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1. VISIT THE OLD MAN OF THE LAKE
Crater Lake National Park in the south of Oregon has got to be one of the most beautiful spots in the country. The dramatic Crater Lake was created when an ancient volcano here destroyed itself in a massive eruption. It blasted nearly 600 metres deep, making it one of the deepest lakes in the world, and has the most amazing colours. Wizard Island sits in the middle of the lake acting like a plug on the volcano.
HOT Tip: Take the cruise to visit the Old Man of the Lake, a tall pine tree which has bobbing around upright in the lake since 1896!
2. KEEPING IT COOL IN PORTLAND
Portland is so cool, it doesn’t even know it. Long a haven for greenies, tree huggers and liberal lefties, the city prides itself on being diverse, accepting, and progressive. Reasons like that is why it’s now regularly topping the ‘most habitable cities’ rankings. The city is an outdoor lover’s paradise with oodles of recreational activities available in the pristine forests and parks surrounding the city.
HOT Tip: The aptly named Forest Park is the largest urban park in the US and has over 100 kilometres of walking and hiking trails available!
3. JOIN THE CRAFT BEER REVOLUTION
Portland is the centre of the US craft beer revolution, similar to Wellington or Fremantle. However it does have one unique difference, the emergence of the Portland Movie Brewpubs, or ‘Brew ‘n’ View’. Sit back and relax in comfy couches and chairs of a boutique cinema and catch the latest flick, and all for a measly few dollars (take that Hoyts!). Of course, local craft beers are on tap and you can even have meals while you watch.
HOT Tip: Check out McMenamins who rescue heritage buildings across the state and convert them to Brewpubs.
4. DELVE INTO THE SEATTLE UNDERGROUND
A fascinating and unique world exists under the city of Seattle. After many floods and a devastating fire, the city decided to rebuild by simply raising everything a couple of metres. Many of the roads were elevated first and had steps down to building entrances. Eventually building owners started converting the now street level second floors to entrances and closed over the old. Today we’re left with a subterranean city which can be explored by guided tour.
HOT Tip: There’s a few companies offering tours, but we recommend Bill Speidel’s World Famous Underground Tour.
5. TOUR THE BOEING FACTORY
Chances are the plane you fly to the US on was built at Boeing’s massive Everett Factory in the north of Seattle. This factory builds all the worlds 747’s, 767’s, 777’s and Dreamliners, and is the largest building in the world by volume.
HOT Tip: Although it’s not an expensive tour, you can save a few bucks by having your House of Travel agent book you in advance.
6. EXAMINE EXPLOSIVE MOUNT ST. HELENS
Today the Mount St. Helens National Park is a deceptively calm and beautiful park with brooding lakes, eerie forests of pine, and of course, the massive volcanic peak Mount St. Helens. However Mount St. Helens is actually one of the most active volcanoes in North America, most well known for her catastrophic eruption in 1980 which was spectacularly caught on tape and aired to the world.
HOT Tip: Visit the Johnston Ridge Observatory for the most amazing views of the volcano.
7. CHIHULY GARDEN AND GLASS
Prepare to be wowed at this excellent Seattle attraction. Dale Chihuly’s merges beautiful gardens with some truly mind boggling glass sculptures, including a ribbon of glass flowers over 100 feet long.
HOT Tip: Visit again at night to see the stunning sculptures lit up in all sorts of dazzling colours.
8. BE ON A BOAT
Puget Sound is an expansive maze of waterways dominating the coast of Washington. Plying these waters are the Washington State Ferries which service the many communities on islands and remote locations throughout the sound. It’s a great way to explore this beautiful region, and super cheap!
HOT Tip: The Bremerton route has views of the Seattle skyline, the Cascade Mountain Range and Bainbridge Island. Plus Bremerton itself is home to several old US navy ships, including gigantic aircraft carriers!
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