Escape the City: 6 Last Minute Summer Road Trips
Whether you’ve been dreaming about an adventurous jaunt to the mountains, a lazy trip to the coast or a breezy island getaway, summer is the perfect time to load up the family roadster and hit the open road in search of fun. Lucky for us, family road trips are aplenty in Washington State. And with many destinations within a few hours drive or less, the “I’ve gotta go potty,” “he’s touching me” and “are we there yet?” grumbling coming from the backseat will be few and far between. So gas up the car, and read on for our favorite family road trip picks. It’s time to go!
If you’ve been itching to get to the mountains, you’ll love the achingly beautiful alpine landscape and wildflower covered meadows of Mount Rainier. The kids will have fun taking a tram ride at Northwest Trek (on the way to or from the mountain), exploring the 1887 homestead at Pioneer Farm, hiking kid-appropriate trails and participating in the Junior Ranger program. Everyone will enjoy family-friendly one-day adventures and camping in the forest.
If the sea is calling your name, you’ll love the sound of the waves crashing along the expansive coast, the smell of the salt in the air, and sniffing out fresh oysters in the tiny town of Oysterville. The kids will have fun flying kites, eating saltwater taffy, saying hi to Jake the Alligator Man, and playing safely on the beach. Everyone will enjoy walking the boardwalk, exploring sand dunes, and checking out historic lighthouses.
If a little island adventure is what you need, you’ll love the variety that Whidbey has to offer, from scenic farms to quaint towns to the arts to endless beaches. The kids will have fun exploring forts, beach combing and hiking. Everyone will enjoy walking the pier at historic Coupeville, exploring Greenbank Farm, or riding the Coupville/Keystone ferry to downtown Port Townsend.
The San Juans
If you’re looking for a little of this and a little of that, you’ll love everything about the San Juan Islands: the ferries, the slower pace, and the downright other-worldliness of these eclectic islands. The kids will have fun kayaking, glamping, and exploring historic parks. Everyone will enjoy boating, learning about Orca whales, swimming in island lakes, and gourmet dining.
If you’re looking for a scenic destination, you’ll love the Methow Valley and especially the drive there via the majestic scenery of the North Cascades. The dry heat will have you basking in the sun. The kids will have fun hiking and mountain biking on easy trails, followed by a round of mini golf and ice cream in the old west-themed town of Winthrop. Everyone will enjoy horseback riding, a huge range of water sports, and even a hot air balloon ride.
If you’re looking for a place where you can get in some serious R&R, you’ll love Lake Chelan and the fact that there’s not much to do here except park your rear and relax. If you must get up, nearby wineries are a fun diversion, as well as shopping in downtown historic Chelan. The kids will have fun swimming, building sand castles for hours, playing putt putt, and splashing around at the water park. Since nearly everything in Chelan is family-friendly, everyone will enjoy a scenic garden tour, a boat cruise or a u-pick hayride tour.
What are your favorite local road trips? Let us know in a comment below.
–Kristina Moy & Allison Ellis