For sightseeing, I'm open to other options or timeframes but currently I'm thinking maybe something along these lines. (Check out one of the past posts for more details about each of these sites.)
Friday afternoon before conference: Fort Vancouver (walking required between buildings, but lots of benches and chairs scattered all around)
Sunday afternoon: Drive along the Columbia River Gorge to get to Multnomah Falls. (the beauty of the falls can be enjoyed from the ground, and there is a lovely bridge over the bottom level of the falls about one flight of stairs or less upwards. It's mesmerizing to lean over the rail and just watch the water fall. For those who do want to hike, there is a trail all the way to the top, but it is quite a hike!)
Monday morning: Mt. St. Helens Observatory
For those wanting to go to the Oregon or Washington coast, I'd advise adding several days before or after the trip and staying a few days right on the beach. My brother-in-law's family owns a vacation house a couple blocks off my favorite beach, Rockaway, Oregon. I think it can sleep something like 10 people. We may be able to rent if for a small fee and have a group there, though we'd have to allow time to clean it after leaving. Rockaway doesn't have much in the way of touristy stuff, but it's a beautiful sandy beach that is never busy even in peak times. There are touristy towns within a half hour drive or so, such as Tillamook to the south, which has a cheese factory you can tour and scenic train and such. Cannon Beach to the north has an amazing Haystack rock with tide pools that are full of the most amazingly colorful starfish and anemones, plus barnacles that are way more alive and cool than I'd ever realized.
Pacific Beach warning! Contrary to the name, the Pacific ocean is very rough and requires awareness and caution. Though they aren't frequent, there are sneaker waves (large, strong waves that suddenly come waist-high far onto the beach up much farther than previous waves) and there can be a strong undertow--a current near the bottom that sucks out to sea. Those two combined especially can be scary. Don't swim out too far and make sure to use the buddy system and keep young kids fairly close, and don't keep your back to the ocean for long periods.
Also, even in summer the water is still very cold. I never swim in it, but do enjoy wading out above my knees in warmer times. It's common to see people wearing shorts and sweatshirts.
Don't let this scare you. I grew up playing on the beach and bring my young nieces there often. Just be aware of what the ocean is doing and aware of where your friends are.
Amy Michelle WileyNEW RELEASE! Bring Your Writing to Life: a writer's guide to "show; don't tell"
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My Website, Sparrow's Flight
Director of Peculiar People
Assistant Coordinator for the FaithWriters Conference
. Mark your calendars for June 28th and 29th, 2013 in Portland, OR!