Filled with giant conifers, incredible volcanoes, and one of the trendiest cities in the United States, the state of Washington provides you and your family with limitless activities for Fourth of July fun. Whether you want to visit a national park, soak up the sun on the beach, or go boating on the lake, Washington has something for everyone. Its variety of lodgings is almost as diverse as its landscapes. Choose from quaint bed and breakfasts, sprawling resorts, or spacious houses. Book a stay at one of many Washington vacation rentals today. Here are the top family-friendly Washington cities and landmarks to check out on Independence Day.
Seattle is packed with luscious park settings, world-class sports venues, award winning restaurants, and tourist attractions keep the entire family busy. Start with the Seattle Space Needle, built in 1962 for the most breathtaking views of the city. Take a stroll downtown along the waterfront where piers and parks rim the shoreline. Grab a snack at Pike Place market, catch an underground tour near Pioneer Square, or watch a performance at Benaroya Hall. The young ones will love a visit to the Seattle Aquarium or the hands-on musical exhibits at the Experience Music Project.
2. Olympic National Park
From ocean beaches to mountain tops, Olympic National Park will provide you with the most incomparable scenery for this year’s holiday cards. The Park covers most of the Olympic Peninsula with dozens of beaches, the Hoh Rain Forest, the Sol Duc Hot Springs, lakes, waterfalls, wildflowers, we could go on and on. Go boating, fishing, or hiking, or spend a night in the wilderness at the park or at a nearby vacation rental.
Just east of the Cascade Mountains, you’ll find the sunnier side of the mountains in Spokane. Lying just on the Washington border with Idaho, this bustling Washington city is a major hub of activities. Spend a lazy afternoon at Nishinomiya Japanese Garden or Spokane’s Manito Park. You’re in luck because the flowers are particularly vibrant during the summer. Take the kiddies to Riverfront Park, Spokane’s venue for the 1974 World’s Fair, with a Ferris wheel, hand-carved carousel, and other amusement park rides. For any adventure-seekers, there’s plenty of outdoor fun to be had on Mount Spokane.
4. Mount Rainier National Park
Another beautiful national park is Washington is Mount Rainier, National Park. On a clear day, this chain of volcanoes in the Cascade mountains are visible from miles away. Hike the Road to Paradise as it winds through the mountains, or take a scenic drive past the dense forests and gushing waterfalls. Not to be missed attractions nearby are the Northwest Trek wildlife park in Eatonville and the Mount Rainier Scenic Railroad in the little town of Elbe.
Any boys and girls interested in exploring the skies will love a visit to Everett, the home of the Boeing factory. Even those who aren’t plane buffs will enjoy taking a tour of the Boeing’s facility, Future of Flight. If the kids are still begging for more, take them to Imagine Children’s Museum where they can plan and learn on three levels of interactive indoor and outdoor exhibits. Each exhibit is thoughtfully designed for exciting hands-on exploration in science, literacy, math, history, and art.
6. The San Juan Islands
If your family is eager to just get away, the San Juan Islands are just the ticket. Dotting the Puget sound, these islands are the best known of Washington’s many islands and are easily accessible by ferry. Each island has a mix of galleries, seafood restaurants, and parks, including the San Juan National Historic Park where British and American troops nearly went to war over the Pig War border dispute. Puget Sound is also a great place to spot an orca whale so keep your eyes peeled on the ferry from shore or take a whale watching tour.
This city once had an industrial feel, but it has since developed a variety of exceptional museums and cultural venues. Visit the Museum of Glass to see exquisite, translucent art pieces, or stroll down the Bridge of Glass walkway decorated with glass sculptures on your way to the Washington State History Museum. Anyone interested in cars might like the LeMay- America’s Car Museum, which exhibits heritage automobiles from its world-class collection.
8. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St. Helens erupted on May 18th, 1980, reducing its peak by 1,300 feet and leveling much in the surrounding area. A cloud of ash rose 13 miles into the air, destroying almost 150 square miles of forest. Many homes were lost along with 57 lives. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is now dedicated to both research and recreational purposes. Many climbing and hiking opportunities are available, including the iconic Mount St. Helens. Stop at the visitor center to learn more about the area and don’t leave without going to the Johnston Ridge Observatory where you can look into the volcanic crater.
At the south end of Puget Sound, lies the quiet Washington state capital, Olympia. You can see the grand white dome of the capital building from nearly anywhere in town as it rises 287 feet above the tree-lined streets. Its the tallest masonry dome in North America and cost nearly seven million dollars to construct. Take one of the free, guided public tours for highlights of the building, including the five-ton Tiffany chandelier and permanent sculptures. Don’t forget your camera!
10. Port Angeles
Thanks to its location along the northern shores of the Olympic Peninsula and across the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Port Angeles is known for a huge number of outdoor activities like hiking, biking, golfing, boating, kayaking, fishing, birding, and more. It’s also an easy access point to Olympic National Park via the road to Hurricane Ridge. Port Angeles Fine Arts Center also features rustic trails with more than 100 sculptures in its outdoor museum. You can find more historical exhibits at the Clallam County Museum.