Summer is here and it's the season for weekend adventures! Whether your next road trip involves a car, van or bike, if you're on the west coast like we are, odds are you'll be traveling along the Interstate 5. Scroll down to read about 10 of our favorite pitstops, but first enter to win some great gear!
To celebrate the arrival of summer, we've teamed up with Danner Boots and Mountain House to create a sweet package of Oregon made goods sure to enhance your next road trip.
A pair of Danner Boots
An Adventure Meal™ Sampler from Mountain House
For us here in the northwest, the I-5 freeway is one of our primary roadways. And although much of the drive can be dull, there are quite a few gems waiting to be discovered along the way, regardless of your final destination.
Our summer weekends are often spent on the road, seeking out new experiences and adventures, so we put together a list of some of our favorites, as well as a few off-beat destinations you might consider checking out this summer.
Seattle has been featured in so many films it’s a landmark of its own. Tourist attractions like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Museum of Flight are abundant, and there’s no shortage of places to see or things to do, though the traffic can be a bear!
2. Mt. Saint Helens. Cougar, WA. (Exit 21, Woodland)
Although it's a bit of a detour off the 5, walking on a volcano is an experience everyone should scratch off their bucket list. You can go big and spend the day(s) hiking to the top of the crater (climbing permits are required) or visit the Ape Caves and see the longest lava tube in the continental US. If you have your mountain bike, prepare for one of the most unique rides in the state.
Of course we have to add our home town to the list. Since we mentioned Seattle, it's only fair to mention our home town of Portland, which has a seemingly endless amount of things to do and places to eat and drink. Explore the Japanese Gardens, take a Brewery Tour or go for a walk along Tom McCall Waterfront Park. Or get lost at Powell's Books, the biggest independent bookstore in the nation.
Or head to the mountains or coast to explore!
Getting ready to jump in the river on a warm summer day in Portland, Oregon. Pictured: Danner Mountain Pass Black Glace hiking boots and Looptworks Moto Sling Bag
4. Columbia River Gorge. Exits: Several
One of our favorites destinations is the Columbia River Gorge, located just a short drive to the east of Portland on I-84. This area is littered with amazing trails, waterfalls and views. Multnomah Falls is a must-do and the most popular, but the hills contain miles of trails ready to be explored.
5. Family Fun Center, Wilsonville. Exit 283
Located just off the freeway, the park features miniature golf, go-carts, lazer tag, bumper boats, a climbing wall and batting cages as well as two stories of arcade games.
5. The Oregon Vortex. Exit 43, Gold Hill
The Oregon Vortex, AKA the House of Mystery, is an area containing naturally occurring visual and perceptual phenomena. (which can be captured on photo and video!) How does it work exactly? Visit and find out for yourself!
6. Lithia Park, Ashland Oregon.
Ashland is known for being the home to the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, but for outdoor enthusiasts, there is no shortage of things to do. Families with children are easily entertained in Lithia Park which starts from downtown. The park features ponds, hiking and biking trails, many of which continue all the way to the top of the mountain. Mountain bikers new to town can take a shuttle to the top of Mount Ashland courtesy of Ashland Mountain Adventures for a 14+ mile trail ride that ends at the park... which also happens to be within short walking distance of several popular breweries.
7. Weed, California.
Known best for its unusual name, the small city of Weed lies a short distance from Mount Shasta. The prominent land mark is ever present, and as you might guess, the town has some of the best souvenirs around.
View of Mount Shasta, as seen from the I-5.
8. Sundial Bridge, Redding.
Redding is more than a pitstop for gas - there are quite a few parks, rivers and lakes to explore if you're willing to take some time to explore. One of the most picturesque landmarks in the area is the Sundial Bridge. Spanning the Sacramento River, the cantilever cable-stayed bridge forms a large sundial. Limited to bicycles and pedestrians, the bridge is the start of the Sacramento River Trail, a 35 mile multi-use trail that extends along both sides of the river and connects to the Shasta Dam.
The Sacramento and American River are two highlights of the state capitol, and provide a number of recreational opportunities. Walk, hike or bike along river front trails or explore some of the many museums. The historic region is also the home to a number of wineries.
10. Fort Tejon State Historic Park.
The stretch of highway between Sacramento and LA can be uneventful, so why not break it up by visiting Fort Tejon State Historic Park? A former US Army outpost, you can explore the barracks, experience frontier California life of the 1850s and 1860s.