Spring has almost sprung in the Pacific Northwest! We’ve been anticipating this time of year for months now, as it typically includes warmer temperatures, blooming flowers, longer days, exciting community events, and much more.
Take a look at a handful of the many reasons we’re looking forward to spring in the Pacific Northwest — and then add your own reason(s) in the comments below!
Farmers’ Markets Are Back
Spring typically marks the beginning of farmers’ market season — and we couldn’t be more excited. We can now shop for seasonal produce straight from local farmers and purveyors at one of the many markets in the area, including dozens in the Portland Metro. A few other regional favorites include the Bend Farmers’ Market, the Hood River Farmers’ Market, and the Cannon Beach Farmers’ Market.
It’s the Perfect Time to Go Hiking
From a quiet stroll through a community park to extensive long-distance hikes along the Pacific Crest Trail, there are endless opportunities for hiking in the Pacific Northwest. Popular hiking destinations include Forest Park in Portland, Olympic National Park on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula, the Oregon Badlands Wilderness in Central Oregon, the Columbia River Gorge near Hood River, and of course, all the incredible mountains in our midst.
The Sun is Shining
This is an obvious one, but it’s certainly worth mentioning. We earn our spring and summer here in the PNW. Let’s just say: the sunshiny days and warmer temperatures are welcomed with wide open arms (in need of a tan) come springtime. And Vitamin D has a powerful effect on our mental health, so during the spring and summer, PNWers seem to have an extra pep in their step!
It’s Ideal Whale Watching Time
Each year, nearly 20,000 gray whales travel along the Oregon Coast between Alaska and Mexico and can easily be spotted off the shoreline at Cannon Beach. These 35-ton beasts make their way south for warmer waters at the start of winter and head north to cooler waters at the start of spring. And during peak migration, you could potentially see as many as dozens of whales passing by at a time. Whale watching along the Oregon Coast is a must-do winter and spring activity! That’s why we created this guide to enhance your whale watching adventure in Cannon Beach, for both locals and visitors alike.
Wildflowers Are Blooming
As if the combination of snow-capped mountains, evergreen trees and bright blue skies was not enough — many hikes are lined with spectacular wildflowers during the spring. Maximize this idyllic season with our list of the best wildflower hikes in the Pacific Northwest — from the Portland Metro Area to Central Oregon, and several in between. We’ve included a mix of easy loop trails, challenging climbs, coastal hikes, and desert trails. While they vary in difficulty and terrain, each trail shares one thing in common — a colorful display of wildflowers during the spring!
It’s Hood River Fruit Loop Season
The Hood River Fruit Loop is a scenic 35-mile drive through the valley featuring 29 member stands offering a variety of wines, fruits, vegetables, flowers, ciders, food and more. While many stands are open all year long, several are closed during the colder months and reopen during the spring or early summer. Use our guide to learn more about each member stand and map out your adventure along this scenic loop just south of Hood River.
Great Blue Herons Are Around
At the risk of sparking “put a bird on it” jokes, we have to ask. Did you know Portland has an official bird? The Great Blue Heron is the city’s official bird, and it is celebrated with Great Blue Heron Week in early June each year. But this large bird starts gathering in big rookeries and builds nests atop trees as early as February, and chicks are typically born in April. Great Blue Herons are a subtle sign of spring’s arrival, and they are most visible during the month of March, before trees begin to fill out with leaves and block them and their nests from view. See an abundance of herons at Ross Island south of downtown Portland, on Bybee Lake where the Columbia and Willamette Rivers meet, and along 185th Avenue near Beaverton.
The Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival is Back
Considered one of the most iconic spring events in the region, the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival in Woodburn attracts thousands of guests from the last week of March all the way through the month of April. See 40 acres of tulips in bloom, visit the gift shop and cafe, and attend one of the many events planned throughout the festival. Tickets range in price from a $5 day pass to a $40 season pass. Admission for children ages 12 and under is free.
Outdoor Adventure Awaits
Outdoor recreation and the Pacific Northwest are basically synonymous. We have the ideal terrain, filled with towering mountains and rock formations, sparkling waterfalls and rivers, and lush forests and greenery, to make outdoor recreation even more enjoyable. And of course, pleasant spring and summer weather enhances the experience. Not sure where to start? Hike to one of these waterfalls in the region, visit Mount Hood or Mount Bachelor, visit one of these state parks along the Oregon Coast, spend the day at Oswego Lake in Lake Oswego, or do one of these activities in Portland.
It’s Patio Season
Maximize your sun exposure by dining on an outdoor patio when spring hits! And consider taking your al fresco dining experience to new heights (literally) by heading to one of these rooftop patios in Portland. Some are situated several floors up, offering panoramic views of the cityscape, while others are surrounded by lush greenery for a more romantic setting. But all are perfect for outdoor dining and drinking when the sun is shining.
Cherry Blossoms Are Everywhere
One of the earliest signs of spring’s arrival is the abundance of cherry trees in bloom. But you have to catch their peak bloom at just the right time! A few of the best places to see cherry blossoms in Portland include Tom McCall Waterfront Park, Hoyt Arboretum, Pittock Mansion, and more. Not to mention, Hood River is a well-known destination for cherry, apple and pear tree blossoms throughout the month of April, and they’ve even coined it Blossom Time.
The Days are Longer
In the wake of the one-hour time change in early March, the days begin to stretch a bit longer during the spring and into the summer. In fact, in mid-April, the sun doesn’t set until about 8 p.m., and as late as about 9 p.m. in early June. This means we can linger a little longer on the outdoor patio with a glass of wine, go on leisurely post-dinner walks through the neighborhood, and let the kids play in the yard for a few minutes more.
Our Gardens Are in Bloom
Spring is the most common time to plant new flowers, bushes or even trees. This creates beautiful lush backdrops in our community parks, throughout the neighborhood, and in our own backyards. The PNW is considered a very forgiving region for gardening, due to its moderate climate and overall abundance of moisture. In fact, there are very few plants you cannot plant in the Pacific Northwest! But there are a handful of plants, both edible and nonedible, that do particularly well in this region. Some are native, some are not, and all thrive in our favorable conditions.
What are you looking forward to?
Let us know your favorite springtime activities and qualities in the comments below!