Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State

I can’t even believe it but the first day of summer is officially here! I’m probably a little biased, but I think we have life pretty dang good in the PNW this season. I used to reallyyy dread summer when I lived on the east coast because the weather killed me, but now that I’m back on the west coast it’s quickly become one of my favorites! It gets hot, but not too hot and we rarely have to deal with that humidity nonsense — thank God! Even more important than the weather though, Washington just has so many options for different things you can do both in the cities and outdoors. The best of both worlds! So today I’m sharing some of the things that are on calendar (which is somehow already filled up 😳) in case you need some adventure ideas!

Taste of Tacoma

The Taste of Tacoma is really kicking off summer this year because it’s THIS weekend at Point Defiance Park Friday-Sunday in Tacoma. It will be going on 11am-9pm on Friday and Saturday and then 11am-8pm on Sunday. It’s been going on for the last 33 years and it highlights everything from local restaurants and breweries in the state, family fun and there’s also live music. It’s also free! Parking can get a little crazy near the park but they have a free park and ride shuttle service from Tacoma Community College which I’d recommend.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State

Fab Fridays Emerald Downs

If you’re looking for something to do on Friday nights I recommend checking out Emerald Downs for their Fab Fridays. The first race is at 6:30pm and they also have beer specials and live music. Plus, it’s wayyy chiller on Friday nights than on Saturday or Sundays. They have different specials and things going on each Friday but it’s become one of my favorite times to actually go to the races. Another cool thing is the first Fab Friday of the season (it’s usually the Friday before Mother’s Day) they give away free t-shirts and if you get one you have free admission for the rest of Fridays in the season. Score right?! My mom and I have gotten them the last two years so it makes it a cheap Friday night out — especially because I don’t bet lol. If you don’t have a t-shirt though they also have a Groupon which is a great deal. It’s $10 and it gets you in, a free program and a $10 food voucher. Plus they have a tent set up right outside the gate so it’s super easy to use.

Fremont Fair for Solstice Weekend

Summer solstice weekend in Seattle goes hand-in-hand with the Fremont Fair, which let’s be honest, is probably most notorious for the naked bike riders in the parade. The fair is a lot more than that though with lots of food and drinks, art, street performers, crafts and other fun. Plus Fremont is just a cute neighborhood in Seattle too so it’s the perfect way to kick off the summer!

Stars and Stripes Parade in Enumclaw

I have to give it up to my little small town. They’ve definitely stepped it up a lot since growing up here with their events. If you’re looking for an all-American small town 4th of July parade then this is the one to go to! It starts at noon on Cole Street and it’s a fun parade to go to. Bonus, stop by our restaurants, shops, and breweries after (yes Enumclaw even has breweries now — say whattt?!)

Concert at the Gorge

Summer concerts are just the best and ones at the gorge are definitely a summer bucket list item here in Washington. The views at the gorge are so pretty and I always love a change of scenery driving to central Washington. Plus lawn seating tickets are usually pretty affordable. I’ll be hitting up Eric Church in a few weeks but they have an awesome line-up this summer so you should definitely check it out!

Back to the Old West in Winthrop

We have a trip booked to Winthrop that I’m really looking forward to! It’s located about 3.5 hours northeast from Seattle and makes a great weekend getaway. If you haven’t been, the main street looks like you took a trip back to the old west! One of the most well-known destinations there is Sun Mountain Lodge which is a really cool resort too. We stayed there as kids (the last time I was there) and it’s still one of my favorite vacations. Even if you don’t stay at the resort they have restaurants and activities you can check out too.

Get Outdoors and Go Hiking

It’s not a summer in the PNW without some hiking, right?! I have a pretty big bucket list for hikes this summer (and I’ll be writing a separate blog on those recs soon) but there’s no better way to enjoy the beautiful scenery our state has to offer than hiking. Some of the ones on my summer bucket list this year are Diablo Lake, Lake Serene and Bridal Veil Falls, and Kendall Katwalk. I also want to get a few hikes in on the Olympic Peninsula. So many places to explore! If you’re looking for more suggestions I’d recommend checking out the Washington Trails Association website and All Trails.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State

Strawberry Festival on Vashon Island

Vashon Island’s Strawberry Festival is happening July 19-21 and this is the 110th year! The festival includes a parade, car show, live music, street booths, food, beer gardens and a street dance. Plus it’s just a quick ferry ride away from both Tacoma and Seattle so if you’ve been looking for an excuse to get out and explore this is the perfect time to do it!

King County Fair

Also going down the 3rd weekend of July, the King County Fair will be happening July 18-21st. I used to look forward to this fair every summer as a kid! It’s definitely a bit smaller than it was back then, but it still has all of my personal fair favs — animals (lots of them!), elephant ears, scones, and pig races!

Kayaking at Local Beaches or Lakes

I bought kayaks last year and it’s quickly become one of my favorite things to do in the summer. In fact, Scooter is even a fan! He took his first trip out and actually liked it so he’ll be coming along on some adventures this summer. I recommend kayaking at Titlow Beach if you have your own kayaks and Owen Beach in Tacoma if you need to rent some. Personally I think Titlow is a little less crowded but both are great options! Or if lakes are more your thing (no current!) there’s a ton of options locally too. I’m back and forth between Tacoma and Enumclaw almost weekly so I like to go to Deep Lake but check out what is near you!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State

Homespun Happy Hour Fort Nisqually

Fort Nisqually is a living history museum located in Point Defiance park and last year they kicked off an event series called Homespun Happy Hour. The museum is popular for kids but this event is actually only for adults 21+. The event offers a cash bar and different 19th century crafts like candle making, tinsmithing, felting, and more! We went to one of the events last year and it was such a blast! Not only was it something different but we also learned a lot about history while we were doing everything! Definitely recommend it and you can get tickets to this year’s events here.

Mariners Game

Another summer classic… baseball games! I’ve been to more baseball games than I can count for someone who doesn’t even really love baseball but the games are always a blast! I love Safeco too.. ok.. ok.. T-Mobile Park (that’s going to take some getting used to) because you can just hang out in the beer gardens. We usually just buy cheap tickets and then do that! Plus let’s be honest, you know I’m just there for the grub! Some of my personal favs are the donuts from On Deck Donuts, the crab fries from Way Back Crab Shack and dumplings from Din Tai Fung. All of which are featured in this article from Eater!

Art Festival Proctor

One of my favorite neighborhoods in Tacoma is Proctor, it’s such an adorable area plus they have a nice farmer’s market every Saturday (I’m obsessed with the scones from Upper Crust Bakery). Well, once a year they do a HUGE art street fair called Proctor Arts Fest. This year it’s taking place on Saturday, August 3rd from 10am-4pm and it will feature art, food, live performances — all of the goods. Tacoma is so supportive of local businesses and artists which I love so this is a good one!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State

Cabin Living at Loon Lake

I’ve always been a sucker for lake living in the summer in Washington. I have so many great memories growing up going to Lake Chelan, Lake Tapps, Green Lake, and more! So many lakes! The latest to join the list of favs is Loon Lake outside of Spokane. Evan’s family has a cabin on the lake and each summer they have a family weekend so I’m looking forward to that! With so many options in the state you can find some great Airbnbs to rent out to get some lake time in or a campground if you’re into that! The one aspect of outdoor living I haven’t really embraced yet haha.

Explore the Olympic Peninsula

One part of the state I am SO looking forward to exploring more is the Olympic Peninsula. Every time I’m out there I just love it and I have a few more places I definitely want to check out this summer including Lake Crescent and La Push. As well as a long list of hikes! Definitely worth researching a little and finding the perfect day trip or weekend adventure for you or your family over there!

Washington State Fair AKA the Puyallup Fair

If you’re looking for some big fair action then the Washington State Fair is what you’re looking for! It is the state fair after all! I’m a sucker for a good fair so you can bet I’ll be there getting my corndog action on, again with the scones, and probably a big ol’ slushie because that’s how I do. This year the fair will run from August 30- September 22nd.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: Washington State Summer Bucket List :: 17 Things to do this Summer Around the State

Dinner at the Summit at Crystal

Then last but not least, if you’re looking for an adventure with a view out of this world then you need to get up to Crystal Mountain this summer. The ski resort offers gondola rides up to their Summit House Restaurant and it literally feels like you’re on top of the world. Photos don’t do it justice at all either, it’s just gorgeousss! On a clear day you can see Mt. Rainier, Mt. Adams, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Baker… Insane! It’s not a cheap adventure… but it’s totally worth it. You don’t have to eat up there if you don’t want to either but it’s a nice option.

Hope you enjoyed some of these suggestions! Hopefully they get you started on all of the potential we have in the state. If you’d like to keep up with my adventures throughout the summer too be sure to follow me on Instagram! Because you know I’ll be sharing 😉

How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners

Gardening season is here and I am PUMPED up about it! When I moved to Tacoma last year I noticed there were community gardens ALL over the place and I immediately knew I wanted to join one. It took some researching and a little legwork to find one that had available plots but by the spring of last year I was the proud new renter of a box! I had mini balcony gardens for a few years while I lived in NYC, but having 14 by 6 ft of space?! So many options! So now that we’re in prime gardening season again I wanted to share some of the things I learned for other beginner gardeners. So you can skip some of the mistakes I made and just grow a badass garden yourself.

The dirt you use matters

This applies more to the herb garden we have in the kitchen… but something I learned the hard way is the dirt you use really matters! I thought.. dirt is dirt right?! Turns out that’s wrong and we ended up getting dirt that had chunks of glass in it and fungus gnats in it and AHH it was terrible. So definitely be conscious of the dirt you buy for your plants — especially if you’re doing a windowsill garden. Our community garden is an organic garden and they provide TAGRO — dirt made with a blend of pasteurized wastewater byproducts called biosolids (aka 💩) and our plants have grown awesome. Then for our windowsill herb garden and our other houseplants, we use miracle grow potting mix. So I’d start by saying definitely pay attention to what the dirt is made for and if there are natural or synthetic fertilizers in it. Starting with quality dirt is the first thing that will set you up for success!

Know your zone

Another thing you want to know going into gardening is what zone you live in. This is based on a lot of different things but is important to know! This will help you learn about when you should be planting different things and what their season will be. Once you know your zone you can find a ton of different planting guides on Pinterest too!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners

Some plants are easier than others

This totally matters on the location of your garden conditions and all of that jazz but some plants are just a little easier than others. this can totally depend on the season too I’ve learned from other gardeners. So going into your season accepting not everything will be a success will ease a little pressure on you! Plus, like I said you learn as you go. After the first season here is where I would rank some of the plants we grew.

Super Easy
These plants are hearty and super easy

  • lettuce

  • kale

  • sugar snap peas

  • broccoli

  • potatoes

  • Anaheim peppers

  • basil

Easy but need some maintenance or need specific conditions
These plants will produce a ton but need a little more maintenance especially if you’re in a smaller gardening space

  • zuchinni — these suckers get HUGE. Since our garden is smaller we have to keep them trimmed back some so they don’t take over the world.

  • raspberries — same with these guys I mean they are an invasive species after all so be diligent about keeping them under control.

  • tomatoes — They get really heavy so making sure they have adequate support is key.

  • strawberries — These take a little more time to get rooted and produce (usually a few seasons)

A little tougher
We didn’t have great luck with these our first year for a variety of reasons which is why I’m saying they’re a little tougher (but also may have just been our season)

  • cucumbers — you need to be careful with the leaves because if they get too wet they will die off eventually killing the plant… We didn’t have great luck last year so opting for a vining variety (vs bush last year) this year

  • carrots — we actually grew a decent amount of carrots but they require a lot of patience. We grew them from seed and they took all year to be baby carrots

  • onions — same with the onions. A lot of this was due to not spacing them out enough or thinning them out but I used the tops for green onions a lot more than the actual bulb part.

Give them some room to grow

That little baby zucchini or tomato plant will be a monster in a few months. So make sure you pay attention to the spacing they need. I wanted to cram as much as we could into our box but I quickly realized that some of the plants definitely could have used a little more room. Another thing is some plants need to be thinned out. Which basically requires you to decide the survival of the fittest after they’ve been growing a bit and you’re supposed to pull out some of the weaklings so the others thrive. I didn’t really know about this… but another thing to consider for spacing. If you’re gardening in a smaller space the square foot gardening method is a really great way to make the most of your space. You can learn more on this website and there’s a ton of books and blogs on it too!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: How to Start a Garden and Have a Successful Grow Season :: 6 Tips for First-Time and Beginner Gardeners

Plant some flowers

Bees are your friends so make sure they feel welcome in your garden! Once some of your plants start getting blooms, they need help with pollination and bees will help it happen! We had really great luck planting marigolds throughout our garden in between our veggies. As the garden continued to grow we ended up moving them around a bit (probably not great for them but they survived) and it’s crazy how much of a difference having the flowers made.

Keep up with Maintenance and support

Like I mentioned earlier, your plants are going to grow, grow and grow some more! If you’re in a smaller space pruning is going to be very important. During the peak of summer we were probably pruning at least once a week I’d say and watering every day. It’s crazy how much plants can grow in a day or too with all of that sunshine! I’d recommend getting to know what plants and how you should prune them. The ones that needed the most pruning were our zucchinis, broccoli, tomatoes and now our raspberries. The other thing is making sure your plants have adequate support. Tomato cages are essential and you’ll need to start those when you plant them but you’ll also likely need stakes and other things throughout the season. This year, we actually doubled up our tomato cages to give them more support since they get sooo heavy. Here’s are my recommendations:

  • Trellis for snap peas/beans/cucumbers: don’t skimp on these.. we tried one of the plastic poles with netting and it was absolute crap… I also know you probably don’t want to spend a million dollars either.. we ended up getting wooden ones that are sturdier but also inexpensive. Of course I also painted them because I’m extra like that.

  • Stakes: My favorites were these ones. You can get them at Lowe’s or other hardware stores.

  • Garden Ties: These are just the little twisty ties but are really helpful for securing vining plants like your snap peas to your trellis, tomatoes or peppers as things grow

I hope this post has been helpful! I’m definitely not an expert by all means but this is what I’ve learned so far. Happy gardening!

5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

When I moved back to Washington, visiting the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival got added to my adventure list real fast! We did a lot of adventuring growing up, but my appreciation for the state and the variety of things it has to offer is much clearer now as an adult! Plus, the last time I visited I was probably just a little bit taller than the tulips so it was time! If you’re not familiar, the Tulip Festival takes place each Spring in April (sometimes it starts a the last week of March) in the Skagit Valley, which is about an hour north of Seattle. They have a variety of events that happen locally each year, but the main draw is to visit the farms with rows and rows of all of those beautiful tulips! And yes, they really are THAT pretty! 🌷🌷🌷Now that I’ve visited and am clearly an expert on all things tulips now (onlyyyy kidding), I wanted to share some of my advice so you can plan the best trip up there too!

Prepare for Traffic & Crowds

Let’s just get this out of the way… there’s going to be traffic and crowds! it’s going to happen. You’re visiting farmlands full of a lot of two lane roads that are seeing more traffic now than any other time of the year. So just go into your adventure knowing it’s going to happen, make some good Pandora stations and you’ll be justtt fine. Obviously, the weekends are the most packed — especially on those rare sunny April days too so just be prepared for that. If you happen to have a job with days off during the week, I’ve heard that’s a great time to go, but most of us end up going on the weekends so.. yep you guessed it that crowd part comes into play. Everyone just wants to see those pretty flowers so give each other a break and just acknowledge the inevitable. That being said, we got there around 11am on a Sunday and the traffic wasn’t bad at all and we easily got a parking space. Realistically you’re not going to be there more than an hour or two so people luckily are in and out. The fields can get crowded but they’re so big that there’s plenty of room for everyone! We’re not talking Times Squares packed 😜

Pick Which Field You’re Going To

The next big question is which farm to go to. There are two main ones, Tulip Town and Roozengaarde and they’re not too far from each other. We went to Tulip Town for our trip, but the main differences I’ve heard are Roozengaarde’s fields are a lot bigger and Tulip Town is smaller (but still big) but they have a lot more color variety. Tulip Town also has an indoor display and some other family friendly activities too. I don’t think you can really go wrong whichever you decide though and the next time I go I’ll probably go to Roozengaarde so I can report on both! Their hours are a little different, but everything else is pretty similar so feel free to check out the info below to make your decision!

Roozengaarde

https://www.tulips.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids under 5 free

9am-7pm 7 days a week

Free parking

Tulip Town

https://tuliptown.com

Admission: $10/person weekends, $7/weekdays, kids 6-11 $5, kids under 5 free

Hours: 9am-5pm 7/days a week

Free parking

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Bring Cash

As someone who doesn’t carry cash much these days, this would be a time to make sure you have some on hand. Tulip Town only takes cash at their entrance gate (they do accept cards inside though) so my recommendation is to get some before heading there. Plus, often at events like this it can just be easier to have on hand in case places don’t take cards. FYI, they also don’t sell tickets online in advance — you’ll buy them at the gardens.

Pack the Rain Boots

It’s April in Washington… I think we’re one of the states that invented the phrase, “April showers, brings May flowers”. While we definitely get some solid sun in April, remember you’re visiting farms so when it rains during the week, it can still be pretty muddy days after. So I definitely recommend packing rain boots if you have them. I didn’t actually end up needing them when we visited, but I’m glad I had them on hand just in case because there were definitely a lot of spots that were super muddy. I’d double-down on this advice if you have kids too because.. well… kids!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Respect the Fields

Now, don’t worry you’re going to get all of the picture-perfect Instagram pictures you want… but remember to also respect the fields. There are signs everywhere to not walk down the rows, buttttt let’s just say a lot of people ignored that and being a true 1 on the Enneagram scale, you know I had to bring some attention to that! So here’s the deal, stay out of the rows! They say you can step 1-2 feet into them to get your photos, but any further than that you risk stepping on other bulbs and damaging future crops. Just don’t do it. RoozenGaarde did a great post on their Facebook page with more info and tips for getting the pics you want while protecting the fields.

Make a Day Trip out of your Visit

After you take in all the views at the fields, I recommend sticking around for a bit! Living south, I don’t get up north that often and in our experience, the traffic was a lot worse heading south than getting to the fields — so if you have the time make your adventure a day trip! Growing up in a farm town, I appreciate the slower pace that some of these towns offer so they were fun to explore. The tulip festival website is a great resource to find something that fits your fancy!

Evan had won a raffle at one of our local restaurant/bars of goodies from a brewery called Chuckanut Brewery that happened to be really close to the fields so we opted to check them out! We visited their South Nut tap room and it was great! Loved the farm vibes and the beer was solid!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

There were quite a few winery or tap rooms in the area so if that’s you’re kind of thing you are in luck! You’re also only about 20 minutes for Anacortes or Deception Pass (or both) if you’re looking for some more options. Which, of course we were ready to check out alllll of the places!

Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island and is such a cute little coastal town with gorgeous views! There’s also a lot of local restaurants , fun little shops, and outdoor activities. We kind of just poked around the downtown area and drove through some of the neighborhoods which were so adorbs!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

We also decided to stop by Deception Pass because it was so close! It’s about 15 minutes from Anacortes and 20 straight from the tulip farms. The pass is most notorious for its bridge which connects Fidalgo and Whibey Islands and apparently is one of the most photographed locations in the state. For good reason too, it’s gorgeous! We drove over the bridge and then made a pit stop at Deception Pass State Park where you can park and walk along the beaches under the bridge and just take it all in. Because it’s a state park, you will need a Discover Pass unless you visit on one of the free days — they are two in April so check their calendar!

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

Then our last stop of the day was to the Shrimp Shack. By this point in the day, we were getting hungry and had passed it on our way to Deception Pass so we decided to stop on the way back. We weren’t the only ones either, the place was hopping! We went for a basket of shrimp, but if you’re into oysters they’re known for their Oyster burger. They have a ton of options that are all local too so definitely worth a stop if seafood is your thing.

Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png
Anna Osgoodby Life + Biz :: 5 Tips for Planning your trip to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.png

I hope these tops have been helpful! The tulips are truly gorgeous so I highly recommend checking them out if you get the chance. Plus, the area up there in general is just such a breath of fresh air so it’s worth a visit even outside of tulip season. These days, I’m such a sucker for exploring smaller adorable towns and just taking in all that Washington has to offer and this adventure definitely fit the bill.