Mar 172012
 

The northwest weather can be grim at times from, optimistically, November through February.  An escape to a warmer climate can be a delight during this period.  Among the many convenient destinations easily reached from the Northwest are Southern California (Palm Springs, San Diego, etc.), Arizona, and Hawaii.

Traveling to these locations in the winter can be a real delight.  The contrast in climate definitely heightens one’s appreciation.  Going from 40 degree rain and wind to this type of scene (of Marriott Ko Olina Beach Resort on Oahu) is a shock:

 

A beach on the leeward side of Oahu:

On the trail to Manoa Falls outside of Honolulu:

Fort DeRussy Park in Honolulu:

An annual wintertime visit to a warm, sunny destination would be a very nice, therapeutic habit for any Northwest resident.

 

 

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Mar 132012
 
Discovery Park trail

Discovery Park trail

Only 20 minutes from downtown Seattle, Discovery Park is one of my favorite family places to check out grand views of the Puget Sound, the Olympics, and Mount Rainer. Standing on South Beach on a clear day, you’ll be treated to an awesome panoramic view of Mount Rainer on your left and the Olympic Mountains on the right.

Discovery Park, at 534 acres, is the largest park in Seattle. The park is located on the site of the old Fort Lawton so you’ll see several historic military buildings.

Discovery Park with Mt. Rainier in distance

Discovery Park with Mt. Rainier in distance

The hallmark of the park is the two magnificent miles of protected tidal beach. One of my kids’ favorite activities at Discovery Park is investigating the tide pools at low tide. They would often find some fascinating marine animals tucked inside a pool hoping that a predator (or curious preschooler) doesn’t grab them before the tide comes back in.

Park in any of the three parking lots inside the park and it’s just an easy mile and half walk to the beach. There is a small parking area right next to the beach for people with disabilities or families with small children who can’t walk to the beach. When our kids were younger, we would take advantage of this option by getting a special parking permit at the visitor’s center.

Discovery Park lighthouse and Olympics

Discovery Park lighthouse and Olympics

With an extensive network of roads and trails, Discovery Park is a great place for some easy hiking, biking, or running. The network of trails allows you to easily tailor a route to your desired distance. The trails are kid-friendly and well marked at each intersection. The park’s gentle trails, natural beach, and proximity to downtown Seattle make it a top family destination.

 

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