You don’t need to hop on an airplane to have an exciting Spring Break. Local activities, like the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, offer family fun. (Jennifer Bardsley)

You don’t need to hop on an airplane to have an exciting Spring Break. Local activities, like the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, offer family fun. (Jennifer Bardsley)

Even a budget-conscious spring-break staycation can be a blast

Between Snohomish, Skagit and Island counties, there’s plenty to do right in your own backyard

It feels like everyone is going on a spring break adventure but me. My family’s staying put because I have a book launching on April 11 called “Talk of the Town.” Plus, there are eight years of college to pay for looming on the horizon. Gulp.

But just because we aren’t going anywhere doesn’t mean spring break can’t be a blast. Now is the perfect time to do my favorite things in Snohomish, Island and Skagit counties, as well as try out some new ones. Budget matters, so I’ve kept that in mind as I created my bucket list.

Afternoon in Snohomish

Park on 1st Street and start having fun. Grilla Bites is one of my favorite places to eat and can accommodate any diet from vegan to carnivore. Malicious Women Candle Co. is a great place to stock up on hilarious gifts. My teenagers love scoping out antique stores while I pop into Lamb & Co. I keep my eye on the sidewalks looking for purple glass skylights, just like the ones on the underground tour in Seattle. Does Snohomish have an underground, too? I’m curious!

Perk up on Camano Island

Exploring Cama Beach State Park makes an awesome day trip for families of all ages. Stop by Camano Island Coffee Roasters for a quick pick-me-up. If you’re visiting with little ones, be sure to play at the Rotary Adventure Playground at Freedom Park. My teenagers might be too old for the amazing play structure, but they still enjoy looking for their names on the picket fence.

More than Tulips

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival runs April 1-30, but that’s not the only tourist destination in Skagit Valley. The Skagit County Historical Museum in La Conner is open Thursday through Sunday, 11 a.m. to 4 p.m. I haven’t visited since my kids were little. At the time, they enjoyed looking at the historic photos of people skiing in Edwardian outfits. I’m curious what they would think of the museum now. I know they would love eating at one of La Conner’s wonderful restaurants.

The hottest spots in town

If spring break has crummy weather, spend a cozy afternoon in Everett. An hour spent reading books in the art deco Everett Public Library would be fun. For lunch, try The Sisters Restaurant, which is in walking distance from the library. There’s also Banya, the coed European day spa in Everett that families can enjoy. A three-hour admission ticket costs $55 for adults and $30 for youths. Entry fees include access to the dry sauna, steam room, cold plunge, hot tub and lounge room.

Will we do everything on my list? Probably not. Parenting teens means navigating around their busy social lives. But we don’t need to spend an entire week — or thousands of dollars — to make family memories this April. All we need is a fun afternoon and each other.

Jennifer Bardsley is the author of “Sweet Bliss,” “Good Catch” and more. Find her online on Instagram @jenniferbardsleyauthor, on Twitter @jennbardsley or on Facebook as @JenniferBardsleyAuthor. Email her at

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