Days are getting shorter, pumpkin spice lattes are in full brew, and (yes!) there is even a crisp and cool breeze in the air. The slow ebb in the autumn has officially started. Don’t let it get away from you before experiencing these nine not to miss autumn adventures in the Pacific Northwest.
1. Cascade Falls
Enjoy the outdoors? Explore Moran State Park on Orcas Island and discover the tallest waterfall in the San Juan Islands, towering at 40 feet high! Off of Mt. Constitution road, it is only a short hike until you reach this beautiful display of nature pouring into a ravine before its journey to the sea. While you’re in the area, might as well check out a few smaller waterfalls as well! You can visit Rustic Falls, Cavern Falls, and Hidden Falls nearby. Don’t worry, there are plenty of signs to tell you where to go.
2. Whale Museum
Are you upset that you can’t have a pet orca whale? Well fret no longer! At the Whale Museum located in Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, you can adopt an orca! Here you can also learn the amazing story behind the beloved local orca whales and all their marine mammal friends while surrounded by giant whale skeletons and models! There’s something new to explore in every corner.
3. Olympic Peninsula Hot Springs
Looking to relax and get amazing from the hustle and bustle of everyday life? Check out the mineral hot springs at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort in the Olympic National Park! This water naturally flows from rain and melting snow through cracks between porous volcanic rocks where it is heated before seeping back to the surface and creating the pools seen today. Forget all your worries in this crazy feat of nature.
4. San Juan Island Whale Watching
Calling all whale lovers! Begin the fall with a splash with San Juan Safaris on San Juan Island. If you’re looking for an adventure, this is definitely the place to find it! Friendly to kids and grandmas alike, these boating trips will give you a spectacular tour of the Pacific Northwest and all its little critters! Maybe you’ll be lucky and find the world famous Southern Resident whales swimming and playing in their natural habitat.
5. Artist Point
If you love taking photos, this is the perfect area for you! This gorgeous spot hosts stunning views of both Mt. Baker and Mt. Shuksan. It’s one of the most picturesque drives in Washington located at the end of Highway 542. Once you reach this spot, there is also an easy 0.4-mile hiking trail around Picture Lake. Don’t forget to bring snacks and water!
6. Lopez Island Vineyards
Kids driving you crazy? Take some “me-time” at Lopez Island Vineyards on Lopez Island! Although small, the property is very well maintained with all the grapes grown 100% organically! As San Juan’s oldest vineyard, it also boasts gold medal winning grapes! The owner is a host of knowledge, having been on the island since the 80’s. Stop by their shop in the village for some fun wine tasting or join the locals at the weekly farmers market!
If you love a bit of adrenaline in your life, check out San Juan Island Zip Tour! It’s a great bonding experience for the family as you adventure around the tree canopy and enjoy fantastic views. There is a suspension bridge and 8 zip lines, some of which are 70 feet high! Experience what it’s like to be a bird flying through the tree tops and soaring over protected wetlands, lakes and cedars. Taking a step out of your comfort zone is something we all should do!
8. Obstruction Pass State Park
In search for a quiet place to write your next novel? Try camping at Obstruction Pass State Park, located on Orcas Island! There are only 10 campsites in the area, so it’ll seem like you have the beach all to yourself! This pristine pebbly beach is a perfect spot for a picnic. If you feel so incline, you could even kayak or canoe right up to your tent site at the Cascadia Marine Trail campsite. Who knows, you may even spot an orca swim by!