Good Sam RV Travel Guide & Campground Directory
The American Far West is loaded with a wealth of destinations, each featuring a host of activities from golfing in Arizona to day cruises along the Alaskan coast.
Whether you’re trout fishing in Idaho, throwing dice in Nevada, roller-coastering in California, or birdwatching in Washington, we’ve put together some handy lists of great places and activities to get you started on a grand Great Western Tour.
Okay, so you’ve made it to Alaska. That was a heck of a drive, wasn’t it? Now it’s time to sit back and let someone else do the touring. Alaska has become a mecca for flightseeing and day cruises, two modes of transportation designed to get the most bang for one’s buck by touring vast swaths of this enormous state.
Alaska has developed a burgeoning tourism industry known as flightseeing. Each flightseeing excursion is as unique as the next. And, almost by obligation, each pilot is as unique as the next.
Check out Rust’s Flying Service, which offers day fishing trips as well as flightseeing trips above Mt. McKinley and the Columbia glacier. Nearby, the Talkeetka Air Taxi or the Alaska Air Taxi also makes regular excursions to get a bird’s-eye view of Mt. McKinley and the mesmerizing Denali wilderness.
Wrangell Mountain Air out of McCarthy makes regular trips to the Kennecott National Historic Landmark, as well as some of the area’s glaciers.
In the region known as the Inside Passage, the town of Ketchikan plays host to Misty Fjords Air. Aerial tours make regular fly-overs of the remarkable Misty Fjords National Monument.
Era Helicopters Flightseeing Tours in Juneau explores the remarkable backcountry, including the Juneau Ice Field. Also in town is NorthStar Trekking, an outfit that drops off passengers to explore the area’s glaciers.
Much like flightseeing, taking advantage of the multitude of day cruises offered up and down the Alaska coast is a wonderful and effective way to get the most out of your time exploring this wild world.
Out of Anchorage you can ride a luxury catamaran with 26 Glacier Cruise or explore the Kenai Peninsula with Major Marine Tours. Other area tour-providers include Prince William Sound Cruises and Tours and Kenai Fjord Tours.
Sixty miles southeast of Juneau lies Ford’s Terror, named after a U.S. Navy crewman who discovered to his peril, a terrifying tidal phenomenon. Day tours to the area offer a gentler view of the “terror” as well as Dawes Glacier.
The Great Alaska Adventure Lodge has hosted adventurers for more than 25 years by luring tourists with great fishing and whale watching in one of three national parks.
Stan Stephens Glacier and Wildlife Cruises explores Prince William Sound as well as the Columbia and Meares glaciers.
To explore the Inside Passage, drop by the town of Sitka to find Allen Marine Tours who will be your host while you explore the wild land between Juneau and Gustavus.
Nearby in Ketchikan look up Alaska Cruises and enjoy a day exploring some of the 2.2 million acres that makes up Misty Fjord National Monument.
For more information, contact www.travelalaska.com.
As one the most popular of the southwestern states, Arizona has learned to cater to its millions of visitors each year. If golf’s your game, then call this paradise . For the naturalist in you, try out a favorite pastime in Arizona–horseback riding–where you can meander through some of the most fantastic scenery in all of America.
Cruisin’ Route 66
Like most states in the American Southwest, Arizona highways offer plenty of opportunity for open-road exploration. It is not surprising to traverse rugged mountains and lush forest and barren deserts–all in the same afternoon. A classic driving tour of Arizona is, of course, the most classic of them all, Route 66, the Mother Road. Although decommissioned during the 1970s, many parts of the legendary road still exist. Pick up Route 66 west of Phoenix in the town of Lake Havasu City and glimpse the equally legendary London Bridge. Heading eastward, Route 66 starts and stops with I-40, just in case you feel like making up time. Those enjoying a leisurely pace should detour north of Seligman to Grand Canyon National Park. After touring the grandest of canyons, make a stop in Flagstaff, a wonderful city with Historic Route 66 as its main drag. Finish your driving tour with a stop in Winslow, a town steeped in history from its days as a main stop along the Santa Fe Railroad.
Arizona is known far and wide as a mecca for golfers. And why not? Where else can you play year-round amid dramatic and diverse landscapes? Whether it be highland courses or arid desert greens, Arizona offers a little something for every golfer.
The greater Phoenix area is home to the greatest number of public courses in the state. Sometimes, it seems as though Phoenix is one giant golf course.
If you find yourself in the area and need a little fix, try out the Talking Stick Golf Club, the Grayhawk Club or the Troon North Golf Club, all located in Scottsdale.
Tote the clubs to Tucson and you really can’t go wrong. Take a swing from the Lodge at Ventana Canyon, the Arizona National Golf Club or the La Paloma Country Club.
In the little town of San Carlos, you’ll find the Apache Stronghold Golf Course, a local favorite.
Arizona delivers plenty of opportunities to enjoy the outdoors. All you have to do is find one activity that suits you best. Horseback riding is one such outdoor pursuit that can open a wealth of adventures within this marvelous state.
East of Tucson in the southeast corner of the state, the town of Duncan offers several trails and horseback escapes. The AD Bar Trail, Crabtree Trail and East Eagle Trail are just some of the many winding their way through the Apache-Sitgreaves National Forest.
Almost at the Mexican border, the town of Douglas is also renowned for its horseback adventures. Enjoy the Herb Martyr Trail and the Indian Creek Trail as they traverse the harsh landscapes endured by pioneers in what today is known as the Coronado National Forest.
The town of Sedona will act as your jumping-off point for exploring this fantastic landscape on horseback. The Tonto National Forest contains several wonderful riding trails. Additionally, the towns of Flagstaff and Prescott host many horseback-riding adventures that explore the impressive environs of the Coconino and Kaibab National Forests. 25 miles south of Sedona, in Camp Verde, lies a 104-acre patch of wilderness camp called Out of Africa. The camp boasts more than 400 exotic species from all over the world. This is not your typical theme park, but a sanctuary for animals with opportunities for visitors to interact with animals from rare white Bengal tigers to the humble lizard.
Part of a successful RV lifestyle is being shop-savvy when necessary and that means finding a good deal. Outlet malls are always full of good deals as manufacturers attempt to get rid of overstock products at cut-rate prices. Check out Arizona Mills, a series of outlet stores adjacent to a new shopping center, in Tempe. Nearby in Mesa, lucky shoppers will find the Factory Stores of America, while bargain hunters in Tucson should make a stop at the Foothills Mall. When in Phoenix, try out the Outlets at Anthem, or go high-end with Nordstrom’s department-store outlet, Nordstrom Last Chance. Sedona is home to the Oak Creek Factory Outlets.
Arizona Spa Resorts
Arizona’s destination spas aim to increase physical and mental well-being. Guests stay from three days up to several weeks and participate in fitness classes aimed at improving your lifestyle. Meals, accommodations and activities are all-inclusive in these popular spas that visitors most frequently enjoy during spring, fall and winter’s cooler temperatures.
Phoenix, Scottsdale and Tucson are especially noted for first class spa resorts in Arizona. Although especially popular in winter when visitors can relax outside and enjoy warm temperatures, deep discounts for outdoor activities in hot summer months entice visitors and vacationers can enjoy reduced prices for indoor activities as well.
The Boulders Resort is located in the Sonoran Desert near Scottsdale and features spa treatments, a fitness center, a Yoga studio and a beauty salon. Other amenities include four pools, two 18-hole championship golf courses and eight tennis courts.
Spa Avania in Scottsdale offers personalized service, with mineral water therapy, synchronized music and food therapy blended into an indoor/outdoor holistic relaxation experience.
The Fairmont Scottsdale Princess in Scottsdale has a 44,000 square foot spa complex offering desert-inspired treatments, meditation gardens and a rooftop oasis pool.
The Arizona Biltmore in Phoenix offers a 22,000 square foot spa center, eight heated pools, three outdoor whirlpool spas and a huge waterslide for kids.
The Westward Look Resort in Tucson includes an 80-acre resort spa that entices clients with treatments using natural elements– local desert plants, stones and mud.
Canyon Ranch Spa in Tucson is famous for its emphasis on achieving healthy lifestyles through exercise and stress relief. A 3-to-1 staff to guest ratio allows for personalized service and individual treatment plans.
Miraval, located near Tucson, offers over one hundred spa treatment options and features swimming pools, riding stables, tennis courts, a volleyball court and a croquet lawn.
The Superstition Mountain/Lost Dutchmen Museum, Apache Junction.
Explores the history and intrigue of Central Arizona’s 160,000-acre Superstition Mountain range through its collection and careful display of local history, artifacts and stories.
The Bisbee Mining & Historical Museum, Bisbee
The museum is located among the Mule Mountains, an area widely recognized for its diversity and wealth of copper and minerals. Once called “The Queen of the Copper Camps,” Bisbee’s history and legacy is kept alive through this educational museum since the mines officially closed in 1970.
Casa Grande Valley Historical Society & Museum, Casa Grande. Learn all about the history of rural Southern Arizona through the museum’s tours, lecture series, workshops and children's programs. Visitor education spans the 19th century mining boom, agriculture, the role of irrigation in the development of cotton fields and the people of the area.
The John Wesley Powell Memorial Museum, Page.
An oversized replica of the long boat Powell used on his 1869 and 1871 Colorado River voyages sits on the museum’s front lawn. Inside, view sketches, photos and other memorabilia of the voyages, exhibits on local canyon geology and city history along with Native American and pioneer artifacts.
The Heard Museum, Phoenix.
The museum’s humble beginnings in 1929 have grown to national and international recognition, as this “living” museum aims to educate the public about the heritage, art and living culture of Native people with a focus on those in the Southwest.
Museum of Contemporary Art, Scottsdale. Founded in 1999, the museum stands alone in Arizona in its devotion to the art, architecture and design of our time. Globally focused, the museum serves as a cultural resource to both a local and international audience through its presentation of educational programs and special events including lectures, tours, workshops and classes.
International Wildlife Museum, Tucson
Founded in 1988, the museum devotes itself to promoting conservation through wildlife management and increasing the knowledge and appreciation of diverse wildlife. Over 400 species of international insects, mammals and birds housed at the museum provide a perfect chance to see animals up close and better understand their habitats and adaptation abilities.
For more information, contact (866) 275-5816; www.arizonaguide.com
Anyone who has ever traveled to California can attest to the fact that the Golden State seems like a country unto itself. Where else can you find untrammeled deserts, magnificent coastlines, major metropolises, and natural wonders like Yosemite? If California’s attractions seem limitless, well, yes they almost are. Having a good idea of what you want out of this state is a good place to start when exploring California.
The land of plenty has a seemingly inexhaustive array of activities. But if you can’t decide on just any one destination, seek out one of the state’s many amusement parks where you can find pre-packaged fun for everyone.
A tour of California play lands essentially begins with the land of Disney. Equaled only by its big brother in Florida, Disney World, the California version does have a lot to offer. Two themed parks, including the recent edition, California Adventure and venerable Disneyland is where Walt Disney’s characters come to life amidst a dizzying array of rides, themes, shows and other attractions. Finally, Downtown Disney offers up attractions for the mature set, including fine restaurants, high-end shopping and other entertainment.
More than 260 acres of fun and over 100 rides await children of all ages at Six Flags Magic Mountain, located in the city of Valencia. Park highlights include the massive Déjà Vu roller coaster as well as a Gotham-styled backlot showcasing the world of superhero Batman. Closer to Los Angeles, Universal Studios Hollywood dishes out more rides and shows based on major movies.
Visitors will relish a trip to Knott’s Berry Farm, where 19th-century California comes alive. The park is divided into several themed areas designed to highlight California’s colorful past including a ghost town, a Western boomtown, and a Native American village. Be sure to indulge in one of their famed chicken dinners while there.
A relatively new comer to the legions of California amusement parks is engaging LEGOLAND, found in Carlsbad. This 150-acre park offers more than 40 rides, dozens of games and every other attraction you can think of, all themed to the colorful LEGO blocks, of course. Twenty-five miles further south, in San Diego, lies Sea World, with water-themed shows and rides.
Heading into northern California, the town of Santa Cruz is home to the Santa Cruz Beach Boardwalk, the state’s only amusement park located in such a setting. Established in 1904, this historic park owns a historic carousel as well as a roller coaster. In addition, Neptune’s Kingdom Adventure Center hosts plenty of games for the young ones as well as mini-golf for the whole family.
Get wet and wild at Waterworld USA, which washes up fun in the form of wave pools, a choice of water slides and a five-story interactive playhouse.
Check out Six Flags Marine World, a 150-acre amusement park dedicated the fantastic natural world found throughout California. Rides, games, interpretive tours and live animals are all part of this educational experience that is sure to be fun for the kid in all of us.
California is known for a lot of things–beaches, wineries, and amazing landscapes are just a few. But another renowned California tradition is flea markets. From San Diego to Sacramento, the Golden State offers troves of markets that put wares on daily display.
Make a stop in Bakersfield for the Brundage Swapmeet, which runs daily and offers more than 75 dealers. Look for the Pro-Swap-Meet in San Bernardino and its 200-plus vendors selling their wares each weekend. While you’re here, don’t miss the San Bernardino Flea Market each Friday during the summer months. In Los Angeles, try out the Las Palmas Flea Market on Sundays and Long Beach’s monthly Outdoor Antique and Collectible Market. The city of San Louis Obispo hosts more than 200 vendors every Sunday at the Sunset Drive-In Theater Swap Meet. One of the state’s largest regular flea markets takes place in the town of San Jose, where anywhere from 400 to 800 vendors are in attendance Thursdays through Sunday. Just outside of San Francisco more than 200 vendors congregate every week for the Berkeley Flea Market. Open up your wallet at the Lake Tahoe Flea Market, which operates each weekend from Memorial Day to Labor Day. If you find yourself in the state capital of Sacramento on the second Sunday of the month, take a swing by the Sacramento Antique Faire and its more than 300 vendor showcases each month.
As the name “Land of Plenty” indicates, California is blessed with vast natural areas, preserved as sanctuaries for some of the most diverse and unique ecosystems in the Western hemisphere. However, California has also mastered the art of displaying such wonders in museums, zoos, and aquariums for all to see.
In the shadow of Steinbeck’s Cannery Row, visitors may discover the world-class Monterey Bay Aquarium. This is truly an experience unto itself and a place so special it even warranted its own PBS documentary. More than 500 marine species are kept here, spread out among some 100 displays designed to capture the world below the ocean’s surface.
Look to the stars when you visit San Jose by paying a visit to the Lick Observatory. Situated on Mount Hamilton nearly 5,000 feet above sea level, the site brings the heavens down to earth through fun exhibits, tours and hands-on telescope watchin’.
Six Flags Marine World, a 160-acre wildlife park that is part zoo, part aquarium and part amusement park, makes for a fun day in central California.
If you are into zoos, a visit to San Diego’s version is simply without peer. As one of the largest zoos in the world, the San Diego Zoo houses more than 5,000 specimens from around the globe.
A California wine tour truly is a magnificent way to enjoy the open road. California’s has five major wine-growing areas (more than any other state in the United States), with more than 80 districts scattered all over the state from the coast to the Sierra foothills. You’ll find both the Buena Vista and Sebastiani Wineries in beautiful Sonoma. Head towards the town of Napa and the Hakusan Sake Garden. The Napa Valley Wine Train (also here) travels some 36 miles through the heart of the valley. Travel northwards for a hearty sample at the Robert Mondavi Winery, in the town of Oakville. In Calistoga you’ll find Sterling Vineyards, while over in Healdsburg one can’t miss the Simi Winery. Nearby in the town of St. Helena drop into the Beringer, Charles Krug, or Louis M. Martini wineries, each of which hosts regular tastings of their finest vintages. Heading a little west and it’s bubbly time at the Korbel Champagne Cellars in Guerneville. More wineries, are scattered all throughout the Central Coast Valley, San Joaquin Valley, and in El Dorado, Amador and Calaveras Counties.
For more information, contact (800) 862-2543; www.visitcalifornia.com.
Like Nevada, Idaho survived a rough-and-tumble past as one of the last outposts during the settling of the American West. Luckily, much of this history has been preserved, with much of it displayed throughout the state. You just need to know where to look. Idaho also hosts a bevy of natural wonders that can be enjoyed year-round.
Fly-fishing might have been invented back east in the gently rippling streams of upstate New York, but one could make a good argument that this romantic venture was perfected out west. Here, rivers run deep and fast, cutting through immense valleys under an endless sky. The bounty, too, is mythical as Idaho is world-renowned for the giant trout its streams and rivers produce. Henry’s Fork, Silver Creek and the St. Joe River are only a few examples of Idaho’s world-class waters capable of bringing tears to the eyes of anglers everywhere. The state capital of Boise is a great jumping-off point. From here you can hit the banks of Silver Creek, awash in three miles worth of accessible trout stream along a preserve run by the Nature Conservancy. At the Sawtooth National Recreation Area you’ll find a bevy of top-notch streams including the Salmon, Boise and Payette Rivers, where anglers can hook salmon, rainbow trout and grayling year-round.
As the 43rd state to join the union, Idaho enjoys a relatively young history compared to many of its eastern counterparts. Of course, much of its years spent as a territory were spent during the heyday of the rip-roaring Wild West. It should, therefore, be no surprise that Idaho has preserved its rich history as a tapestry of historical landmarks and sites capturing its historical beginnings.
The town of Wallace was once a hotbed of activity during the state’s earliest years. Today the entire town is listed in the National Register of Historical Places. If you’re looking to relive the actual feeling of rolling into Wallace on rail, try out the historic Route of the Hiawatha Trail, a 15-mile bike and walking trail that traces a historic route.
Catch up with Idaho before it was even settled at the Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail. This section of the historic journey covers one of the most difficult passages for the Corps of Discovery as it passed through the area in 1805.
In Montpelier you’ll find the National Oregon/California Trail Center, which tells the tale of the grueling journey pioneers made from the Midwest to the American Northwest.
Any trip to the American Northwest is not complete without experiencing the wonders of its natural landscape. Idaho, like its neighbors, is filled with fantastic and dramatic natural areas.
Travelers should make haste towards the Craters of the Moon National Monument. This 750,000-acre site is comprised of a multitude of stunning landscapes, including lava fields, volcanic rifts, spatter cones and lava tubes.
Keep on the lookout for Minnetonka Cave in Montpelier, discovered in 1907. The U.S. Fish and Wildlife Service now runs regular tours so you, too, can explore more than a half-mile deep into the underground world.
Lava Hot Springs
The aptly-named town of Lava Hot Springs is now a resort run by the state of Idaho. Visitors flock to these world-famous environs for their refreshing mineral springs.
Pay a visit to the Shoshone Indian Ice Caves. This is a double-dip of exploration as the caves not only reveal a stunning display of Mother Nature’s most dramatic work, but also the lives of the Native Americans who lived in these very caves for centuries.
The town of Hagerman offers up the Hagerman Fossil Beds National Monument, an ancient lake some 3.5 million years old that today has become one of the richest sources of fossils in North America.
For more information, contact (800) VISIT-ID; www.visitid.org.
Lucky for all of us that Nevada has embraced its rip-roaring past, as these once wild lands were the setting for many key events during the days of the Wild West. Today you can revisit these days by touring one of many old mining towns located throughout the state. If that isn’t your game, try hitting the links by enjoying the Silver State’s burgeoning golf industry. Or if you just want to stay behind the wheel and enjoy the scenery, Nevada offers some very wonderful drives.
Historic Mining Towns
Gold was discovered near Virginia City, Nevada, in the mid-1800’s, causing a flood of prospectors west in search of the next lucky strike. Boomtowns sprang up all over the Nevada territory. And, sadly, nearly all of the towns eventually went bust. Today, however, the legacy of these boom-and-bust towns lives on in several places.
A boomtown during the 1850s when the legendary Comstock Lode was supporting the industry and the town that came with it, Dayton remains a fun stop for curious travelers.
Thankfully, much of Virginia City’s 19th century charm remains intact. Considered a cosmopolitan city in its heyday, the town is proud to show off its mining heritage.
As a boomtown, Austin was once Nevada’s second largest city. Decades after the bust, little more than 200 residents can be found here. However, this little hideaway is worth a stop, as many historic relics have been preserved.
No other town in the state has embraced it mining heritage as effectively as Eureka, which is home to several examples of beautifully preserved 19th-century architecture.
Located on the eastern edge of Death Valley National Park, the town of Rhyolite still stands as an excellent late-addition to Nevada’s collection of mining towns. This boom cycle didn’t hit until the early 1900s and was extremely short-lived. Surrounded by picturesque volcanic rocks, Rhyolite is arguable the most scenic of all Nevada’s old mining towns.
Scenic Driving Tours
The best way to enjoy any Nevada driving excursions is to choose the most scenic routes. With its mountain vistas and desert panoramas, it’s no wonder that Nevada is chock full of scenic byways.
Take a spin up Mount Rose (State Road 431), as this scenic drive sails nearly 9,000 feet above sea level while rewarding travelers with stunning vistas of the Lake Tahoe region below.
If that isn’t enough, cruise along the shores of Lake Tahoe on US Highway 50. The route has been designated a National Scenic Byway, and for good reason. The Lake Tahoe region is unquestionably one of the prettiest regions in the American Southwest.
Catch up with State Route 445, a National Scenic Byway north of Reno, which takes RVers around the shores of picturesque Pyramid Lake.
If the natural wonders aren’t really your scene, try out a couple of scenic byways strategically located in the booming city of Las Vegas. The Las Vegas Strip was recently named All American Road, as it passes through one of the manmade wonders of the world. Las Vegas Boulevard offers remnants of the city’s past, which are on display with more charming and not-so charming sites in between. Head west out of Las Vegas to return to the more natural settings that Nevada is known for.
Golfers are quickly catching on to the attractions found in the Silver State. After enjoying the Vegas Strip, take a swing from one of several top-notch public courses in the area, most notably the Shadow Creek Golf Club, the Wynn Golf Club, the Palm Valley Golf Club and the TPC at Summerlin. Take a swing at the Reflection Bay Golf Club, the South Shore at Lake Las Vegas, the Tuscany Golf Club or the Falls Golf Club, all in Henderson. In Reno, be sure to take a stab at the Montreux Golf & Country Club, the Washoe Country Golf Club, the Hidden Valley Country Club or the Rosewood Lakes Golf Course.
Come on, you knew we couldn’t conclude a Nevada getaway without a little gambling. Of course, we all know about Las Vegas and the legendary Vegas Strip, where millions of dollars are won and lost each and every day. Behind Vegas, the state’s second-most popular gambling destination would be Lake Tahoe, home to casinos found within the scenic environs of this popular year-round destination.
Carson City, which has outgrown its wild-west roots, also host a variety of casinos for high rollers and novices alike.
Another hot spot is the city of Reno, Nevada’s second largest city, with fine casinos and plenty of slots in its own right. If you’re looking to get a little history with your gambling, stop by Virginia City for the magnificent Nevada Gambling Museum. Gambling memorabilia includes more than 100 antique slot machines.
For more information, contact (800) NEVADA-8; www.travelnevada.com.
The Beaver State offers a wealth of attraction and activities that truly capture the splendor and magnificence of the Northwest. Try some ready-made tours for a chance to experience culture, explore the coastline and wallow in the dramatic scenery. For the more intrepid traveler we recommend the covered bridges or lighthouses spread throughout the state. Just pick a destination and drive.
When one hears the word Oregon, the thought of covered bridges doesn’t necessarily leap to mind. However, the Beaver State is home to dozens of covered bridges, most of which are wonderfully restored and have become nice destinations when passing through an area.
Just outside the town of Blue River stands the 120-foot Belknap Bridge, built in 1890.
Train enthusiasts won’t want to miss the Chambers Railroad Bridge in Cottage Grove, a town that owns the bragging rights to the last railroad bridge in the state (although it is out of service).
The Goodpasture Covered Bridge is not only the second-longest covered bridge in Oregon (165 feet), it is also one of the most photogenic bridges in the state.
The prize for the longest covered bridge in Oregon belongs to Office Bridge in Westfir. Coming in at just over 180 feet, this bridge is a site unto itself.
Along the Oregon coast in the town of Howe Span, visitors will find the Deadwood Creek Bridge, an interesting specimen of covered-bridge engineering.
If you haven’t gotten enough of that old-world charm from your covered-bridge tour and are seeking something more of the coastal variety, a tour of Oregon’s finest lighthouses should do the trick.
Although closed to the public, Cape Arago Lighthouse near the town of Coos Bay is most definitely worth a visit. Your photo collection will thank you. One of the more unique structures that has guided mariners over the years lies in Bullards Beach State Park in the form of the Coquille River Lighthouse, a truly unique structure first built in 1891.
Another truly unique lighthouse structure can be found in the Heceta Head Lighthouse, just north of Florence. Built in 1894, the lighthouse does require a short hike but visitors will be rewarded with romantic vistas overlooking Oregon’s rocky coast.
In Brookings Harbor, you’ll find the newest lighthouse on the coast in the form of the Pelican Bay Lighthouse, which is not open to the public but can be spied from several scenic vistas nearby.
Another dandy is the 65-foot tall Umpqua River Lighthouse, near the town of Reedsport.
Oregon’s tallest tower resides along the Oregon Coast in the form of the Yaquina Head Lighthouse near Agate Beach.
For more information, contact (800) 547-7842; www.traveloregon.com.
For those lucky enough to find themselves behind the wheel in Washington, we’ve chosen a couple of nature-minded tours that truly capture the essence of this wonderful state. Enjoy some of the state’s finest gardens. Otherwise, head to Washington to check out our feathered friends along the Great Washington Birding Trail.
Because of Washington’s interesting topography and relation to both mountains and sea, the state fosters a wide variety of climates and ecosystems. Such diversity also allows a rich collection of public gardens to flourish around the state.
The Pacific Rim Bonsai Collection beautifully delivers the wonder of these magnificent trees, captured perfectly in a lush forest setting.
You won’t want to miss a chance to visit the Bloedel Reserve. Located on Brainbridge Island just nine miles south of Seattle, the Bloedel Reserve was designed to “capture the essence” of a Japanese garden by blending conservation and oriental philosophy. The result is a sprawling spiritual experience. At the University of Washington in Seattle you’ll find the Washington Park Arboretum and Japanese Garden. The grounds boast more than three acres of Japanese gardens, a tea house and a pagoda.
Discover the Ohme Gardens in the town of Wenatchee, noteworthy for it’s nearly 10 acres of alpine forest, nestled within the Cascade Mountains.
Check out the Cornwall Park Rose Garden, a 65-acre park showcasing more than 100 varieties of flowering lovelies.
The six-acre Elandan Gardens in Puget Sound dazzles with more than 150 bonsai trees on display.
For the fans of our feathered friends, and there are many of them, finding a good location to spot birds is as important as golfers finding quality greens or fishermen finding a secluded fishing hole. The Evergreen State offers a wealth of habitat for an immense variety of birds, from pelagic birds roaming the rocky coast to demure songbirds hiding in thickets of inland forests. Fortunately for birders passing through Washington, the Audubon Society has created The Great Washington State Birding Trail.