Are you looking for fun family activities in Washington state? Look no further!
Browse my list of outdoor and indoor things to do in Washington state with kids and bookmark this page for future updates. If you feel like something is missing don’t forget to leave a comment at the end of the article or use the contact page.
Whether you just moved, are a long-time resident, or are only visiting for a short time, among the fun family activities in Washington State listed below I’m sure you’ll find one or more to enjoy.
On top of listing a few specific fun places to go in Washington family-friendly, I will also give you a few tips and resources that will help you find and come up with even more entertaining and interesting things to do in WA.
Nature Family Activities in Washington State
If you and your family enjoy nature and outdoor family activities, Washington state has a lot to offer all year round.
Discover leafy forests, attractive beaches, snowy mountains, dreamy waterfalls, and trails for beginners and avid walkers, hikers, runners, and bikers.
Play games and sports outdoors and in the water, observe and feed wild and farm animals, and pick blackberries to bake a pie…if you’ll have any left by the time you’ll get home!
What do you need for fun family activities in Washington state in nature?
It all depends on the type of outdoor activities you and your family like. Some might need a license or pass, and others the right clothing or tools. To save you some time I’ve put together a list of things you need to enjoy certain fun family activities in Washington state, safely, and without breaking the law.
Must-have and nice-to-have for super fun outdoor family activities in Washington state:
- Discover pass: required for vehicle access to state parks and other recreation lands. If you plan to visit state parks 4 or more times per year, this is highly recommended, and cheaper than paying the daily fee. There are tons of family activities to do in Washington state parks, both outdoors and indoors, and I’ll tell you all about them later.
- Fishing and shellfishing license: everyone must carry a catch record card when fishing and a license if of age 15 and older. Like the discovery pass, it’s easily obtainable online or through one of the many dealers around the state.
- Tools to harvest edible plants, fruits, flowers, vegetables, and mushrooms: my favorite books dedicated to these topics are “Pacific Northwest Edible Plants” (free with a kindle unlimited subscription) and “All that rain promised and more“.
- Bird watching: make it extra fun with a notebook or pre-made bird watcher journal to document your kids’ first sighting of a species. I also suggest grabbing a “birds of Washington field guide”, binoculars for adults, like THIS, and kids, like THIS with a cover and stickers book.
- AllTrails: a must-have app to discover kids-friendly trails. You can check the map, along with users’ pictures and comments that can quickly clear your doubts and help you make smart decisions ahead of time.
- Right clothes for the rainy weather: puddle jumping is an all-time kids’ favorite outdoor activity in Washington state and with good quality rainboots and raincoats, the rainy season won’t stop you from having fun outdoors.
- Water fun: summer in WA is awesome if you like water activities. Depending on the age of your kids, there are different ones you can safely enjoy with them at the beach and in the water whether it’s on the ocean, a lake, or a river. Some favorites are floating on a mat or an inflatable raft, paddling on a board, kayak (I bought THIS one online after seeing it in store for well over double the price!), or canoe, surfing, and water toys to play endless battles in and out the water.
- Sports equipment: Playing sports all year long is one of the things to do in Washington state with kids. Bring your balls, racquets, rollerblades, skate, bike, or whatever you need to play your favorite sports. Also, stay safe, and don’t forget helmets and pads.
- Travel and activities bag: depending on the age and personality of your kids, their attention span might be low and without stimuli and a rotation of activities a family day can easily turn from fun to a disaster. Besides the obvious things, like sunscreen protection, beach toys, a blanket, a change of clothes, and snacks, I suggest packing other stuff to entertain your kids. A few examples are books to read and color, small board games, cards, and educational games like the flower garden building toy and the matching animal puzzle game I reviewed in the past.
Best Locations in Washington State for Outdoor Family Activities
There are many fun things to do in Washington State outdoors. So, get out, and go create memories lasting a lifetime. Check out my list of the best locations in Washington state for outdoor family activities.
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Washington state has numerous state parks, national parks, and city parks where you can spend hours of fun with your family. All parks are family-friendly, but not all are ideal for kids of all ages, and not all are pet-friendly, so search on google for updated information on a park before going.
Activities you can do and amenities you can expect to find in many parks across Washington state include:
- playgrounds for kids of different ages
- sports fields
- outdoor gym
- picnic tables and bbq
- skating rinks
- foraging blackberries, mushrooms, truffles, and edible plants (only in certain parks and areas, also permits might be needed)
- easy and hard to walk, hike, and bike trails
- wildlife watching, including birdwatching but also deer, raccoons, and other animals living in the beautiful forests of Washington state
- access to a beach or lake where to fish, swim, use inflatable floats, find sand dollars and empty oyster shells, observe orcas and dolphins, and more (make sure the activity you want to do is allowed in that specific area and you have all the permits)
- camping areas for tents and RVs
- lodges and other accommodation facilities for a longer stay with extra comfort
Here’s my list of the best parks for families in Washington State:
- Alki Beach: long beach strip located in Seattle, ideal not only to cool off in the water during the summer, but also for outdoor family activities like playing beach volley, rollerblading, biking, jogging, and more.
- Olympic National Park: explore walking and hiking trails, stay at the lodge or camping area, rent kayaks, inflatables, and other equipment for fun in the Lake Crescent in the Olympic National Park, and more. Pets are allowed!
- Ruston Way Parks and Point Ruston Park: ideal for walking, jogging, rollerblading, fishing, and launching your kayaks or paddle boards.
- The Gnome Trail: find where all the gnomes are hiding in this 0.7-mile-long trail, part of the 143-acre Rock Creek Natural Area and located only about 45 minutes from Seattle.
Zoos, Aquariums, and Farms
Before listing the best zoos, aquariums, and farms in Washington for quality family time, I want to give you a quick tip. If you have a large family or plan to visit a certain location pretty frequently, ask if they offer a membership option to save on entrance fees and enjoy other perks.
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- Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium: situated in Tacoma, this is one of my family’s favorite places to visit. The video above was taken in this location. They have many seasonal fun events like Zoolight in December.
- Northwest Trek Wildlife Park: observe wild animals in drive tours and walk tours, but also walking and hiking trails, seasonal events, and more. You can get a combined membership with the Point Defiance Zoo. It’s about one hour drive from Tacoma, in the city of Eatonville.
- Woodland Zoo: also known as the “Seattle Zoo”, it has more than 900 animals and 250 species on 92 acres divided into bioclimatic zones.
- Seattle Aquarium: if offers six major exhibits, kids can touch aquatic plants and creatures and learn while having fun. They have a membership option available, and a very cute gift shop.
- Leavenworth Reindeer Farm: family-run reindeer farm active since 2016 that offers tours of typically one-hour length. Kids of all ages can enter the farm but make sure to check their recommendations to best plan your visit.
- Olympic Game Farm: I personally highly recommend this place, it’s one of my favorite family outdoor activities in Washington State. Take a driving tour to observe over 200 animals and feed some like llamas, deer, and bears. Sometimes they have a walking area open as well, where you can pet and feed goats, chickens, and other farm animals.
- U-pick farms: Washington State has numerous U-pick farms where you and your family can harvest the produce you want to purchase. Producees you can find in Washington u-pick farms include blueberries, strawberries, cherries, apples, zucchini, and pumpkins. Their prices are often lower than regular supermarkets, the quality is much higher, and the freshness…well, that is pretty obvious!
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Want more cool spots? Here is a list of other locations for fun family outdoor activities in Washington state:
- Bremerton Ice Arena: join a public skating session for a fun family activity. Don’t know how to skate? No problem! They offer skating lessons for kids and adults!
- Seattle Great Wheel: jump on the giant Seattle Wheel on Pier 57, covered in over 500,000 LED lights. Each of the 41 gondolas fits up to eight people. Service animals are allowed.
- Wild Waves Theme and Water Park: in Federal Way, open in the summer. The water park has water slides, a wave pool, a lazy river, a lagoon, warming tubs, and more. The theme park has a good selection of family rides including a Ferris wheel, bumper cars, and a pirate ship. There are also attractions for toddlers and thrill rides for adults. A membership option is available.
- Flying Horseshoe Ranch: horseback riding, lessons, and cute cabins and tents if you want to stay a little longer. They also have a swimming pool, playfield, and trails for bike riding. Located in Cle Elum, less than two hours away from Seattle
- Henry Moses Aquatic Center: open only in the summer, this Washington family-friendly location in Renton has a zero-depth pool, waterslides, diving boards, a lazy river, and much more. Pets are not allowed.
- The Outback Kangaroo Farm: a wildlife park in Arlington that is usually open from March to October. This farm offers guided tours where you and your family can observe animals like Kangaroos, Wallabies, Wallaroos, Llamas, Lemurs, Alpacas, Mini Donkeys, Parrots, and Emus. No pets allowed.
- Slidewaters: a 12-acre family-friendly waterpark in Chelan with 19 attractions. Try a surf lesson, relax in the hot tub, go with the flow in the lazy river, slide the tubes, and keep your little ones safe in the zero-depth zone pool.
- Yakima Family Fun Center: the outdoor area, available only in the summer, offers go-karts, bumper boats, mini golf, and batting cages.
- Old McDebbie’s Farm: open from March to October, it’s a cute farm in Spanaway that my family and I visited a few times. Animals on their farm include goats, alpacas, ponies, pigs, kangaroos, camels, donkeys, emus, wallabies, tortoises, zebus, cavies, deer, prairie dogs, sheep, and rabbits. You can pet many of the animals, purchase a veggie bucket to feed them, take a pony ride, and fish your dinner in the lake (no catch and release).
Cultural Activities in Washington State for Families
When kids get older, it is possible to enjoy together more cultural activities in Washington state. With such a big offer of cultural hot spots in WA, there is no doubt that there are at least a few that you and your family will love.
Tips for cultural activities in Washington state for families:
- Library Card: go to your local library and get a card (it’s free!) to access the books in their buildings, and online when using apps like Libby. Libraries often have cultural events for kids, teens, and adults. Visiting the library is also a great way to make new friends!
- Museum Membership: similar to zoos, aquariums, and amusement parks, many museums offer membership options that allow you to save money if visiting them more than once per year. Check also the Northwest Association of Youth Museums to get discounts and perks in a group of museums in Washington and other states.
Here is a list of top locations for cultural activities in Washington state for families:
- Bremerton Bug and Reptile Museum: have fun learning more about bugs and reptiles including frogs, lizards, snakes, insects, and spiders. Free entrance.
- Seattle Children’s Museum: 18,000 square feet to learn, play, and have family activities together. Close to many other popular Seattle attractions
- Tacoma Children’s Museum: lockers are free of cost and admission is “pay as you will”. It has a lot of activities for kids up to 12 years old, including an art station, a playground, and a building area.
- Cat Tales Wildlife Center: observe wild animals up close including bears, tigers, pumas, bobcats, wolfdogs, and foxes. You can also book feeding sessions with some of the animals.
- Mobius Science Center: children’s museum in Spokane with many exhibits and hands-on activities for kids such as operating a tractor, blowing giant bubbles, and building rockets.
- Museum of Flight: another tremendous cultural family activity in Washington state, this museum in Seattle has aircraft, spacecraft, artifacts, galleries, and exhibits to learn the past, present, and future of flight.
- Museum of Pop Culture: when you visit Seattle Center this museum is hard to miss as its building architecture surely stands out. I went once and loved all the exhibits I saw but in particular Science Fiction and Fantasy Hall of Fame, Infinite Worlds of Science Fiction, and Contact High.
- Bellevue Botanical Garden: a 53-acre garden where to learn about plants and flowers. It also offers classes and webinars for more in-depth learning opportunities.
- World Kite Museum: located in Long Beach, it has over 1500 kites from all over the world. Every year in August the museum has a Kite Festival that lasts a few days.
- The Whale Museum: located in Friday Harbor, offers a gallery and exhibits with the mission of “promoting stewardship of whales and the Salish Sea ecosystem through education & research”. It also has an adorable gift shop and many of the items are available to purchase online as well.
- Museum of Glass: fun cultural activity for families in Washington located in Tacoma with exhibits, galleries, guided tours, and workshops.
- Future of Flight Boeing Center: fun and interactive aerospace experiences for your family await you in this center in Mukilteo, south of Everett. You can find exhibits, a gallery, a Sky Deck, a cafe, and a gift shop.
- Poulsbo Maritime Museum: a very cute little museum about the rich maritime history of Poulsbo and North Kitsap. They also have part of a boat where you and your kids can play “ship captain” and take fun pictures (like the one posted above)
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Best Locations in Washington State for Fun Indoor Family Activities
Check out my list of the best locations in Washington state for indoor family activities. Some are appropriate only for older kids, while others are great for all ages.
Here are a few more locations for fun things to do in Washington State:
- Yakima Family Fun Center: the indoor area has arcades, Virtual Reality, and a cafe. They offer family passes.
- Super Jump Party Zone: locations in Pullyaup and Auburn with arcade games and bouncy houses. During open play, only kids 12 and under can play on the equipment. If you get hungry, they also sell pizza and drinks.
- Sykart Indoor Racing Center: indoor go-kart 1/4 mile track with high-performance karts traveling at approximately 30 – 40mph on the track. The Washington location is in Tukwila, and there is another in Tigard, Oregon, about 30 minutes away from Vancouver.
- iFly: ever dreamed of flying? Make your dream come true at the Tukwila location of iFly. This fun family-friendly activity in Washington state is great for adults and kids three years old and older.
- Bullwinkle’s Family Fun Center: another Tukwila location for indoor and outdoor fun in Washington state, Bullwinkle’s center has activities like bowling, mini golf, go-kart, bumper boats, laser tag, batting cages, arcades, and much more. They also serve food and drinks, including pizza and wings.
- Odyssey 1: an amusement family fun center in Tacoma for kids of all ages. They have laser tag and arcades for older kids and a Jungle Gym Play Park for younger kids.
- Great Wolf Lodge Indoor Waterpark: there are multiple locations across the country, all incredibly fun. The one in Washington state is in Centralia and has waterslides, zero-entry playgrounds, a warming pool, and other waterpark attractions. If you prefer to stay dry, enjoy the ropes course, mini-golf, and arcade. There is also a pizzeria, a grill, and a coffee shop.
- Centralia Rollerdrome: fun roller skating rink in Centralia with also arcades, a bounce house, events, and concessions.
Other Locations for Fun Family Activities in Washington State
- Check out local workshops: they are ideal if you like to learn and do crafty and artsy family activities; like painting, your ceramic cup, sewing a cute decorative pillow, baking your cupcakes, and cooking your pizza from scratch. Quite a few places offer such activities like AR Workshop in Gig Harbor and Paint the Town in Seattle.
- Seasonal and local events: don’t miss the fun of local parades, festivals, concerts, and other events you can enjoy with your family all year round. Washington state has tons of festivals, county fairs, and markets filled with local makers, farmers, and small businesses. Some examples are the Shrimp Fest in May, the Seattle Fremont Fair in June, and the Dungeness Crab and Seafood Festival in October.
- Escape Rooms: there are multiple escape room locations across the state, and the best way to find those near you is to google “escape rooms TOWN NAME”. I don’t have any particular one to suggest to you because my kids are too young for this type of fun, but if you have older kids they can be a lot of fun.
Enjoy your time with family activities in Washington state
Check out the other articles on this blog for more content about family-friendly activities, locations to visit, products to try, fun things to do in Washington state, and more.
Do you have one or more favorite family activities in Washington State? I would love to hear about it. Use the contact page if you would like to send me a message with suggestions for this article or other topics you would like me to blog about.