Summer is just about here and kids won’t be forced to hang out at school all day. With temperatures reaching the 70’s in some parts of Washington State this weekend, there’s no reason to stay home. Below is a list of sick parks and other outdoor activities that you should check out.
Olympic National Park
This is one of the most famous parks in all of the Pacific Northwest. Is is hands down one of the most beautiful places in Washington, complete with mountains bordering you on one side with beautiful beaches on the other.
Have you ever driven on a beach? There aren’t that many that still allow it. Long Beach is one of the longest beaches you can drive on in the United States. Offering beachcombing opportunities, excellent go-carts, Jake The Aligator Man at Marsh’s Free Museum, and the Tsunami Burger from the Corral Drive-in, Long Beach is a great place to travel to this weekend or any this summer. The entire family should be able to find something to occupy themselves.
This is my grandma’s favorite place in all of Washington. This picturesque Bavarian town is nestled in the Cascade Mountains. With a feel and vibe similar to old German towns, all of the buildings have Bavarian-style architecture, including the Safeway.
Spend time wandering the various shops in town, or head out into the woods for some rock climbing, fishing, or hiking. Once the weather warms up, floating the Wenatchee becomes the thing to do. Just be sure to end your day with a cold beer at Icicle Brewing Company.
North Cascades National Park
This is one of Washington’s best-kept secrets. With over 300 glaciers and very few visitors, you should have no problem escaping civilization on a holiday weekend. If you have a camera take it, the abundance of wildlife in the park should create plenty of photo opportunities.
Orcas Island is part of the San Juans Islands to the north across the Straits Of Juan De Fuca. Unless you have a boat the easiest way to get there is by ferry from Anacortes. There are over 40 miles of trails on the island with breathtaking views of the water and potentially a resident pod of orcas.
Just a short drive north from Seattle, Whidbey Island is the opposite of the city. Upon arrival, you’ll feel like you’ve traveled to a whole new world. Deception Pass sits at the north end of the island. This walled in pass offers captivating views, but proves to be very treacherous for boats coming into the park.
When I was going to school in Eastern Oregon, each drive through the Columbia River Gorge left me speechless. The sheer size of some of the cliffs amazed me every time. I hardly drove on the Washington side, not because it took a lot longer, but because I wanted to enjoy the scenery. If you ever visit Stevenson, be sure to check out the zip line that offers birds-eye views of the gorge, surrounding forests, and wildlife.
Port Townsend is at the tip of the Olympic Peninsula. If you’re visiting Olympic National Park, make a weekend of it and also go to Port Townsend. The main part of town is very walking friendly. Rent a kayak nearby at Fort Worden State Park to get up close with some of the local wildlife.
Nestled at the northeastern edge of the Cascades, this town offers outdoor activities for everyone. You can even ride a hot air balloon!