These ideas for must-do-soon summer adventures are not only terrific, but also from the true experts — our readers.
Blake Island. "Take the little cruise over to Blake Island - do the dinner/show thing (Argosy Cruises' Tillicum Village Tour) OR take your camping gear and make a weekend of it. The beach front camping spots are fun."
Northwest Trek. "For a half-day trip from Tacoma, we head out to Northwest Trek and picnic there. We always try to get there at opening of the gate so we can take the tram tour first and then wander around the exhibits stopping for lunch whenever we want. Tip: Little Park Restaurant on 176th and Pacific is a great place to get breakfast on the way out."
Emerald Downs. "A great day out -- at Emerald Downs, we don't pay for grandstand seats, programs, or snacks -- just hang out near the rail during the races and watch the horses being led in and out of the track. My horse-crazy girls love it!"
Everett Aquasox baseball games. "Aquasox games are accessible and cheap -- Lynnwood library even gives out free tickets! Best of all, the games are filled with numerous activities for kids -- dance contests with costumed mascots, singing "Take Me Out to the Ballgame", running the bases after the game etc.
Blueberry picking. "We enjoy a day of blueberry picking at Mercer Slough. Pack a lunch to enjoy in the fields and pick buckets of berries, at around $1.50/lb., to enjoy later." (Psst! Many more blueberry farms here.)
Country Village in Bothell. Country Village has "train rides, horse rides, playground, ducks, and cute shops, including a coffee shop with a play area for little kids [The Village Bean]. Friday is the Bothell Farmers Market and they have family-friendly live music."
Outback Kangaroo Farm, Arlington. This unique, exotic animal farm is "fun, cheap and not too far. You actually get to pet the kangas."
Wild Waves Water Park, Federal Way. "Dashing down the slides at Wild Waves, just before summer ends [is a] perfect fun-filled wet day under the hot summer sun."
Remlinger Farms Family Fun Park, Carnation. "If you go midweek to Remlinger, there are rarely any lines for rides (except the pony rides - do that first thing!) and our young kids think it's amazing that they can go on as many rides as they want!"
Camano Island. "Camano has it all -- miles of beachfront and easy access from Seattle (just a little over an hour's drive), and no ferry needed! Cavalero Beach Park has a sand spit at low tide, a boat launch, and miles of beach for walking. Camano State Park on the other side of the island has cabins and camping. There are also many reasonably priced vacation homes for rent -- many of them beachfront (see VRBO)."
Bellingham. "Fairhaven is a short walk from the train station if you wanted to take the Amtrak. It has a great bookstore, coffee shop, fish and chips, toy store and you can even find some great novelty toys from your childhood in the Fairhaven Pharmacy. You can also walk to a cute little beach in the other direction of the train station for rock throwing!"
Bremerton. "There is the naval warship [USS Turner Joy] that you can tour (right near the ferry terminal). Kid friendly. It can be a little day trip over on the Bremerton ferry (no need for a car even, as it is within walking distance of the ferry dock). You can eat at Anthony's on the deck afterwards. "There's a water spray park [Harborside Fountain Park] right at the ferry terminal."
Bainbridge Island. "A short and adventurous ferry ride, walkable downtown with quaint shops and eateries and a visit to the children's museum [Kids Discovery Museum] makes this day trip memorable. If you wanna stay overnight the Best Western is a great choice (super clean, spacious rooms, friendly staff and a continental breakfast)."
Parks, hikes and beaches
Franklin Falls hike, near Cle Elum. "This trail is an easy hike that is relatively flat. The payoff at the end is a beautiful waterfall that you get very close to. Pack a picnic lunch."
Bat walk, Green Lake, Seattle. "Bats Northwest does free bat "walks" (though you don't actually walk anywhere) at Green Lake right to the end of summer and into the early fall. It can feel very summery to be up late on a warm night. Free, too. Start with an afternoon of swimming at Green Lake and a picnic lunch. One of the swimming areas (and the restrooms with showers) is right near where the bat walks are, by the theater."
Dash Point State Park, Federal Way. "It's easy to get to Dash Point. Pack a small lunch in my cooler, bring the kids, and a few lawn chairs and we have a great day at the beach."
Priest Point Park, Olympia. "[At Priest Point] my kids love to explore the beach area and they love the playground. I love that there is a fun little hike to the water, and that there is lots of shade when it's a hot day! This park is also very close to the Hands On Children's Museum in Downtown Olympia ... Also check out the Wet Science Center, across the street, the Olympia farmers market is pretty close, and there are two water play areas for kids if you go on a hot day."
Millersvania State Park, near Olympia. "This state park has a lake, paddle boats, snack shack, just for the cost of a visit to any state park. Water is clean because no power boats or water skis are allowed on it."
Carkeek Park, Seattle. "We like to go hiking close to home at Carkeek, and then spend time building sandcastles and throwing rocks in to the Puget Sound. It is free, you can pack a picnic and spend the day enjoying the views and nature."
Rialto Beach, the Olympic Peninsula. "Why Rialto? Because it is close, it gets us to the "ocean" instead of the Sound, the Strait, etc. plus it has great tide pools to hike to."
Jetty Island, Everett. "We love Jetty Island. We love going when they have storytelling events. We pack in enough simple food for the day and into the evening. We build a fire, make sure to take layered clothing for evening after playing in the water most of the day it can be windy. We bring beach blankets too. VERY affordable."
10 more end-of-summer outings
- Mud Mountain Dam Recreational Area, Enumclaw: "Amazing and free! Water feature, playground and hiking!!
- Mukilteo Lighthouse Park: "Great place to have a beach bonfire."
- Rotary Adventure Playground, Stanwood-Camano: "An amazingly fun park."
- Dungeness Spit, Olympic Peninsula: "Just because it's beautiful."
- Golden Gardens in North Seattle: "Like a mini beach getaway right in our own neighborhood, plus you can have firepits!"
- Fort Flagler, near Port Townsend: "day trip for exploring bunkers, tidepools, hiking, sit on the beach, dinner in town, then ferry home."
- Ocean Shores: "It is fun to drive out onto the beach, play in the sand, fly kits, have a fire and roast marshmallows."
- Picnic Point, Mukilteo
- Olympic Game Farm, Sequim
- Willows Run, Woodinville: "A really nice mini course."