Five Great Attractions Within An Easy Drive Of Olympia

Washington State Capitol

Olympia is both an important and fun destination in Washington State. You can stop there on a road trip through the area and visit the State Capitol, several museums, breweries, and all sorts of local scenic attractions. Olympia is also popular because it is located very near some great things to see and do. Here are just five of the many great things to see and do within an easy drive of Olympia

Ocean Shores

Ocean Shores is located on the Pacific coastline just west of Olympia. This beachfront community that sits on a peninsula has a lot to offer. There are tourist activities available like bumper boats, go karts, moped rentals, miniature golf, and more. The best part of Ocean Shores though is of course the beach. There is plenty of beach space to explore and stake out for yourself too. There are also miles of drivable beach too which means you can roll down the window and feel the wind off the water while you motor down the beach and find a place all to yourself. Visiting Ocean Shores for a couple of hours or more while staying in Olympia is a great idea.

Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad

Travel east from Olympia to the tiny town of Elbe and you’ll be able to take part in a very cool activity, the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad. Here you’ll be able to climb aboard a historic train and enjoy a trip through the woods on a rail line that has been operating in the area for a very long time. The route gives you a view of many things you would never see from the road and you also get a chance to check out one of the best railroad museums in the region. There’s nothiung quite like a ride on the Mt. Rainier Scenic Railroad.

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium

Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium is located in a scenic part of Tacoma known as Point Defiance. The zoo is historic in nature which is very interesting, but what will be even better for you and anyone you’re traveling with are all the animals there. The zoo includes great examples of exotic animals from around the world. There is also a nice section devoted to animals from the Pacific Northwest. You’re sure to leave Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium trying to decide which was your favorite animal that you saw.

Johnston Ridge Observatory

Located south from Olympia by about two hours is Johnston Ridge Observatory. This important scenic sight is the best place to observe the crater of Mt. St. Helens from. You can tour the visitor center and learn a great deal about the surrounding land and the eruption that changed the geography there in 1980. You can also venture out to the viewpoint and see the hugeness of this important location up close and in person. You’ll really want to have your camera along for this. It’s something you won’t want to miss.

Ferry Ride to Seattle

With a drive of a little over an hour north to Bremerton, you can drive or walk on board and take an hour long ferry ride across Puget Sound to the Seattle Waterfront. Once there, you can hang out in the waterfront area, get a bite to eat, do some shopping, and then get back on board for another ferry ride back. While the Seattle Waterfront is great and has a lot to offer, one of the best parts about this experience is the ferry ride across the water. Relax and watch the water go by and the scenery change. There’s always plenty of activity on the water too with other ferries, sailboats, and ships active in the area. A ferry ride to Seattle is a great way to make any trip to Olympia even better.

Five Great Seattle Attractions Within Walking Distance Of The Space Needle

Space Needle

Space Needle

The Space Needle is one of the most popular attractions in all of Seattle. It’s so popular and well known that it is really an iconic part of the city that is recognized by travelers around the world.

Usually we focus on attractions and destinations you can reach within an easy drive. If you’re already in Seattle and visiting the Space Needle though, you might just need a list of things to see and do within an easy walk from the Space Needle. Here, we’ll give you just that.

Check out these five great Seattle attractions within walking distance of the Space Needle.

The International Fountain

The International Fountain is located just steps away from the Space Needle. This is one of those featured Seattle attractions you’ll love spending time at if you are traveling with your kids. You can grab a bite to eat from a food vendor or a local eating establishment and head over to the fountain to enjoy the show. The pattern of water changes and includes the occassional huge cannon shot of water straight up. Relax and enjoy this free entertainment option while you eat or just kick back and take in the experience. If you dare, you can venture down the ramp and run around in the water too.

Olympic Sculpture Park

Located a few blocks southeast of the Space Needle, the Olympic Sculpture Park is something you may end up enjoying even more than you think you would. Enjoy the outdoors while still being in the city as you walk the pathways and stop and take in the interesting works of art there. This outdoor art gallery is really something to see. You can also get some great views of the waterfront and Puget Sound while you are there too.

Museum of Pop Culture

The Museum of Pop Culture is another attraction that is located very near to the Space Needle. It would literally take you a matter of minutes to walk from one to the other. This museum is a little different than most you have attended. It’s set up with the goal of preserving and presenting unique examples of American culture and includes items from rock music, science fiction, horror, advertising, and more. It’s even home to the Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame. This is easily the most memorable museum in the Pacific Northwest.

Dick’s Drive-In

Some may see it as just another fast food restaurant. Residents and regular visitors to Seattle though know that Dick’s is more of a tradition in the city. Dick’s was first opened in Seattle in 1954 and over the years grew to multiple locations and to be part of the classic Seattle experience. It offers a very small menu filled with many of the items you’d expect to find there. Dick’s is dedicated to quality though and also dedicated to its community. The Dick’s Drive-In that is located just a couple of blocks northwest of the Space Needle is the only one in the local chain that offers inside seating. Go there, have a burger, get a milkshake, and enjoy one of the classic Seattle experiences yourself.

Elliott Bay Trail

West of the Space Needle, down on the waterfront is the Elliott Bay Trail. This trail connects to the upper city and offers walkers, joggers, and bicyclists the chance to easily get down to the water and the waterfront area. Once you reach the trail from the Space Needle, you can head north and see some of the very interesting cruise ships, docks, and marinas. You’ll also be seeing some of the less frequented parts of the Seattle Waterfront. You can also head south from where you’ll be joining the Elliott Bay Trail towards the more popular part of the waterfront that features the washington State Ferry terminal, restaurants, shops, and the Seattle Great Wheel. Taking the time to walk to the Elliott Bay Trail can make your visit to the Space Needle so much more enjoyable.

Five Great Attractions Within An Easy Drive Of Rockaway Beach, Oregon

NWRoadtrips Within An Easy Drive

Rockaway Beach has so much going for it that you don’t have to spend too much time there before you find that it could be your favorite ocean destination. The beach is the top draw there and with good reason. When you visit Rockaway Beach, there are other things to do too like make the most of your lodging choice and adventuring around town and discovering the best of this quaint little beach getaway. It really is quite the memorable destination.

When you travel to Rockaway Beach, there are other options for entertainment too. For those not afraid to hit the road, here are five great things to see within an easy drive of there.

Tillamook Cheese Factory

Cheese lovers, and ice cream lovers too, will love a stop off at one of the more interesting factory tours you’ll ever experience. See how the popular Tillamook Cheese is made and packaged. Even taste a sample or two! A truly memorable attraction.

Cape Meares Lighthouse

Located to the south of Rockaway Beach and nearby Tillamook, the Cape Meares Lighthouse has been a popular attraction for years. When you visit, you not only get to enjoy the history and beauty of the lighthouse and the amazing views seen there. You also get to check out a number of hiking trails too. This is a great day trip destination for everyone.

Haystack Rock

Haystack Rock is just a short drive north from Rockaway Beach. This is one of the iconic natural features of the state of Oregon. Located just offshore of Cannon Beach, you can’t visit the northern Oregon Coast without taking a photo, or getting your photo taken in front of, Haystack Rock. Cannon Beach can also be a great getaway for a lunch out or shopping trip too.

Tillamook Air Museum

The Tillamook Air Museum will appeal to you if you’re a fan of aircraft, military history, or just history in general. Walking around and seeing these amazing aircraft in one easy to explore location is something that can really add to any trip to the Oregon Coast. As a cool benefit, the entire museum is housed inside a World War II era blimp hangar.

Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad

The Oregon Coast Scenic Railroad has an office and departure point right in Rockaway Beach. You can also drive south from there and catch the train in Garibaldi. There you can take a train trip back to Rockaway Beach or make it a round trip excursion too. Spending time on this historic railway with its views of the ocean can easily end up being the most favorite thing you did during your visit to this part of the Pacific Northwest.

Spend the Night in Rockaway Beach!

Need a place to stay when visiting Rockaway Beach?
Check out: Silver Sands Resort

A Beautiful Mural In Small Town Concrete, Washington

Concrete, Washington Mural

Often, some of the nicest attractions to see when traveling aren’t always the biggest name or most popular. Looking for local artwork, scenic viewpoints, state parks, and downtown or waterfront areas. If you visit Concrete, Washington, you’ll see one of the more unique pieces of public art around.

Concrete is a beautiful little town located right on the Cascade Loop, in the Skagit Valley where the Baker River meets the Skagit River. If you’re driving over the North Cascades Highway, it’s a nice stop for a quick bite to eat or a walk around the historic downtown area. If you’re looking for a quiet place to get away too for a fun time in the Pacific Northwest, Concrete is perfect for that too.

Concrete, Washington Mural

Located on the east end of town in Concrete is an amazing mural. It’s impressive in both its size and its location. The mural stretches across the entirety of the local building labeled as housing the police and fire department. The mural depicts the North Cascades in detail, including the town of Concrete itself. One of the big payoffs to stopping and having a look at this mural is that you also get to stroll through the historic downtown section of Concrete.

Concrete, Washington Mural

Small towns are a real pleasure and well worth exploring on a road trip. You can almost always find something worth seeing. One of those things worth seeing in Concrete is this beautiful North Cascades mural.

Concrete, Washington Mural

More Than A Roadside Attraction: Dry Falls, Washington

Dry Falls Washington

Dry Falls measures in at three and a half miles long across its face. This now impressive desert-like scenic site was the site of a huge waterfall at the end of the last ice age. Water rushed down the Upper Grand Coulee, where man made Banks Lake sits now, and poured over this 400 foot tall waterfall. This must’ve been a staggering sight to see. Scientific estimates put the size of the falls at roughly five times the width of Niagara Falls. The water flowing over it is estimated to have been ten times the flow of all the current rivers in the whole world combined.

Today, Dry Falls is part of Washington State Parks and is located just south of the southern end of Banks Lake, right on Highway 17 in a section of roadway called the Coulee Corridor. This corridor is an excellent road trip destination too with other nearby sights being Soap Lake, Moses Coulee, Lake Lenore Caves, and of course Grand Coulee Dam.

Dry Falls Washington

Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park features a popular visitor center and scenic overlook right off the highway, a campground area down below that includes thousands of feet of shoreline on several small lakes, and lots of trails and roads that head back into the Dry Falls area where you can explore and view this impressive sight from down within it. The state park features camping, a swim area, plenty of open space, and some great scenery. Sun Lakes Resort, a privately run establishment, is also there and you can find a small grocery store, restaurant, miniature golf course, and a fun selection of watercraft to rent there too. There are also cabins to rent and a golf course too.

Getting out and exploring Dry Falls though is one of the most memorable things you can do. Take a drive through the floor of the canyon and you’ll see local wildlife, interesting plants and wildflowers, and several more small lakes. Looking up at the walls that surround you makes it easy to wonder what it must been like with all that water plummeting over the rim of the canyon.

Dry Falls Washington

Dry Falls is a great roadside attraction in Eastern Washington. One that offers so muchmore than a scenic turnout. When you go there you can learn a lot about the natural history of the area, be impressed by such a huge natural sight, and also stay awhile and enjoy all that there is to do there. It really is one of the treasures of the Pacific Northwest.

Five Great Attractions Within An Easy Drive Of The Dalles, Oregon

The Dalles Dam

When you visit The Dalles, Oregon you are heading to a very cool small town situated in a beautiful area. The Columbia River flows right by and there are a lot of ways to get out and enjoy the water both from the shore and out on the surface of it.

The Dalles also has a lot to offer within it too with some great museums, a fun 10 mile long trail, some unique shops, tasty places to eat, and more. One of the great parts about going to visit The Dalles though is that you are real close to some out of town attractions in all directions.

Here are five great attractions all within an easy drive of The Dalles, Oregon:

Deschutes River State Recreation Area

A wonderful place to head to for camping, theDeschutes River State Recreation Area is also great for a day trip or even a quick roadside stop for anyone wanting time in the outdoors. Some of the activities available there include hiking, rafting, fishing, kayaking, inner-tubing, horseback riding, and mountain biking. A quick hike up Atiyeh Deschutes River Trail can be a lot of fun and offers some nice views of the canyon there and even some opportunities to get your feet, or even more, wet which can feel real nice in the heat of summer. Keep your eyes open too as there are wide variety of birds and other animals to see there. A great time can be had at the Deschutes River State Recreation Area.

Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge

On the Washington side of the Columbia River there are two unique attractions worth driving to. The Maryhill Museum is located high on a bluff overlooking the river and the surrounding area. Inside this historic home turned museum is one of the nicest collections of art in the region. You’ll also be able to learn about the history of the house and what life was like during the early days of development there. You can even stroll the grounds outdoors and see impressive landscaping and more pieces of art. Near the Maryhill Museum is an interesting replica of Stonehenge that was built in 1918 as a World War I memorial to fallen soldiers. It’s pretty impressive, offers some great photography opportunities, and is definitely something you’ll remember seeing for a very long time based solely on the fact that it just seems so out of place on the sagebrush covered hillside.

Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway

Built between 1913 and 1922, the Historic Columbia River Highway was the first planned scenic roadway in the entire United States. It’s since been placed on several historic preservation lists and continues to be one of the most visited scenic byways in the country. The official route of the Historic Columbia River Highway Scenic Byway extends from The Dalles in the east to Troutdale in the west, a length of just over 75 miles. Along the way you’ll pass through several small communities, past some nice historical sites, and have the chance to see quite a few waterfalls. It really is something very special, especially to those who enjoy a good road trip.

Multnomah Falls

Multnomah Falls is located on the western end of the Columbia River Gorge, opposite from The Dalles, but is well worth the drive. This waterfall is visible from the freeway, but pulling off in the parking lot and walking up to the historic Multnomah Falls Lodge is very impressive. There is a lower viewpoint that provides some great photo taking opportunities. Hike up to the bridge above though and get an amazing view up at the falls, out at the main basin the water tumbles into, and then down towards the lodge and the Columbia River beyond. The trail also continues on up to the top of the falls for those wanting a little more advanced hike.

Columbia River Dams

The dams of the Columbia River aid the people in a number of ways including everything from the shipping of agricultural crops to the production of electricity. Visiting several of these dams can be educational and interesting too. It can also be very easy when staying at The Dalles. The Dalles Dam is located right there in town, to the east are John Day Dam and McNary Dam, and to the west is Bonneville Dam. Different dams come with different things to do like fish viewing, guided tours, picnic areas, museum exhibits, and scenic viewpoints.

Spend the Night in The Dalles Area

If you’re looking for an awesome place to stay in The Dalles, check out this waterfront vacation rental located just outside of town:

Rowena Waterfront Vacation Rental

The Henry Thompson Bridge in Concrete, Washington

The Cascade Loop and the Skagit Valley are filled with interesting things to see. Here’s one that’s easy as it’s right off of the highway and in the very welcoming town of Concrete, Washington; the Henry Thompson Bridge.

Henry Thompson Bridge - Concrete WA

Henry Thompson was a prominent settler to the Concrete area and also served as a Skagit County Commissioner. He played an active role in promoting the need for and then the construction of a bridge in the area it would eventually be built.

Concrete Washington ~83

The Henry Thompson Bridge has a unique white color and a very retro architectural look to it. At the time it was finished in 1918, it was the longest single-span reinforced concrete bridge in the world. Henry Thompson was killed in a logging train accident in 1918 and the bridge was named in his honor.

If you’re visiting Concrete, the bridge is easily reached from the main street that runs right through town. Below the bridge on the eastern bank of the Baker River is the Baker River Upstream Fish Trap which assists with the once struggling salmon populations on the river.

Baker River Upstream Fish Tramp - Concrete WA

You can have a lot of fun when you visit Concrete, Washington. The Henry Thompson Bridge is just one of the many interesting things to see there.

Visit Lake Wenatchee and the Surrounding Area

Visit Lake Wenatchee

Lake Wenatchee is located in the Cascade Mountains, not too far east from the summit of Stevens Pass. You can get there from the east or west side of the mountains via Highway 2 and then Highway 207. You can also get there from the east by taking what locals call the Chumstick Highway north out of Leavenworth going through the town of Plain.

Lake Wenatchee is roughly five miles in length which makes for plenty of room for those wanting to go kayaking, fishing, boating, and swimming. The lake is fed on the west end by the Little Wenatchee River and the White River. The lake is drained on the east end by the Wenatchee River which then runs for a little over 50 miles before emptying into the Columbia River. The lake and the surrounding area are popular with locals and those from far away because of the beautiful scenery and the great outdoor recreation. Taking the time to visit Lake Wenatchee and the surrounding area can be a whole lot of fun.

Visit Lake Wenatchee

Lake Wenatchee State Park

Lake Wenatchee State Park is one of the most popular campgrounds in the region. The park is actually split into north shore and south shore facilities, separated by the Wenatchee River. The camping spots are very good sized and there is a lot of tree cover. The park also features a lot of bank right on the lake as well as the river and includes a boat launch, small dock, playground area, camp store, and more. Whether stopping in to play in the water or spending a weekend or more camping, Lake Wenatchee State Park is a fun destination.

Visit Lake Wenatchee

Other Bodies of Water

Lake Wenatchee is the main body of water in the area and offers plenty of room for anyone venturing there. There are other places to go to enjoy the water too though. Fish Lake is located a couple of miles away and is a popular fishing destination with rental boats available. Hidden Lake is located near the west end of the lake on the south shore and is reachable by a short hike that adults and kids will both find easy and enjoyable. The Wenatchee River empties out of Lake Wenatchee and is also popular with anglers, as well as rafters. Other local rivers that attract recreation seekers include the Little Wenatchee, White, and Chiwawa Rivers, as well as Nason Creek. If water recreation is your thing, the Lake Wenatchee area has you covered.

Lake Wenatchee Area Communities

While Lake Wenatchee is located up in the mountains, there are several very small communities or locations that offer services you might want to take advantage of. The Stevens Pass Ski Area at the summit has a variety of restaurants available as well as skiing in the winter and mountain bike activities in the summer. Coles Corner is located at the junction of Highway 2 and 207, the turnoff to Lake Wenatchee, and is home to a restaurant, gas station, and a couple over overnight accommodation options. Right outside Lake Wenatchee State Park there is a small grocery store near the bridge over the Wenatchee River. Continuing down the Chiwawa Loop Road also leads you to Midway Village Grocery where supplies and coffee are available. The small town of Plain is located just east of Lake Wenatchee and it features several small businesses worth paying a visit too. The famous Bavarian community of Leavenworth is located about 25 minutes from Lake Wenatchee and it offers first class accommodations, a long list of restaurants, and plenty of shopping options. When you’re visiting Lake Wenatchee and you need to get back to civilization briefly, there are plenty of options.

Hiking Near Lake Wenatchee

Hiking is very popular in the Lake Wenatchee area and there are trails available that are suitable for all levels of hikers. There are short trails that lead out along the lake right from the state park. There are also longer trails that lead up the local ridges into the thick forests. You can even reach the Pacific Crest Trail, the PCT, in a couple of different spots in the Lake Wenatchee area. Some of the more popular hikes to look into in this part of Washington include Heather Lake, Dirtyface Peak, Alpine Lookout, Merritt Lake, and Nason Ridge. There are also plenty more too, so if hiking is your thing then Lake Wenatchee is your destination.

Other Lake Wenatchee Area Activities

The Lake Wenatchee area is all about outdoor recreation and activities. In addition to all of the hiking options listed above, other activities you can participate in when visiting there include water skiing, boating, fishing, camping, downhill skiing, cross country skiing, horseback riding, ziplining, mountain biking, swimming, rafting, kayaking, four wheeling, and more. The Lake Wenatchee area will have no problem keeping you busy, that’s for sure.

If you’re looking for a great getaway, you can’t go wrong when you visit Lake Wenatchee. Especially if what you’re looking for is beautiful scenery, lots of outdoor recreation, and a friendly and welcoming selection of local communities.