Best spots for the ultimate summer road trips
The fresh air. That hits you first as it fills your lungs and blows through your hair. The windows are down and the music on the radio is up and it’s just you, some friends, and the wide-open road. Road trips are what summer is all about, because they symbolize freedom and they embrace spontaneity and new adventures.
Even if your taking summer classes, working during the week, or have other priorities, the weekends are the perfect amount of time to explore different parts of Washington and even our neighbor to the north. A quick weekend road trip is the perfect getaway that switches up your routine and gives you a fresh outlook on life, and we all need that once and a while, now don’t we?
If you have a passport and are dying to experience somewhere outside our humble state and your comfort zone, Vancouver, BC, is a great place to start. Vancouver is only two hours away and has great parks, shopping and food. There’s a different vibe to Canada and it’s fun to experience with friends if it’s your first time visiting. Canadians for the most part are super friendly and there is a laid-back feeling that permeates throughout Vancouver as a whole.
If you want to stay the weekend in Vancouver, there are many hostels downtown that are cheap and even include continental breakfast. One example is located in the heart of downtown Vancouver and fittingly is called HI-Vancouver Downtown. It is walking distance from Stanley Park and is located in a safe residential West End neighborhood, so put all those horror movie hostel thoughts out of your mind.
This particular hostel even offers a package deal that costs $44 per person in a shared dorm room or $107 for two people in a private room. The package includes one-night accommodation, an express entry admission pass to the Vancouver Art Gallery, breakfast, and 15% off any purchase in the Art Gallery Gift Shop.
Shops, parks, and funky restaurants are all walking distance from the hostel and really give off that backpacking-through-another-country vibe.
Another option is to obviously travel somewhere within Washington State that you have not already explored. Camping is a cheap road trip option that is always fun when mixed with good friends, somewhat good BBQ and a little alcohol (if you’re of age, of course). There are great campsites all over the state. Some include Fay-Bainbridge State Park on Bainbridge Island and Mt. Pilchuck State Park.
Bainbridge Island is a small community with shops and restaurants and a state park that is perfect for camping. While you do take a relatively short ferry ride out of Seattle to this island, it is still a fun road trip-esque vacation. The ferry adds a different flavor to the trip overall and the Fay-Bainbridge state park offers sweeping views of the Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains and has a couple sandy beaches.
If the weather ever hits 80 degrees, Bainbridge could serve as the perfect getaway for a weekend.
Mt. Pilchuck State Park is another perfect spot for camping with friends and family. After taking on the challenging hike the mountain offers, what better way to end the day by relaxing by the fire and getting cozy in your tent? The hike is worth it, giving you 360 views of the Puget Sound and Cascade Mountains from the summit.
Yakima is another great place to get that warmth and sunshine you’ve been waiting for in Bellevue and in the cities close by. Nicknamed “the Palm Springs of Washington” Yakima is a great place to go wine tasting or just soak up the sun at a pool or park. Yakima is about a two-hour drive, so again, a relatively short road trip, but a road trip nonetheless. I mean, it’s no Forks.
Which brings me to my next road trip hot spot, Forks. Now, Forks only applies to a very small percentage of our population, being that it’s merely a place for “Twilight” fanatics to take a picture where Bella Swan and Edward Cullen had their first date or buy a bunch of souvenirs at one of the many Dazzled by Twilight gift shops.
Other than that, Forks is a pretty empty town with not much to see or do. The drive there is about four hours, so it’s a nice trip and there’re little, scenic spots along the way that are fun to see and take pictures of. If you want to learn more about this famous little town, refer to the Opinions section: Scott will rant and not so much rave all about it. “Twilight” lovers beware.
So whether you’re going to a whole other country or taking a short ferry ride over to a close island, there are many hot spots for a spontaneous but somewhat planned road trip for the weekend. Get out and try visiting somewhere new.