WHERE: Stevenson, Washington, on the banks of the Columbia River
WHY: For the annual Columbia Gorge Bluegrass Festival (7/25–7/28. $55–$150 weekend pass. 710 Rock Creek Drive; 509.427.3980; columbiagorgebluegrass.net), showcasing the best in bluegrass, including beloved bands The SteelDrivers (from Nashville) and Town Mountain (from Asheville, NC), plus workshops, family-friendly jams, and craft and food vendors. PICK AND GRIN: For a $5 contest fee, revelers can compete for a $100 cash prize by displaying their musical prowess on the banjo, fiddle, mandolin or guitar. GO CHASING WATERFALLS: Take a 20-minute drive northeast on State Route 14 and hit the Falls Creek Falls Trail (just north of Carson). The flat and kid-friendly hike (3.4 miles round trip) offers heart-thumping views—with a roar to match—of a three-tiered, 250-foot-high waterfall set in a clearing surrounded by trees. GETTING THERE: Head south on I-5 and continue onto I-205 south. Take exit 27 for City Center/Camas, then merge onto S.R. 14 east.