It's true: Summer has officially wound down. But look on the bright side: solar deficit disorder offers all the more reason to escape the gray as winter approaches with an extended weekend elsewhere (to say nothing of the screaming shoulder-season deals to be had this month). From high alpine adventures in sunny Central Oregon to culinary explorations in the ray-baked Wenatchee Valley, we’ve picked a dozen destinations worth burning a few vacation days on. All you have to do is choose the weekend and the way you get there.

In This Feature:

Go By: Plane

Direct-from-PDX destinations worth your frequent-flier miles.

09/19/2011 By Brian Barker, Kelly Clarke, and Rachel Ritchie Edited by Kasey Cordell

Go By: Train

Ride the rails to the best of the West

09/19/2011 By Marty Patail and Zach Dundas

Go By: Automobile

Road trips with drives as dazzling as the destinations

09/19/2011 By Kelly Clarke and Rachel Ritchie