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An Insider’s Guide to Walla Walla, WA

Walla Walla has it all, from  wine to shopping to outdoor activities. The weather’s dry year round, so take advantage and head outdoors to practice your golf game or ride your bike around the area. When you’re done with that, visit one of the dozens of wineries to taste local wine.

vineyard

Image via Pixabay

Check Out the Arts

Walk along the historic downtown area to see public art all throughout it. You can even download the Art Walla Public Art Walking Tour from the town’s main website to have a self-guided tour explaining what each piece of art is that you’re walking by. When you’re done, pop in one of the restaurants for lunch and a glass of wine.

Go Shopping

The downtown area has not only restaurants and wine tasting shops, but plenty of shopping to do. Many boutique shops line the streets including clothing, jewelry, and handmade craft shops. The area has a very laid-back feel, so take your time and get to know the local vendors who run the shops.

Bike Around the Valley

Walla Walla is rated as one of the top road cycling destinations in the nation. Beginners will love leisurely going through the paved trails and flat roads through the farmlands and enjoying the sights. More experienced bikers can head to the mountains to tackle the twists and turns of the steep, ascending hills.

Monte Willis of law firm Willis & Toews, PLLC loves taking his bike out in the area, stating:

“Bicycling is my favorite thing to do in Walla Walla.  Not only does Walla Walla have the Mill Creek Trail for riders of all levels and a network of mountain biking trails surrounding Bennington Lake, but it also provides access by miles of county maintained roads with relatively low traffic.  If you want an interval workout, ride north toward Waitsburg, Dayton or Prescott where you will ride through undulating wheat fields with views of the Blue Mountains.  Ride south toward Milton Freewater, Oregon over flatter terrain through wheat fields, vineyards and orchards; often with the wind at your back on the return trip.”

Go Wine Tasting
Probably the most well known activity to do in Walla Walla is go wine tasting. There’s so many places to go that it’s easiest to join one of the dozen different tour companies that offer to take you out for the day. You won’t have to worry about driving, and they’ll take you to some of the top wineries to talk to the owners and taste local wine.

Practice Your Swing
Located in southeastern Washington, the weather is usually dry and warm, making it a great place to play golf year round. Some of the state’s best golf courses are here, making it a truly special experience. There’s courses for beginners as well as the future Tiger Woods.

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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An Insider’s Guide to Tacoma, WA

Seattle gets all the credit in Washington state, but you’re missing out if that’s the only place you visit. Just half an hour south is Tacoma, a city that’s full of activities to do. Treat yourself to a weekend here so you have time to do everything.

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Image via Pixabay

America’s Car Museum

While in Tacoma, don’t miss out on this massive car museum. Antique cars dating back to 1903 line the walls, and everything from muscle cars to hot rods can be found here. You’ll also find old motorcycles and even the “Flintmobile,” a car straight out of “The Flintstones.”

Point Defiance Zoo

The city’s so large that it even managed to fit a zoo in it! See polar bars in the Arctic Tundra and watch sea lions play in the Rocky Shores. Camel rides are even available for kids depending on the weather outdoors.

Cheney Stadium

You don’t have to deal with the traffic of Seattle to see the Mariners play – Tacoma has their own Tacoma Rainiers! This minor league baseball team plays from April to September, and is the perfect way to spend a night out. Buy some popcorn and peanuts, and grab your seat to cheer on the local team.

Local Garth Gasman knows there’s no better way to spend a summer evening than in Tacoma:

“There are a number of things to do and a number of good places to eat in Tacoma.  A summer time favorite of mine has been enjoying a beautiful evening at Cheney Stadium watching the Tacoma Rainiers.  You also can’t go wrong watching the sun set while having dinner on Ruston Way, whether its Harbor Lights, Katie Downs, The Lobster Shop, The Ram, Wild Fin or any of the others restaurants that are right on the water!” 

Museum of Glass

Prepare to be amazed as you gawk at all the beautiful handmade glass work. Almost anything can be found here, from glass bowls to the ceilings you’ll walk underneath. You can even watch the experts carefully perform their work in the Hot Shop during your visit. Make sure to buy a souvenir in the gift shop before you leave to take home your own glass blown item.

Washington State History Museum

Learn where Washington’s roots started at this informative museum in Tacoma. There’s so much to absorb here that at least a full day is recommended. Walk through artifacts from the Native American culture and civilization, and continue through important periods such as industrialization and women’s suffrage. An interactive history lab learning center allows visitors to see how our ancestors used maps and periodicals to navigate through the state as they were exploring it. You can even climb aboard a model railroad to pretend you’re back in time.

Marissa Pedersen

Marissa is a freelance writer, travel blogger, and social media marketing manager from Seattle. She runs the travel blog Postcards to Seattle, which captures all her journeys from around the world. She likes to stay active wherever she goes, from kayaking in Italy to snowboarding in the Alps.

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Man Vs Nature

Off the Beaten Path: North American Adventures

Craving a grand adventure, one that won’t make you pay $100 + just to get in, only to be surrounded by thousands of other sweaty people, all spending half of the day waiting in long lines (I’m talking about you, Disneyland)? That doesn’t seem like much of an escape, or any adventure I’d want to partake in. So why not take the road less frequented, head outside of town, and immerse yourself in an unfamiliar wilderness. The western United States is wild and full of rare beauty that should be witnessed. Below are a few of my top destinations for that adventurous spirit of yours.

Man Vs Nature

California: Lost Coast

Black beaches, spectacular ocean vistas, alpine forests, redwoods, and sweeping grasslands make up this rich 80 mile stretch of coastal wilderness. The Lost Coast is tucked away in an unusually quiet, undeveloped corner of California. Highway 1 had to be constructed around this area because it was too rough, leaving this area peaceful, pristine, and secluded. There are only four roads that will lead to this coastline, two of them being one-lane dirt roads; all of them are steep and winding. But it is certainly well worth the tough trek out there.

Arizona: Painted Desert

lost coast bixby bridge

On the outskirts of the Grand Canyon and just north of the Petrified Forest is the colorful mingling of badlands, buttes, and plateaus that seemingly extend forever – the Painted Desert. It is aptly named after the richly colored land of lavender, pink, white, gray, yellow, orange, and red and stunningly set against the blue sky backdrop. Travel a bit further from the peripheral to bask in the solitude and remarkable beauty. The vibrant color and otherworldly features must be seen and if you stay up late it is one of the finest places to stargaze in the country.

South Dakota: Wind Cave

Underneath South Dakota is one of the world’s longest caves with more than 130 miles of passageways home to many unusual and stunning mineral formations. And as you may have guessed by its name… it is windy down there. Don’t take forget to take in the scenery on your way to the caves – the above ground ecosystem is just as remarkable. The park is host to a myriad of species, miles of grassland surrounded by dense forest. I recommend going late spring when the wildflowers are in bloom and plentiful and the summer vacation season hasn’t yet begun.

Washington: North Cascades Backcountry

gates of the arcticJust three hours from Seattle is an intricate mix of rugged glacier topped peaks, countless streaming waterfalls, deep and densely forested valleys, and richly populated meadows. The two sides of the mountain couldn’t be different – dry on the east, damp on the west – making the Cascades a uniquely complex and varied ecosystem. Its home to a number of different habitats and hosts more plant species than any other park. Make a trip late summer, the snow on the higher trails is still quite ample at the start of summer.

Alaska: Gates of the Arctic

Most people fly in… the only other option is to walk. And that isn’t really recommended. You can, but it is a tough route to the interior. Bush pilots say the real Alaska begins where the road ends. The land is harsh, the wilderness is vast, and the weather is unpredictable. Definitely go in the summer, you don’t want to be stuck up there in the winter – it is entirely north of the Arctic Circle after all. Even in the summer, with its never-ending days and relatively mild temperature, rain and snow are not uncommon. They see few people up there (it’s for the truly adventurous), but visitor numbers have been increasing.

Alan Carr

Alan Carr is an avid aviation and travel aficionado learning about the aspects of the flying world from the business to the technical, while also frequently writing on what he finds. He currently works with globalair.com to provide resources on aircraft related information.

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