The city of Lake Stevens and its lovely namesake lake lie just east of the larger city of Everett in Washington state. The gorgeous surrounding scenery, opportunities for exciting outdoor activities and abundant nearby attractions make it a popular year-round destination for families on vacation. You can swim, fish, hike, go shopping, and see the sights within a short drive from your Lake Stevens vacation rental. Here are 11 of our favorite things to near Lake Stevens for families.

1. Go Swimming

Cool down on a hot day by heading for the North Lakeshore Swimming Beach on Lake Stevens. This waterfront park offers beautiful views of the North Cascade Mountains and a swimming dock built out over the water. If you prefer to swim indoors, the Forest Park Swim Center in Everett features an enormous pool with 25 lap lanes, an attached diving tank, an inflatable obstacle course, and a smaller wading pool for children. To go for a swim at the lovely beach on Possession Sound, take the short ferry ride from the Everett waterfront out to Jetty Island for the day.

2. Play Water Sports

Lake Stevens is the largest lake in Snohomish County, and it offers several ramps for launching boats onto the water. Popular water sports here include waterskiing, windsurfing and jet skiing. The lake is a great place to paddle a canoe or kayak and explore the miles of scenic shoreline. You can also try rafting or tubing along the nearby Pilchuck River.

3. Fish the Lake

Lake Stevens is open for fishing all year. You can either angle from piers at North Cove, Wyatt, and Sunset Parks, or troll from a boat on the open water for rainbow trout, cutthroat trout, catfish, yellow perch and both largemouth and smallmouth bass. For a thrilling family adventure, charter a boat on the Everett waterfront and head out to Puget Sound to fish for salmon, halibut, and flounder. While you’re out at sea, you can observe whales, seals, sea lions, and multiple species of seabirds.

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4. Walk the Trails

The area around your Lake Stevens vacation rental has many forest trails for the family to explore. Centennial Woods provides a beautiful path through groves of ferns, cedars, hemlock, and maple. This stretch of trail is just a short section of the Centennial Trail, a 17-mile path between the towns of Arlington and Snohomish. Forest Park in Everett has miles of trails through lovely evergreen woods, picnic areas and a free petting zoo, where children can interact with sheep, rabbits, ducks, hens and other farmyard animals.

5. Hike up the Mountain

For a spectacularly beautiful hike over mountainous alpine terrain, head for the 2.7-mile trail at Mount Pilchuck State Park. The path goes through an evergreen forest and a field of boulders before the steep, winding ascent to the summit and fire lookout point on Mount Pilchuck. When you reach the top, the North Cascade Mountains surround you to the east and north, and you have a magnificent view of the Olympic Mountains to the west and Mount Rainier to the south.

6. Visit the Children’s Museum

The Imagine Children’s Museum in Everett provides interactive displays and activities for young kids. Its exhibits include an art studio, a wooden block construction studio, an electric train landscape, a mini-golf course, and a wildlife clinic with puppet animals. Your children can immerse themselves in an airplane cockpit, a bus, a stage, and farm displays. Kids can climb, crawl, slide and explore on the Tall Timbers Rooftop Adventure play area on the museum’s roof.

7. Climb the Walls

Summit Everett is an enormous climbing gym where your kids can learn how to climb in a controlled environment. Here, secure harnesses keep climbers safe as they attempt to summit the walls of the elaborate climbing rooms. Expert instructors are ready to teach proper beginning or advanced techniques to climbers aged 5 and up, but all ages of children can enjoy open climbing.

8. Have a High Altitude Adventure

Your kids are sure to have some thrills at High Trek Adventures, an aerial adventure park at Paine Field about 10 minutes southwest of your Lake Stevens vacation rental. The ropes course lets you climb your way around obstacles and is color-coded according to difficulty levels. You can also get a thrill on the zip lines, which take you from tower to tower high above the ground.

9. Marvel at the Flight Museum

Near High Trek Adventures at Paine Field is the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour, a vast museum with full-sized airplanes as well as videos, presentations, and displays on the history and construction of aircraft. Your kids can enter a Boeing 727 cockpit and operate switches and controls, take a virtual aviation ride to various locales, and design and print out plans for their own aircraft. On the Boeing tour, you visit the Boeing Everett Factory and observe airplanes in various phases of construction.

10. Go Shopping

Lake Stevens offers numerous opportunities for shopping. The Alderwood Mall, the Everett Mall, and the Seattle Premium Outlet Mall just north in Tulalip are vast complexes with name-brand stores, specialty shops, cinemas, and restaurants. Local shops specialize in selling comics, toys, musical instruments and bicycles. The Everett Farmer’s Market, open every Sunday on Marine View Drive, is a great place to take the kids and look for fresh fruits and vegetables, flowers, baked goods, and charming local handicrafts.

11. Hit the Slopes

The mountains around Lake Stevens vacation rentals are extremely popular sites for winter sports activities. Nearby trails provide opportunities for snowshoeing and cross-country skiing. If your kids need some instruction before attempting downhill skiing and snowboarding, take them to nearby Mini-Mountain Indoor Ski Center, about 40 minutes away in downtown Bellevue, where instructors teach them the basics. When you’re ready to hit the slopes, try the runs at Steven’s Pass or Snoqualmie Summit.

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