It’s almost here. You can practically feel it: summer!
The ever-so-glorious few months when the weather is flawless, the days are longer, and there’s a sense of leisure in the spring of everyone’s step. Sure, you might have a job or be taking summer classes, but there are the occasional days when you just need to step away from your mundane daily tasks and go on a road trip. I’m here to help you with that.
The first thing you’ll need is a mode of transportation. Depending on where you want to go, it might not be as simple as hopping on your bike. But if your only friend with a car is out of town, you might need an alternative option. Thankfully, Portland offers plenty of ways to get you on the road.
The obvious choice for renting a car these days is to sign up with Zipcar. If you’re not a member, go to their website—zipcar.com—or else look for them around campus. Sometimes they set up tables and can sign up students at a discount. Groupon also sometimes has Zipcar discounts. With Zipcar you have the option of renting a MINI Cooper or a BMW 325i if you’re trying to keep your road trip classy.
Another option I just recently found out about is getaround.com. With Getaround you rent the cars of people located in your area. Each car has its own hourly rate, ranging anywhere from $5.50 per hour to $10 per hour, including daily and weekly rates. I’ve found this option to be much cheaper than any other car service in Portland. Although the cars aren’t necessarily new, you have more say in what kind of car you’re getting: pet friendly, moonroof, premium sound, etc.
Next thing you’ll need are snacks! Because honestly, what’s a road trip without some trail mix or a bag of chips? I like to make a Trader Joe’s run before any big trip. They have everything you didn’t even think you wanted and more. From their peanut butter cups to white cheddar popcorn, you really can’t go wrong.
Once you’ve got the snacks sorted, you’ll need music. I’m a pretty big music geek, but when I’m not feeling up to creating my own, Spotify has some amazing premade playlists. They’ve even got playlists with names like Teen Party and Shitty 2000s. One thing I highly recommend is getting Spotify Premium. When you sign up as a student, it’s only $4.99 per month. I know that may seem like a stretch on your wallet, but when you have the option of listening to that one song you can’t get out of your head or to everything on shuffle, you won’t regret paying a few extra dollars.
You’re almost ready to take off on your epic summer road trip.
One thing left to do: pick your destination! If you’re from Oregon, the likelihood you’ve been to the Oregon coast is high. So maybe you want to try someplace new.
If you’re still looking to go where you can lie outside and try to turn that pale Oregon skin tone into a slightly less pale one, try Seabrook, Washington. This scenic little beach town is like something out of a movie. Founded as a community of shingled cottages in 2004, this quaint town has everything from mountain biking and horseback riding to bocce courts and fire pits. This is a place where the merchants quickly become your friends, and cheese tasting at the local wine shop is worth getting out of bed for.
As I’ve quickly come to learn, any true Oregonian should know that the real Oregon coast lies down south in beach towns like Bandon. If you’re looking for the town where nothing is expected of you but coffee drinking while sprightly elderly ladies offer you cranberry candies—they have an annual cranberry festival—then Bandon is the town for you. Picturesque stairs will lead you down to Bandon’s beaches, where you can sink your toes into the soft sand. If you’re looking for a town where time slows down, Brandon is the destination for you.
If you’re looking for California sun in the Pacific Northwest and a hint of lavender in the air, look no further than Sequim, Washington (pronounced skwim). This town is home to young farmers, bakers, chefs and winemakers, as well as some of the most spectacular views of the Washington coast. And don’t worry, you won’t be let down by Sequim’s legendary “blue hole.” As you drive through the mist from the Olympic Peninsula and cross into the Dungeness Valley, be prepared to say, “Wow!” Blue sky will appear above as if it were awaiting your arrival.
So there it is, folks—the road trip you know you’re ready for.
Whether it’s with your sugapie or your compadres, get the heck out of town this summer. Give yourself a day trip, if not a weekend getaway. And lastly, make it actually happen! You won’t regret it.