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Family Vacation Destinations in Washington State

Ideas for family-friendly getaways in the state of Washington

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Washington has many fun family vacation spots, where you can spend several days creating memories to last a lifetime. You can explore the outdoors, play in lakes and rivers, visits a zoo or aquarium, attend a regional food festival, or view a live volcano.

Here are some of Washington's top family vacation destinations:

Bellingham/Whatcom County

Whatcom Falls Park © Angela M. Brown (2007)
Whatcom Falls Park
Bellingham is one of those places you can spend a weekend or a month, there's so much to do. Bellingham and Whatcom County are particularly rich in opportunities to enjoy the scenic outdoors, whether on a river, a lake, a forest, or on a mountain. You'll be able to see wildlife of all kinds, in numerous habitats. The region's many parks provide plenty of opportunity for play. Bellingham also has a great arts scene and some of the tastiest food around.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Johnston Ridge View of Mount St. Helens - ©Angela M. Brown 2009
Johnston Ridge View of Mount St. Helens (2009)
A visit to Mount St. Helens is a great way to experience history. By visiting the four different visitor centers and taking interpretive hikes, you'll learn about the 1981 eruption. Foresty, plants, animals, and geology are all covered in visitor center exhibits and films. You can just spend a day visiting the attractions along State 504, or you can stay a few days experiencing sites such as Windy Ridge overlooking Spirit Lake or the Ape Caves. Mount St. Helens National Monument is located inside of Gifford Pinchot National Forest, where you can enjoy such year-round recreation as hiking, berry picking, scenic backroad drives, fishing, waterfalls, and camping.

Spokane

Riverfront Park in Spokane ©Angela M. Brown
Riverfront Park in Spokane
Spokane offers year-round outdoor recreation, unique shopping opportunities, amazing parks, and interesting museums. Riverfront Park is packed with family-friendly activities and attractions, including the Spokane Falls Skyride, a tour train, the Looff Carousel, and a humungous red wagon sculpture that the little ones can climb on. Families visiting Spokane also have easy access to Coeur d'Alene and Silverwood Theme Park, which are both just across the border in Idaho.

Leavenworth

Morning Alphorn Performance at Enzian Inn in Leavenworth Washington © Angela M. Brown
Morning Alphorn Performance at Enzian Inn in Leavenworth Washington
Located on the east side of the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is a fun Bavarian-themed town. The surrounding mountains and rivers provide opportunity for recreation in summer and in winter. While in Leavenworth, families can spend an afternoon wandering the shops and strolling in Waterfront Park. The local fish hatchery and the Nutcracker Museum are both fun places to check out. Charming themed restaurants and lodgings will appeal to kids of all ages. You'll find a number of family-friendly attractions within a short drive from Leavenworth, including the Aplets and Cotlets Factory Tour in Cashmere and Smallwood's Harvest farmstand in Peshastin.

San Juan Island

Marina at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island
Marina at Friday Harbor ©J. Poth/Washington State Tourism
Accessible by water or air, San Juan Island provides its visitors a tempting mix of majestic scenery, rural charm, resort amenities, and thrilling outdoor adventure. In addition to wildlife viewing, outdoor recreation, and Friday Harbor shopping and dining, San Juan Island visitors can choose from a number of interesting attractions. Both kids and adults will have a fun time learning at the Whale Museum or at San Juan Island National Historical Park. Whale watching, sea kayaking, hiking, and biking are among the family-friendly outdoor activities you can enjoy together.

Long Beach

There's a reason why Long Beach's web site is "funbeach.com". Kite festivals, clam digging, beach combing, ocean fishing, and horseback riding are among the beach activities families will enjoy. Long Beach attractions include two lighthouses, the World Kite Museum and Hall of Fame, and the impressive Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center. Long Beach's family-friendly lodging options range from modern hotels to charming cabins.

Whidbey Island

Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island © Angela M. Brown
Greenbank Farm on Whidbey Island
Once on Whidbey Island, you can relax and just wander. You'll find fun places to stop and check out in every direction. The towns of Coupeville and Langley offer the chance to stroll, shop, and dine. There are a number of parks on the island, including Fort Casey State Park and Deception Pass State Park; all are great places to explore and play. While on Whidbey Island, you'll discover interesting history, delicious local foods, unique shops and galleries, picturesque gardens and farms, and water, island, and mountain views in every direction.

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