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From peaceful lakes and roaring falls to wild rides through steep river canyons, this region offers adventure with every mile. Take a break from the action with some fascinating museum tours and learn all about pioneer life. Try to catch a six-pound bass in the morning and see a laser light show on the side of a dam at night. Tour a winery or ride on a gondola. It’s all waiting for you right around the bend.
With a river running through the city, crowned by a streaming waterfall, Spokane is a wonderful place to relax and enjoy Eastern Washington. Outdoor activities abound with many golf courses and state and city parks nearby to enjoy the pleasant climate or visit any of the six wineries in the area. Don’t miss the fragrant Lilac Festival in mid-May. Visitor’s Bureau: (509) 747-3230.
Riverfront Park: The site of Expo ’74 along the Spokane River has been transformed into a city park embracing the cascading Spokane Falls. Some of the original attractions remain: Canada Island, the U.S. Pavilion, an IMAX® theatre, and an antique carousel. Gondola rides carry you over the river and falls. Admission: (509) 456-4386.
Spokane Symphony: Spokane boasts the largest and most active performing organization in the inland Pacific Northwest. Between September and May, you can enjoy over 60 shows by the 70-piece orchestra.
Mount Spokane State Park: Drive thirty miles to the northeast to reach the summit of the 5,878-foot mountain. Also home to the Mt. Spokane Ski Area. Information: (509) 238-4258.
Silverwood Theme Park: The Northwest’s largest theme park and home of Boulder Beach Water Park. Information: (208) 683-3400.
Steptoe Butte State Park: Just 30 miles south on U.S. 195 is the site of the Steptoe battle with the Indian Nations in 1858. Just 12 miles further, the butte is one of a series of volcanic projections in the area. Drive to the top of this 3,612-foot granite monolith for an awesome view. Free: (509) 549-3551.
As you make your way south on SR 195 you will come to Colfax. With shopping at Historic Main Street, history at Perkins House, and outdoor recreation at Colfax Golf Course – plus excellent hunting and fishing locations – the Colfax area will help you appreciate Washington’s beauty.
Home to Washington State University, founded in 1890. The Anthropology Museum on campus is renowned for their collection of Pacific Northwest Indian culture. You’ll need a campus permit for a tour. Chamber of Commerce: (800) 365-6948.
Three Forks Museum: Drive seven miles east of town to see a huge collection of furnished old buildings, shops, tools and early American paraphernalia. Open April through October, Sundays only, (509) 332-3889.
Right on the Snake River, Clarkston was named for famed explorer William Clark, while just across the river in Idaho, Lewiston was named for Meriwether Lewis. The best way to explore Hells Canyon – the deepest river gorge in North America – is to get in it. Raft and jet boat excursions are available. Information: (800) 933-2128.
Lewis-Clark Discovery Center: 721 6th Street. Learn about the Corps of Discovery. Knowledgeable volunteers are available to share the excitement of the Lewis-Clark experience. Donations.
Palouse Falls State Park: A special day trip, take U.S. 12 West, then turn onto Highway 261 north. Don’t miss the falls, see a thundering cascade of water pouring 198 feet into a desert canyon. Well worth the drive. Information: 360) 902-8844.
Golf: Mild weather and green, rolling hills makes for an outstanding golf experience that you can enjoy 365 days a year. Enjoy the Clarkston Golf & Country Club, Lewiston Golf & Country Club, Bryden Canyon Golf Course, and many others in the area.
Named after the American Indians who inhabited the valley, the city is known for its sweet onions and other crops. In May is the annual Walla Walla Balloon Stampede with arts, crafts, entertainment, and the special Saturday “Nite Glow.” Take a self-guided walking tour of the old houses and trees in downtown Walla Walla. Chamber of Commerce: (509) 525-0850.
Fort Walla Walla Museum: Once an important garrison for the defense of settlers, it’s now a pioneer museum with 14 buildings that were part of the original fort. Admission: (509) 525-7703.
Wine Country: There are over 50 Walla Walla Valley wineries hosting special wine-tasting events and festivities. Many of the area’s outstanding wineries are open daily for tasting and tours.
Continue north on Highway 17 north into bird and pheasant country. Discover one of the state’s largest natural fresh water lakes, plus numerous parks – all in Moses Lake. Chamber of Commerce: (509) 765-7888.
Family Aquatic Center: Everything you need for water fun: slides, a beach and bay area, diving boards, sand volleyball courts, and more. Open May through September. Admission: (509) 766-9246.
Mon Road Railway Museum: View a collection of antique gas engines, rail cars, and other relics of local history. Information: (509) 765-6342.
The Gorge Amphitheatre: One of the nation’s most praised music and event venues. The massive stage is centered squarely in front of a stunning vista of the Columbia River Gorge. Whether you are looking for one of the many premier concerts and festivals or the free shows and events, be sure to bring your camera.
Grand Coulee Dam: Visit the most massive concrete structure in the world. The visitor center has an award-winning movie and there are self-guided tours. In the evening, late May through September, you can see the 36-minute laser light show with animated graphics. Free: (509) 633-9265. You can also hike the trails in the area.
Return to Moses Lake and continue east on I-90 into the small farm community of Ritzville. Visit Carnegie Library, the Dr. Frank R. Burroughs Museum, the Burlington Northern Railroad Depot, and the N.H. Greene Mansion.
Chamber of Commerce: (509) 659-1936. Just 20 miles to the east is Sprague Lake, a great fishing spot in the middle of a basalt lava flow.