This is the best problem I've ever had.
June 1, 2015 1:44 PM   Subscribe

What would you do with a summer off in Seattle?

I'm about to embark on a period of Funemployment; today is my last day at my job and I don't have definite plans or timelines for when I want to seek employment again. I live in Seattle, so I'll have the whole summer to do whatever I want to do. I've read some similar questions, but my situation's a little different. Soooo...

What are some awesome things that you've done in Seattle? What would you do if you had the whole summer to yourself? What other advice do you have for a situation like this?

About me:
  • I'm an early-thirties white guy with a dog.
  • I love outdoorsy stuff and have all the gear for multi-day backpacking excursions.
  • I'm usually down for most anything; arts, culture, festivals, science, geekdom, touristy, indoor, outdoor, it's all good. Active tends to be better than passive though.
  • I have a car and am not opposed to multi-day roadtrips.
  • I'm not a huge traveler; I'll never backpack across Cambodia, but I'd consider a short trip or two to nearby or domestic destinations.
  • I'm willing to do some personal-betterment stuff during this time, but I also want to squeeze all the enjoyment that I can out of this.
  • Costs will be a concern, but I can do a couple smallish expenditures ($20-40) a week, and a couple largeish ones ($100-150) a month.
So what would you do? How would you make the most out of this?

posted by Dilligas to Sports, Hobbies, & Recreation (19 answers total) 19 users marked this as a favorite
Would you and your dog enjoy a trip to hike around Glacier National Park in Montana? It's BEAUTIFUL.
posted by erst at 1:52 PM on June 1, 2015

Best answer: Does your dog like to swim? If so, I'd do lots of mid-day trips to Luther Burbank dog park/beach in Mercer Island.

What about a class in something you've always wanted to learn? A friend has taken a bunch of pottery classes at Seattle Center and loves it.

Definitely do some backcountry hiking/camping if you can. Alpine Lakes Wilderness Area requires a (limited supply) permit for backcountry camping but would be amazing. Or somewhere in the interior of Olympic National Park. If you're feeling ambitious, how about the Wonderland Trail or part of the Pacific Crest Trail?

I would also just get really familiar with all the arts/culture/music listings in The Stranger every week. So hard to make time to do all that fun stuff when you're working. Live music in Ballard, outdoor movies at Seattle Center, neighborhood art walks, etc.
posted by lunasol at 1:56 PM on June 1, 2015

If you like to cycle, here's a decent two- or three-day trip: Ride your bike up from Seattle to Mukilteo, take the ferry over to Whidbey Island, ride up to Deception Pass and camp the night. Cross the pass and bike up to Anacortes. You might stop over for the day to explore. The next day, bike up Chuckanut Drive and down into Bellingham, perhaps stopping at Boundary Bay Brewery.
posted by a lungful of dragon at 2:01 PM on June 1, 2015

Shi Shi Beach.
posted by jeffamaphone at 2:27 PM on June 1, 2015

Best answer: OK, so off the top of my head I'd take the pooch to all the parks -- Greenlake, Discovery, Magnuson, etc., I'd ride the ferries everywhere they go, I'd drive the car and the pooch up to hike the Skagit, east to hike in the Cascades, on the ferry westward to hike the Olympics and Dungeness Spit, and south to hike Mount Rainier, I'd ride my bike a LOT and go on all the bike trails (maps on SDOT and King County websites), I'd go to the beaches on Bainbridge, Orcas, and the west side of the Kitsap Peninsula, I'd hit the local museums (so many great ones!), I'd go to all the food and music festivals, and I'd also do the usual reading and moviegoing and hanging with friends.
posted by bearwife at 2:29 PM on June 1, 2015

I would spend a week bicycling around the San Juan Islands.
posted by suelac at 2:36 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Lucky you! You're just a short car ride away from Olympia, Washington which is just gorgeous this time of year. My dogs went apeshit when we took them trail hiking and to the beaches there. I'd also recommend seeing a show at Red Rocks if you can swing it. If you love music, it's one of those venues where you have to experience it at least once. (My Morning Jacket plays there in August! I'm so envious of you!)
posted by LuckySeven~ at 2:37 PM on June 1, 2015

Best answer: Drive to Bellingham with tent and sleeping bag and get on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry and take it as far up and back as you can. Camp on the deck. Pack a backpack of ready-to-eat foods and eat once a day in the cafeteria. I do not think you can bring the dog, so that may be a non-starter. If so, go out to the Hoh Rainforest and do some camping/hiking out that way.
posted by jessamyn at 2:39 PM on June 1, 2015 [5 favorites]

The Wonderland Trail would be high on my list, but do be aware of the pet policies in the national parks and other wilderness areas.
posted by mammoth at 2:44 PM on June 1, 2015

Best answer: I had a great time on one of Washington Trail Association's weeklong trail maintenance camping trips a while back. About $200 total, and all you need to bring is your own tent & clothes; they pack in a full kitchen, food and tools. The work is as strenuous as you want to make it, and you get a full day off for extended hikes around the area. Not sure about your dog, though; make sure you check with them on that. Lots of fun and a great way to meet new people and check out a new area for hiking/camping.
posted by sapere aude at 3:06 PM on June 1, 2015

I like the idea of doing all of x thing. Like bearwife mentioned visit all of the parks in Seattle, or do all of the stairway walks, go to all of the libraries (throw in all of the KCLS libraries too for a bigger challenge and greater geographic diversity!), try a beer at all of the local breweries, etc. Or each week choose a different neighborhood or local city and go explore it. Become a regular at a local quiz night of your choice. Take dance class at the Century Ballroom.
posted by wsquared at 3:06 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Drive to Bellingham with tent and sleeping bag and get on the Alaska Marine Highway ferry and take it as far up and back as you can.

This is exactly what I would do! You can bring the dog but he'd have to stay in the kennel or the car for the duration of the trip.
posted by mochapickle at 3:28 PM on June 1, 2015

You are going to be pretty near the One Square Inch of Silence location!
posted by foxfirefey at 3:31 PM on June 1, 2015

Best answer: Learn to sail. You're lucky enough to live in one of the best places for it.
posted by humboldt32 at 3:37 PM on June 1, 2015 [3 favorites]

Best answer: If you haven't been to Vancouver, that's definitely worth a go. I'd just pack some camping supplies and the dog and see how far north I could drive. If you go to Canada, be sure to have your first night's lodging booked (or otherwise confirmably arranged) and a firm sounding plan to tell the border guard - the more concrete your plan sounds, the less grief you'll get.
posted by wotsac at 4:36 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Seconding a road trip to Glacier National Park. Go see the glaciers before they're gone! It's high on my list.
posted by skycrashesdown at 5:29 PM on June 1, 2015

Best answer: Take a daytrip (or even overnight) to one of the most inaccessible and weirdest parts of the state, Point Roberts, Washington.

I went there two years ago, and can't wait to go back.
posted by spinifex23 at 5:36 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Also - if you play Ingress, this is a fantastic place to play it. Vibrant and active communities for both factions, and the summer weather doesn't get too hot or wild.

(If you want a invite, PM me and I can send you one.)
posted by spinifex23 at 5:39 PM on June 1, 2015 [1 favorite]

Best answer: I second Olympic Island, it's a great trip for three days. Make sure to go all the way to ruby beach, it is magical!

I also really enjoyed the stretch of coast from Seattle down to Portland. Don't take Hwy 5 but go Seattle, Tacoma, Olympi and then cut to the coast at Aberdeen. Then take Hwy 101 all the way down to Cannon Beach. Beautiful coastline, deep woods, quaint towns. And of course Portland itself is a great destination. You could couchsurf or look for a cheapo AirBnB to keep your overnight costs down. After that you could add a few more days hiking around Mount Helen.

Mount Rainier might be a no-brainer but there are so many beautiful trails around, I would definitely check it out and go there again, even if you've already been.

Have you been to Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island? If not, it is a great day trip. Hardly any tourists there, especially if you make it during the weekend.

Oh my, so many good memories are coming back :) you are very lucky to have so much free time up there, it is my favorite part of the US by far! :)
posted by Fallbala at 1:37 AM on June 2, 2015

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