Vancouver has been rated one of America's top cities, a medium-sized metropolis with easy access to Portland, Oregon, Mount Saint Helens, Mount Hood and Seattle. Located along the north side of the Columbia River, Vancouver has been, historically, one of the most important commercial centers in the region. Today, the sun still sets over busy factories on the Washington side of the Columbia, and yachts tie in at ports along the river, rocked by the swell of passing barges and the gentle surge of tidal fluctuations.
The highlights of Vancouver are easily covered in a day. Tour reconstructed buildings at the site of the original Fort Vancouver, then stroll past historic homes on Officer's Row. Relax after a morning of sight-seeing at one of the cities parks -- Central Park is just across from Officer's Row, or head to the river and meander along the 3.5-mile path to Tidewater Cove.
Residents play at Vancouver Lake Park, a few miles out of the center. There are a few shady picnic areas here, swimming when the weather is warm and fishing even when it's not.
Vancouver is a good jumping off spot for trips up the west side of Columbia Gorge or forays to Mount Saint Helens and the lower Washington Cascades.
Vancouver is seven miles north of Portland, Oregon, over the Columbia River, and 138 miles south of Seattle on Interstate 5.