Destinations

Don't be bored—be on your way to somewhere fantastic. 
by distance from Seattle...

 

Image: Will Austin

10 MILES
Bainbridge Museum of Art

Walkable. Local. Free. Even if the area’s newest art center didn’t have a bold mission to show off arts and crafts of the Kitsap Peninsula, it would be an exciting addition to the cultural landscape. The very eco--friendly building uses geothermal energy and has a solar-paneled roof, a roof garden, and an indoor stage made of bamboo. 550 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, 206-842-4451; biartmuseum.org


19 MILES
Bike Tree
A boy leaves for World War I, tethering his bicycle to a tree; after he’s lost on Europe’s battlefields, the tree grows to engulf the bike and raise it seven feet into the air. What a story! Too bad it’s totally untrue. Yes, there’s a tree on Vashon where the bark has grown around a now-rusty cycle, but the wheels were carelessly forgotten by a local boy in 1954, not tearfully abandoned by a soldier. The odd sight was the subject of the children’s book Red Ranger Came Calling by Berkeley Breathed, and has become a popular stop for island cyclists. Walk a short path into the woods at the northeast corner of Vashon Highway and Southwest 204th Street


Image: Will Austin

19 MILES
Woodinville Lavender Farm
The lavender at this Sammamish Valley farm is overshadowed colorwise only in fall, when the poplar trees explode into shades of yellow. Take that, purple. The staple crop isn’t in bloom past summer, but you’ll find it in almost a hundred products sold here, most made on site—there’s Earl Grey and Rooibos lavender tea, essential oils and soaps, and dried bouquets. Hungry? Try ice cream bars in eight flavors, all with a touch of lavender. Pack a lunch for the outdoor patio and picnic tables—unless you’re down with calling ice cream a meal. 14223 Woodinville Redmond Rd NE, Woodinville, 425-398-3785; woodinvillelavender.com

 

37 MILES
Battle Creek Par 3 Golf Course
Mark Twain called golf “a good walk spoiled,” but a par-three course is a short stroll made awesome. The mini course falls somewhere between proper PGA-level links (Battle Creek has that too) and a putt-putt place, set in a wooded area just north of Everett. The nine holes range from 75 to 200 yards, and golfers don’t need a tee time; rent a full set of clubs from the pros at the clubhouse ($4) or ask them to dig out a few clubs from the back for free. After a round, lunch at the cafe or thwack more balls at the driving range. 6006 Meridian Ave N, Tulalip, 360-659-7931; battlecreekgolfwa.com, $8–$10

 

37 MILES
Earth Sanctuary
Though the 72-acre park was born out of Chuck Pettis’s Buddhist studies, its monuments represent a number of traditions; there’s a white stupa, a curved monument that represents Buddha’s enlightened mind, as well as Native American medicine wheels, an ancient labyrinth based on a design from 2500 BCE, and a giant stone table called a dolmen. The structures are scattered in the wooded lot near Langley and connected by two miles of trails. Meditate among the nesting osprey and 80 other bird species that live in the park. 2059 Newman Rd, Langley, earthsanctuary.org, $7


41 MILES
Eye-to-Eye Shark Dive at Point Defiance Zoo
Live every week like it’s Shark Week at the brand-new experience at the Tacoma zoo’s South Pacific Aquarium. For $65 you can be lowered inside a cage while wearing a dry suit and breathing through a tube; it requires no skill besides a little nerve and experience in breathing. The tank’s 17 sharks—including a nine-foot, 300-pound lemon shark—will probably be totally hospitable, and you’ll earn a shark dive towel for your bravery. Certified divers can opt for a guided scuba swim instead. 5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, 253-591-5337; pdza.org/dive, $65–$175

 

53 MILES
Goldmyer Hot Springs
You’re gonna earn this soak. The drive—up I-90 and then a rough forest road—to a remote trailhead can take more than two hours. And that’s just where you leave your car; your hike into the natural geothermic hot spring is another four and a half miles by foot or mountain bike. But oh, the reward: rock stairways, steaming pools, and a cabana that looks like it was built by forest elves. Make a reservation to be guaranteed one of 20 daily soaking spots; it’s BYO potable water, but a swimsuit is optional. Dingford Trailhead off exit 34 on I-90, 206-789-5631; goldmyer.org, $15



Image: Will Austin

73 MILES
Ranch House BBQ
Pitmaster Amy Anderson was competing in barbecue world championships and being featured on the Food Network before she even opened this meaty outpost between Olympia and Elma. The ribs and chicken sit in a smoker for six hours—“low and slow” is the motto here—flavored by apple- and cherrywood from Anderson’s own family farm. Beer-battered onion rings are sold by the half or full pound. Wait times can approach an hour in summer, but the crowds lessen to a dull roar in autumn. 10841 Kennedy Creek Rd SW, Olympia, 360-866-8704; ranchhousebbq.com


Image: Will Austin

77 MILES
Recycled Spirits of Iron
“Something out of nothing.” That’s what Ex Nihilo, the motto of this Elbe-area sculpture park, means in Latin, more or less. But the sculptures crafted by Dan Klennert are made out of something—salvaged somethings. Klennert scrounges iron and other metals, sometimes even driftwood, from junkyards and scrap heaps, then works the materials into giant figures. Horses are a favorite subject; he even made a sea horse out of horse shoes. His sculpture yard sits on the highway just outside the entrance to Mount Rainier National Park. Highway 706 between Ashford and Elbe, danielklennert.com


 

Image: Will Austin

82 MILES
Deception Pass CCC Museum 
Call the rangers to ensure this mini museum at Deception Pass State Park is open; once autumn hits, it’s only available by request. The onetime bathhouse holds a wealth of information on the Civilian Conservation Corps, a New Deal project that provided employment to the Depression struck. Its workers constructed many of the bridges, roads, and stylish stone buildings that now make up our national and state park infrastructure. After the history lesson, peer off the Deception Pass bridges or search the park for sculptures—one tells a local Native American myth and another is in the shape of a shirtless CCC worker. Bowman Bay, 41020 State Route 20, Oak Harbor, 360-675-3767; parks.wa.gov


Published: October 2013