It's never too early (or late) to dream about summer getaways. Whether you have an epic vacation on the agenda or not, you should squeeze in a few weekends away. Here are some of our favorite Washington state summer trip ideas from our favorite local travel experts — our readers. (Thanks, guys!). They are ordered by distance from the Seattle area.
Suncadia Resort, Cle Elum, Wash.
Golfing, biking, hiking, swimming, waterslides, a spa, a variety of accommodations: Suncadia has everything you need for a weekend of fun, and it couldn't be closer. "The kids love the pool area and the playground is very unique. Even one night away is a real treat for all of us." "We love Suncadia lodge; it is close to Seattle and there is so much fun for kids, ie pool, hikes, s'mores."
Book Labor Day weekend and you can drop by the Ellensburg Rodeo for a splash of western fun.
Are we there yet? 1 hour and 30 minutes from Seattle
Port Townsend, Wash.
This ultra-charming Victorian town on the Olympic Peninsula is relatively close, loaded with fun places to stay, from cute B&Bs to former officers' lodging at Fort Worden State Park, and to do, from paddling to beach walks to music festivals at Centrum. Says a reader: "They have everything to keep you entertained - skate park [pictured, your teens and tweens will love it], gorgeous waterfront access, toy and book shops, ice cream, bike trails, state parks." And, of course, you can use it as a base to explore the Peninsula.
Are we there yet? About 2 hours from Seattle, but it all depends on ferry lines
Get a taste of Washington's coast without driving forever at Westport, including the chance to dig up dinner for yourself. A reader says, "Condo rentals are easy and we rent bikes, fly kites and just have family time. We get fresh razor clams, oysters and eat good seafood, watch DVDs, walk on the beach. It's a nice break just three hours away."
Are we there yet? 2 hours and 30 minutes from Seattle
Built in 2004, Seabrook is a one-of-a-kind oceanfront beach town designed for family togetherness and fun. Amenities include an indoor pool, a pottery studio, cruiser bikes to ride, pocket playgrounds and, of course, the beach. Says a reader, "The houses are fully stocked and extremely comfortable. If you plan the trip with great friends or family, splitting the cost of the house makes it quite doable!" "There is an indoor pool , a playground, bike riding throughout the town, and, my kids' favorite -- Pacific Beach in walking distance."
Are we there yet? It's located 2 hours and 45 minutes from Seattle
Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary, Olympic National Park, Wash.
Adjacent to the Salt Creek Recreation Area (which has a campground,a playground and old bunkers to explore), Tongue Point offers some of the best tide pool exploration in the Northwest. "[You] could easily do it as a day trip but we also spent the night in Port Angeles and hiked up Hurricane Hill."
Are we there yet? 3 hours from Seattle, depending on ferry traffic
Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park, Grant, Wash.
"Fabulous dramatic scenery, some reasonable accommodations and not too terribly far from Seattle." Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is a camping park at the foot of Dry Falls, a dry waterfall formerly the size of Niagra that's now a stark cliff, 400 feet high and 3.5 miles wide. Check out the scenery, paddle and swim on the chain of lakes, or do a quick trip to the Grand Coulee Dam.
Are we there yet? 3 hours and 15 minutes from Seattle
Fraser River - Hell's Gate, B.C.
Hell's Gate is a spot in B.C.'s Fraser River canyon where the river narrows dramatically, forcing the waters through a rock-wall passage only 115 feet wide. You can watch this drama from an aerial tram that crosses the river: "An aerial tram, a giant chair like in Honey I Shrunk the Kids, boating, and cool hikes all in one area," says a reader. "There is something to make each member of my family happy, and it's not far over the border. But it's in another country, which is exciting for my soon-to-be fourth grader. There are lots of affordable little B and B's and motels in the area."
Are we there yet? 3 hours and 30 minutes from Seattle
A gem on Washington's wild Olympic coast. "We just spent the weekend camping at Kalaloch -- the tide pools, and beach provide for all day sandcastle building and hunting for ocean treasures." Don't forget to explore the stunning geologic history of the area; and it's easy to visit other Olympic Peninsula attractions, such as the Hoh Rainforest. For vampire fans, Forks is close.
Are we there yet? 3 hours and 30 minutes from Seattle
The Enchanted Forest Theme Park, Salem, Oreg.
This unique theme park, developed by an Oregon dad who saw a need, boasts a roller coaster, log ride, indoor target shooting, a walk-through house, outdoor comedy theater and fairy-tale-themed activities. Says a reader: "Very affordable, they even let in outside food, and their staff is amazing. Adults have as much fun as kids. Don't miss the free original summer theater shows. We usually combine it with a stay in Lincoln City which is only an hour drive from the park."
Are we there yet? 3 hours and 45 minutes from Seattle
Photo credits: Suncadia: himniko/flickr; Port Townsend: flickr/St_A-Sh; Seabrook, courtesy Seabrook Resort; Westport: Brandi Lane/flickr; Hell's Gate: bods/flickr; Sun Lakes, Elisa Taylor; Tongue Point Marine Life Sanctuary: Holy Outlaw/flickr; Kalaloch: Gary Windust/flickr