Tacoma, Washington

Tacoma, Washington is a city that nobody really gives enough credit. Overlooked by outsiders, due to most people wanting to explore the big cities (Seattle, Bellevue). Tacoma has all kinds of potential and we are starting to see the city grow. Known for the Tacoma Dome and it’s various museums (Museum of Glass, LeMay – America’s Car Museum), Tacoma has it’s fair share of attractions. Point Defiance is another park that puts Seattle to shame in comparison! Tacoma is definitely on the rise and I am interested to see how it develops over the next few decades.

(Narrows Bridge, photo captured 6/21/20)

Ancient Lakes (Quincy, Washington)

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Ancient Lake is a pretty awesome hike in Central Washington. This hike takes you to a Desert Oasis of sorts once you reach the lakes at the end of the hike. Getting there is a bit of an adventure with the the temperature elements and wind. Be aware that rattlesnakes are in the area, and bugs are everywhere (especially beatles). This trail is very popular for locals, so you won’t be alone.

The best part about this hike, as is the case with many hikes, is it’s location. Ancient Lake is positioned between two sharp extensive cliff sides which make for an incredible scene! There are waterfalls at points along the trail, but the best one is by the lakes at the end. Also, you have the option of hiking Highmans Bluff at the end for an elevated view of the lakes and desert landscape.

Overall, a great experience and would definitely recommend this hike to others!

Kayak Point (Stanwood, WA)

Kayak Point is a well maintained beach front with all kinds of amenities available for visitors. The park is named Kayak Point because its a popular location to drop in kayaks in the usually calm waters. However, the day I visited the water was rather unsettled. There was one fisherman fishing from the Pier.

On the beach, there are trees to hang hammocks, fire pits for fires, picnic tables for having breakfast, lunch, dinner. There is also an open field to fly kites or play yard games. It’s a very nice place to spend the day. Admission into the park is $10 so make sure you get your money’s worth when you visit.

Definitely worth checking out!

Diablo Lake, WA

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(Diablo Lake Vista Point, photo captured on 5/31/20)

Diablo Lake definitely lived up to the hype! I had heard a lot of great things about this location, and sure enough it didn’t disappoint the day I visited. It was nice having friends tag along for this adventure, they added to the experience and made the long drive more enjoyable! The weather wasn’t prime, but it still made for an awesome scene. I will definitely have to make another visit and check out some of the trails in that area.

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(Pyramid Creek, photo captured on 5/31/20)

We didn’t have time to do any hikes during this trip, but it was cool seeing some creeks, waterfalls, rock formations along the highway. It’s a very scenic drive on the North Cascades Highway! Highly recommend visiting for those that haven’t made the trip yet.

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(Gorge Creek and Lake, photo captured on 5/31/20)

Gorge Creek and Lake was another quick stop on our descent into the valley. This location has several waterfalls to view on both sides of the roadway. You also have the option of taking a nature trail (roughly 0.5 mile) to get some better views of Gorge Lake. It’s a good spot to stop and get some fresh air before the long drive back down into the metro area.

Mukilteo, WA

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Sure when it comes to Washington State most probably don’t think of Mukilteo being a town worth visiting, but if you are big into seeing lighthouses this is the place for you! I haven’t seen every lighthouse in Washington state, but the one in Mukilteo is very well kept and maintained. So if your adventures take you through the small town of Mukilteo be sure to stop into the Lighthouse Park to check out the beach, lighthouse and ferry terminal. You have to pay to park which is a little annoying, but it definitely seems like the money goes towards maintenance and upkeep so it’s worth it!

Bellevue, Washington

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(Photo of Downtown Park, captured 5/3/20)

Sure when it comes to tourist attractions, Seattle is the place to visit if you’re looking for famous landmarks, etc. However, Bellevue is really starting to put Seattle to shame when it comes to safety and quality of life. Microsoft surely has had an influence on this, but now even Amazon is flocking to Bellevue for business. Like I stated in my Seattle post, the city has really gone south with the criminal acts and homeless populations taking over the city. Bellevue is a very high class area, but the city does an exceptional job keeping their people safe and protected. It’s going to be interesting to see what happens when this new light rail transit system gets up and running in a few years, whether they will be able to sustain it or not.

Although Bellevue doesn’t have the attractions like Seattle has, there is still plenty to do within the city itself. You have the Downtown Park (pictured above) to take in amazing views of the city skyline. Also, there is the Bellevue Square Mall Collection for those avid shoppers out there, along with many high end restaurants. Another cool thing that Bellevue offers is Snowflake Lane. Each night leading up to Christmas (starting in Late November), Bellevue closes the streets by the mall at 7 PM and puts on a massive display for people to come out and get themselves in the holiday spirit. It’s a giant holiday parade and I would recommend people to check it out, especially if you live outside the area. During this time, Downtown Park puts up a skating rink for those interested in ice skating.

Cle Elum, WA (Middle Fork Teanaway River Trail)

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My best friend and I wanted an adventure so we decided to head east where we knew sunny weather was going to be present. Cle Elum is a town that I have an extreme interest in, such a cool country landscape with all kinds of outdoorsy things to do in and around the area. We decided to take a hike in the Teanaway Forest on the Middle Fork Teanaway River Trail. Unfortunately, it wasn’t really a trail and was more of a road for ATV’s and dirt bikes which was a little disappointing, so one mile up the trail we decided to head back to the river where it seemed like the best views were available.

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This area is very remote and takes a little while to get to from Cle Elum with the country back roads, but once you get there it’s a very cool place to hang out! It’s a pretty popular spot for camping, fishing, dirt biking and trail running. We saw a bunch of people visiting for the Memorial Day holiday weekend. It’s definitely a place I would go and spend more time!

(Photos of Teanaway River, captured on 5/23/20)

Lake Crescent, WA (Marymere Falls)

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My brother and I took a day adventure out to Lake Crescent with hopes of hiking up Mount Storm King, however the nimbostratus clouds rolled in and it began drizzling so we decided half way up to head back down and explore Marymere Falls instead. Marymere Falls is a very short hike which takes you through thick rain forest and takes you alongside and over Falls creek. This hike is great for all ages, it’s flat and straight forward until the end where you have to climb stairs to access the falls. It’s a bit of a drive out to this location from the metro, but it’s definitely a great area to take in the lush nature views.

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(Photos of Marymere Falls and Falls Creek above, captured on 5/22/20)

Camano Island, WA

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Camano Island is the perfect location to get away from the urban core for a day. If you enjoy walking on the beach and taking in the sights of the Puget Sound then this is a great place to visit. There are hikes through the forest where those looking for some incline/decline can set out for their adventure. There are outcroppings from up above to get a limited aerial view of the water for those who like elevated views.

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One of the coolest things about the beaches in this area is the fact that they are littered with driftwood and sea shells which you can take home and put them to use (sea shells, NOT driftwood). I used one of the sea shells to hold a bar of soap in my shower at home, I also plan on using the other shells that I harvested to create a piece of wall art to hang to remember my time on the island.

This is a great place for a family getaway, so if you have young ones you might consider this location for your next family adventure! There are cabins for rent if you want to extend your stay, so might consider that option as well.

 (Photos above taken at Camano Island State Park on 5/16/20)

Seattle, Washington

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Seattle, Washington the city that has so much beauty, but equally as many limiting factors that keep people from visiting or coming back regularly. The biggest problem facing the city currently is the homeless population which runs rampant through the streets and you are bound to see homeless basically anywhere throughout the city, especially in and around the most popular attractions. They sure know how to pick their spots!

Another factor is the street design and traffic. One of the positives with this COVID-19 outbreak is the streets are wide open which makes it easy to venture into the city. Seattle is a city that is vertically built on a restricted plot of land, and unfortunately the growth shows no signs of stopping. Construction cranes are up all over the city building new corporate offices and condominiums.

Sure there are many benefits to living in and around the city, but having grown up in this area and seen the growth and deterioration of Seattle, it’s making different parts of the country look that more appealing! That’s one of the reasons I travel so much, I don’t know if I plan to spend the rest of my life in this area or not.

If you haven’t already been turned away from this post, then I will tell you that if you visit the city of Seattle you must check out the Seattle Center and Space Needle, as well as visit the Piers on the waterfront where you can find the Great Wheel, Pike’s Place Market and other attractions like museums and the aquarium. From there, you can also walk through the city and visit the Sky View Observatory at the Columbia Center or check out the Sinking Ship parking garage and the Smith Tower.

Just outside the city, you have several different options in terms of parks and natural lands. The most popular is Discovery Park, but then you also have places like Green Lake, Centennial Park and Washington Park Arboretum UW Botanic Gardens. All of these places are worth checking out if you have time for them.

I think Seattle is a great city to visit with all kinds of sites to see, but they need to get their act together when it comes to making the city safer to explore. It’s very depressing to visit the city these days and see all the people suffering on the streets. Don’t know what it’s going to take to fix the problem, but I know not addressing it won’t get anything accomplished, so I want to raise awareness about it.