Monday, June 6, 2016

How to Experience Washington on a Budget

 Let's continue our trip through Washington with some tips on how to travel on a budget! Don't let money stand in your way when traveling. 

Whatever you're looking for, Washington's got it. From the lush rainforest of the Olympic Peninsula to the dry, open vistas in the east, our state includes sandy beaches, snow-peaked mountains, volcanoes, rivers and some of the most iconic attractions in the United States.

As a frugal adventurer and lifelong Washingtonian, I've figured out how to explore its greatest places at the best possible prices. 

Mount Rainier & Other National Parks 

If you are going to visit our famous volcanoes, you're going to need an interagency pass to access the national parks and national forests. The National Parks system has claimed the snowy behemoth of Mount Rainier, the unmistakable glacier-coated volcano that towers above our state. Mt. St. Helens, infamous for unleashing the deadliest and most destructive volcanic eruption in the history of the United States, is located in a national forest.

An interagency pass will also give you access to other wonders in Washington. On the peninsula, you could explore nearly one million acres of waterfalls, rainforests, old-growth forests and stunning beaches in Olympic National Park. There are more than a dozen other federal sites in Washington State that you could visit as well.

You can skip the entrance and other fees at these and nearly 2,000 other venues with an $80 annual interagency pass. If you're currently serving in the military, disabled, or have a fourth grader, you can get one of these passes completely free! Seniors can get a lifetime pass for just $10. 

Beaches & Other State Parks 

here are nearly 200 state parks in Washington State - and you can access them all for just $33 or less! The affordable Discover Pass unlocks access to beaches, forests, caves, lakes, trails and so much more throughout the state.

My very favorite state parks include the beaches at Dash Point State Park in Federal Way, Picnic Point Park in Edmonds and Westport Light in Westport. I also love taking the children to explore the lighthouse and artillery post at Fort Casey Historical State Park.

Saving money on these great locations is simple. Instead of paying $11 for a one-day access pass, consider spending $33 for unlimited access to all of Washington's state-managed lands for an entire year. If you live in Washington and meet certain criteria, you may be eligible for a free or low-cost annual Discover Pass. 

Exploring Seattle 

Seattle is the largest and most recognizable city in the state. It is always changing and always growing, so there are endless adventures available here.

A Seattle CityPASS is a great way to explore Seattle without spending a fortune. You'll see five of Seattle's best attractions at about half the price of regular admission. The current offerings for a CityPASS include the Space Needle, Seattle Aquarium and a one-hour Argosy Cruises Harbor Tour. The Space Needle ticket allows you to go up twice in a 24 hour period, so that you can see the city in the daytime and again after dark. The final two tickets included in a CityPASS require you to make tough decisions - one allows you to decide between the EMP Museum and the Woodland Park Zoo and the other compels you to choose between Chihuly Garden and Glass and the Pacific Science Center.

Even if 'free' is your preferred price, Seattle has a lot of options. You can always visit the Seattle Center and admire the Space Needle and exterior of Chihuly Garden and Glass completely free. There are almost always street musicians and other performers around the center.

Pike Place Market is also free to wander. While you're there, you can check out the original Starbucks location on the corner of 1st and Pike. Don't forget to stick a piece of chewing gum to Seattle's renowned gum wall. It's located in Post Alley just underneath the market.

There are several museums and visitors centers that are always free to the public, including:
  • The Center for Wooden Boats
  • Coast Guard Museum
  • Duwamish Longhouse and Cultural Center
  • Frye Art Museum
  • Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park
  • Loghouse Museum
  • Olympic Sculpture Park
  • Seattle Metropolitan Police Museum
  • Washington Park Arboretum
  • Waterfall Garden Park
There are many other museums around Seattle that offer free admission on certain days.

While you're out and about, don't forget to stop under the Aurora Bridge to take your picture with our iconic troll. Made from rebar steel, wire, two tons of ferroconcrete and an actual Volkswagen Beetle, the Fremont Troll is just one of the many eccentric things you'll discover in Seattle. 

That's not all... 

Of course, there's more. Washington is a state of many wonders and there is way more than I could possibly write about here. I'd love to see your recommendations in the comments!

About Nicole

Although Nicole loves the beaches and mountains of her home state, she loves writing most of all. She has been writing professionally since the age of 12 and has been featured in countless publications, including USA Today. Currently, she writes about freebies and saving money at Facebook and Twitter!

1 comment:

  1. Thank you for the opportunity to share this with your readers! :) If possible, would you mind updating the author section to include a link to The Facebook link is also broken and directs to a 404 page on my site. :\ Thanks again! I really do appreciate it. :)