I get the impression from talking to friends that a lot of people are sticking close to home this summer for their vacations.
I just got back from Bend, Oregon, where I stayed for 6 days. What a wonderful place. The natural beauty of Central Oregon is hard to top. I like going to Bend/Sunriver because the climate is exceptional. They get over 300 days of sunshine a year! Plus, it's a high desert climate, so even if it's warm, you probably won't run into any humidity. There are mountains (Mt. Bachelor being the most prominent-check out the pic), beautiful lakes and much more.
Another thing about Oregon that I love is the people. Just like our state, most people in Oregon will go out of their way to be nice. I can't count how many people I asked for directions, and everybody was extremely helpful. Add in a lot of great restaurants and brew pubs, wonderful golf courses, fishing, and trails for biking, and you have a pretty nice destination.
So if you're looking for a nice, affordable place to go, try Central Oregon. Bend is 6 1/2 hours away by car, and most of the drive is very pretty. It seemed like when we went out to eat, everything was at a discount. Prices are definitely a lot lower than going out in Seattle.
And finally, one of the best rewards is that in Oregon...they pump the gas for you! One of the guys at the gas station told me it was actually a state law. So, you aren't ALLOWED to pump your own gas! I love it!
Wherever you go this summer...have a nice vacation.
[photo courtesy of "lincnesh" @flickr.com]