3 Ways to Enjoy a Staycation this Summer

There is still time to get away from it all before the back to school grind begins. From nearby beaches to scenic lookouts and inviting trails, we are lucky to live in a region with a lot to offer—so much in fact, that you can enjoy all the perks of vacation without traveling too far. Here are 3 ways to enjoy a “staycation” this summer:

Photo of hiking shoes outside by Tylee B.#1. Blaze a Trail

Pacific North Westerners can agree, all that winter rain pays off in the summertime! Local parks and trails come to life with new growth each summer, welcoming hikers and explorers. Visit Priest Point State Park for an enjoyable day hike, the Ellis Cove Trail. This 5 mile walk cuts through a mossy green forest onto the shores of Ellis Cove. On a clear day, the trail leads to views of the Capitol Building, Puget Sound and the Olympic mountains.

For more trails and iconic scenery, head to the tallest mountain in our state, Mount Rainier. Dominating the horizon at 14,410 feet above sea level, Rainier is a wonderland for outdoor enthusiasts, surrounded by five major rivers, wildflower meadows, alpine lakes, lush forests and wildlife. The Sunrise Region of the national park offers something for hikers of all skill levels, from the family-friendly Sunrise Nature Trail to the 21 mile trek to Mystic Lake. Boasting 7 hiking trails in all, the Sunrise Region is accessible by vehicle from late June/early July to late September/early October, so be sure to catch this summer favorite before it’s too late!

Photo and recommendations courtesy of Tylee B., a Customer Service Representative and resident outdoor enthusiast in our Tumwater Branch.

#2. Hit the Beach

Sunsets, surf, seafood, oh my! Western Washington is a paradise for beach lovers. World class surfing, charter fishing and fun festivals make for a lively summer season in Westport. With mini golf, clam digs, the scenic Damon Point Beach Walk and more, there are plenty of ways to keep busy across the Jetty in Ocean Shores, too.

Toni and Pam pose for a photo with a Jack Sparrow lookalike at Pirate Daze in Westport.Further up the coast on the edge of the Olympic National Park, Ruby Beach’s rugged coastline is the perfect place to explore sea stacks, tide pools and plenty of photo ops. Continue up the Olympic Peninsula as far as you can go and you’ll eventually reach Cape Flattery, an oceanfront nature sanctuary. The 1.2 mile out-and-back Cape Flattery trail leads to the tip of the Peninsula, ending at the northwestern-most point in the continental United States, where you’ll enjoy the chance to watch puffins and other seabirds, sea otters, whales and other wildlife.

#3. Catch Some Views

Western Washington’s lush greenery, wildlife and local waterways create plenty of chances to stop and enjoy a view or two this summer. In Grays Harbor, you’ll find one of the four largest shorebird staging areas in North America, the Grays Harbor National Wildlife Refuge. Thousands of shorebirds and birdwatchers flock to the area each spring for migration season, but the secluded, 1.9 mile out-and-back nature trail is a perfect place for year-round bird watching. If you visit in the summer, keep an eye out for birds like Peregrine Falcons, waterfowl and Dunlin (a small shorebird that can be identified by its white underwings).

The summit of Mount St. HelensFor more awe-inspiring views, head to one of the State’s most popular tourist destinations, Mount St. Helens. In Lewis County, the gateway to the mountain’s east and south sides, you’ll find plenty of opportunities to experience the volcano's evolving landscape. Hiking trails will bring you up close to devastation and regrowth and visitor centers can add an educational element to the destination. Plus, views Mount St. Helens as well as other peaks in the Cascades, forests, lakes and more can be enjoyed throughout your trip!

Relax and Enjoy Our Backyard!

Even while sticking close to home, a staycation still provides the opportunity slip into vacation mode. Take time to reflect on what it is you were looking for in your vacation—relaxation, family time, exploration or simply escaping the every day—and enjoy our backyard.

Bonus: Safety Tips for Your Staycation

  1. Buckle up! This may seem like a simple tip, but it’s always worth remembering that seatbelts can save your life.

  2. Check on your car. Ensure your tire pressure, oil and fluid levels and wiper blades are ready for the road. Carry a spare tire and know how to use it just in case.

  3. Catch up on sleep before you hit the road—drowsy driving can be fatal.

  4. Bring back up directions. Take a look at your route beforehand and print or take screenshots of your directions, in case you lose cell service or a battery dies.

  5. Stock up. Bottled water, a full gas can, sleeping bags or blankets and healthy, nonperishable snacks are always good to have on hand in the event that you end up stuck on the side of the road.