Summer is a spectacular time of year to spend time outdoors. Washington state is blessed with outdoor recreational opportunities for just about anyone. After having to spend most of our time indoors due to “Stay Home, Stay Healthy” in order to help our state limit the spread of COVID-19, we all deserve some time in nature where we can take part in our favorite outdoor activities. Governor Jay Inslee has now begun easing restrictions with the “Safe Start” reopening plan and started opening up state parks and public lands, golf courses, and reinstating hunting and fishing seasons. Consequently, we can take advantage of all the incredible outdoor activities available to Washingtonians in a safe and responsible way. What better way to promote physical, mental and emotional well-being than spending time outdoors with our family?
A National Reminder To Spend Time Outdoors
Our U.S government decided to remind all U.S. citizens that they should take time to relax, have fun and enjoy nature by declaring June as the National Great Outdoors Month in 1998. For Washingtonians, it’s a fantastic time to take advantage of the warmer weather and the many outdoor opportunities our amazing state has to offer.
In fact, in 2008, our federal government declared June 13th as the National Get Outdoors Day in order to motivate us to explore the natural treasures the greatest country in the world has to offer. On that day all national and state parks offer FREE admission and even organize fun events for those who decide to take part.
In Washington state, we have access to over one million acres of publicly owned land and over 500 water access areas so it’s not difficult to find activities to suit almost everyone and enjoy our state’s natural gifts. Please, visit the Washington State Parks website to find out which parks have opened and the restrictions which may apply.
Bellingham’s Time-Honored Summer Tradition: Berry Picking
When summer starts to roll around, our thoughts, for both young and old, turn to one of the juiciest and tastiest activities: Berry Picking in Whatcom County. It’s a great opportunity to spend time with our family – it also has the additional benefit of munching on something delicious and healthy. It wouldn’t be summer if we didn’t go to a U-pick farm to pick fresh strawberries, raspberries and blueberries! Please ensure you call ahead to find out the days and times the farms are hosting U-pick events and get there before noon since the best berries will be picked by then. What’s more, remember to take some cash with you just in case credit/debit cards are not accepted.
Fish For Your Dinner
Fishing has always been a chance for local families to have fun and time to bond. It’s a great opportunity to spend time in the fresh air, have a relaxing day, and teach our children the old-age pastime of fishing. If you are skilled or lucky enough, you may even catch your dinner since many of our state park lakes and ponds are stocked with rainbow, cutthroat, and kokanee trout. Make sure that your fishing license is up to date though. For license information, visit the Washington State Department of Fish and Wildlife (WDFW) licensing webpage. Please also note that the Department of Fish & Wildlife is advising hunters and anglers to enjoy their favorite outdoor activities only if they can do so locally, while also practicing physical distancing. In addition, remember that most locations are open for day-outings only.
Water Activities Abound
Who would doubt that in Washington state recreational boating is one of the most popular activities? There are literally thousands and thousands of Washingtonians who own at least one canoe, kayak, rowboat, personal watercraft, stand up paddleboard, drift boat, runabout, sailboat, motor yacht or some other type of recreational vessel (Washington State Parks). Naturally, the reasons for the popularity of water activities are the 157 miles of coastline, 169 rivers, and 8,000 lakes found in Washington state. You probably won’t find anywhere else in the U.S. or the world the incredible combination of ocean waves, glacial lakes, raging rivers, and placid streams that we are able to enjoy in this amazing state.
Go For A Leisurely Walk Or A Challenging Hike
With almost 700 miles of trails in Washington state parks, ranging from short scenic nature walks to challenging long-distance treks, you can be certain to find a trail for all levels. Hiking provides us with the chance to get some much-needed exercise and demonstrate our respect and appreciation for wildlife and the natural beauty of our state. Apart from the huge number of trails, in Washington state, we probably also have the most spectacular trails that can be found anywhere in the world. The incredible diversity of trails is simply astonishing. We can enjoy trails with breathtaking waterfalls, striking mountain tops and even high desert landscapes found inland to the east. If you are planning to go on a hike, please refer to Washington Trails Association’s hiking guide to find out which trails are open near you.
Let’s Go Outdoors And Have Fun!
Washingtonians it’s time to get out with your loved ones. With the huge number of world-class outdoor activities available to us at our doorstep, it would be a shame not to take advantage of them. Naturally, we still need to be prepared and practise social distancing. Additionally, avoid the risk of injury by choosing lower-risk activities and respect public lands and communities by taking your trash with you and try to cause minimal disturbance to the environment. Let’s all go outdoors and have an unforgettable time!