It seems as though with every new place we visit, there is often a “most this” or “biggest that”. This post is a running list of the Biggest, Bestest, Smallest, Mostest and other superlative places we’ve visited on our journey. We’ll continue to add more as we visit them.
Biggest Tree In The World – General Sherman, Sequoia National Park
General Sherman tree in Sequoia National Park, California. This tree is the largest by volume in the world and is 2,200 years old. It is 275 feet tall, 103 feet in circumference, 36.5 feet in diameter, 52,500 cubic feet in volume, and weighs 1,385 tons. We visited General Sherman in May 2015.
Windiest Place on the American Pacific Coast – Point Reyes
The tip of Point Reyes, just above the lighthouse, has a plaque stating it may be the “windiest point on America’s Pacific Coast”. We were there in June 2015. It was pretty windy.
Highest Pass in California – Tioga Pass, Yosemite National Park
Tioga Pass in Yosemite National Park is the highest highway pass in California and the Sierra Nevada mountain range. It is just shy of 10,000 feet. We drove through this pass in June 2015 and just after we went through the Yosemite entrance, it started to snow!
Lowest Point in North America – Badwater Basin, Death Valley
Badwater Basin in Death Valley National Park. It is 282 feet below sea level. We visited this spot during our week-long trial run at full-timing when we rented a motorhome during Christmas break in 2014.
World’s Largest Salmon BBQ – Fort Bragg
Held annually in Fort Bragg, CA on the first Saturday in July. Pay $30 to eat as much salmon and other food as you can from 11am to 6pm. We didn’t get to go to this unfortunately as we left the area two days before the event. But we saw ads and flyers for it all over Fort Bragg.
Largest Natural Lake in California – Clear Lake
Clear Lake is the largest natural lake completely contained within California. It is also one of the oldest lakes in North America at nearly 500,000 years old. We stopped here for one night on our way from Fort Bragg to Lassen Volcanic National Park in June 2015.
Hottest Fumarole in the World – Big Boiler, Lassen Volcanic National Park
What the heck is a fumarole? It is an opening in the earth’s crust near volcanic activity that emits steam and gases. Big Boiler at Lassen Volcanic National Park is the hottest one in the world at 322°F. We visited it in June 2015.
Deepest Lake in the United States – Crater Lake
Crater Lake, Oregon, is 1943 feet deep, making it the deepest lake in the United States. We visited Crater Lake National Park in July 2015.
Largest Coastal Sand Dunes in North America – Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area
We happened to visit the Oregon Dunes National Recreation Area as we were driving north on Highway 101. The kids had a blast running up and down the dunes, then looking for seashells along the beach. The sand was perfect, the water very clear and very cold.
Largest Sea Cave in the World – The Sea Lion Caves
The Sea Lion Caves is located on Highway 101 on the Oregon coast. It was discovered by someone named Captain Cox in 1880. It is one of the only places where sea lions inhabit a sea cave. This cave is claimed to be the largest sea cave in the world. While it is big, I would have expected it to be bigger. We visited in July 2015.
Most Photographed Lighthouse in the World – Heceta Head Lighthouse
Heceta Head Lighthouse is right next to the Sea Lion Caves on Highway 101 in Oregon. It is claimed to be the most photographed lighthouse in the world, probably due to being so close to a busy tourist destination. We photographed it in July 2015.
World Capital for Dungeness Crab – Newport, Oregon
Newport, Oregon claims to be the world capital for dungeness crab. I had to try my hand at crabbing while staying there in July 2015. I bought a used crab ring from a local shop, filled it with raw chicken wings and fish carcasses, and ended up catching 7 large dungeness. They made a great breakfast the next morning.
Oldest American Settlement West of the Rockies – Astoria, Oregon
Astoria, Oregon. This is a neat little fishing town where “The Goonies” was filmed. It has a really good museum, the Columbia River Maritime Museum, that tells a lot of the history of Astoria and it’s involvement in salmon fishing and canning along the Columbia River. If you visit, be sure to get fish n’ chips at the Bowpicker across the street from the museum. We visited Astoria in July 2015.
First Incorporated U.S. City West of the Rockies – Oregon City, Oregon
Oregon City was incorporated in 1844, making it the first U.S. city to be incorporated west of the Rockies. It was founded in 1829 by the Hudson Bay Company because of it’s location on the Willamette Falls, which was used to run a lumber mill and later a paper mill. It was also the end point of the Oregon Trail. We stayed at Clackamette Park, just downstream from the Willamette Falls and had a good time catching crawfish out of the Willamette River.
Largest Waterfall in Pacific Northwest, Second Largest in U.S. – Willamette Falls, Oregon
Willamette Falls is the largest waterfall in the U.S. next to Niagara (if you count Niagara as a U.S. falls). It isn’t very high (about 40 feet), but is about 1500 feet wide, making it the 17th widest in the world. It is not so impressive anymore because of the industrial building all around it — a paper mill, hydroelectric plant, canal and locks, and other buildings. We stayed just downstream from the falls in Oregon City in July 2015.
Largest Bookstore in the World – Powell’s City of Books, Portland, Oregon
Powell’s Bookstore claims to be the largest new and used bookstore in the world with over 1 million books. The store takes up an entire city block. This is a fun place to browse around for a couple hours if you like books. We visited Powell’s in July 2015.
Tallest Building In The Pacific Northwest – Columbia Center, Seattle, WA
You might have mistakenly thought the Space Needle was the tallest building in Seattle, but that would be wrong. The Columbia Center is hundreds of feet taller, making it the tallest building in the Pacific Northwest and the second tallest building on the West Coast. The Sky View Observatory at the top of the Columbia Center is a great place to get a view of the city, including a nice view of the Space Needle. Best of all, there are no lines and tickets to the top are a lot cheaper. We visited the Columbia Center in July 2015.
Largest Dam in North America – The Grand Coulee Dam, Washington
Think Hoover Dam is the biggest? Nope, it’s the Grand Coulee Dam in Eastern Washington (the Hoover Dam is taller, but the Grand Coulee is much thicker and wider). This thing is the 2nd largest concrete structure in the world, just behind a larger dam in China. It is bigger than the Great Pyramid, one of the seven wonders of the ancient world. The Grand Coulee is also the largest power producing facility in North America with over 6,000 megawatts of capacity. We visited the Grand Coulee Dam in August 2015.