Looking for fun family activities in Washington state? I was too when I moved to this beautiful evergreen state with my husband, kids and pets. Of fun things to do Washington State is truly full, however not all activities are kids friendly. It’s such a waste of time and disappointment for the whole family when you are looking for some family fun but then, once arrived at the destination, you realize the location is all but adeguate to your situation and needs. AKA not family friendly at all.
Like that hot spot in town that cooks amazing chicken wings, that you read about in a social network post and decided to check it out with your family but then you couldn’t get in as they only allow adults 21+. Or that amazing beach you drove over an hour to get to just to find out that the trail to walk to reach it wasn’t appropriate with kids as young as yours.
Whether you just moved, are a long time resident or 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. Some are totally free while others might require to spend some money for entrance fee or other stuff.
Beside listing few specific fun places to go in Washington family friendly, I will also give you 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 love nature then Washington is the right place to be. There are numerous parks of all sizes, many of which have playgrounds for kids, sport fields and even camping space; abundant evergreen forests where you can enjoy foraging mushrooms, truffles and edible plants, birdwatching and hiking; beaches where to swim, use inflatable floats, find sand dollars and empty oysters shells, fish, observe orcas and dolphins and many more activities.
What do you need for fun family activities in Washington state in the nature?
It all depends from the type of activities you and your family likes. Below I put together a list of things I found useful to have to enjoy time in the nature and keep the family busy and entertained. I also included some must have to be able to do certain fun family activities in Washington state without breaking the law.
Here are a few suggestions for super fun outdoor family activities in Washington state:
- Discover pass: this pass is required for vehicle access to state parks and other recreation lands. If you plan to visit state parks a lot, this is highly recommended; purchasing an annual pass is more convenient than paying the daily fee if you plan to go 4 or more times per year. There are tons of family activities to do in parks in Washington state. Many of them have access to the water, easy and hard trails to walk, hike and even bike, playgrounds, picnic and bbq areas and other useful amenities.
- Fishing and shellfishing license: everyone must carry a catch record card when fishing and also 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.
- Harvest edible plants, fruits, flowers, vegetables and mushrooms: if you don’t know where to start you can begin by purchasing one of the many books dedicated to these topics, like “Pacific Northwest Edible Plants” (free for those with a kindle unlimited subscription) and the pocket guide about mushrooms “All that rain promised and more“. During the summer you can pick different blackberries varieties for free in almost every part of the state as they grow wild and free. There are also tons of u-pick farms where you can harvest the produce you want to purchase like blueberries, strawberries, cherries, apples, zucchini, pumpkins and many more. The prices are often lower than regular supermarkets, the quality is much higher and the freshness…well, that is pretty obvious!
- Bird watching: if you want to make it extra fun grab a birds of Washington field guide, a binocular or two for the adults, like THIS one, and the kids, like THIS one that includes a cover and a stickers book, and a bird watcher journal so that your kids can note their first sighting of a species. About the journal, you can either buy one online with a pre-made layout, like the one I linked above, or make your own using a simple notebook and your creativity.
- AllTrails: a must have app to discover kids friendly trails. You can check the map, along with users pictures and comments that can easily help clear your doubts and you make smart decision ahead of time.
- Embrace the rain: in WA state it rains a lot, but many rainy days are actually nice and enjoyable if you wear the right clothes. Kids love to have fun outside when it rains, my kids actually list jumping in puddles as one of their top 3 favorite outdoor activities. Be prepared and buy good quality boots and raincoat for rainy days. And who said kids are the only ones who get to have fun on rainy days? Puddle jumping can definitely be an outdoor family activity in Washington state.
- Water fun: summer in WA is awesome if you like water activities. Depending on the age of your kids, there are different activities 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 or 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.
- Skating: there are several skateboard parks, ice skating rings and areas where to roller skates in WA. Skating is free in many location, all you need is the equipment which is usually pretty durable and not that expensive! Two of my favorite spots where to have outdoor family activities in Washington state, which are very close to one another, are the Ruston Way Park and the Point Ruston waterfront in Tacoma.
- Prepare a 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. Beside the obvious things to pack for you and your family, like sunscreen protection, beach toys, a blanket, change of clothes and snacks, I suggest to pack other stuff to entertain your kids. Few examples are books to read and color, small board games, card and educational games like the flower garden building toy and the matching animal puzzle game I reviewed in the past. You can practice sports like soccer, tennis and volleyball for free in many location but you will need to bring your own equipment.
Here is a list of other locations for fun family outdoor activities in Washington state:
- Leavenworth Reindeer Farm
- Olympic Game Farm (highly recommended! I went with my family and we plan to go back).
- True West Trail Rides
- Alki Beach
- The Gnome Trail
- Deep Forest Challenge
- Bremerton Ice Arena
Cultural activities in Washington state for families
When kids get older 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. I wanted to include in this list of cultural activities in Washington state also zoo, aquariums and other similar locations as these often offer educational activities and have experts sharing their knowledge with the public.
Here are a few suggestions for cultural activities in Washington state for families:
- Zoo Membership: if you plan to visit more than once per year any of the zoo in WA state, like the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium or the Woodland Zoo, it is better to purchase a membership to save $ and enjoy other perks.
- Library Card: getting a library card is free and it gives you access to the books available in their buildings and online. After getting a library card download the app Libby and connect your account adding your card number and pin. This way you’ll be able to access the database of ebooks available and more. The library often has cultural events for kids, teens and adults. Visiting the library and participating the events is also a great way to make new friends!
- Museum Membership: some museums offer a membership option that can save you $ if you plan to visit that museum more than once per year. In certain cases a membership for one museum will include a discount on the entrance fee for other museums in the state, or nearby states. This is the case with the Seattle Children’s Museum and the Tacoma Children’s Museum, both part of the Northwest Association of Youth Museums.
Here is a list of other locations for cultural activities in Washington state for families:
- Bremerton Bug and Reptile Museum
- Cat Tales Wildlife Center
- Mobius Science Center
- Museum of Flight
- Museum of Pop Culture
- Bellevue Botanical Garden
- World Kite Museum
- The Whale Museum
- Old McDebbie’s Farm
- Museum of Glass
- The Outback Kangaroo Farm
- Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour
More locations for fun family activities in Washington State
Beside the tips and locations above there are many other cool and fun places to visit where you can enjoy a great day with your family. Among our favorites family activities in Washington state and the other states we lived in there are definitely the local markets. They are a great way to support your local community and bring home some quality stuff!
- Check out local workshops: they are the ideal if you like to learn and do crafty and artsy family activities; like paint your own ceramic cup, sew a cute decorative pillow, bake your own cupcakes and cook your own pizza from scratch. There are quite few places that offer such activities like AR Workshop in Gig Harbor and Paint the Town in Seattle.
- Keep up with the calendar of local events: don’t miss the fun of local parades, festivals, concerts and other events that all year around you can enjoy with your family. In WA there are tons of festival and county fairs, markets filled of 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.
Here are few more locations for fun family activities in Washington state:
- Wild Waves Theme and Water Park
- Seattle Great Wheel
- Family Fun Center (multiple locations across the state)
- Super Jump Party Zone (multiple locations across the state)
- Escape Rooms (multiple locations across the state)
- Sykart Indoor Racing Center
- Chug’s Root beer (largest selection of local made root beers)
- Great Wolf Lodge Waterpark
- Flying Horseshoe Ranch
- Henry Moses Aquatic Center
Enjoy your time with family activities in Washington state
Check out the other articles on this blog for more content about family friendly activities to do, locations to visit, products to try 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.