Socially distanced attractions and activities for a road trip across the Pacific Northwest that are actually worth the stop

  • The coronavirus pandemic has made it unsafe to travel internationally and travel experts previously told Business Insider that road trips would be the vacation of the summer.
  • CDC Director Robert Redfield predicts the pandemic will last through the fall and winter.
  • We surfed Trip Advisor for the highest-rated attractions in the Pacific Northwest within recommended social distancing guidelines.
  • While there is some debate over which states and regions are included in the Pacific Northwest, Business Insider looked at British Columbia and the US states of Washington, Idaho, and Oregon for this article.
  • Travelers should consult the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) guidelines before embarking on any summer travel.
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

With many international travel restrictions in place, travelers are hitting the road, quite literally, for the summer. Travel experts previously told BI that they expect to see vacation trends shift from traveling by plane to that by car and RV.

Sources: Business Insider, Business Insider

As fall rolls around and the pandemic continues, we compiled the top-rated attractions across the Pacific Northwest that are worth a socially distanced visit.

Oregon: Drive through Wildlife Safari in Douglas County, Oregon, to see animals from all over the world without leaving your car.

Source: Wildlife Safari

For about $20 a person, you can drive slowly through this 4.5-mile park filled with animals from Africa, Asia, and North and South America.

Sources: Trip Advisor, Wildlife Safari

The park, which Trip Advisor reviews say takes about 1.5 hours, is ideal for social distancing because you don't even have to leave your car — the animals come to you.

Sources: Trip Advisor, Wildlife Safari

Further north in Oregon, towards Portland, explore Silver Falls State Park inside the state's temperate rainforest.

Sources: Trip Advisor, Oregon State Parks

Pay $5 for parking and hike the trails and see waterfalls.

Sources: Trip Advisor, Oregon State Parks, The Culture Trip

Some parts of the park are closed due to the pandemic, like the visitors center and one of the play areas. Oregon State Parks warns that you may have to turn around if the trails are too crowded. Other areas are closed due to wildfire warnings. The North Falls and Winter Falls trailheads are open.

Source: Oregon State Parks

On the south coast of Oregon, just north of Gold Beach, take a stroll through a garden packed with life-size dinosaur sculptures.

Source: Trip Advisor

The Prehistoric gardens cost between $8 and $12 to enter, depending on your age. Kids under two can go in for free.

Source: Trip Advisor, Prehistoric Gardens

The attraction is currently open, but patrons have to stay six feet apart from other groups, per guidelines set by Governor Kate Brown.

Sources: Oregon Health Authority, Prehistoric Gardens

Washington: In Tacoma, Washington, stretch your legs and take some photos at the Chihuly Bridge of Glass.

Source: Atlas Obscura

The 500-foot bridge has thousands of glass sculptures displayed on it and is above an art museum dedicated to glass. Trip Advisor reviews recommend viewing this free attraction at night when it's lit up.

Source: Atlas Obscura, Trip Advisor

While it's partially covered, the attraction is outdoors, making social distancing possible.

Source: Atlas Obscura, Trip Advisor

East of Olympia, Washington, take a walk among migratory birds at a wildlife refuge.

Sources: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Trip Advisor

Trip Advisor reviews say there is a lot to see at the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. It costs $3 for four adults to enter, and trails are open every day from sunrise to sunset.

Sources: US Fish and Wildlife Service, Trip Advisor

The refuge reopened to the public on June 8, but the bathrooms and water fountains are still closed to prevent the spread of the coronavirus.

Source: US Fish and Wildlife Service

West of Seattle, in Olympic National Park, drive up to Hurricane Ridge to take a hike or just enjoy the view.

Source: Trip Advisor

It costs $30 per vehicle to get inside the park. Trip Advisor reviews say the view is worth the 17-mile drive up a winding road.

Source: Trip Advisor, National Parks Service

The Hurricane Ridge area reopened after coronavirus-related closures, Penninsula Daily News reported on June 25. A July 10 update from the National Parks Service confirms remains open, but parts of some roads in the park are closed due to wildfires, so be sure to check the NPS website for updates.

Source: Penninsula Daily News, National Parks Service

On the eastern border of Washington, pick and purchase some fresh produce at Green Bluff — a cluster of local farms.

Source: Trip Advisor

Each farm has its own schedule, so be sure to check their individual websites to see if they are open before going. Links to these sites are accessible through the Green Bluff Growers website.

Source: Trip Advisor, Green Bluff Growers

They also might have their own coronavirus safety guidelines. For example, Beck's Harvest House is open for the summer season, but they are requiring social distancing and offering smiles in place of handshakes.

Source: Green Bluff Farms

Idaho: Across Washington's eastern border, explore the City of Rocks in southern Idaho.

Sources: Trip Advisor, National Parks Service

This national reserve is rich with granite rock formations that stretch as high as 70 feet. It is free to enter.

Sources: Trip Advisor, National Parks Service, National Parks Service

The reserve asked park-goers to social distance and to turn around if the parking lot is full in a Facebook post from late June.

Source: City of Rocks/Facebook

Up in Boise, Idaho, walk through an alley-way-turned-art-gallery.

Source: Trip Advisor

Freak Alley Gallery is the biggest outdoor gallery of murals in the Northwest, per Trip Advisor.

Source: Trip Advisor

It's free to access and outdoors, making social distancing possible.

Source: Trip Advisor

In east Idaho, catch a movie at the Spud Drive-In in Driggs.

Sources: Trip Advisor, Spud Drive-In

At this drive-in theatre, you can watch a movie from on a gigantic screen from your car and tune in to the film's audio on the radio.

Sources: Trip Advisor, Spud Drive-In

Tickets cost up to $9.50 depending on your age. There are new coronavirus-era restrictions, like parking six feet apart and ordering tickets and food online.

Sources: Spud Drive-In, Spud Drive-In


British Columbia: Across the border into Canada, take a stroll through British Columbia's Butchart Gardens.

Non-essential travel into Canada is currently off-limits, and the US Department of State advises against international travel.

Sources: Butchart Gardens, Trip Advisor

The gardens include 55 acres of flowers and other plants from around the world. It costs up to $35 per person to enter, depending on your age.

Sources: Butchart Gardens, Trip Advisor

Due to the coronavirus pandemic, there are new regulations like limiting how many people can view the gardens at a time and staying six feet apart from other groups.

Sources: Butchart Gardens, Trip Advisor

Northeast of the gardens, walk across a suspension bridge above the Capilano River.

Source: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Trip Advisor

It costs about $50 to enter, and Trip Advisor reviews say that the views from the bridge are spectacular.

Source: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, Trip Advisor


The park reopened in June with coronavirus-era regulations. For example, you must not have left Canada in the last two weeks in order to enter.

Source: Capilano Suspension Bridge Park

Take a walk through a 1000-acre rainforest park on the water in Vancouver.

Sources: Trip Advisor, City of Vancouver

Trip Advisor reviews say it takes a couple of hours to walk around the scenic park.

Source: Trip Advisor

While the park is open, the park's train and information booth remain closed in light of the coronavirus pandemic.

Source: City of Vancouver

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