Vacation Road Trip from Mountain to Beach Sunsets
It’s a blessing to be able to take an August vacation and road trip with my daughter. We celebrate her birthday, relax from work & routine and get ready for back to school. This year we drove 600 miles in four days and spent three nights in the natural beauty of both the mountains of Mount Rainier National Park in Washington and the beaches of Seaside & Cannon Beach Oregon.
We spent our first night at the Paradise Inn within the Mount Rainier National Park. The forested drive up from the southwest Nisqually entrance is beautiful, with many turnouts for spectacular photo backdrops of the mountain, streams and stony riverbeds. Stops along the way included park headquarters in Longmire and the Visitor Center at Paradise. Many people were enjoying the beautiful weather, from mountain climbers & hikers & bikers to day-tripper families like us. The meadows were lovely with their summer wildflowers. It was peaceful to be outdoors and enjoy an evening walk as the sun set over the mountains.
Oregon Coast Sunsets
After our night in Paradise (I love saying that) we drove south and west to the Oregon coast. It’s a nice scenic drive, past many symbolic Pacific Northwest views. There were deer, lush green trees, logging trucks, log mills, ports, roadside businesses and tourist spots. This trip was all about relaxation and other than hotel reservations, was free from deadlines and structured activities.
We spent two nights in Seaside, Oregon. It’s on the shore and is made for family fun, shop browsing and beach strolling. Like any tourist town, there are knick-knacks, arcade games, ice cream and candy stores. For my teen, the highlights were a hotel swimming pool & getting a lifeguard sweatshirt. We drove about eight miles down to Cannon Beach the second evening to take in the views of Haystack Rock. Waiting for the sun to set, we were able to take a long walk and look in the tide pools. There were people flying kites, riding beach bikes and making sand castles. Everything you would expect at the beach – except swimming. The ocean water is COLD! And of course there was gymnastics in the surf. Not by me, but the youthful one.
For me, the mountains at Paradise and the beaches at Seaside & Cannon Beach were a chance to reconnect with the beauty and power of nature. There’s not much that beats the sound and feel of a sunset walk in the tide or a mountain hike. The peace that comes with just listening to the surf or meadow and pausing to reflect is priceless.
Do you have any fun summer memories to share? Please leave a comment or share.
Visit the National Park System website for more information on Mount Rainier National Park.
The Visitor Center and Paradise Inn at Paradise are both wheelchair-accessible.
All my best,
All photographs © 2012 Periwinkle Years LLC – All Rights Reserved