Summer may be the best time to climb mountains and raft rapids. But let’s face it, not everyone wants to become a recreational hero this season. You don’t have to! Here are some mellow outdoor activities for those who prefer the softer side of summer.
Stroll among the rows of purple lavender bushes at Purple Haze Lavender in Sequim. It’s a picturesque escape often used as a backdrop for weddings in the summer. Down a personal driveway there is a charming farmhouse you can rent. Its big porch looks out on a stretch of green grass and lavender. If you’re going just for the day, we suggest dropping by with a sweet tooth. The refreshment stand has lavender ice cream and lavender lemonade. There’s also a gift shop for all kinds of lovely lavender products.
PowellsWood Garden in Federal Way is three acres of groomed flower beds and grassy lawns next to 35 acres of native forest. A trickling stream and pond full of vibrant lily pads are among its finest attractions. Pack a picnic for the day, and settle into a shady spot for the afternoon. There are also tables with umbrellas available. The garden hosts classes and guided tours. General admission is $7. Kids have special rates. On a clear day, Chase Garden in Orting offers one of the most stunning views of Mount Rainier. Don’t miss it! Admission is $8.
Put on your finest summer dress and head to The Secret Garden Tea Room in Sumner. Inside a Victorian mansion, order off a list of more than 80 different kinds of tea, and nibble on scones with Devonshire cream, jam, and lemon curd. It also offers tiered racks with tea sandwiches, savories, and fresh fruit. Outside is a large lawn that wraps around the mansion. If you’d rather host your own tea party in your backyard, the shop rents its antique dishes.
Board a ferry from the Point Defiance terminal in Tacoma and cruise to Vashon Island for the day. The island is about 37 square miles and remains a quaint and quiet retreat in the South Sound. There you can roam around Point Robinson Park and explore the historic lighthouse. Most visitors like to stop by a tree in the forest with a bike embedded into its trunk. Don’t head back to the mainland without a basket of berries from a local farm stand.
Bird enthusiasts flock to Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge in Olympia for a glimpse at some of the 200 feathered creatures that settle there throughout the year. It’s a birdwatching paradise with wooden boardwalks that stretch deep into the wetlands. While most visitors come for the birds, beavers, deer, and coyotes also roam this area. Every Wednesday, rain or shine, the refuge hosts a morning bird walk at 8 a.m. that is free.