It’s almost always bright and sunny in Eastern Washington, even in fall. And with more than 300 days of sunshine on average per year, the Tri-Cities — Kennewick, Pasco, and Richland — is the perfect place to escape to when it’s gloomy at home. The region is well-known for its wine — there are more than 200 wineries — and plenty of breweries to explore. But this eastern pocket of Washington offers much more than booze. Located around the confluence of the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers, the Tri-Cities offers a lot to explore along the water. There’s also plenty to do outside during the fall. So grab your lightweight jacket, sunglasses, sense of adventure, and take a quick trip.
Ride the Gesa Carousel of Dreams
is no ordinary merry-go-round. It was originally built in 1910 for Silver Beach Amusement Park in Michigan. The creator, Charles Carmel, carved the horses out of Linden wood — each with its own distinct details. Eventually the horses were delicately packed into a truck and driven to Washington. For 12 years, the Tri-Cities community worked to bring the carousel back to life with new additions to the circling herd. Tri-Cities native Michael Thornton carved a Washington State University Cougar to ride. But he’s got competition. There’s also a University of Washington Husky carved by the Missoula Carousel Carvers. You can ride around this community gem for $3. Kennewick
Eat Messy Barbecue
Warm summer nights call for sizzling barbecue. Shrub Steppe Smokehouse Brewery’s brisket and pulled pork are coated in a signature dry rub and smoked for 12 hours over hickory, mesquite, and alder woods. Order it with a side of sliced peaches and macaroni and cheese. Slather on any of the sauces (or not). The crafted brews are made to pair perfectly with all those sticky, sweet, and smoky flavors. Richland
Stroll through Columbia Park
The Columbia River cuts through the Tri-Cities area. Stretch your legs with a stroll along its banks at Columbia Park. There’s a pretty view of Pioneer Memorial Bridge (also known as Blue Bridge) that stretches across the water. There are also trails, a soccer field, horseshoe pits, picnic areas, and a skate park. Kennewick
Kayak along the Yakima River
The Tapteal Greenway is a 35-mile corridor along the Yakima River. There’s a collection of hikes to try (trail maps are posted at trailheads). But in summer, it’s fun to take a kayak down its water tail. You can paddle for more than 30 miles along the lower Yakima River, exploring beaches, islands, and rapids along the way. If you have a birding enthusiast in tow, there’s sure to be lots of feathered friends to seek out. Richland
Pick a Tee Time
With all the beautiful sunshine, it’s hard to find a bad day to visit the golf courses around the Tri-Cities. There are about 10 courses in the area. Canyon Lakes Golf Course in Kennewick is a poplar place to putt. Stretching 12,000 square feet, its greens are perfectly kept and surround ponds and gardens. Columbia Point Golf Course is owned by the city of Richland. It offers challenging courses with rolling fairways. Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco is a Robert Muir Graves-designed course that was first opened in the ’60s.
Searching for Bigfoot!
The International Bigfoot Conference is Sept. 1-3 at the Three Rivers Convention Center in Kennewick. Whether you are a skeptic or a believer, this will be informative and entertaining session with speakers who specialize in the subject and others who have had Bigfoot experiences. Kennewick