The next time your family needs a digital detox, take an unplugged vacation that isn’t too far from Seattle
We all live a noisy life with plenty of distractions all wanting our attention. Sometimes it’s best to take a breather away from cell phones, computers, TVs, and video games and get back to nature while reconnecting with our families. Go back and enjoy the simple pleasures like playing card games, reading a book, napping for no good reason, and stargazing. Sure, the kids might pout at first, but they’ll find things to do in no time and will treasure these memories for years to come. But don’t take our word for it, plan an unplugged getaway in Washington this fall.
Get Away to Skagit Valley or Mount Adams
Getaway is a unique glamping experience with Outposts located all across the U.S. Each cabin is basically a tiny home. On the outside, it’s a simple box shape with windows. Ah, but the inside is pretty great. There are one-bed cabins (one queen bed) and two-bed cabins (queen-sized bunk beds) with comfy pillows and clean sheets. (No sleeping bags needed!) Inside, the space comes with both heat and air conditioning, a kitchenette (with two-burner stove and mini fridge), a kitchen table and chairs, a hot shower and private toilet, a few good books, an old-time radio, and cell phone lockbox. Outside, you’ll find a fire pit with grill grate, two Adirondack chairs, and a picnic table. The accommodations are well planned, but keep in mind that these are cozy cabins. Fido can come too, but there is an extra charge.
There are two locations in Washington, but we can't tell you exactly where. You see, Getaway won’t reveal the actual location of your Outpost until the cabin is booked, but each is guaranteed to be a two-hour drive (or less) from its respective city. Here's what we do know. The Seattle Outpost is in Skagit Valley, and the Portland Outpost is located somewhere in Glenwood, Washington (about four hours from Seattle). Both locations are near a number of walking and hiking trails and are not too far away from activities that'll keep your crew busy and happy.
Vacation in the Air
Who hasn’t dreamed of living in a treehouse? Located in White Salmon, Washington, the Klickitat Treehouse isn’t some rickety old fort. It’s a beautiful, 500-square-foot, two-bedroom home. You kids may not appreciate that it was built with a Scandinavian architecture design, but they’ll think that it’s cool nonetheless.
The living room features floor-to-ceiling windows with a view of Mount Adams, wood-burning stove, leather couch, and floor cushions. Plus who needs WiFi when you've got books and games here? Parents will appreciate the private bedroom with a queen bed and double pocket doors that open up to the living room. Kids will go crazy over the loft area with two queen beds and skylights. The house also features a full kitchen and full bathroom, but there is also a private outdoor shower too for use in the spring and summer months. It has both heating and air conditioning so you can rent it any time of year.
The wraparound deck features a propane grill, patio table, and Adirondack chairs. Down below you’ll find a fire pit and an old logging road trail that winds around the property. The treehouse is located about 20 minutes from the shops and restaurants of Hood River and the outdoor activities (biking, skiing, fishing etc.) at the Columbia River Gorge.
Lodge at the Lake
Located in the Olympic National Park & Forest, Lake Quinault Lodge is the best of both worlds offering an unplugged weekend with nature while staying at a first-class resort hotel. Built in 1926, this waterfront property features 91 guestrooms with everything you’d expect to find there – except TVs. Before the kids frown, remind them that this Victorian lodge has an indoor pool. (Mom and dad will appreciate the sauna and fitness center too.) Play a favorite card game in front of the majestic fireplace in the main living room. Enjoy meals at the on-site restaurant, Roosevelt Room before heading out to do some fishing or paddleboarding on the lake. (Note: wifi is available here, but don’t tell you kids!)
In case you can’t find enough things to do at this resort, Lake Quinault Lodge is located near the Olympic National Forest, the Lake Quinault Museum, a number of walking trails and the Olympic National Park. Three mineral hot spring soaking pools offer a unique experience at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort (although they are closed during the winter months). Boat tours are also available on Lake Quinault and Lake Crescent.
Honor a Deceptive Milestone
Deception Pass State Park is our state’s most-visited state park. This year marks the parks 100th anniversary giving you a good excuse to camp and celebrate. (Don’t have a tent? No problem. Washington State Parks has partnered with Arrive Outdoors where you can rent the gear that you need and have it delivered to your home before you go.)
The park is spread out over 3,854 acres with 172 tent sites and 134 partial hookup sites. Here you can you beachcomb along the Puget Sound beachfront and then walk only a short distance away to Cranberry Lake. Check out the Sand Dune Interpretive Trail (just 1.2 miles long) that covers a forested area, a marsh overlook and a native dune environment. If you have a little more gumption, walk up the trail to the Deception Pass Bridge or you can take your car around – we don’t judge.
The park is a great place to go geocaching during the day and s’more-making around the fire at night (not to mention ghost-story-telling!) From seagulls to squirrels (and the occasional whale or seal), chances of seeing some real wildlife is a distinct possibility. The town of Oak Harbor is just minutes away as is the Blue Fox Drive-In which is open all year round.
Wake Up to the Ocean
Located on Copalis Beach, Washington, Iron Springs Resort is close enough to Ocean Shores for a “quick drive into town” while also being far enough out to feel away from it all. Built in the 1940s (but clearly renovated since then), the resort is mishmash of both modern and rustic. There are 25 different-sized cabins on the premises that with lodging ranging from four to 10 people, and pets are allowed in most of them. Each unit is equipped with multiple bedrooms, full kitchen (with dishwasher), living room with fireplace or wood stove, and bathroom. Most have decks with barbecues and outdoor spigots and hoses to watch off Fido. And while they also have flat screen TVs with DVD players, making a 100 percent “unplugged” vacation a challenge, there’s no harm in watching a movie with popcorn before bedtime, is there?
During the day, the ocean is the star of the show which is just a short walk from your cabin. There are a number of hiking trails too. There is a general store that is stocked with just about anything you forgot back home. The beach is a good place to go fishing or clamming, and this resort offers a clam cleaning station and fire pit, as well as fishing licenses, if you need them.
Stay at a Non-Camper's Paradise
If you thought that KOA (Kampgrounds of America) was only for those with trailers and motorhomes, think again. Many locations also feature cabins to rent too. At the Pine Village KOA in Leavenworth, Washington, the campground offers a range of cabins to fit your comfort level, from the no-frills camping cabin (beds and mattresses only) to the deluxe cabins that sleep up to eight people, feature two bedrooms, full kitchens and bathrooms, decks with barbecues, and picnic tables. Where else can you camp that has a microwave and Keurig coffee maker? How about a ceiling fan and air conditioning?
As for the campground itself, it’s beautiful sitting above the river and surrounded by Evergreen trees. It features a swimming pool, hot tub, playground, snack bar, and planned activities throughout the year. Start the morning off right with crepes at the Cascade Café (open only during the summer months) before riding bikes around the campground. Take a short hike down to the river, or enjoy a day at the pool, only taking breaks to visit the Coffee Cabin for espresso, sandwiches, ice cream, or milkshakes. Make sure to leave time to visit the Bavarian town of Leavenworth which is always celebrating something including Maifest, Oktoberfest, and its Village of Lights.
Take a Trip to the Old West
A trip to the western-themed town of Winthrop, Washington is always fun and a stay at Methow River Lodge & Cabins can make it even fun-er. Whether you stay in one of the private cabins or stay in one of the lodge rooms, you can enjoy rooms overlooking the river, custom pine furnishings and air conditioning. The cabins here feature multiple rooms as well as full kitchens and baths.
During the summer months, you can fish, float down the river, and ride bikes. During the winter, enjoy the outdoor ice rink, cross country skiing, and sledding. Walk across the Spring Creek Bridge into town or take a hike to Falls Creek. Play a round of mini golf at Sheri’s Sweet Shoppe, visit the Shafer Historical Museum, or go horseback riding at Thunderfoot Riding.
Tips for a Great Trip with Kids:
1. Long drives can be less of a burden for everyone if you find something fun to do along the way. For younger ones, pack along some healthy snacks (carrot sticks, apple slices, fishy crackers, and juice boxes) handed out at different intervals. For older kids, pack a splurge treat as a surprise. Also, pack along a new coloring book or travel game. Of course, there is always the old tried and true ABC game or one of our other car game favorites.
2. If you are staying at a place that offers an outdoor fire pit, don’t forget makings for s’mores, but you can plan for dinner there too. Making hobo dinners is a fun family meal that everyone can make themselves. Create foil packets that contain a hamburger patty, chopped carrots, potatoes, and onions. Toss in some salt and pepper, fold up the edges nice and tight, and cook over hot coals.
3. Plan ahead for when the weather turns sour or boredom rears its ugly head. Pack along a jigsaw puzzle, craft supplies (like paints for the rocks found at the beach), or a brand-new card game no one in the family has played before.
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