5 Awesome US Northwest Summer Road Trip Ideas

We love visiting the northern states in the summer. It is still warm but usually not scorching hot which is the perfect weather we look for in an adventure road trip where we will be out hiking and exploring!

A car driving the Going To The Sun Road

Here are our 5 recommended Northwest US Summer Road Trip Ideas:

Northwest Road Trip 1: Yellowstone – Glacier

If you haven’t visited Yellowstone or Glacier this is the trip you will want to take and is our top recommended Northwest Road Trip.

5 Days In Yellowstone

Day 1 in Yellowstone:

  • Stop 1: West Yellowstone Visitor Center
  • Drive: Firehole Canyon Drive
  • Stop 2: Fountain Paint Pots Nature Trail
  • Stop 3: Grand Prismatic
  • Stop 4: Grand Prismatic Spring Overlook
  • Stop 5: Biscuit Basin Trail
  • Stop 6: Old Faithful Inn and Visitors Center
  • Stop 7: Old Faithful
  • Stop 8: Old Faithful Geyser Trail
  • Stop 9: Kepler Cascades
  • Stop 10: Lone Star Geyser Basin

Day 2 in Yellowstone:

  • Stop 1: Artist Paintpots Trail
  • Stop 2: Visitor Center and Fort in Mammoth
  • Stop 3: Roosevelt Arch
  • Stop 4: Yellowstone Hot Springs
  • Stop 5: Boiling River Hike and Swim*
  • Stop 6: Mammoth Hot Springs Lower Terraces
  • Stop 7: Mammoth Hot Springs Upper Terraces
  • Stop 8: Hike Bunsen Peak (optional)

Day 3 in Yellowstone:

  • Stop 1: Grand Canyon of Yellowstone – South Rim
  • Stop 2: Artist Point
  • Stop 3: Brink of the Lower Falls Hike
  • Scenic Drive: Hayden Valley
  • Stop 4: Mud Volcano
  • Stop 5: LeHardy Rapids
  • Stop 6: Hayden Valley Wildlife

Day 4 in Yellowstone:

  • Stop 1: Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and Museum
  • Stop 2: Fishing Bridge Store
  • Optional Activity 1: Hike Storm Point
  • Optional Activity 2: Boating on Yellowstone Lake
  • Stop 3: Yellowstone Lake Beach – Sand Point
  • Scenic Drive: Sylvan Pass
  • Stop 4: Lake Lodge for Sunset

Day 5 in Yellowstone:

  • Stop 1: Tower Roosevelt Waterfall Hike
  • Stop 2: Calcite Springs Overlook
  • Stop 3: Specimen Ridge
  • Stop 4: Roosevelt Lodge (Lunch)
  • Scenic Drive: Blacktail Plateau Drive
  • Stop 5: Hellroaring Suspension Bridge Hike
  • Stop 6: Lamar Valley for Wildlife at Sunset
  • Optional: Cowboy Cookout (plus Horseback Riding or Stagecoach Ride)

Bonus options in Yellowstone:

  • Lamar Valley
  • Hike Mount Washburn
  • Lamar Valley Wildlife Tour
  • Lake Yellowstone Kayak Tour
  • Visit the town of West Yellowstone
  • Bike the Basin

Feeling overwhelmed by all the awesomeness that is Yellowstone?! We get it! The park is huge and there is so much to see and do. We have visited the park over 6 different times and have put together 1, 3 and 7 day guides to help you plan your ultimate trip to Yellowstone:

3 Days In Glacier National Park

Day 1 in Glacier National

Picture of Knox standing and looking out at Avalanche Lake in Glacier National park
  • Start West Glacier (West Entrance)
  • Stop 1: Agpar Visitor Center
  • Stop 2: Lake McDonald Lodge
  • Stop 3: Trail of the Cedars Trailhead
  • Stop 4: Driving the Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Stop 5: Logans Pass Visitor Center and
    Hidden Lake Overlook Trail
  • Stop 6: Jackson’s Glacier
  • Stop 7: St. Mary Falls Trailhead
  • (extra stop if you have time/energy for another hike)
  • Stop 8: Wild Goose Island Overlook
  • DINNER St. Mary Village
  • END St. Mary Lodge & Resort (East Entrance)

Day 2 in Glacier National Park

  • Start at St. Mary Lodge & Resort (East Entrance)
  • Stop 1: Grinnell Glacier Hike
    (Including Shuttle Boat)
  • Lunch: Many Glacier Hotel
  • Stop 2: Josephine Lake Horseback Riding
  • Stop 2B: Apikuni Waterfall Hike
  • Dinner: Nell’s at Swiftcurrent Restaurant
  • Dessert: Soft serve huckleberry ice cream in
    Swiftcurrent General Store
  • End at St. Mary Lodge & Resort (East Entrance)

Day 3 in Glacier National Park

  • Start at: St. Mary Lodge (East Entrance)
  • Stop 1: St. Mary Falls Hike (if you didn’t do it on day 1)
  • Stop 2: Going-to-the-Sun Road
  • Lunch: Picnic lunch at pull-out
  • Stop 3: Highline Trail Hike
  • Stop 4: Lake McDonald Beach
  • Dinner: Great Northern Bar & Grill
  • End at West Glacier (West Entrance)

Glacier 1 Day Guide Thumbnail
Glacier 3 Day Guide Thumbnail
Glacier 7 Day Guide Thumbnail

Planning a trip to Glacier? We put together a series of digital guides that take the guesswork out of planning. Stop-by-stop itineraries for making the most of 1, 3 or 7 days in Glacier National Park including where to stay, where to eat, what hikes to take and the best driving routes.

We’ve even included links for you to book your stays and buy your park passes. Everything you need in one convenient digital guide. Just download and go!

If you want to extend your trip you could look to add Grand Teton’s National Park on to your trip. It is located south of Yellowstone so you could do this order: Grand Tetons – Yellowstone – Glacier or the opposite way: Glacier – Yellowstone – Grand Tetons.

Northwest Road Trip 2: Montana Road Trip

Picture of our family horseback riding in Montana

Day 1 in Bozeman, Montana (this is also where you can fly into)

Day 2 in Bozeman, Montana

  • Stop 1: Museum of the Rockies
  • Stop 2: American Computer And Robotics
  • Stop 3: Rock Climbing with Montana Alpine Guides

Day 3: Bozeman to Livingston, Montana

  • Stop 1: Float, Fish or Both on the Yellowstone River
  • Stop 2: Yellowstone Gateway Museum
  • Dinner: Mint Bar and Grill
  • Hotel: Travelodge

Day 4: Livingston To Red Lodge, Montana

  • Breakfast: The Other Cafe
  • Stop 1: Rent an UTV from Red Lodge Power Sports
  • Stop 2: Clay Class at Red Lodge Clay Center
  • Stop 3: Golfing at Red Lodge Mountain
  • Stop 4: Walk Around Downtown
  • Hotel: The Pollard Hotel

Day 5: Red Lodge to Cooke City

  • Breakfast: The Pollard Hotel
  • Stop 1: Horseback Riding with Elk River Outfitters
  • Stop 2: Yellowstone Wildlife Sanctuary
  • Stop 3: Drive: The Bear Tooth Highway
  • Dinner: Miners Saloon
  • Hotel: Soda Butte Lodge

Day 6: Cooke City, MT into Yellowstone To Gardiner, MT

  • Breakfast: Pilots Perk
  • Stop 1: Cooke City – Visitor Center
  • Stop 2: Head into Yellowstone National Park
  • Stop 3: Tower Roosevelt Area – Towers Fall Hike
  • Lunch: Roosevelt Lodge
  • Stop 4: Hike Mount Washburn
  • Stop 5: Stagecoach or Horseback Riding
  • Stay: Sunny Slope House

Day 7: Yellowstone Wildlife Tour and Hot Springs

  • Stop 1: Yellowstone Wild Tour (full day tour)
  • Stop 2: Yellowstone Hot Springs
  • Stay: Sunny Slope House

Day 8: Explore More Of Yellowstone

  • Stop 1: Roosevelt Arch
  • Stop 2: Hike Bunsen Peak
  • Stop 3: Visitor Center and Fort in Mammoth Hot Springs
  • Stop 4: Mammoth Terraces
  • Stay: Sunny Slope House
  • Added Stay and Activity: Sage Lodge and Chico Hot Springs

Day 9: Drive to West Yellowstone

Stop 1: Canyon Area of Yellowstone
Stop 2: Lookout: Artist Point
Stop 3: Hike Uncle Tom’s Trail
Stop 4: IMax Show on Yellowstone
Hotel: Kelly Inn

Day 10: Explore West Yellowstone and YNP

  • Stop 1: Grizzly and Wolf Discovery Center
  • Stop 2: Museum of the Yellowstone
  • Drive into Yellowstone to explore
    • 1st Stop: Grand Prismatic
    • 2nd Stop: Overlook Hike
    • 3rd Stop: Old Faithful and Old Faithful Geysers hike
    • 4th Stop West Thumb
  • Hotel: Kelly Inn

Day 11: Biking and Yellowstone Lake

  • Stop 1: Rent Bikes at Free Wheel And Heel
  • Stop 2: Drive Over To The Yellowstone Lake Area
    • Fishing Bridge Visitor Center and the Beach
    • Hike: Storm Point
    • Lake Lodge
  • Hotel: Kelly Inn

You can click here for full details on this road trip!

Northwest Road Trip 3 – Oregon Coast Road Trip

Picture of the Oregon coast

Stop 1: Southern Oregon Coast

  • Humbug Mountain State Park
  • Coquille Point
  • Bandon
  • Jerry’s Rogue Jets

Where To Stay: Coast Haven

Stop 2: Mid Oregon Coast

  • Florence
    • Play at the Sand Dunes
    • Rent ATV’s
  • Yahacts town and Yahacts Brewery
  • Thor’s Well
  • Tide Pools – to right of Thors well
  • Cape Perpetua Visitor Center
  • Hobbit Beach Trail
  • Newport to go crabbing!

Where To Stay: Overleaf Lodge and Spa

Stop 3: Northern Oregon Coast

  • Tillamook
  • Seaside
  • Indian Beach – Tide Pools
  • Ecola Viewpoint and Ecola State Park and Crescent Beach
  • Cannon Beach
  • Astoria
    • Pier 39
    • Goonies House
    • Riverwalk
    • Buoys Brewery
    • Astoria Brewing Company
  • Fort Stevens State Park

Where To Stay: Rivertide Suites Hotel.

Click here to get all the details for this trip.

Northwest Road Trip 4 – Central Oregon

Picture of a waterfall in Oregon

Stop 1: Bend, Oregon

You could stay here for a full week or stay for a couple days and pick and choose what you would like to do.

  • Float the Deschutes River
  • Newberry National Volcanic Monument
  • Obsidian Flow Trail
  • Lava River Tube
  • Paulina Falls
  • The High Desert Museum
  • Farmers Market
  • Drake Park
  • Music In The Park
  • The Last Blockbuster
  • Dakotas Brick Shop
  • Smith Rock State Park
  • Steelhead Falls
  • Sunriver
  • Rent Bikes for the Deschutes River Trail
  • Cascades Lake Scenic Drive
  • Alpine Lakes
  • Tumalo Mountain Trail
  • Sisters
  • Tumalo State Park
  • La Pine Natural Slides
  • Paulina Lake Hot Spring
  • Explore the Breweries
    • Avid Cider
    • SunRiver Brewery
    • Deschutes Brewery
    • Legend Cider
    • Silver Moon brewery
    • Immersion Brewery
    • Bend Brewing Company
    • Worthy Brewery
    • Crux
    • Bevel
    • Tumalo Cider

Here is the full post on Bend Oregon: 23 Fun Things To Do In Bend Oregon [Plus where to stay]

Stop 2: McKenzie River Area

Day 1

  • 242 Scenic Byway
  • Proxy Falls Trail
  • Dee Wright Observatory
  • Belknap Hot Springs

Day 2

  • Blue Pool
  • Waterfall Loop – Sahalie and Koosah
  • Clear Lake

Here is our full post on the McKenzie River Area: Mckenzie River Oregon: Epic 3 Day Itinerary

Stop 3: Portland, Oregon

Day 1 in Portland:

  • Breakfast: Slappy Cakes for breakfast, where you can make your own pancakes at the table
  • Stop 1: Oregon Museum of Science and Industry
  • Lunch: Kachka – Enjoy authentic Russian cuisine for lunch
  • Stop 2: Pips and Bounce Ping Pong 12-6pm summer happy hour
  • Dinner: Bollywood Theatre – Indian Cuisine the whole family will love
  • Dessert: Salt and Straw Ice Cream – Take a walk on the wild side with these off the wall hand made ice creams

Day 2 in Portland:

  • Breakfast: Voodoo Doughnut and Blue Star Donuts if you want to compare them.
  • Stop 1: Rose Garden – Take in the huge variety of beautiful roses
  • Stop 2:  Portland Japanese Garden
  • Stop 3: Portland Children’s Museum
  • Lunch: Little Bird Bistro
  • Stop 4: Portland Art Museum
  • Dinner: Mediterranean Exploration Company OR Eat at Living Room Theatre while you enjoy a show! 

Day 3 in Portland:

  • Breakfast: Pip’s original for donut and chai
  • Stop 1: Portland Saturday Market – 11 – 4:30pm
  • Stop 2: Waterfront Trail
  • Lunch: Afuri – Get some Ramen and Dumplings
  • Stop 3: Powells Used Book Store
  • Dinner: Pok Pok Thai – Take the kids to experience Thai Flavor at Pok Pok Thai
  • Stop 4: Oaks Park roller skating open skate: 7-9:30

Click here to see the whole post: 32 Epic Things To Do In Portland With Kids [Itinerary Included]

** You should add in a stop at the Columbia River Gorge area to see some of the amazing Oregon Waterfalls!

Stop 4: Hood River Fruit Loop Trail

This would be a 1 day adventure!

  • 1st stop – Ground Espresso Bar and Cafe
  • 2nd stop – Apple Valley Country Store For Scones And Breakfast
  • 3rd stop – The Old Trunk – U-pick 10am
  • 4th stop – Montavon’s Berries – U-pick And A Harvest Host
  • 5th Stop – Mt. View Orchards, Cider And Winery
  • 6th Stop – Draper Girls Cider To Grab A Growler
  • 7th Stop – Stave and Stone Wine Estates
  • 8th Stop – Lavender Farm Hood River Lavender
  • 9th stop – Fox Tail Cider
  • 10th stop – Double Mountain Brewery For Dinner

Click here to see the whole post: 10 Amazing Stops On The Hood River Fruit Loop [Map Included]

Northwest Road Trip 5 – Washington State

Picture of our family pointing at the Tree of Life on the Washington Coast

Stop 1: Olympic National Park

Day 1:

  • Arrive: Hoh Rainforest Area (make sure to arrive first thing in the morning so you have the day to explore the Hoh Rainforest)
  • Stay: Hoh Rainforest

Day 2:

  • Explore: The Olympic Coast (Ruby, Kalaloch and Rialto Beach)
  • Where to Stay: Forks area

Day 3:

  • What To Do: Explore Sol Duc Falls area, do hikes, hang out at Lake Crescent and enjoy the area
  • Stay: Sol Duc Hot Springs area

Day 4:

  • What To Do: Explore Hurricane Ridge
  • Stay: Hurricane Ridge area

You can also add on a stop in Port Townsend!

Click here to see the full post: 12 Fun and Exciting Things To Do In Olympic National Park

Stop 2: Seattle Washington

Check out this post from my friend that lives in Seattle on what to do there: Weekend In Seattle

Stop 3: North Cascades National Park

We would recommend spending 2-3 days here and picking from the following list:

  • Cascadian Farm Farm Stand
  • North Cascades Visitor Center
  • Gorge Creek Falls Overlook Trail
  • Video Of North Cascades
  • Diablo Lake Overlook
  • Ross Lake Overlook
  • Blue Lake Trail
  • North Cascades Highway
  • Washington Pass Overlook
  • Skagit General Store
  • Skagit Information Center and Train
  • Sahale Glacier Trail (Cascade Pass)

You can see the full post here:17 Amazing Things To Do In North Cascades National Park

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