We met T's uncle, who is retired and travels across the country visiting national parks, in Packwood just outside of the park. Packwood is a small town that you pass through on your way into Mt. Rainier. We found an independent coffee shop that made the best white chocolate frappe I've ever had in my life. If you are ever in Packwood check out Butter Butte Coffee Company.
We spent 2 days camping in the nearby national forest (which are super dog friendly) and I swear my dog was in heaven with his first time camping. Compared to the campsite we had in Glacier this one was an upgrade for sure with a location right by the river. Mt. Rainer National Park is the the most glaciated park in the mainland United States. It also has an active volcano and 6 major rivers. One of the highlights of this park was hiking the Paradise trail despite it being foggy and a little chilly. This part of the park is filled with beautiful wildflowers and is just so peaceful. The Paradise area has its own visitor center that warrants a visit when you are at Mt. Rainer. This was definitely a great place to kickstart the Pacific Northwest portion of the trip. Sadly I didn't get a chance to visit Seattle on this trip, but I loved the time I spent in Washington.