- Gig Harbor Living Local
Adventures that await across Washington and North Idaho By Taylor Shillam
Across the Northwest, endless summer adventure awaits. The opportunities to get outdoors and enjoy the season across Washington state and into North Idaho are what make local summers so unforgettable. Whether you're planning for a summer day, a weekend getaway, or just a few hours, the following highlights of Northwest summers are available to you all season long.
Lake Coeur d’Alene
A top destination for locals and tourists alike, the beautiful Lake Coeur d’Alene offers countless ways to truly enjoy lake life. Surrounded by expansive parks, the City Beach, numerous lakeside hiking trails across Tubbs Hill, and the renowned Coeur d’Alene Resort, Lake Coeur d’Alene and its surrounding resort town is a summer destination not to miss!
Located just 80 miles northeast of Spokane in the Northern Idaho panhandle, Priest Lake offers clear blue waters and beautiful summer scenery that sets the stage for endless summer fun.
Whether you’re looking for a relaxing lakeside getaway or an active weekend of boating, hiking and water sports, Priest Lake has it all, in a prime location surrounded by the Selkirk Mountains. Visitors can rent or bring a boat to fish, wakeboard, tube, waterski, and more, or take a hike on one of the many trails winding through the Selkirks.
Priest Lake lodging includes a long list of cabin rentals and comfortable accommodations to make a complete getaway out of your visit.
Western Washington Waterfronts
Surrounding the Puget Sound are countless miles of stunning shoreline views to explore. Summer adventures on the water are plentiful in the area, including Tacoma’s two-mile-long Ruston Way Waterfront, which offers a selection of park area boasting views of Commencement Bay and plenty of room to walk, bike, skate, and kayak. Gig Harbor offers a peaceful combination of outdoor recreation and heritage, with tours offered by boat or kayak, plus opportunities to grow your maritime knowledge at the Gig Harbor History Museum, Waterfront History Walk.
The result of glacial floods from many years ago, Washington’s official state waterfall is a worthy drive from those in Spokane or Western Washington. Known as a must-see waterfall in the area, the drive to Palouse Falls can include some of the best scenic driving in Washington, making the trip a full day’s adventure!
The Route of the Hiawatha
The Route of the Hiawatha is a 15-mile-long family friendly trail, which can be enjoyed by a wide range of people of all ages and all experience levels. It begins with a trip through the St. Paul Pass Tunnel, a highlight of the Hiawatha that follows the crest of the Bitterroot Mountains near Lookout Pass Ski Area.
The Hiawatha trail is mostly downhill, with shuttle buses available for transport, making it a low-intensity journey. Open from May 27 through September 18, the season for the Hiawatha Trail offers a wide window of time to enjoy its experience.
An easily accessible 40-mile-long paved trail, the Centennial Trail spans Idaho and Washington, including downtown Spokane, Kendall Yards, Mirabeau Park, and Nine Mile Falls, with 18 marked trailheads and diverse terrain. The 23-mile North Idaho portion extends from the state line to Coeur d’Alene’s Higgens point.
Visitors can walk, jog, skate or cycle along the paved trail, with each trailhead leading to a variety of routes and park lands.
Silver Mountain Resort
Kellogg, Idaho’s Silver Mountain Resort offers summer fun well after ski season! Promising “world-class recreation,” Silver Mountain Resort offers the Silver Rapids Indoor Waterpark, outdoor hot tubs, the Galena Ridge Golf Course, over 35 biking trails, and a scenic gondola ride on North America’s longest (3.1 mile) gondola!
Whether you’re bringing the whole family or a special someone, Silver Mountain’s seasonal events and packages offer a bit of everything in one place.
Enjoy a summer date night with a highlighted seasonal event, Ride & Dine held every Friday throughout the summer. The package includes a gondola ride, live music, and a mountaintop barbecue meal.
Mt. Rainier National Park
The iconic Mount Rainier is surrounded by picturesque natural park land, offering opportunities for hiking, mountain climbing, and scenic drives. With 240 miles of hiking trails and walking paths to explore, Mt. Rainier offers an experience for the entire family. It is visited by thousands every season, inviting all ages to climb, camp, fish, and more.
Cushman Trail and Sehmel Homestead Park
Gig Harbor’s nearly 6.2-mile Cushman Trail offers paved paths for walking and biking, numerous trail-side amenities, and access to various parks, including the Sehmel Homestead Park. The 98-acre park located northwest of downtown Gig Harbor includes multiple baseball and softball fields, tennis courts, an artificial turf soccer field, picnic areas, an outdoor amphitheater, a natural heritage garden, an accessible Boundless Playground, and countless more ways to enjoy the summer sun!
The Pacific Northwest offers adventure and views from above in the form of parasailing! Often described as a peaceful experience, parasailing involves soaring in a parachute while being gently towed by boat. Tacoma's Pacific Parasail is known for taking guests high above Commencement Bay in an adventure marked with signature bright red parasails. "Experience the quiet, peaceful beauty of the South Puget Sound at altitudes that rival the Space Needle," Pacific Parasail states, offering views of both Seattle towers and marine wildlife.
Parasailing is also available from Coeur d'Alene Parasail, offering views of lake Coeur d'Alene from 800 feet in the air. Take off and land right from the boat to experience the lake from an entirely new perspective!
Pick Summer Produce
Take the family outside to support local growers and take in the season's best produce. Highlighted Northwest farms include those in Greenbluff, just north of Spokane, and Puyallup's Picha's Berry Farm, both offering a selection of you-pick berries, freshly picked produce and more seasonal goodies.