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Cruises to Rainier, Oregon

Mt. Rainier reflection from Bench Lake (Photo: tusharkoley/Shutterstock.com)

About Rainier, Oregon

Tiny Rainier is an industrial port on the Columbia River, its leafy residential area sloping uphill from the waterfront, backed by dense forest. Across the river, linked by the graceful span of the Lewis & Clark Bridge, is Washington State. While the surrounding scenery is stunning -- snow-covered Mount Rainier looming over the ridge of hills in the distance -- this section of the river is somewhat industrial, mainly as a center for the timber industry. Giant bulk containers are moored mid-river and the view across the water is marred by a sprawling paper bag factory. Cruise ships visit, ironically, not to ferry passengers to Mount Rainier, after which the town is named, but because it's closest departure point for the Mount St. Helens National Monument, some two hours' drive away, across the river in Washington (Mount Rainier is accessed via the port of Olympia, further north).

There really is very little to do in town, should you choose not to join a tour. There are a few family-run and fast-food restaurants, and you could walk east along A Street to stroll for a short distance along the river, but Rainier is not really a shopping or entertainment center.

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Why go to Rainier, Oregon?

Pros:

Jumping-off point for Mount St. Helens

Cons:

Sleepy town, not really geared for tourism

Bottom Line:

Take the tour -- or resign yourself to a quiet day

Currency & Best Way to Get Money?

Currency is the U.S. dollar and there are ATMs on A Street, which runs parallel to the riverfront. For up-to-date exchange rates, visit www.xe.com.

Language?

English is the official language in Oregon.


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