Tag: Washington Travel

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Low Snow Pack Means You Climb Mount Rainier Earlier This Year Than Ever Before

Where: 39000 State Route 706 E (GPS Address to Nisqually Entrance) [map], Ashford, WA , United States
March 27, 2015 at 1:00 PM | by | Comments (0)

The climate is ‘a changing. After this winter’s record high temperatures around much of the U.S., there’s not much room for argument from global warming skeptics. Nine states in the West had one of their top 10 warmest winters on record. So there’s that.

While Washington skiers bemoaned the lack of snowpack this year, hikers can rejoice that many area trails and campground are opening unseasonably early, including Mount Rainier National Park (MRNP). This year, mountain trails and passes at Mount Rainier are opening earlier than ever before due to exceptionally low snow pack.

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Why This Writer Loves 'Staycations' (And Why We're Calling It Something Else)

February 25, 2015 at 4:30 PM | by | Comments (0)

Staycation? Ew! Isn't that so 2009? Yes, it is which is why we're calling it something different. Still, the ease of traveling close to home appeals to many, both those who are short on travel budget and those who can't really sit in one place for long, like our contributor, Charyn Pfeuffer. We'll let her explain from here.

I'll admit it; I have itchy feet. I don’t need much of an excuse to travel, but don’t always have time for a long road trip or the hassles of flying. Instead, I opt for the staycation or as I prefer to call it--the close-to-home mini-vacation. Ok, that's a mouthful. How about a Weekender?

It has the same idea as the staycation--staying close to home--but since the recession of 2008/9, when staycations became wildly popular, we think it's time for new term. (Also I’m not a fan of made-up travel marketing words, especially those ending in –cation or –moon.) So we'll stick with Weekenders for now.

And the thing about weekenders, or staycations if you prefer, is that you don't have to fly across the country to have a good time.

This was the case during our recent getaway in Langley, a charming seaside village on Whidbey Island in Washington State.

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: A First-Time Tour to Mount Rainier

September 26, 2014 at 12:57 PM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

Mt. Rainier is probably the most popular outdoorsy day-trip attraction for visitors to Seattle, and with good reason. For one, it’s relatively close to Seattle; about an hour’s drive, depending on traffic, will get you from downtown to the national park. For another, it offers a broad range of stuff to do for people of every ability level, from easy hikes to three-day peak climbs with ice axes and crampons.

The most popular and accessible entrance is the Nisqually Entrance. There, you can stop in at the Longmire Museum, which has exhibits on the flora and fauna in the area and gives some historical background on the Native Americans who lived there.

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: The Tropical Butterfly Garden

September 25, 2014 at 12:04 PM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

In Seattle, it’s always a good idea to have a rainy-day backup plan. If you want to see some nature but the weather’s not cooperating, stop by the Pacific Science Center and head straight for the Tropical Butterfly Garden. This name is no joke; even if it’s 20 degrees outside, it’ll be nice and balmy in the butterfly garden, since many of the species come from warm climates.

The Science Center is more expensive than some other Seattle museums—$19.50 for an adult ticket—so if you have a moldy student ID around somewhere now’s the time to grab it. For obvious reasons, there will also be lots of kids around, so try to survey the scene when you arrive and check out other exhibits if the butterfly garden is filled up with a school group. Our favorite way to kill time is to check out some of the undersea creatures in the fake tidal pool, even though the cold water starts to get to you after a while.

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: An Urban Foraging Staycation

September 24, 2014 at 4:22 PM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

Farm-to-table is still ubiquitous in the food world, as is foraging. But for people who want to eat locally-harvested food while still hanging out in an urban area, the Hunt Club restaurant at First Hill’s Sorrento Hotel offers a first-of-its-kind “urban foraging” package.

The restaurant’s chef, Dan Gilmore, only allows 2-4 people per day to take part in the experience due to its hands-on approach and customized meal. It begins with a trip to nearby Volunteer Park, where Gilmore educates you about different kinds of edible plants and how to recognize them.

Next up is a trip to the local farmer’s market, where you can pick out whatever you want—from fish to vegetables to famous Washington State cherries and huckleberries—to become part of your dinner that night.

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: The Woodland Park Rose Garden

September 23, 2014 at 12:51 PM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

One of the best things about visiting Seattle is how much nature you can enjoy without ever leaving the city limits. There is, for example, the Woodland Park Rose Garden, located across the street from the entrance to the Woodland Hill Zoo. This lush location in the Green Lake or Wallingford neighborhoods (it depends who you ask) is completely free to the public and open from 7 AM until dusk every day, year round, rain or shine.

For an hour or half the day, the Rose Garden is an ideal spot for quiet time, reading, meeting up with friends, or just enjoying a nice day outside. There's also the added bonus of being among the first to spot new rose hybrids before they become publicly available, as the Woodland Park Rose Garden is one of the few certified Rose Test Gardens in the USA.

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Easy Day Trips from Seattle: A Total Beginner's Guide to Olympic National Park

September 22, 2014 at 10:33 AM | by | Comments (0)

Seattleites love spending time outside. This week, contributor Lilit Marcus shows how even the most indoorsy city kid can enjoy Seattle's outdoor gems without having to go on the advanced hike.

Olympic National Park is also a UNESCO World Heritage site, which makes it an ideal spot for people crossing either national parks or UNESCO sites off of their to-do lists. Its size and distance from Seattle will make it just about impossible to visit without a car, so your best bet is to join up with a tour group.

The excellent but somewhat pricey Seattle-based EverGreenEscapes Tours (which I booked through Viator for $250 pp) will be happy to take you out for the day, an option which will free you from dealing with the logistics.

The adventure begins with a trip on the Bainbridge Island ferry, then a drive through Port Angeles to the park, with an arrival at the iconic Hurricane Ridge.

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Just in Time for Summer, Washington Welcomes a New Ferry

June 19, 2014 at 8:51 AM | by | Comments (0)

There’s more than just the San Juan Islands when it comes to escaping for a little rest and relaxation out in the Pacific Northwest, and now there’s a new ferry to help you escape for the weekend, the season, or just the workday.

Those in search of the awesomeness that is new ferry smell should set their sights on Whidbey Island, as there’s some new back and forth service thanks to Tokitae.

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Lesser Known Islands of the USA: San Juan Islands, WA

May 23, 2014 at 3:56 PM | by | Comments (0)

According to the calendar we’re just days away from the start of the summer season, and that means it’s time to turn our attention towards some great warm weather destinations. So get out on the water, wave goodbye to the mainland, and set you watch to island time.

What Are The San Juan Islands?

They might not be that lesser known to those in the know over in the Pacific Northwest, but if you asked some one on the other side of the country—there’s a likelihood they’d mumble something about the time they went to Puerto Rico. The San Juan Islands are off the coast of Washington, as they do the archipelago thing between there and British Columbia.

How To Get There

There’s many islands doing their thing within the chain, but only four are readily available to you thanks to little ferry fun. The Washington State Department of Transportation is all over it, and they’ll take you to spots like Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and Shaw Island—among some other spots. Head over here for the full schedule and rundown, and note that fares are going to depend on your destination and what not. The trip starts at around $13 per passenger between Anacortes and Friday Harbor, but just be aware that fares are not collected in the opposite direction.

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April's Most Instagrammable Festival is Found in Washington State

April 4, 2014 at 10:52 AM | by | Comments (0)

When it comes to fields of tulips and the scent of spring, your mind may first go to the Netherlands. However, if an international journey isn’t in the cards this time of the year there’s always tulips to be seen here at home in the nifty fifty, as Washington state is pretty good at showing off their green thumb.

The Skagit Tulip Festival runs all month long around Mount Vernon, Washington, but obviously a lot of the blossoms and what not depend on how Mother Nature is feeling. Things are a little bit different than most festivals, as there’s not really just one location or thing to see—you visit to kind of see everything. Drive through the area and the different fields and farms, and enjoy the tulips as they make their debut after a long winter. There’s hundreds of acres of fields and flowers, so we don’t think you’ll be disappointed that there’s no food court.

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Plan a September Road Trip to These Three Upcoming State Fairs

September 4, 2013 at 6:20 PM | by | Comments (0)

State fair season rolls along into September, as the fried food continues to attract visitors from all over the place. There’s a whole bunch of them taking place this month, so we though we’d take a minute to give you a quick rundown. So if you’re looking for rides, attractions, and way too many calories, here’s our picks for three spots to spend your September.

Kansas State Fair

For those yearning for a visit to the fair this weekend, look no further than the action taking place beginning on September 6 and running through September 15. Advance admission costs $6, and that will get you into the gates over in Hutchinson, Kansas. As far as special stuff is concerned they’ve got their share of headlining acts, as Kansas—the band—kicks things off on September 6 and Toby Keith visits on September 15. These options will set you back at least $13 and $20, respectively. There’s still time to enter for some of the fair’s annual competitions, so may we suggest the Kansas State Armwrestling Championships? It’s $10 to enter, and it all takes place on September 8. We guess that’s one way to burn off some of those fair food calories.

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Who's Ready to Help Build a Trail on an Active Volcano?

September 4, 2013 at 1:39 PM | by | Comments (0)

September is one of the best times of year to visit Mount St. Helens thanks to cooler temperatures and clear visibility. It's also the perfect time to help the staff complete a much needed one-mile trail to the nearby Ape Cave, the famous lava tube just south of the active volcano.

Volunteers from the Washington Trails Association and the Mount St. Helens Institute have finished all but the last few hundred feet, which they hope to finish this month with the help of some intrepid travelers.

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