No matter how you prefer to spend a warm summer day, Vancouver is the perfect jumping off point for your summer adventures. You'll find shaded hikes, sunny swimming holes and picture-perfect views, all of which make Vancouver an ideal base camp for spending the day outdoors in the great Pacific Northwest. Here's just a handful of the sights and scenery that make Vancouver worth a visit, each with our pick for where you can fuel up before you start your adventures and where to wind down with a cold drink after.
Situated just ten minutes northwest of downtown Vancouver is Vancouver Lake, which features sandy beaches that are perfect for summer recreation. Pack a picnic and spend the day swimming and lounging by the lake or bring your SUP or kayak for a paddle out on the lake's glistening waters.
Fuel up: Grab a cup of coffee and a pastry at Felida Coffeehouse. Opened in 2016, Felida Coffeehouse features the winning combo of Deep Roots Coffee and pastries courtesy of Bleu Door Bakery, a downtown Vancouver staple known best for its flaky croissants, rich quiches and delectable desserts.
Wind down: Grab a pint of Lamp Post Lager or Bridge Lifter IPA at Mt. Tabor Brewing, a recent transplant from Portland to the Felida neighborhood that appeals to beer drinkers of all stripes with its wide selection of fresh craft brews.
This 7.5-mile loop offers incredible scenic views of the Columbia River Gorge with a fraction of the crowds you'll find at other points nearby. See waterfalls, panoramic vistas of Washington and Oregon, and peregrine falcon nesting in the cliffs during the early summer months.
Fuel up: Try a slice of huckleberry coffee cake or a savory house-made hand pie at Thatcher's Coffee, a woman-owned shop located right off of WA 14 serving up top-notch lattes in a bright minimalist storefront.
Wind down: Visit Camas on the way back into town for one of the many celebrated IPAs brewed at Grains of Wrath. Founded just over a year ago by ex-Fatheads brewer Mike Hunsaker, it's a great pit stop for a tasty plate of nachos and pulled pork on the sun-soaked patio right in the heart of downtown Camas.
Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge
The Pacific Northwest is beloved for its tall trees and sprawling mountains, but the wetlands that wind through the Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge are vital to the region's beauty as well. Check out Ridgefield Kayak Rentals for a vessel that provides a close-up view of the wildlife for a fully immersive experience in this amazingly diverse nature preserve found just north of Vancouver.
Fuel up: Even though there's plenty of donuts on offer aside from Mr. Maple's namesake sweet, you really need to sink your teeth into one of the sweet and smoky maple bars to get a feel for this brand new shop right off the 5 in Hazel Dell. Wash it down with a fresh cup of coffee, grab an M&M's-topped creation for the kids and you're on your way to donut heaven.
Wind down: Now that you've spent an afternoon wading through the water in search of rare wildlife, it's time to wind down with a glass of wine by the lake at Ridgefield's own Bethany Vineyard & Winery. It's idyllic as it is innovative, with a well-curated selection of classic flavors that will please any palate after a long day of paddling. You can finish your day on the water enjoying a semi-dry Riesling and gourmet cheese board, while sitting on Bethany's floating dock.
Moulton Falls is a summertime essential for anyone looking to take a dip in a cool, deep pool of fresh water after a day of hiking the nearby Bells Mountain Trail. Visitors can arrive via the North Clark County Scenic Drive, which connects several parks and passes attractions like the Cedar Creek Grist Mill and Pomeroy Living History Farm.
Fuel up: Hawaiian food is famous for its love of mash-ups, and 808 Sunrise Deli brings all your favorite breakfast foods together with a spin that could only happen on island time. A kalua pork bagel sandwich or a side of spam musubi will get you going in no time, and there's always plenty of fresh coffee on hand to wash it down.
Wind down: Located in a barn constructed by its founding family, Moulton Falls Winery & Cider House is a fun and scenic diversion less than two miles from the falls. Cider lovers will appreciate the bounty of fresh Washington apples Moulton Falls uses in their brews, while wine enthusiasts are drawn to the appealing terroir found in the Yakima and Columbia River Valley grapes employed in the winemaking process.
Walk, jog or cycle your way through Vancouver's Columbia River Waterfront Renaissance Trail, which connects Esther Short Park with a gorgeous five-mile trail passing through the new Waterfront Development that's a joy for all modes of transportation. It's especially fun to enjoy by bike, which is a breeze thanks to the bike rental service at Bike Clark County.
Fuel up: Stop by Coffee Villa's bright blue roaming truck for a freshly brewed cup of coffee or a rich, foamy latte to get you the jolt you need to take on the Waterfront Renaissance Trail by bike.
Wind down: Grab a happy hour cocktail and shareable bites like a mezza platter or fried calamari at Twigs Bistro & Martini Bar, a New American eatery with a focus on fresh ingredients and a brand-new location with views right on the waterfront.
Mount Saint Helens
No matter how hot it is outside, a trip to Mount Saint Helens' Ape Cave is sure to cool you off. This lava volcano, formed nearly 2,000 years ago, maintains a temperature of around 42 degrees Fahrenheit year-round, making it a cool hike even on the hottest summer day. Plus, it's a famous artifact of Pacific Northwest history since the mountain blew its top in 1980.
Fuel up: Whether it's savory or sweet breakfast items you crave, the Hello Waffle cart in Camas has you covered. Enjoy their rich and toasty waffles doused in syrup or fresh fruit compote, or order them like a sandwich with your favorite meats and cheeses stacked between the waffles.
Wind down: Loowit Brewing has been a mainstay of the burgeoning craft brew scene in Vancouver since opening in 2010, and their ever-growing portfolio of dank IPAs, rich stouts and smooth lagers continues to keep them in the running as one of the area's best.
There's even more to see in Vancouver, WA. Go to VisitVancouverUSA.com to see.