If you’re nearby Seattle looking for a way out of the urban maze, try one of these ten low-maintenance outdoor experiences in the Seattle NorthCountry.
You’ll need a Northwest Forest Pass ($30 for a year and it's good for your whole party), but the crystal clean water at one of the many Cutthroat Lakes should be incentive enough to push you forward. Think of it as a lunchtime reward as you dine alongside the water, resting after that steady hike. Smart packing and attire is crucial here because of the wet plant roots and rocky terrain.
Read the WTA guide here.
This gradual-incline hike has hidden features scattered across its trail; some natural and some from a past long ago. The path alternates between wide pathways, bumpy inclines, and cascading waterfalls with small artifacts of the logging and limestone harvesting done by local miners. Eventually, you will stumble across the main attraction: a limestone kiln built in the 1890s and used until the early 1930s.
Read the WTA guide here.
Located off the beaten path of I-5 is a small, community run botanical garden only known to folks that happen upon it. Featuring glass art, quiet walkways, floral greenery, and a bit of mystery, the Bonhoeffer Botanical Gardens are there to help unwind your mind.
1421 Hall Road
Stanwood, WA 98223
You read that right. Get outside with a bundle of roos, wallabies, llamas, lemurs, peacocks, parrots, and more. Kids will love spending time with the exotic critters as they tour the farm with hosts Ray and Johnnie Strom. At under $50 for a family of four, it could easily be the highlight of your trip (and your wallet).
Read more on their website.
10030 State Route 530 NE
Arlington, WA 98223
Bring your dog along to the largest park in Monroe, with thick woods and views of the Skykomish River. The trail is overrun in some spots with plant life that are too bossy for their own good. Make sure you pack in food and water, and dress accordingly for the ever-changing weather of the area.
The city of Edmonds is well-manicured with beautiful homes and lawns, but its true beauty lies in its waters. Down at the beach you can watch ferries propel in and out of the harbor, stroll along the shore or boardwalk catching Pokemon, or sit on a bench watching the waves roll in. During the spring harbor seal pups can be seen dotted across the shore, but they’re safer seen from afar than close up.
After grabbing coffee from Red Cup Cafe up the street, take your time walking around Lighthouse Park looking out over the water. Named after its 1950s resident lighthouse, this park has several fire pits along the beach that are first come first serve, meaning it would be an ideal place for a chill s’mores and hot dog roast.
With over 12 miles of walking options, Wallace Falls State Park offers a little bit of everything for the everyday outdoors enthusiast. Of course, its prize feature is Wallace Falls, a 265-foot waterfall surrounded by giant conifers. You’ll need a Discover Pass to get in, but make it an overnight stay by camping at one of the nearby campgrounds.
Find more information at the Washington State Parks’ website.
The best trail for all levels of fitness, the Centennial Trail is a hot spot for biking, running, and horseback riding. There’s plenty to see as you get moving along the trail, including the old railroad tracks and overgrown swamplife.
An anomaly of the area, Jetty Island is a long man-made island just off the port of Everett’s shores that has soft sand and warm wading water in the summer. Pack a picnic lunch or grab lunch to go from one of downtown Everett’s many restaurants, then ride the free ferry from the port to an out-of-the-ordinary beach day. Note, the ferry runs July 5th - Sept. 3rd. If you’re visiting outside of that window, you’ll need a boat or kayak. It’s a short paddle though.