EXPLORING WASHINGTON STATE WITH TODDLERS
We had the opportunity to work with Adriene Carrie-Hubbard to bring you some of the best toddler-friendly vacation cities in Washington State.
Adrienne Carrie-Hubbard is a blogger and influencer located in Bellingham, Washington. When she isn’t writing for Hubbard Family Travels, you can find her working on home and garden projects with her husband and daughter on their farm.
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As a Washington Native Adrienne has extensively explored the state with her little one. Here are some of the most toddler-friendly places to vacation in the pacific northwest.
TODDLER-FRIENDLY VACATION CITIES IN WASHINGTON STATE
Washington State is the perfect destination for families. There are numerous toddler-friendly vacation ideas in this Pacific Northwest state and something for everyone, whether you like outdoor adventure or city living.
Washington is known for its rainy weather, but don’t let that deter you from this beautiful part of the country.
Yes, it does stay wet for much of the year, but the summer months are mostly sunshine and the best time to go is July through September.
Read on to learn about our favorite family vacation ideas in Washington State, like these small towns.
Great Wolf Lodge
Located just south of Olympia in Great Mound, the Great Wolf Lodge is a kid’s paradise. This fun indoor and adventure park is very family-friendly and accommodating for children.
The water park has three water slides of varying excitement, plus a dedicated area for little ones.
In addition to the water attractions, there is also Olivers Mining Co., where kids can pan for gemstones, an arcade, mini-golf, an outdoor adventure park, and a Build a Bear workshop.
Great Wolf also features MagiQuest, a live-action virtual game that will take you around the property with a magical interactive wand to solve clues and win challenges. You can even take your wand home and bring it back with you on your next visit to Great Wolf Lodge.
Great Mound is a short drive from the state’s capital city of Olympia.
If you want to leave the lodge for a few hours, there are plenty of restaurants and things to do nearby, but Great Wolf has pretty much everything you need on the property, including several dining options and a gift shop.
Olympia, the capital of Washington state, is at the southern end of Puget Sound. It’s close to Great Wolf Lodge, which we talked about at the beginning of this post, but there are plenty of fun activities for the little ones in Olympia.
The sprawling Washington State Capitol Campus, beside Capitol Lake, includes the stately Legislative Building and the 1909 Governor’s Mansion.
On the downtown waterfront, Percival Landing Park has a boardwalk and public art.
Families flock here just for the family-friendly activities and events that happen year-round.
This Bavarian-style town is nestled in the Cascade Mountains. It’s only a 2-hour drive from Seattle.
Leavenworth began life as a logging town, boasting the second largest sawmill in Washington by 1903.
Over 100 years later, this town has become a popular escape and weekend destination for visitors from the west side of the state to camp or enjoy a European-style vacation vibe.
Designed as a Bavarian-style tourist destination, there is gorgeous natural scenery and architecture from southern Germany.
There are plenty of Bavarian-themed shops and restaurants, including the Nutcracker Museum with over 6,000 different nutcrackers.
Nutcracker Admission Prices:
- Adults – $5.00 (Ages 17 – 64yrs)
- Seniors – $3.50 (Age 65yrs +)
- Youth – $2.00 (Ages 6 – 16yrs)
- Child – FREE (Ages 0 – 5yrs)
- Active Military – FREE (Spouse & Children Free with ID)
Leavenworth is a toddler-friendly vacation in Washington state year-round, but Christmas is the best time to go. The town is routinely snow-filled and covered in colorful lights to bring the holiday spirit.
If you can’t make the trip during the holidays, there is an annual Oktoberfest, another fun time to visit.
I recommend stopping by the Wenatchee River, a popular place to spot eagles and osprey.
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Lynden is a beautiful Dutch town in northern Washington near the Canadian border.
This quaint city features lots of small-town charm. Lynden is known for being Washington’s largest Dutch settlement and the largest producer of raspberries in the nation.
You’ll love to stroll down Front street and check out the two large windmills and beautiful flower displays that line the main shopping drag.
Immerse yourself in the history of Lynden and Whatcom county at the Pioneer Museum. With over 28,000 square feet of space, the Pioneer Museum is full of unique displays, including the largest horse-drawn buggy collection west of the Mississippi River.
If it’s not raining, head out to one of Lynden’s many great parks. If you’re looking for the best playground in Lynden, head to City Park, also known as Million Smiles.
There is also Berthusen Park, a farm homestead built by Hans Berthusen and his wife Linda Hawley in 1883. In 1944, the Berthusen’s 236-acre farm and the barn were given to the City of Lynden to enjoy.
In 2003, the barn and park were added to the National Register of Historic Places.
The park includes picnic areas, a playground, an old-growth forest for hiking, and a collection of antique tractors. It’s the perfect place to bring the family dog for a walk on the trails.
Last, but not least is Bender Fields! This infamous park is also known as Bender Family Recreation Park.
Many local sporting events take place at Bender Fields. Visitors can enjoy the baseball, soccer, and lacrosse fields, picnic tables, bocce ball court, and playground.
While you are in town, make sure to stop for a bite to eat at Avenue Bread on Main street and get a fresh scoop of ice cream at Edaleen Dairy.
There are a ton of toddler-friendly activities in Seattle. The largest city in Washington state is full of fun family adventures. Here are some of our top picks:
The Woodland Park Zoo exhibits include over 900 animals and 250 species, including some of the world’s most endangered.
Some of the popular exhibits include lions, rhinos, and penguins. This zoo is a non-profit dedicated to saving animals and habitats.
The world-famous Pike Place Market is one of the oldest year-round farmers’ markets in the country and one of the most iconic things to do in Seattle.
Kids of all ages will love the “flying fish” and street performers. There are also over 200 shops, restaurants, local artisans as well as beautifully displayed fruit stands.
No trip to Seattle is complete without a visit to the famous Space Needle. Kids 5 and under are free, but before you go, you should know that strollers are not allowed up to the top of the needle.
MoPop is the Museum of Pop Culture, formerly known as the Experience Music Project. It is a non-profit museum in Seattle dedicated to contemporary popular culture.
The museum was founded by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000 as the Experience Music Project, and after several name changes over the years, now goes by MoPop.
Located in Skagit County between Seattle and the Canadian Border, La Conner is home to the famous Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Every April, hundreds of thousands of people come to view the magnificent tulip fields, where hundreds of acres of tulips grow in every color of the rainbow.
La Conner is a charming small town with lots of restaurants and antique shops. I recommend staying at a quaint bed and breakfast to get the full experience.
This little town is a great place to visit with your kids and get some Instagram-worthy family photos. Children will love to experience the magic of the vast flower fields.
San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are a chain of islands known for rural Pacific Northwest landscapes and wildlife.
The islands are accessible by ferry, plane, private boat, and charter. The archipelago consists of a staggering 172 islands, some only visible during extreme low tide, and well over 300 miles of shoreline.
The three largest and most popular are Orcas, Lopez, and San Juan.
Horseshoe-shaped Orcas Island is home to Moran State Park’s old-growth forest and Mt. Constitution.
San Juan Island is distinguished by the lively seaside town of Friday Harbor and Lime Kiln Point State Park, an orca-whale lookout.
The three islands are geographically unique: Orcas being the hilliest, Lopez the flattest and best for easy cycling and San Juan Island is a combination of both.
There are lots of fun outdoor activities like whale watching, biking, hiking, and exploring the seashore.
The islands are very family-friendly and children will be in awe of the natural wildlife and marine life along the shores.
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Bellingham is a coastal city in northwest Washington. Located about an hour and a half north of Seattle, it is literally in the northwest corner of the USA.
Nicknamed the City of Subdued Excitement by locals, Bellingham is the thirteenth largest city in Washington with about 84,000 people that call it home.
Bellingham is known for its hiking trails, interurban pathways, lakes, and rivers. The city often finds itself on national “Best Of” lists for outdoor activities, earning it names like the “Outdoorsman’s Paradise”.
This toddler-friendly vacation in Washington State is the perfect place to relax and recover.
With Bellingham Bay on one side of town and Mount Baker on the other, locals and frequent visitors would agree that there are plenty of fun things to see, do and eat in this city by the sea.
Make sure you check out the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention to see one of the largest Tesla coils in the country!
Mount Rainier National Park
Home to the stratovolcano, Mount Rainier, this magnificent park is an amazing spot for hiking and camping.
Mount Rainier’s last eruptive period was nearly 1,000 years ago. It is considered an active volcano and will have future eruptions.
Mount Rainier is the perfect place for a cheap family vacation, plus it’s one of the best National Parks in the country.
There are four campgrounds to choose from and activities include hiking, fishing, boating, cycling, and ranger-led activities.
Note: Make sure your trip includes a visit to Paradise. Paradise is an area in the park that is famous for its breathtaking views and gorgeous wildflower meadows.
Hoh Rainforest is located on the Olympic Peninsula and is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S.
At just two and a half hours away from Seattle, it’s easy to make the drive to Olympic National Park for a quick weekend trip. Within Olympic National Park, the forest is protected from commercial exploitation.
The Hoh Rain Forest campground is open year-round, with 72 sites located in the old-growth forest along the river.
There are also places to stay just outside the park boundary and in the town of Forks (yes, the Forks from Twilight), less than a one-hour drive by car.
Have you visited Washington State? What are your favorite toddler-friendly vacation spots in Washington State?