Purchase Photo Reprint Weekly Herald/CHRIS GOODENOW
Teammates, including Ricky Rosales (center-left), 15, of Lakewood, and Cindy Ramirez (center-right), of Lynnwood, dig for the ball during their impromptu volleyball game and picnic, May 30, at Martha Lake County Park in Lynnwood.
As gas prices hover near $4 a gallon, long-distance vacation plans may take a back seat to the budget. But that doesn't mean South County families can't recharge and refresh.
“There's a pent-up demand of people wanting to get out and explore,” said Amy Spain, executive director of the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau.
Locals tend to forget what their hometown has to offer, she said. “We live in an incredibly beautiful place. Our eyes get blind to that until visitors come.”
Around the block, one town over, or a leisurely drive, here are some options for respite and repair close to home.
0 to 10 miles
Wine tour, Woodinville: Save yourself the 270-mile drive and taste some Walla Walla wines, among many others, on the winery loop in Woodinville. The city boasts more than 80 wineries open for tastings, from large national brands to small boutique selections. Wineries do ask for nominal tasting fees but rebate them with a purchase. For maps, hours and descriptions, visit www.woodinvillewinecountry.com.
Beach day, Edmonds: The Edmonds waterfront is home to a boat launch, public parks with beach access, a fishing pier and an underwater dive park. Visitors can walk along the boardwalk at the Port of Edmonds or ride a Washington State Ferry to Kingston, leading to Hood Canal and the Olympic Peninsula. A variety of bars and restaurants within walking distance dot the area, including Anthony's Homeport at Edmonds Marina, 456 Admiral Way, and El Buffone, 107 Fifth Ave. N, Edmonds.
Football game, Edmonds: Can't wait for the preseason? Take in a Snohomish County Vikings game. The Northwest Football League 2010 champions play through early July. The team's next home games are June 4 at Shoreline Stadium against the Portland Raiders and June 25 at Edmonds District Stadium against the South Sound Shockers.
Shopping spree, Lynnwood, Edmonds: You know the Alderwood mall in Lynnwood, home to 200 stores from American Girl to Nordstrom. But don't overlook downtown Edmonds either, home to boutiques and antiques, galleries and garden stores. A good place to start? Try the core at Main Street and Fifth Avenue South.
Market time, Mountlake Terrace, Edmonds: Local farmers markets showcase local farmers and artisans. In downtown Edmonds, the Edmonds Museum Summer Garden Market runs Saturdays through June and the Full Market on Saturdays from July until October on Fifth Avenue South and Bell Street. In Mountlake Terrace, the Farmers Market runs through October at 23208 56th Ave. W.
11 to 15 miles
History lesson, Mukilteo: The historic Mukilteo Light Station opens its doors every summer to free tours between noon and 5 p.m. The lighthouse abuts Mukilteo Lighthouse Park near the ferry at 608 Front St.
Climb 36 steps for the view. Then hit the park to find a pier perfect for fishing or seal spotting, a boat launch, scuba diving venue, farmers market 3 to 7 p.m. Wednesdays plus the beach.
Hit the water, Everett: Whale watching and fishing charter boats launch from Everett's marinas, or settle into your own kayak and paddle over to Jetty Island for sandy beaches, trails and windsurfing. A free ferry also runs to the Jetty from the 10th Street boat launch. For more wildlife viewing, kayak through the sloughs and rivers of the Ebey Island estuary wetlands.
More sports, Everett: Ditch the Seattle drive and ticket prices and instead cheer on future sports stars. The Everett AquaSox, a Mariners affiliate, play at Everett Memorial Stadium. Additionally they offer an adult summer baseball camp Aug. 4-7. More info: www.aquasox.com. The SeaWolves, Everett's semi-pro soccer club, also play through mid-summer at Goddard Memorial Stadium at Mariner High School. More info: http://seawolvesfc.com.
In the air, Everett, Arlington, Snohomish: The plant where Boeing 747, 777 and 787 Dreamliner airplanes are assembled in the largest building in the world. To tour the Everett plant reserve tickets through 360-756-0086 or purchase them at the Future of Flight Aviation Center. To get up close and personal with flight, the Arlington Airport's annual Fly-In is July 6 to 10. Hot air ballooning, flight-seeing and skydiving are offered at Harvey Airfield in Snohomish.
16 to 20 miles
Antiquing, Snohomish: Architecture and antiques are the hallmarks of Snohomish with more than 300 antique dealers in town and a rich mix of turn-of-the-century homes, from Greek revival to English Tudor. The city itself is listed in the National Historic Register.
Berry picking, North and East County: Take advantage of sunny weather and stroll through strawberry fields. From mid-June to mid-July Dues Berry Farm, 152nd St. NE, Marysville, opens its doors to sell Shuksan and Rainier strawberries. Monroe is home to a variety of produce farms ripe for the U-picking, including raspberries, strawberries and blueberries at Bolles Organic Farm, 17930 Tualco Loop Road, and raspberries, strawberries, marionberries, blueberries and thornless blackberries at Broers Farms, 18228 Tualco Road.
Hit the casino, Tulalip: Listen to live music, eat, drink and bet your luck at the Tulalip Resort Casino. The casino offers up games, slot machines and live entertainment. A handful of restaurants offer a range of casual to fine dining experiences. Next door is Seattle Premium Outlets, home to more than 100 brand-name outlet stores including Banana Republic Factory Store, Coach and Adidas.
Fair time, Monroe: Eat corn dogs and go on thrill rides at The Evergreen State Fair Aug. 25-Sept. 5. The Everegreen State Fairgrounds hosts a number of other events during the summer, such as the Northwest's Largest Garage Sale June 18-19. More info: www.evergreenfair.org.
Need more ideas?
For hiking recommendations, scenic driving routes and a list of attractions by city, visit the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau at www.snohomish.org.