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Fun ways to spend a summer in Washington!


All right: Well, I asked for it! I wanted a few things to look forward to this summer, and here it is – more than ten pages of fairs, festivals, events, parks, ferry rides and kangaroo parks.

Who knew there was so much to see and do?

I’ve provided links and dates for what I could find, but I’m not familiar with any of this, and since it’s not for any purpose except my own family’s fun, I’m not fact-checking it. In other words, call before you go, check dates, and don’t take my word for it that what’s listed as a day trip isn’t a three-day trek.

Also: I’ve never taken a ferry. I have no idea where any of the ferries are, where they go, how much they cost, or if it’s all one big system that I’ve listed four times. I’m sure after this summer I’ll know it inside and out, though. So, to me it looks like a foreign language at the moment, and if there are any glaring errors (meaning, I can’t there from here,) let me know, please!

Much of the information here is from asking people what their favorite summer haunts are, so these places are tried and true -- just not by me! I can't wait to try some of these places.

I hope this is fun and useful for some of you – I know I’m looking forward to this summer!


Events, Festivals and Fairs:

June 8-9:
Deming Log Show

“The Subdued String Band Jamboree at the Deming Log Show Grounds in August is a summer must do for our family! Very family friendly festival.



July 4:

Zuanich Park for fireworks:



July 26-27:

Ferndale Old Settlers Parade and Festival



 July 27-August 3:

Honda Celebration of Light:

“Vancouver does the Celebration of light every year at the end of July/beginning of August- it's a fireworks competition between several countries (usually Canada, China, and two or three others) and they are by far the best fireworks I've ever seen in my life. Each country has their own night, so there are four or five days to choose from. They last an hour and are spectacular. Plus during the day leading up to it, there are TONS of people milling around because it's kind of like a street fair with food and entertainers and stuff. And it's FREE!”




August 2-4

Anacortes Arts and Crafts festival/fair



August 12-17

Lynden Fair:

This one has multiple reccomendations as a must-do event, and everyone says to buy a wristband and go all day long.



August 14-17

San Juan Fair, Friday Harbor:



August 23-24
Ferndale Street Festival:



Second Saturday in September:

Whatcom County Farm tour:

This is another one that everyone says is a must-do. It sounds like a lot of fun!




Recurring events all summer:

All Comers Track meets:

Mondays, June 3 through July 15, 2013.  
Total of 7 meets.

“The All Comer Track Meets are fun for the whole family.  On Monday evenings during the summer, we offer track and field events for children and adults of most ages.”



Concerts in the Park, Thursdays, June 27- August  29



Fairhaven Outdoor Cinema:

Saturdays, June 22 – August 24



Beaches, Parks, Lakes and Water fun:

All of these beaches come with recommendations. These are the beaches that people who live here say are fun, family-friendly, and worth visiting.

“We love going to Zuanich Park for walks and they have a nice playground there for kids.” Good for kite flying, too.



“Boulevard Park is nice and I hear that they have a new playground.”


“Bloedel Donovan Park is always full of people in the Summer that are swimming.”

“Bloedel Donovan for a lake swim.”



Birch Bay: At least five people recommended different things to do in Birch Bay.

“Birch Bay is fun, walking & playing on the beach, camping in the state park. You have to buy a pass, they are $3 per day.”

“Birch bay: looking at the rocks and sea life by the water, mini golf and go carts, water slides.”

“ It's great to couple this with going up and down the Birch Bay promenade. You can rent little surrey bikes (like the golf carts you pedal) right there on the main strip and pedal them up and down the main strip. Fun. Ice cream shop and small farmer's market at the south end.”

Birch Bay: http://www.birchbaychamber.com


Birch Bay Water Slides 


Miniature World Family Fun Center


Point Whitehorn hike:



Beaches in La Push:



Fort Casey and Lighthouse:


Lopez Island:



Bouldering at Larrabee State Park: Also good during negative tide for tidepools and exploring.




"My suggestion is running around at locust beach during low tide! So many fun things to discover and get muddy and wet!"

“Going swimming at Arne Hanna Aquatic Ctr is fun.”




Lake Padden:


Swimming at Lake Whatcom:


Hovander Park: “This one is a great park. With a playground, a barn, a wetlands observatory tower and lots of space, this one is easily a park to come back to over and over again.”



Parks with water access of some sort:




Stanley Park


Vancouver Aquarium


Granville Island,


Water Mania indoor water park -- Langley (just over border) -- "very fun"

http://www.yelp.com/biz/watermania-richmond  "It's right next to a Spaghetti Factory, IMAX, ice skating rink and bowling alley. You could make a complete day of it, or split up over several trips over course of summer."

Science World (Vancouver)


Granville Island


Capilano Suspension Bridge:


Grouse Mountain


http://www.grousemountain.com/ "Can be done as day trip w/the Capilano Bridge -- the gondola ride up the mountain is fantastic."


"Here are some things we've enjoyed that you could do this summer in Vancouver, in addition to the rest: UBC Museum of Anthropology,Bard on the Beach, Whistler ski lift, Kits Beach. Another fun thing is ride the Skytrain. Sit right at the front and it's like a roller coaster. A tame one, but that's about all the excitement I can handle."


"We love everything about White Rock:"



Queen Elizabeth Park Bloedel Floral Conservatory is an awesome geodesic dome with parrots and tropical plants inside."

"We enjoyed the Bloedel Conservatory in the Vancouver area. It isn't a terribly long event (an hour-ish?), but the kids had fun doing the "treasure hunt" (where they look for a particular bird/plant/etc and check it off the list). You could pair it with another shorter thing or lunch and make a day of it." 


The Greater Vancouver Zoo is only 7 miles north of the Lynden crossing and on the same road as Meridian (called 13N over the border I think). "It's $22/person but neat to see and there's a big playground for kids. "

"Such a little gem! safari-like in nature; in Aldergrove just over border"


 Cultus Lake Waterslides in Chilliwack.



Day Trips, Islands and Ferries:

"Deception Pass! and if you drive about 20 miles going that way through Oak Harbor, you'll hit Keystone and can take the ferry to Pt. Townsend & Pt. Townsend is a cute little touristy, ye olde town to look at (you could make a trip of it honestly) they've filmed SO MANY movies in Pt. Townsend. There's also an old military bunker in Keystone, and sometimes in the summer they have a giant kite festival! It's pretty cool. I've taken that ferry over a 1,000 times in my childhood & it never got old."


"Deception Pass, rent surrey bike at Birch Bay, kayak the bay, drive the Cascade Loop, tide pools at Rosario. . ."

Tide pool information here:



Ferry to Lummi Island for lunch at the Beach Store Cafe and shell hunting.

Ferry to the San Juan's


 Take the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor.

Schedule is here:


Taking the ferry to Port Townsend from whiny island is a fun little road trip...


"Take the Plover ferry from Blaine to Semiahmoo spit, bring beach stuff and go swimming! It's free!"

Drayton Harbor/Plover Ferry (only runs in summer) -- near Semiahmoo/Blaine:


You can take this boat from the Bellingham ferry terminal  to see whales... http://www.whales.com/ 


Silver Lake: "Awesome for camping. One hour drive, amenities, playground, boat rentals. Easy camping, but not commercialized like KOA."



Grand Coulee Dam:

"Grand Coulee Dam has a Laser Light Show that is pretty cool! (It is 5.5 hours though!) but they do tours of the dam too! And camping is close by (Spring Canyon Campground) Shows are at either 9:30 p.m. or 10 p.m. nightly, so you’d have to spend the night, plus it’s far from here. But it’s worth it!"



The Outback Kangaroo Farm in Arlington, “heard great things about this place from parents who have taken their kids there”


 Berry Picking:

Boxberry farms: There’s a U-Pick, plus a strawberry festival, but date is TBA.


"Don't forget: strawberry picking, raspberry picking, blueberry picking, blackberry picking! Fill your freezer!

And heading to Yakima to pick you-pick peaches in August is well worth your time and effort. Holy crap, they're good! "


Cool things to do nearby:

Sardis Raptor Center: Number one on our must-do list!!

Sardis Raptor center in Ferndale. My new favorite place! Open on Saturdays from 11-4 and it’s free! This place looks wonderful. One of the top bird centers in the northwest, and it’s right up the road from us!


Marine Life Center: This is one of the coolest secrets in Bellingham. No one seems to know it’s here, and it keeps our boys occupied for hours and hours. It’s a mini-aquarium, full of bright volunteers who answer every question patiently:


Libraries and storytimes in Bellingham:


Ferndale Library offerings (includes a game club for teens!)


Family Interactive Gallery at Whatcom Museum: Good for rainy days in summer. Geared toward younger kids, though.


"Don't forget about the Railway Museum!!! It's model trains the kids can help control plus there's a toddler area with a huge train table, wooden trains, tons of toys, etc. Great all year or for a rainy day in the summer. 1320 Commercial St. Cheap admission & the people who run it are super sweet."



Hikes and active stuff:

Artist Point (when it opens) & Nooksack Falls


"Hike mt. Baker! Play on the snow, pick blueberries, avoid bears, and try and stay off the two inch shoulder that leads to certain death:"


Woodstock Farm (haven't been but hear great things; at the top of my list because it's so close)


Hike up to Oyster Dome, Fragrance Lake or Pine and Cedar.

Cliff jumping at whistle lake,

Ride bikes on Padilla bay dike and visit the visitor center,

Fort Casey picnic/kite day,

 Bellingham bells game.


Other miscellaneous ideas that I haven’t explored at all, but I’m throwing out there:

Lang's Pony Farm/Mount Vernon http://www.comeride.com/

Twenty fun things to do near Vancouver:


Cheap summer movies at Bellis Fair

Join Kids bowl for free

Summer reading programs at the library, B&N, Village books

26 Things to do in Bellingham/Whatcom County:


Teddy Bear Cove


Hike and pick wild blueberries at Artist Point/Chain Lakes in August. Canoe Camping at Ross Lake.

Finally, the Whatcom County Museum sunset history cruise:


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