July is Park and Recreation Month and what better way to celebrate this important month than to get out there and explore with your family? Below, six fun and cost-effective ways to explore all that the Pacific Northwest has to offer.
1. Take a Hike!
The Pacific Northwest is home to over 367 state parks! With numbers like these, you’ll be able to find a new spot to hike to and explore each weekend. There are countless trails throughout the Pacific Northwest -- some are short, easy treks to breath-taking scenery, while others are major climbs that test your endurance. Doing your research to find a trail that is right for all the members of your party is key to everyone having a good time though. (This includes finding out whether your chosen trail is pet-friendly, should the family dog want to come along!) Luckily, a number of resources exist to help you find the perfect destination. A great place to start? All Trails.com.
2. Have a Picnic
Picnicking is one of summer’s great delights and can transform the simplest of meals into something festive and memorable. Pack a blanket, some sandwiches, and pick your favorite spot in a nearby park. Looking to up your picnic game this summer? Food 52 has some great picnic ideas for you to try out!
3. Get off the Trail and into the Stream
When the temperatures reach the 90s, as they have been doing here in the Pacific Northwest, nothing sounds more appealing than spending time on (or in!) the water. From kayaking to fly fishing, the possibilities are endless. When planning your trip away, see if your destination has an equipment rental facility or take a look at the nearby city to see if they have a shop that you can grab a paddle or two.
4. Go Geocaching
Does your child have a cell phone or tablet glued to his or her hand? Well, use this to your advantage when you take the kids on a geocaching hunt! Geocaching is a modern day scavenger hunt that interfaces with your smart device, sending you from point to point on the hunt for treasure. Want to learn more about this family-friendly activity? Geocaching.com is a great site that lists top caches throughout the PNW. Actively Northwest has also created an excellent starter guide to help get your family into geocaching.
5. Help Out
Our parks and forests contribute so much to life here in the Pacific Northwest. Why not give something back to them? Volunteer opportunities within the parks system abound and there is something for everyone, from clearing trails to being a Marmot Monitor in Olympic National Park! Don’t see an opportunity that looks right for you? Reach out to your local park directly and work with leaders there to find an opportunity that suits your needs as well as theirs.
6. Sleep Out Under the Stars
Fall asleep with the sounds of the forest around you this summer. Camping is the ideal way to see so much of what the Pacific Northwest has to offer, without breaking the budget. Before you pitch your tent though, four quick tips to keep in mind:
Whether you are a day-tripper or a seasoned backcountry backpacker, we hope that you’ll have fun out there this season! To learn more about Park and Recreation Month and how you can get involved, visit the National Recreation and Park Association online.
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