Monday, June 6, 2016

8 Free Adventures in Eastern Washington

I'm excited to bring you our last stop in Washington for our virtual tour. This time, we're headed east and the adventures are free!

Who said adventures had to cost an arm or a leg? Across Washington State you can enjoy a variety of expeditions without even opening your wallet.

While free opportunities abound across the entire state, today we’re going to focus on the eastern side of the beautiful Evergreen State. Here are eight free ways to build adventurous memories on your next trip to Washington:

1. Check out the Historical Monuments

Eastern Washington has a rich history. The Whitman Massacre happened near Walla Walla. Lewis and Clark explored the region as part of their famous expedition before they reached the coast and the end of their journey.

 As you’re driving, brown highway signs indicate monuments that celebrate Washington’s past. Each has room to pull-in so you can safely get out of the vehicle and learn more. You can read the signs on-site and gain insight into the historical significance of what you’re seeing.

A great stop is in Columbia County, near Dayton. You’ll find a marker entitled, “encamped on the N. side.” Out in a field, you’ll see dozens of life-sized metal sculptures. Each one represents a member of the Lewis and Clark expedition. It’s a great way to see a representation of a historical event with your own eyes.

2. Take a Ferry 

You can enjoy a free 10-minute ferry ride across the Columbia River. While these ferries aren’t as fancy as the ones on the other side of the state, you’ll still get to drive your car on board and watch the water from inside your vehicle.

The Keller Ferry runs seven days a week. The first run is at 6:00 a.m., and the last one crosses at 11:30 p.m. operating on an “on-demand” service. The crew can monitor both landings for vehicles waiting to cross.

 After you cross the river, be on the lookout for public access pull-outs to explore. There are several beautiful places along the banks of the mighty Columbia. Some even have sandy beaches!

3. Explore the Columbia Basin 

The Columbia River and the surrounding basin are full of beautiful spots to explore. You can check out Dry Falls—the remnants of what is believed to be the largest waterfall that ever existed.

While you’re in the area, be sure to check out Soap Lake. The mineral rich water is thought to have healing properties. As you explore the basin, you’ll be rewarded with breathtaking views like this one:

4. Explore a Ghost Town 

The wild west wouldn’t be the same without ghost towns. Scattered throughout the state, these towns have lost the glory of their hay day. They’ve been abandoned.

 Many of these towns have remains to explore. Most you can visit for free or on a donation admittance. Molson is an incredible ghost town in Okanogan County.

There’s a museum inside the old schoolhouse, depicting life in the old days. Outside you’ll find a bank and jail to walk through. There’s also a ton of artifacts from mining and pioneer days waiting to be discovered.

5. Catch the Laser Light Show

Grand Coulee Dam is an impressive structure providing hydro power across the state and beyond. Each night during the summer season a laser light show displays across the span of the dam. The theme of the show is One River, Many Voices.

This thirty-minute narrated show details the history of the dam, and the Columbia River. It’s a stunning display of colorful lights.

If you arrive before dark, take advantage of the educational visitor’s center. You can also participate in a tour of the dam.

6. Tour the Liberty Orchards Factory 

Have you ever tasted an Aplet or a Cotlet? These delicious Washington produced treats are created in Cashmere, Washington. You can tour their factory for free and learn all about how the candies are made.

7. Hike 

Eastern Washington is home to beautiful mountains trails. If you don’t mind driving off the beaten track, well-maintained trails are waiting.

This is Quartzite Mountain. It’s part of the Selkirk Mountain Range located near Chewelah, Washington. On the backside, there’s a 3-mile roundtrip hiking path. Once you reach the top, you’re rewarded with amazing views of the whole valley.

Quartzite isn’t the only trail to explore in eastern Washington. The Washington Trails Association describes 217 trails in the region. You might even wear out your hiking boots trying to complete them all.

8. Drive the North Cascade Highway 

If you’re ready to head west after your factory tour, you can use the scenic North Cascade Highway. This is the northern most route across the Cascade Mountains. Because of the heavy snow accumulation in the winter, this route is not accessible all year. Before heading on your trip, be sure to check the Department of Transportation website to ensure it’s open.

As you’re driving, you’ll be rewarded with views of numerous waterfalls. Wildlife is abundant in the area, and you might even spy eagles flying overhead.

The Adventures Are Waiting 

With all of these free adventures to choose from, which one will you pick first? Do you have a favorite free eastern Washington adventure that was missed? Please share your thoughts in the comments section below.

About the Author

Lisa Tanner loves living life in eastern Washington. She and her husband are raising their seven children on the family farm. Lisa's becoming an expert at balancing diapers and deadlines as she grows her freelance writing and virtual assistant career. She shares her best tips for getting it all done over at Lisa Tanner Writing. You can also find her on TwitterFacebook, and Pinterest.  


1 comment:

  1. I'm all for free adventures + traveling on the cheap! One of my hopes is to do a west coast road trip someday. It's so darn beautiful! <3