The Pacific Northwest Summer Bucket List

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Crafting an AWESOME Summer Bucket List |

It’s summertime, and the living is easy…

I read there are more than 25,000 recordings of Summertime. My favorite is the 1964 recording by The Zombies, in part because it’s a damn good version, and because it conjures early summer in the Pacific Northwest at a time when the mountains, the water, the ocean-kissed air were all brand new to me. I first moved to Seattle during a cool, cloudy June sixteen years ago, and The Zombies’ first album ended up being the soundtrack to that summer.

The fish were jumpin’. The mountains were high. The Pacific Northwest corner of the world was my oyster. But with such a short summer, how would I fit it all in?

Which brings me to the Summer Bucket List. A “bucket list” is simply a list of things you want to do or places you want to go. It’s a fresh, simple approach to planning your summer activities and getaways. First, you draw up your list. Then, you plan out your summer free time to fit it all in!

A Northwest Summer Bucket List might look something like this.


Crafting an AWESOME Summer Bucket List |


On our recent #NWTripChat on twitter, dozens of local travelers shared their bucket list ideas and travel plans for the summer, and it’s all just too good not to share here with you! Here is a sampling:

What comes to mind when you think of summer in the Pacific Northwest?

“Blissfully long days, blue skies and water, sweet warm hiking trails, cool craft beer and snow-topped mountains.”‏@seattlekim

“Summer in the NW is washing the juice of impeccable summer fruit off your hands in a mountain stream or lake.” ‏@gastrognome

 “Blue skies, hiking trails and an overnight hike or two = our idea of summer in the PNW.” @WTA_hikers

“Summer means very long days, ideal for cycling the MacKenzie River Trail, Galloping Goose, or Hiawatha Trail.” ‏@craisbower

“Summer in the PNW = being outside all day. Flying down the dunes, whitewater rafting on the #McKenzie & outdoor music festivals. Can’t forget about sipping Willamette Valley Pinot Gris & munching on freshly picked berries on a hot summer night.” @TravelLaneCo

“Farm Fresh fruit picked ripe from tree/farmers markets/farm festivals in Yakima Valley” @yakimavalley


A good summer Bucket List includes a diverse sampling of the season, both destinations and experiences. What’s on yours?

“Summer bucket list: all the @SeafairFestival events all over Seattle.” @seattlekim

“Mountain bike a black at Whistler, write more about my trips, find great new eats in the NW!” @gastrognome

“We’ve got bucket list hikes from the Pasayten to the Kettle Range, from St Helens to the Oly Peninsula.” @WTA_hikers

“I love the artistry at the Oregon Country Fair, @oregoncfair. Uniquely Eugene, perfect way to experience food & arts in the area.” @TravelLaneCo


What are your best tips for planning an attainable summer bucket list in the Northwest?

“Leave some flexibility in your summer schedule, esp. to take advantage of those perfect outdoor days!” ‏@seattlekim

“Got to prioritize! Identify what makes you happy (outdoors, good food, arts, etc) and focus on that.” @innatthemarket

“Making summer plans attainable is all aboutt putting it on the calendar. If you can squeeze it in, you can do it.”  ‏@gastrognome

“Sage words from @RickSteves – ‘always visit somewhere w/ the attitude you’ll be back.’ Relax, go deep.” @craisbower



What are some overlooked Northwest destinations that people should travel to this summer?

Ohme Gardens (in Wenatchee) is a NW secret!” ‏@carolpucci

“Hitting the Olympic Culinary Loop!” @OlyCulinaryLoop

“Oakridge Oregon (SE of Eugene) is AWESOME. Mountain biking mecca, amazing craft beer at the Brewers Union, ride a gondola up to the top of Willamette Pass for an amazing view.”  @TravelLaneCo

“Look east for hiking adventures (Salmo Priest Loop), especially with Craig Romano’s new guidebook.” @WTA_hikers

“The Wallowas are a fantastic surprise in NE Oregon. The hiking is absolutely sublime there, and the town of Joseph charming.” @seattlekim

“Heaven in BC. Just a little north from Seattle – Salt Spring Island.” @OutdoorsNWMag

“People overlook Whistler as summer destination-but rafting, hiking, mtn biking, and deep discounts on great food.” ‏@gastrognome

“Bellevue. See if you can find the nearly 130 works of public art in downtown Bellevue w/ the help of the ArtMap.” ‏@VisitBellevueWA

“See San Juan Islands car-free. Skip ferry lines.  The Scenic Byway bus: 2 for 1 fare $15 & delivery back to ferry.” @visitSJIslands


If someone had just moved to the Northwest, what would you put on their summer bucket list?

“Spend the evening strolling the leafy town of Walla Walla after a day of wine tasting – about as good as it gets.” @craisbower

“Skip the summer Sea-Tac hassles. Hop a ferry to the Olympic Peninsula for a cidery tour starting at Finn River.” ‏@carolpucci

“Scenic Drive on Cascade Loop Scenic Hwy over several days is a great summer car trip.” @NWTravelMag

‏”For hikers new to the state, Anderson-Watson Lakes.” @WTA_hikers

“Seattle Must Eats: Taylor Shellfish, Revel, Staple & Fancy, Sea Garden, Mee Sum at the Market” @gastrognome

“Great wine trip:  Wineries, vineyards in Leavenworth area.” @Leavenworthy

“Mt. Rainier, winter or summer. Victoria, anytime.” ‏@carolpucci

“Definitely San Juan islands – gorgeous this time of year!” @hiptravelmama

“Sunrise at Mt. Rainier, ferry around the San Juans, drink local beer in Leavenworth & Port Townsend.” @seattlekim

“Visit an oyster farm in beautiful Baynes Sound, Oyster Capital of Canada.” @hanspetermeyer


What are some don’t-miss festivals happening in the Pacific Northwest this summer?

‏”The Lake Quinault Mushroom Festival – where else can you play Fungi-Bingo?” ‏@TravelARAMARK

“I’m psyched to hit Shambhala MusicFest in Nelson, BC. Started because of DJ in family, now one of North America’s biggest Electronic music fests.” @craisbower

 “Super excited for the first ever @CascadiaMusFest at Mt. Pisgah.” @TravelLaneCo

“Stretching the definition of summer, my not to miss fest is OYSTERFEST! in Shelton WA.” @gastrognome

“This summer go explore the Kitsap Penninsula! Don’t miss the @KitsapWineFest August 17.” @GreenRubino

 “Check out Blues & Roots Festival, Burnaby. ” @elysemailhot

What about you? What’s on your summer bucket list?

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