Wow—it's already August! Where did the summer go? What happened to those books you were going to read, the hammocks you were going to lounge in, and the places you were planning to visit? Although we may not be able to recommend a great summer read, we can recommend five fantastic getaways to soak up the last moments of summer.
Port Ludlow is a remote community on the Olympic Peninsula surrounded by wilderness lakes, native heritage sites, and endless waterfront access. With 26 miles of hiking and biking trails for all experience levels, Port Ludlow is ideal for those looking to disconnect from technology and reconnect with nature. If you're yearning to get out on Puget Sound, the Port Ludlow Marina has 300 slips and offers kayak and stand-up paddle-board rentals. You're practically guaranteed to see harbor seals, eagles, otters and jellyfish as you explore this Northwest jewel.
With radiant sunshine, alpine scenery and freshwater from the remote reaches of the North Cascades, Lake Chelan is the quintessential Northwest summer getaway. Rent a powerboat, Jet Ski, kayak or paddle-board on the shimmering 55-mile-long lake. Stretch your legs along the endless miles of local hiking trails. Explore the boutiques, cafes, breweries, and museums of historic downtown. Enjoy family fun at Slidewaters Waterpark's lazy river, downhill racer mats, inner tubes, and brand new, totally tubular surfing pool!
Mountains, music and a vibrant arts scene make Sandpoint a great for a day trip from Spokane or long weekend getaway from the Puget Sound. With the Selkirk and Cabinet ranges and Schweitzer Mountain just a stone's throw away, hiking, mountain biking, and skiing are all popular local pastimes. A plentiful array of cultural events, including the Festival at Sandpoint, engage visitors throughout the year. Ready for some exhilaration? Check out Silverwood Theme and Water Park's 70+ rides, slides, and attractions.
Washington's emerging wine country. Wheat may drive the economy in Walla Walla, but wine grapes attract the tourists. A growing network of family farms and locally sourced restaurants are bringing a more extensive selection of the Walla Walla's bounty to the table. An epicurean paradise: beef from locally-owned ranches, house-brewed beers, innovative Northwest cuisine, plus classic Mediterranean, French and Italian food just waiting to be be savored. The number of area wineries has grown from three in 1984 to about 120 today. The industry's growth is readily apparent downtown, where 30 tasting rooms have set up shop, many in historic brick buildings.
Just about 60 miles east of Portland lies the windsurfing capital of the world. Don't windsurf? No worries! You can always sign up for a lesson or enjoy the other activities in the area. Hiking and biking trails, horseback rides, U-pick fruit stands, craft breweries, wineries, and a historic shopping district, Hood River is small enough to be relaxing, yet full of wonderful discoveries. If you're curious about local history, sign up for a 90-minute downtown walking tour led by guides from the History Museum of Hood River County.