Wharf, then take a walk along the boardwalk to savor waterfront views. Your next adventure takes you more inland, across the Oregon border into Portland, about four hours from Port Angeles.

If you arrive hungry, never fear: Portland is well-known for its wide variety of food carts, and you’ll find just about every kind of cuisine you can imagine on a guided food cart tour. Many of these mobile kitchens source ingredients locally, leading to a lower carbon footprint. Consider packing your own reusable utensils to help cut down on single-use plastic waste. After you’ve eaten your fill, take the Portland Streetcar downtown to explore cultural gems like the Portland Art Museum and shopping haven Pioneer Street. It’s easy to get around Portland: The city’s commitment to green travel results in extensive public transportation options, including a bike share program. When evening falls, Portland’s Entertainment District comes alive with live music and dance floors galore. Revel in the big city vibes at bars, arcades and breweries.

555 km
4 hours by car
04
Stunning sights at Crater Lake National Park in Oregon
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Dylan VanWeelden/Travel Oregon

Crater Lake National Park and Klamath Falls, Oregon

This leg of your journey takes you to one of the USA’s most striking and spectacular natural wonders: Crater Lake. Make the four-hour drive into Southern Oregon to Crater Lake National Park, where thousands of years of seismic activity formed the USA’s deepest lake. Today, electric boat tours give guests an eco-friendly way to explore the deep-blue waters and get up-close looks at natural rock formations like Wizard Island and Phantom Ship. Grab a bite at one of the park’s three eateries, all Certified Green Restaurants.

Depart and make your way toward Klamath Falls, about an hour away. Make a stop at Crater Lake ZipLine to soar through the tree canopy on Oregon’s longest zipline. It’s an exhilarating way to get a unique view of the Cascade Mountains. Arrive in Klamath Falls and check into Lake of the Woods Resort, where you’ll get a restful night’s sleep in a cozy lakeside cabin.

494 km
5.25 hours by car
05
Kayaking at J. F. Kimball State Park near Fort Klamath, Oregon
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Kamrin Nielsen

Klamath Falls, Oregon, and Winnemucca, Nevada

Spend a morning getting to know Klamath Falls, nicknamed Oregon’s City of Sunshine. Take a guided paddling tour of Lake of the Woods, one of the USA’s clearest lakes, where naturalists will show you around beautiful areas you may otherwise not be able to access.

After that, hop in the car and head toward your next destination: Winnemucca, Nevada. The five-hour stretch of highway between Klamath Falls and Winnemucca offers plenty of intriguing places to stop and stretch your legs while experiencing Nevada’s Wild West history. About an hour north of Winnemucca is Paradise Valley, a former gold rush boom town that still sports its original architecture. Take in the spirit of the Old West as you admire 150-year-old buildings, then stop at Paradise Valley Saloon Bar & Grill to enjoy a meal and conversations with the locals.

Once you arrive in Winnemucca, be sure to visit the Buckaroo Hall of Fame & Heritage Museum for more Wild West history. See photos and traditional gear from some of the West’s most skilled ranchers, then enjoy a stroll down Winnemucca’s scenic main street. For dinner, grab a table at The Martin Hotel for family-style Basque dining in a historic boarding house.

343 km
3.75 hours by car
06
The Downtown Riverwalk along the Truckee River in Reno, Nevada
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Lovelock and Reno, Nevada

Get to know Nevada today as you cruise through the desert, appreciating eclectic sights and attractions along the way. Just under three hours from Winnemucca, you’ll find Safe Haven Wildlife Sanctuary, which helps preserve local animal populations by caring for injured wildlife and providing a haven for both native and exotic species. Take a tour of the facility in Imlay to experience wildlife encounters and get a closer look at wildlife rehabilitation programs.

Lovelock, Nevada, is a short jaunt away, where you can witness unforgettable wonders on a drive down the Lovelock Cave Backcountry Byway. Savor views of the Humboldt River and explore Lovelock Cave, whose significance to the Northern Paiute people for over 4000 years has made it one of the most important archeological sites in the USA.

Continue your journey into Reno, where the artistic Midtown neighborhood beckons with murals, shops and restaurants. Spend the evening enjoying colorful nightlife, from local bars in the Riverwalk District to gaming resorts and casinos – you’ll soon learn why locals call Reno the Biggest Little City in the World.

51 km
0.5 hours by car
07
Walking by the Nevada Governor's Mansion in Carson City, Nevada
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Carson City, Nevada

From Reno, drive 30 minutes to Carson City. The capital city of Nevada offers an exciting mix of modern thrills and historic landmarks. The Kit Carson Trail winds through the heart of the city, connecting Victorian-style homes, museums and other notable buildings in the historic district. Self-guided audio tours are available on any smart device, so you can wander the scenic streets at your own pace. Once you’ve worked up an appetite, grab lunch at any of the eco-friendly restaurants in the Carson City Green Dining District.

10 minutes from downtown, find rejuvenation at Carson Hot Springs Resort. Relax in pools and hot tubs filled with natural mineral water or reserve a Mini Spa to kick back in your own private quarters. Onsite eatery Sassafras offers eclectic dishes, many featuring locally sourced ingredients. As you drive back to Reno to catch your flight home from Reno-Tahoe International Airport (RNO), reflect on the spectacular sights you’ve seen in the Western USA. From Washington to Oregon to Nevada, you’re sure to have plenty of enchanting and eco-friendly experiences to dream about on your return trip.

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Golden Gate Bridge, San Francisco, California
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