Glacier National Park, Montana
Montana's Glacier National Park sits upon the Continental Divide, and its mountains have all been shaped by the powerful movement of glaciers. Located there are such wonders as St. Mary Lake, the second-largest lake in the world, and Chief Mountain, a solitary peak that rises over 4,500 feet from the plains.
Seattle may have been the city of the 1990s, thanks to its contributions to the national music scene and the dominance of Starbucks coffee, but today it's as vibrant and exciting a setting as ever. Seattle is often considered one of the rainiest cities in the country, which is not borne out by actual rainfall statistics. However, it does have cloud cover approximately 226 days out of the year, which means you only have about a 1/3 chance of going to the famous Space Needle on a sunny day.
Portland has a lot of unofficial designations among American cities. It's considered to be the greenest and most bike-friendly of the major urban areas. Portland is also a hotbed for culture, the arts, and dining. Its unique Mediterranean climate makes it the perfect place to grow roses, which is why the city hosts a Rose Festival each year. Kids will love the Discovery Museum at the World Forestry Center, which encourages active learning, and features tours through simulated forest zones from around the world.
Vancouver, British Columbia
Vancouver has enjoyed a reputation as the Hollywood of the north, because its wide range of geology and urban areas allows it to double as almost any other city in the world, and thanks to tax incentives, many movies and TV shows have been filmed there. Vancouver will host the 2010 Winter Olympic Games, with alpine events to be held at the massive Whistler Blackcomb resort. For a scenic drive unlike any other, take a spin on the Sea to Sky Highway.
The Cascade Mountains, which run from Northern California up through Washington state and into Canada, include several dramatic peaks and stunning preservation areas. Several of the mountains are active volcanoes, the most notorious of which, Mt. St. Helens, erupted dramatically in 1980. Fun fact: The Cascade Mountains were the site of the UFO sighting that gave rise to the term "flying saucers," by a pilot named Kenneth Arnold in 1947.