I will never forget that day in 1980 when a mountain in Southwestern Washington suddenly exploded with the force of several nuclear bombs. The deadliest volcanic event in U.S. history laid waste to hundreds of square miles around Mt. St. Helens.
It sounds like an unlikely destination for a family vacation. But, in fact, the Mt. St. Helens Volcanic Monument in Washington is an amazing place to spend a day with kids. From areas of utter devastation to hidden hollows teeming with new life, a trip to Mt. St. Helens will be both fascinating and educational.
When you tell people you’re visiting Washington State, they usually conjure up images of majestic mountains, rugged coastlines, or the urban beauty of Seattle. Most people forget there’s an entire eastern half of the state that has a number of cool and unique places to visit.
On the far eastern edge of Washington is the city of Spokane, which is well worth exploring for a few days if you find yourself traveling on Interstate 90, and especially if you have kids, because Spokane (the “e” is silent, by the way) is a very kid-friendly town.
Washington’s Olympic National Park is an amazingly diverse place, with snowcapped mountain peaks, sandy ocean beaches, and a temperate rain forest all within easy driving distance of each other. One particular part of the park has twice been our base of operations for the ideal family vacation.
The Olympic Beaches stretch along the Pacific Coast for 73 miles. They range from the wide and sandy Kalaloch Beach to the rugged and rocky Rialto Beach. They all have their own unique characteristics, some with awesome tide pools and others with weird rock formations, and they are all close enough to each other to be explored in just a day or two.
The Super Bowl has once again put Seattle in the spotlight, and it’s sure to see an increase in tourism as people come to check out the home of the Seahawks. People will flock to Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, Experience Music, and the Museum of Flight. It’s a beautiful city, with no shortage of fun activities for families. Continue reading →
The last part of our recent road trip to Western Washington was a stop at Rialto Beach, one of the most popular destinations on the Olympic Peninsula. It’s a classic beach hike, with crashing waves, towering sea stacks, tide pools, and a unique rock tunnel called Hole-in-the-Wall.
There was plenty of driftwood, naturally, but this time my kids were more interested in looking for sea creatures in and around the strange rock formations. If you hike the easy 1.5 miles along the beach to Hole-in-the-Wall, plan for frequent stops as your kids discover starfish, sea urchins, anemones, crabs, and other critters in all the nooks and crannies.
Like I’ve said before, the Olympic Peninsula is an awesome family destination. There are so many different sights and activities to choose from. Whether you’re exploring the varied beaches, walking through the rain forest, or climbing a mountain peak, parents will be thrilled by the scenery, while your kids will delight in exercising their imagination in a safe, simple, and natural setting.