Vancouver Spotlight

Regional Attractions

Another terrific reason to visit Vancouver USA is our ease of access to great nearby attractions. Here are a few short trip ideas to explore during your stay:

  • Mount St. Helens - Just an hour and a half drive north, this is Southwest Washington’s signature landmark. The explosive eruption of 1980 marked the re-awakening of this volcanic giant and is responsible for its wide-spread notoriety.  More recently, the volcanic stirrings and smaller eruptions in 2004 and 2005 have created a renewed interest in the awesome power of nature. The area offers exciting hiking and cross-country skiing, and for the more adventurous, a helicopter tour provides an exhilarating and speedy way to take in the full scope of the eruption. Visitor centers along SR-504 offer an array of interpretive videos and displays depicting the geologic events and history of the mountain.
  • Pacific Ocean - From the rugged coast of Astoria to the sandy beaches of Long Beach, there is much to see and do at the Pacific Ocean. Just a two-hour drive west of Vancouver, the area is rich in recreational opportunities from kayaking to kite flying, clamming to treasure hunting, fishing to beach combing. The Corps of Discovery ended their epic journey here and visitors can enjoy many Lewis & Clark attractions on the Long Beach Peninsula. The area is also a seafood lover's paradise, offering locally-caught salmon, halibut, sturgeon, Dungeness Crab, razor clams, oysters and more.
  • Columbia River Gorge – This is the only designated National Scenic Area in the country offering visitors awe-inspiring natural beauty. Native Americans were the first inhabitants of the area, drawn to the plentiful resources around the Columbia River and surrounding mountains. Today, the Gorge is a popular destination for windsurfers, kiteboarders and other recreational enthusiasts enjoying hiking, biking, fishing and more. Visitors can get a closer look at the area’s cultural and natural history at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center. You may also want to check out Bonneville Dam.  Operated by the Army Corps of Engineers, the hydropower production plant is open to the public for tours and is free of charge. To get to there, head east on Hwy 14, following the Columbia River Gorge Scenic Byway past Washougal.
  • Portland, Oregon - Portland is only a 10-minute drive from Vancouver and offers additional visitor activities. The 64-acre Oregon Zoo has many habitats including an African savannah and Asian jungle. A miniature train connects to nearby Washington Park. Lan Su Chinese Gardens offer peaceful paths, pavilions, halls, and a tea house all nestled around a man-made lake. Oregon Museum of Science and Industry is a favorite stop for kids of all ages. It is one of the nation’s top science museums and has hundreds of hands-on exhibits and an OMNIMAX theater. The Portland Art Museum includes works of European, American, Asian, Native American, and Modern art as well as rotating exhibits. Portland also has two professional sports teams: the Portland Timbers, a wildly-popular soccer team with its own Timbers Army and the Portland Trail Blazers, a seasoned professional basketball team. Many of these activities are accessible by the MAX Lightrail and Streetcar lines.