Sure, Disneyland might be the Happiest Place on Earth, but you are not far away from your next “best day ever.” For inspiration, we put together eight fairly close destinations that come just short of “Are we there yet?” and won’t break the bank. So gas up the car and read on!

Deception Pass

Deception Pass: Nature’s Playground
How far from Seattle: 80 miles (approx. 1.5-2 hour's drive)

There is so much to do and explore at Deception Pass with its sweeping views of the ocean, mountains, evergreen trees, sandy beaches, sand dunes, rocky hills, peaceful lakes and on and on and on. Of course, your kids won’t appreciate it all until they have to go back home.

What to Do:
Plan to park near the Deception Pass Bridge and walk across for a spectacular view. You will need a Discover Pass to enter the 4,134 acre park ($10 for the day or $30 for a year’s pass). This park has the distinction of being placed between the fresh water Cranberry Lake (which has its own swimming area with a large dock to swim out to) and the salty Puget Sound. There are many hiking, biking and even horse trails that wind through the park, but for families with small children who would rather just stroll, take advantage of the paved nature trail which starts out in a heavy wooded section and then suddenly opens up to a view of the ocean and large sand dunes (which is also a great place for kids to play in).

The sandy beach is also a great place to practice your balancing skills on the logs or look for sea shells. And the park is a great place for clamming, crabbing and fishing and boasts plenty of picnic spots and easy restroom access. If you go, plan time to visit the Civilian Conservation Corps Interpretive Center in the Bowman Bay area of the park. Originally built in the 1930s, the building is now home to a museum cared for by the Washington State Parks staff.

Day Trip Tips:
The city of Oak Harbor is just 8.8 miles away which offers even more family fun!

Explore the park for free on Discover Pass Free Days: June 3, June 10 & Sept. 30, 2017.

Pack swimsuits and towels even if you don’t plan to get wet because it’s hard to resist not jumping over the waves.

Deception Pass Park
41020 State Route 20
Oak Harbor, Wa 98277
360-675-3767
Online: parks.state.wa.us/497/Deception-Pass

photo: Pixabay

Does your family have an favorite day trip? Tell us in the comments below! 

— Jeff Totey