pacific northwest
PNW Mountains by Kalen Emsley

There are hills to hike, waterfalls to explore, and plates of eggs Benedict to devour. This is your ultimate Pacific Northwest travel bucket list. And, it’s just in time for kicking off the New Year!

It’s loaded with seaside cocktails, DIY brewery tours, and can’t-miss donuts. It features remote fishing destinations, sea-to-table cuisine, and some of the most Instagram-worthy spots around.

20 Bucket List Worthy Things To Do In The Pacific Northwest

friday harbor fall

1. Snap the Best Selfie on San Juan Island

From epic lookouts and historic sites to adorable animals and the best outdoor art museum on the island, San Juan Island has some great spots to snap a selfie (or a few)!

Oak Bay Beach Hotel
Photo provided by Oak Bay Beach Hotel.

2. Book an Epic Spa Treatment

Indulge in the tranquility of aromatic steam rooms, invigorating body scrubs, soothing massages by waterfalls, and awe-inspiring views. Experience the ultimate relaxation and restoration at the top-notch resorts and day spas in Victoria, BC, and throughout Vancouver Island.

Located just a 45 minute seaplane flight from Kenmore, WA to Victoria’s Inner Harbour or a quick 30 minute from from Friday Harbor Airport, San Juan Island to Victoria International Airport, your travel time can be short and your views epic.

3. Make Your Own Pub Crawl in Victoria

With the city’s plethora of microbreweries, Victoria is a beer lover’s haven. Wear comfortable walking shoes and bring an appetite for this DIY pub crawl. The fabulous Roy Kiers from Chateau Victoria shares his favorite stops, along with great recommendations for small apps perfect to share.

Susies Mopeds

4. Experience Fresh Air and Freedom on a Moped Adventure

There’s nothing quite like hitting the open road with the wind in your face, especially when you’re on San Juan Island! Located in downtown Friday Harbor, Susie’s Mopeds rents mopeds and scoot coups (essentially a two-seater moped), perfect for exploring the island at your leisure.

Kenmore fizz aport ludlow resort

5. Enjoy a Seaside Cocktail at Port Ludlow

A peaceful escape from the hustle and bustle, Port Ludlow’s Fireside Restaurant faces the marina, including the seaplane dock. The tranquil location is known for its casually elegant Pacific Northwest cuisine. And, the mixologists behind the bar know how to craft one tasty cocktail. Plus, it’s just a short charter flight away.

West Coast Wilderness Lodge

6. Make Your Own ‘Summer Camp’ at the West Coast Wilderness Lodge

The West Coast Wilderness Lodge may look like a simple collection of windows tucked between the trees. It’s so much more. The unassuming destination is a seasonal one. (Routes are only open May through September.) But when they are, we love to visit.

The gentle waterways at the base of its hill make for exceptional kayaking. You might even be greeted by a few curious seals. Hiking trails abound. They offer zodiac adventures and fishing excursions. The on-site restaurant features sea-to-table cuisine. And the bar offers daily cocktail lessons. Just be sure to book in advance.

mount rainier

7. Witness Two World Wonders – Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens

Like the Grand Canyon and the Great Barrier Reef, Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens are bucket list world wonders. Without a doubt, one of the best ways to see them is from the sky. And, no tour takes you closer than the window seat of a Cessna Caravan.

haunted parliament buildings

8. Go on the Ultimate Photo Walk Through Victoria

Known as a pedestrian-friendly city, there is no better way to explore Victoria than on foot. Make sure to bring your camera for this adventure, as it will take you to the best photo-worthy spots throughout the city.

What’s even better about this excursion? It makes for the perfect day-trip activity. Catch the early flight out of Kenmore’s headquarters in Kenmore, WA directly to Victoria’s Inner Harbour. From there, the city is your oyster. Walk. Eat. Snap. Repeat. Then fly home and plan your next trip!

Downriggers on San Juan Island

9. Indulge in San Juan Island’s Top Restaurants

Thanks to the San Juan Islands’ remote location, chefs lean heavily on locally sourced ingredients. Here, farm-to-table and sea-to-table cuisine reigns supreme. Not to mention the views are exquisite. 

Chatterbox Falls at Princess Louisa Inlet

10. Stand in the Spray of Chatterbox Falls at Princess Louisa Inlet

Carved into the Sunshine Coast, at the head of Princess Louisa Inlet, Chatterbox Falls might steal your heart. Here, old-growth forests tower among magnificent granite walls. The placid waters are mirror-like. And, sounds of water tumbling 120 feet into a glorious mist echoes throughout the canyon.

eggs benedict

11. Eat Eggs Benedict In BC’s Brunch Capital

Known for its epic brunch scene, Victoria restaurants specialize in eggs Benedict (also known as Bennys). Chefs have gotten creative with these luscious breakfast plates, offering updated twists on the classic back bacon, poached egg, and hollandaise concoctions.

Roche Harbor Donuts

12. Sample Roche Harbor’s World-Famous Donuts

There are donuts. And then there are donuts at Lime Kiln Café. These cake-like babies are made fresh daily and disappear fast. Make sure to show up early in order to snag one (or a dozen). After all, a visit to Roche Harbor Resort isn’t quite the same without one.

Eagle Nook

13. Go Fishing Off the Beaten Track

The Pacific Rim of Vancouver Island is a place like none other. It’s close enough to reach in a day and yet somehow it feels removed from the “real world.” At Eagle Nook Resort, you can immerse yourself in the best Mother Nature has to offer. From fishing to wildlife adventures, this slice of remote paradise might make you think about moving to the country.

making granola at harrison house suites

14. Do Nothing at Harrison House Suites

Sometimes, the best thing to do is nothing at all. At Harrison House Suites, that’s exactly what your vacation can be. Each room is uniquely appointed with plush robes and house-crafted bath roads. Most feature fireplaces. Some include two-person hot tubs. And, all come with a two-course breakfast that’s rave-worthy.

Orca killer whale off the coast of Canada

15. Go Whale Watching

Few things are more breathtaking than watching an orca breach – the massive black and white body shooting out from the sea, water trailing off its back as its momentarily suspended in the air. The crash and splash when it hits. The oos and ahhs from the boat. The feeling of your heart beating wildly in your chest.

Tulips at The Butchart Gardens. Image provided by The Butchart Gardens.
Image provided by The Butchart Gardens.

16. Wander Through the Butchart Gardens

Thirteen miles outside of Victoria’s quaint Inner Harbour, The Butchart Gardens burst with color. The sprawling grounds feature 55 acres of manicured gardens and public trails.

wine and toasts

17. Sample Your Way Through BC’s Renowned Cowichan Valley

Cowichan Valley is the sweetest slice of wine country heaven you’ve probably never heard of. Warm days and crisp nights, gravelly soil rich with minerals, and lush aquifers imbue Cowichan Valley wines with fruit-forward flavors that deliver a crisp, dry finish. The conditions are similar to what’s found in the northern regions of Germany and France. The main difference is: Cowichan vines are relative babies. 

But make no mistake — this quaint slice of paradise produces exceptional grapes. It’s a fact that was recognized in June of 2020 when Cowichan Valley was formally given a sub-geographical indication (sub-GI). An official and protected term in B.C., it helps people identify local wine origins, signifying that at least 95% of the wine was made with regionally grown grapes.

doe bay clams
Photo by Sara Satterlee

18. Savor Clams at Doe Bay on Orcas Island

With its clothing-optional spa and rustic waterfront campsites, Doe Bay’s idyllic setting invites you to rest and refuel. Their highly acclaimed restaurant features seed-to-table cuisine, with many of the ingredients coming from their very own garden. All seafood is sourced from local fisherman, including their clams. This fragrant bowl loaded with white wine and herbs is the kind of dish over which memories are made. This is a can’t-miss on Orcas Island!

Wine tasting on the patio at Caprio Cellars in Walla Walla

19. Plan the Ultimate Walla Walla Wine Getaway

Situated in the southeastern corner of Washington State, Walla Walla wine country encompasses nearly 3,000 acres, extending into the northeastern-most tip of Oregon. This locale serves as the perfect girls’ weekend destination, providing a serene atmosphere to unwind, relax, and savor some of the finest wines Washington has to offer.

Chinatown by Destination BCTanya Goehring
Photo of Victoria’s Chinatown by Destination BC and Tanya Goehring

20. Explore Canada’s Oldest Chinatown

While the modern-day footprint of Victoria’s Chinatown may be petite, its cultural and historical impact is not. In 1995, it was designated a national historic site. Here, you can get a glimpse into the rich history of Victoria’s thriving Chinese community.