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.
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.
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!
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.
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!
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.
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 😉