There are countless reasons to move to the Pacific Northwest, from the major companies based in the region (like Boeing, Amazon, Microsoft, and Costco) to the unique scenery you won’t find anywhere else in the world. But if you’re used to a dry Southwestern climate or the flat rolling fields of the Midwest, your move to the Pacific coast might give you a little bit of culture shock.
Fortunately, whether you just got a new job, you want to enjoy the unique Portland or Seattle culture, or you want to live closer to family, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the Pacific Northwest.
Below, we’ll give you a few tips on how to move from another climate to the unique one in this region. Then, we’ll give you some options that will help you explore your new area once you’re settled in.
What to Know Before You Go
The Pacific Northwest ranges from northern California all the way up to British Columbia. In general, when people think about the Pacific Northwest, they picture constant rain, but the area’s climate can vary depending on which part of the region you live in.
For instance, if you’re moving to the coast, including Seattle or Portland, bear in mind that the region experiences more rainy days than sunny days. If you’re moving inland, including nearer to the Columbia River, you can plan on more sunny days and hotter summer temperatures than you would near the coast.
As with any move, research the weather the week before you leave. If possible, try to move on a sunny day-but if you’re moving nearer the coast, that might not be possible. If you’re not used to rainy weather, remember to dress with one waterproof outer layer. Avoid cotton materials if you’ll be outside in the rain, since cotton retains water more than other fabrics.
Again as with any move, research your travel route long beforehand. Look up possible rest stops and restaurants along the way, and download a traffic app so you can stay apprised of any traffic situations and possible construction sites.
What to Do Once You Arrive
Once you’ve dealt with the stress of unpacking and organizing your new house, you might start to feel a little lonely, especially if you don’t have family or friends in the area you’ve moved to. If you familiarize yourself with your new area, you’ll soon start to feel at home. Try some of the following activities so you can start to feel like a Pacific Northwest native.
1. Multnomah Falls
Multnomah Falls is an incredibly popular destination-in fact, many would say it’s too popular. The parking lot is constantly overflowing, and the sheer amount of visitors can be off-putting to people who like a quieter time.
However, Multnomah Falls is a beautiful waterfall, and you should definitely brave the crowds at least once after you move to the Pacific Northwest, especially if you move to Portland or Seattle. If you visit the location on a weekday, you should have less trouble finding a parking spot, and then you can enjoy this gorgeous Columbia River Gorge waterfall at your own pace.
The hike up to Multnomah Falls is well paved and isn’t very strenuous. If you have young kids or don’t consider yourself much of an outdoors enthusiast, this site is the perfect place to see.
2. Elwha Valley
The Elwha Valley is just one section of the vast Olympic National Forest. For more than a century, much of the area was underwater due to a man-made dam, which was recently removed. Restoration projects are still underway, but much of the area is flourishing. You can camp along the Elwha River, or you can explore trails that take you throughout the forest.
After you stop in the Elwha Valley, make a plan to visit other beautiful areas of the Olympic National Forest, like the Hoh Rainforest and Quinault Rainforest.
3. Mount Rainier
The Pacific Northwest has a unique landscape with several solitary volcanoes that lie along the Cascade Range. Mount Rainier is the highest peak in the range, and although it’s an active volcano, it’s also covered in glaciers.
Visit Mount Rainier National Park to get a glimpse of the mountain for yourself. You can enjoy camping, hiking, and mountain climbing. Once you cross Mount Rainier off your list, visit some of the other spectacular mountains in the region, like Mount Hood.
4. Seattle Seahawks Games
If you’re a sports enthusiast, get involved in the region’s sports by attending a few Seahawks games at CenturyLink Field in Seattle. If football isn’t your thing, check out the Seattle Mariners (men’s baseball), the Seattle Storm (women’s basketball), or the Portland Trail Blazers (men’s basketball). Find a sports team to get passionate about-you’ll feel right at home in no time.
Enjoy Your New Home
If you’re moving to the Pacific Northwest for family, work, or fun, don’t worry-visiting the sites and getting involved in the local scene will help you adjust to your new setting as soon as possible. Work with the right moving company to ensure your possessions arrive safely and on time, and then get to work falling in love with your new area.