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DAPrDAN’s Favorite Family Summer Activities

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Sometimes, the long days of summer can get pretty … long. After all, there are only so many popsicles one can eat, so many sprinklers to run through, before a bit of change is needed. But a little bit of summer planning goes a long way and makes for fantastic memories. Plus, there are the repeat opportunities (aka “Do you remember when we went to ___? We should go there again!”)

So without further ado, here are our 14 Favorite Things To Do in Summer:

1.Hike Lake 22

This 5.5-mile round trip hike takes you 1,350ft up the side of Mt Pilchuck through mountain forests, wetlands, and old-growth groves. It’s an impressive hike even for younger kids and it ends with a fabulous boardwalk hugging the alpine Lake. (Where are the other 21 lakes? We don’t know, but pondering this question makes for great conversation on the trail.) Find what you need to know here.

2. Visit Artist Point 

This one takes a little while to get to, but its beauty is absolutely worth every minute spent in the car. High alpine meadows are dotted by smaller lakes and reveal stunning views of Mt Shuksan and Mt Baker. Mostly known for winter snowshoeing hikes, we love it in the summer (wildflowers!) Various trails depart from the main parking area, but the area lends itself to some simple exploring of this spectacular corner of the Cascades, especially if you’re bringing a stroller or a wheelchair. On the way back, we like to stop at Chair 9 Pizza. Click here for all the info.

3. Explore Fort Casey and Port Townsend

Whose summer doesn’t get better by visiting a fort? Bring a flashlight and get ready for some exploring, or make it an outing with a bunch of friends and a game of Capture the Flag. (PS This outing can serve as a fabulous history lesson, too!)When you’re tired, explore the beach or catch the ferry (walk-on) over to Port Townsend for some ice cream or burgers and shakes at PT Soda Fountain & Diner.

4. Camano Island State Park / Cama Beach State Park

We are partial to this little gem right in our own backyard, but for good reason! That’s why we invite you to enjoy it, too. While you’re here on the “easy” island (aka doesn’t require a ferry boat ride), why not spend the night camping at Camano State Park or next door in one of the quaint little cabins at Cama Beach State Park. Bustling with Art, good food, and even an 18-hole golf course, Camano Island transports you into vacation mode in no time. (Don’t forget to inquire with the Park Ranger about Kids Activities,interpretive events and scavenger hunts, and be sure to check out the Center for Wooden Boats.)

5. Berry Picking / Jam Making

Whatever your favorite jam, find a u-pick berry farm (organic is best – but you know that already) and don’t forget to take ALL THE PICTURES! Then, bring home crates and crates of beautiful fruit and make your own jam. It couldn’t be easier! Just prepare by purchasing sugar, mason jars, pectin (if desired and to guarantee the outcome) and a waterbath canner. Channel your inner homesteader and hey – get a headstart on homemade Christmas presents, too!

6. Jetty Island

Fancy a soft sandy beach and shallow warm water in the Puget Sound? Jetty Island is a man-made island just off the Everett waterfront, and it lends itself perfectly for a day at the beach. With plenty of room to roam, this little island offers summer vibes all the way.

7. Woodland Park Zoo | Pacific Science Center | Burke Museum of Natural History

Whatever time of year, you can’t go wrong with this fabulous trifecta. The annual pass is your best friend if you’re planning to visit each of these at least twice over the course of the year (and we do.)

Woodland Park Zoo | Pacific Science Center | Burke Museum of Natural History

8. Paint a Rock. Or a Driveway.

Or a flower pot. A bird house. A pair of shoes. The options are endless, and not only do you have an activity for the day, but also a personalized souvenir of the summer. (Well, minus the driveway… but you can channel your inner DAPrDAN to clean that off with a refreshing blast from the hose.) Try one of these art projects on your driveway, level up some plain ole’ rocks, or produce an exhibit-worth art piece that might score you a ribbon at your local community fair.


9. Kubota Garden and Seattle Arboretum

Two of our favorite Seattle outings, featuring a relaxing atmosphere, spectacular landscaping, and even boardwalks!


10. Stay at Home and Read Classic Adventure Stories

Sometimes, you’ve just got to not go anywhere, and enjoy your happy place at home. For us, that happens with a warm chocolate milk (and a cup of coffee) and a blanket on the front porch with a good, classic adventure story read-aloud. Jules Verne takes you Around the World in 80 Days or 20,000 Leagues under the Sea. Follow the Call of the Wild and let Jack London take you to Alaska, or witness the slow decline of Captain Ahab on his hunt for Moby Dick. Bonus points if you stretch your limbs and build a reading fort – before diving back into the story! (Don’t forget the movie night when you’re done with the book.)

11. Olympic Game Farm / Olympic Peninsula

OK – don’t do this outing if you love your car a lot (inside and out). But DO ABSOLUTELY DO this outing if you (or your favorite family members) love petting, feeding and getting up close with friendly animals. Make it a weekend and enjoy the summer lavender fields in Sequim and most importantly, the White Chocolate Raspberry French Toast at the Oak Table Cafe in Sequim.

12. Long Beach WA International Kite Festival

This has been our family’s traditional summer camping destination for years. We fly kites, we build sand castles, we ride bikes on the trail (and sometimes horses on the beach), we eat as many Streetside Tacos as possible, we explore nearby Fort Stevens State Park and Lewis and Clark National Historic Park, and then we eat double-salted licorice and make friends and enemies.

13. DIY Science Projects

Yes, we’re talking baking soda and vinegar, mentos and diet Coke, pencils stabbed through water-filled sandwich baggies and traveling rainbows. Bring out the stomp rockets! Shoot the balloon zipline! Watch an egg plop through a bottleneck! And one of our all-time favorites: Make a drawing float! Backyard science projects promise hours of fun and wonder… worth setting a day aside for.

14. Silverwood Theme Park | Coeur D’Alene

A quick trip east is one way to prolong the days of summer and soak up a little more warmth and fun… so this might be our way to end summer with one last hurrah!

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