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The Southwest Washington region and its residents live up to the reputations of being outdoorsy coffee and beer drinkers. However, they’re also appreciative of the more diverse dining options that have been popping up for the past 20 years, along with wine tours, major music festivals, and constant sources of entertainment, indoors and out. Rain or shine, life in SW Washington is pretty fine.
The mild temperatures, long summer days, and spectacular natural beauty play a big part in the popularity of outdoor sports and activities. Hiking trails along the Columbia River Gorge and the Cascade Range foothills pay off with multiple stunning views. There’s also no shortage of boating, fishing, or swimming in the many lakes and rivers, and you can even climb Mt. St. Helens without any training, though you should be in shape. The view over the crater rim is more than worth the effort. Plus, during the winter, there’s always skiing and snowboarding at nearby Mt. Hood.
For more casual activities and outings, you’ll find more than 100 parks for your own picnics and fun or try out some of the numerous local wineries. Wine tours are a great way to be social and they’re particularly popular around the holidays. If you’re looking for food to serve alongside some of the wine you buy, the Vancouver Farmers Market has three locations on different days, from spring through fall. Dining out tends to be more casual, but you’ll still find quality food typically at mid-range prices. While people often head to Portland for bigger shows and art exhibits, there’s no shortage of culture in the region. There are numerous concert series throughout the summer and the Vancouver Jazz & Wine Festival is a world-class event.
Life is good in Southwest Washington and the locals (and newcomers) enjoy a casual, laid-back approach to life. With a solid quality of life, nature that takes your breath away, and plenty to keep you entertained and active, this region serves up a way of life that can be just as beautiful as the scenery.