Shoulder season in the Pacific Northwest runs from April-May and September-Oct typically.  It’s those times of year just outside of peak seasons. When the crowds are in full force during ski season and also during those prime summer months, the “shoulders” of these seasons make a super time to visit.  

Lower Rates

First, you’ll want to book accommodations. Lucky for you, shoulder season means lower rates on premium vacation rentals.  If you’re looking to keep some cash in your pocket, consider a shoulder season getaway to take advantage of those deals.

Smaller Crowds

Crowds are smaller in the spring and fall  in destinations like the Alpine-WY, the Yellowstone area, and others.  The milder temperatures also make it a wonderful time to visit the mountains and enjoy the feeling of having some spots to yourself.

Enjoy a “Locals” Experience

Live like a local in Victoria and other areas during spring and fall. Take in the Greater Victoria Performing Arts Festival, when for six weeks local students take to the stage with dance, music and theater performances. Or attend a performance by the Victoria Symphony, with several events set in March and April. Take the kids to visit baby goats at Beacon Hill Children’s Farm.  Either way, with the slower pace usually found in the shoulder seasons, you’ll feel like you’re a part of the local crowd wherever you go.

Save on Fun

Not only can you get low rates on accommodations, but the shoulder seasons are also a great time to save on attractions as well. For example, get a 30% off coupon for the Victoria Butterly Gardens, valid through March 31. Enjoy free admission at museums on April 4. More than a dozen Washington museums are participating in Free Museum Day, including Seattle’s Museum of Pop Culture, Asian Art Museum, Seattle Art Museum, the National Nordic Museum and the Museum of Flight. There are also three free days at Washington State Parks on March 19, April 11 and April 22.

Magnificent Views

Some activities only take place during the shoulder seasons. The northward migration of the gray whale is one of those. From late March to June, whales migrate back to Alaska. Each spring, about 18,000 whales pass close to the Oregon Coast, creating some perfect whale watching opportunities. Cannon Beach has three awesome vantage points for spotting these magnificent creatures.  And the San Juan Islands are also a favorite!

Spring Blooms

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a driving tour held April 1-30 in La Conner, Wash. The festival takes spectators past fields where millions of blooming tulips scatter throughout the region.   

Another driving tour is the Hood River County Fruit Loop, as April is blossom time in Oregon. Located at the foot of Mount Hood, it’s a wonderful way to see this beautiful region. Twenty-nine member stands offer a variety of fruit, vegetables, flowers, ciders, wind and food. 

Then there’s Spring Sensations 2020, throughout the month of April when the small town of Leavenworth-WA, shows off its apples, peaches, pears, cherries and plums to visitors. 

Fall Festivals and More

Fall also provides great opportunities to see the amazing aspens as they turn to a vibrant yellow and dominate the valleys and mountains of the Northwest.   You can also hear elk bugling during those prime Sept and October months during their breeding season.

You can also catch many great fall festivals, such as the Autumn Leaf Festival in Leavenworth, the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival in WA, and the Bend Fall Fest in Bend-OR.  

 Come visit this spring or fall, and discover a whole other side of your favorite destinations during the shoulder seasons!