Free State & National Parks Day on January 20th
January in Seattle. Not exactly the time most people think of for exploring the great outdoors. But January can actually be less wet than the spring months, and as long as you have a good raincoat and shoes it really doesn’t matter. Drizzly days are some of the best for hiking, especially if there is a cozy fire and a warm beverage at the end….
Folks come to Seattle for a variety of reasons, and one of them is an opportunity to get into nature. Where downtown Seattle is a bustling hub of creativity, flavor, art, and culture, the nearby national and state parks are fantastic places to spend a day or two when you’re looking to immerse yourself in the beauty and wonder of the great outdoors. While an entrance fee is expected most days of the year to access these incredible parks, the National Park Service regularly sets up a calendar of annual entrance fee-free days that are designed to encourage visitors to enjoy time and have a free state park day in these protected areas. The first of these entrance fee-free days will be January 20th in 2020, and if you happen to be in the Seattle area around this time, there’s going to be a long list of parks to see, experience and explore!
National Parks Worth the Drive
From a distance, Mt. Rainier is an impressive sight, but that’s nothing compared to the opportunity to get up close to this phenomenal landmark. Mt. Rainier stands over 14,000 feet high in the heart of Mount Rainier National Park and visiting comes with the option of climbing this iconic mountain on a free state park day. In addition to mountain climbing, Mount Rainier National Park is known and loved for its maze of lower-elevation hiking trails as well as opportunities to bike, fish, and boat. (These trails are my favorite. Not too challenging, and great views!) Wildflowers and wildlife are also abundant in Mount Rainier National Park, making it a great place for photographers and admirers alike. The visitor’s center at Paradise has both a café to warm up after your hike, and a gift shop to pick up a souvenir. Their website has information on current conditions and the status of the different hikes, climbs, and campsites.
North Cascades National Park is a truly one-of-a-kind visit, as guests are welcomed by a collection of mountains and over 300 glaciers. Biking, fishing, and climbing are popular activities within the boundaries of the park, but many guests also opt to participate in a guided tour to get a more in-depth look at the dynamic terrain. Visiting this park requires an overnight stay if you’re staying downtown, but I promise you, it’s worth it!
State Parks to Enjoy
Just as enjoyable on January 20th would be time spent in a nearby state park. Saint Edward State Park is located at 1445 Juanita Drive NE in the Seattle suburb of Kenmore and covers over 319 acres of land. Visitors adore this area for the trees, trails, playgrounds and overall tranquility but those with a passion for the past also love the story this park provides. The 19th century saw this area of land heavily logged before it was purchased and transformed into a Catholic seminary. The land was eventually transitioned into protected state land and today, this versatile destination is a good reminder of Seattle’s ever-changing landscape and ability to adapt.
Saltwater State Park is another great park about 20 minutes South of the airport, and offers day hikes, picnic areas, and camping. If diving is your thing and you prefer to view sea life from under the water, this is the only state park with an underwater artificial reef for diving. The park is 137 acres and offers a long stretch of shoreline for beach activities. Fun Fact: in 1926 Seattle and Tacoma used the park to symbolize the end of their competition to be the best city.
To see the rest of the free park days, visit the Discover Pass website. You can also purchase a pass to visit our wonderful parks any time!
Book a Stay Today
When you’re in Seattle to enjoy the best of the great outdoors or can’t wait to explore every city stop along the way, be sure your accommodations match your excitement. The team at Seattle Oasis Vacation Rentals are happy to help you find your city-based home away from home that’s luxurious, comfortable, and convenient. Contact us today for more information on our many options.