Hey everyone, it’s Megan!
I hope the summer has treated you well thus far, despite the restrictions we are all facing. I myself have found it challenging to keep busy, and I’m always looking for new things to do in the area. With that in mind, I wanted to share with you some items off of my summer to-do list; some of which have been crossed off already, while others have yet to be explored. Taking the context of this summer into consideration, it’s important to tailor your activities to current safety guidelines, so the following ideas will all be social distance-friendly for that purpose. Because I’m writing this with a PLU audience in mind, I have specifically included activities that don’t require extensive travel from the general Tacoma area. So, without further ado – here are five ideas for a safe and fun summer in WA!
Rodeo Drive-In Theatre
Port Orchard, 43 minutes away from campus
The family-owned Rodeo Drive-In Theatre is Washington’s largest outdoor theatre complex, with 3 projection screens and a total capacity of about 1,000 cars! Although drive-in theaters are often perceived as a ‘blast from the past’, this activity has experienced a rediscovery of sorts in recent years, and today they are nearly as well-attended as back when our grandparents would go! Bring some friends, some lawn chairs, and pocket money for snacks!
I have yet to check this one off my list, but I am determined to make a night of it sometime this summer! The Rodeo Drive-In Theater is currently up-and-running, and in compliance with Phase 2 reopening guidelines. Gates open 7:30 pm Friday-Tuesday (closed on Wednesday and Thursday), and the show starts at dusk. Check out their website here for a weekly movie schedule, advance ticket purchase, as well as some more detailed information about what to expect. A night at the drive-in theatre will be a memory for the books, and the best part is that there are very few COVID-restrictions due to the nature of this activity; you are automatically socially distancing!
Northwest Trek Wild Drive/Wild Walk Experience
Eatonville, 35 minutes away from campus
The Northwest Trek Wildlife Park is located in Eatonville, WA, and they are dedicated to conserving native Northwest wildlife and natural habitats. Under normal circumstances, Northwest Trek allows visitors to roam their parks and interact with the habitat, but in response to COVID-19 they are now offering alternative experiences; the Wild Drive and/or Wild Walk Experience!
The Wild Walk is the new, safe way to experience the Norwest Trek’s central exhibit area. It allows you to walk down a one-way path to see native wildlife like grizzlies, bald eagles, otters, cougars, wolves, and more – while staying safe, healthy, and socially-distanced. Some things to keep in mind: wear a mask, bring a water bottle, and they don’t take cash!
|A map of Wild Walk experience at Northwest Trek.|
The new Wild Drive is the other way to see Northwest Trek. This is a separate ticketed experience from Wild Walk, and it offers an hour-long tour of their facilities from the comfort of your own car! You tune into a specific radio-frequency to get the tour audio, and you meet bears, cats, canines, and so much more on the trip. You can order tickets online off their website here, and if you’re interested; act quickly! They seem to be going fast!
Ferry departs from Steilacoom; Island is 20 minutes away by ferry
This is perhaps my most recent endeavor, as I took a trip to Anderson Island this past week. Anderson Island is the southernmost island in the Puget Sound, and is accessible by boat or a 20-minute ferry ride from Steilacoom. Although the island has a limited array of activities, you don’t need more than one; the old swimming hole. The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole, or Lowell Johnson Park, has two separate, cordoned off swimming areas – one for the “Big Kids”, and the other for the “Little Un’s”. The park features a floating “V” dock, water slide, sandy beaches, a sand volleyball court, and picnic areas. It is known as “The Ol’ Swimmin’ Hole” by locals because of its historic origin as a gathering place for bathing before electric power was introduced to the Island in the 60’s. Today, it’s just a really good place to spend a summer afternoon.
Although there might be some concerns about social distancing, I wanted to include this idea after my own experience traveling to Anderson Island this week. The old swimming hole was not very crowded despite the amazing weather, and it was very easy to maintain social distancing as few people are spread out over a large area. Some features, such as the floating dock, are a little less distanced, so I’ll leave that up to your discretion. I had a really nice day on the island, however, and would highly recommend this hidden jewel to anyone looking for something to do nearby! You can buy walk-on tickets if you don't have a car, and remember to check the ferry schedule here to plan your trip ahead of time.
Local Thrift Shopping
|Thrifting adventures last weekend|
Refresh your summer wardrobe on a budget! Although this idea is a little vaguer in terms of location, I would highly recommend hitting up some of your local thrift stores this summer. As a self-proclaimed shopaholic, I am always on the hunt for ways to renew my clothing selection, and thrift stores are by far my favorite way to do just that! Although thrifting may seem like a daunting task at first, it merely requires some patience and a good eye for potential in order for your shopping trip to turn into a success. I have countless finds from thrift stores that have now become staple pieces in my closet, and they were all under $5! I normally go thrifting on days that are a little overcast, and I give myself a small budget to work with, as well as a list of a few clothing genres to stick to. This adds a little personal challenge, and it prevents me from getting things I’m not actually looking for. Some of my personal favorites are Bargain World, Parkland Thrift Center (50% off on Saturdays!!!), Goodwill, etc. If you are looking for more upscale finds, I suggest going to thrift stores that are located in high-income zip codes; trust me, it works!
Take a Hike!
|At least we tried :-)|
Not a groundbreaking suggestion, perhaps, but after months inside; I think it’s worth a mention! I recall the last hike I went on, which was right around the start of quarantine. A couple of friends and I hiked Rattlesnake Ledge thinking that it would be a good idea for social distancing (surprise: we were wrong). With that in mind, I would suggest not choosing the most popular hike in the greater Seattle-Tacoma area, so hopefully you can learn from my mistakes! Washington Trails Association consistently updates their website with information regarding hiking in the time of coronavirus, which I will link here. Here are some things they say to keep in mind:
- Plan ahead: Aim for lesser-traveled trails, and pick a couple of backup trails in case your first pick is crowded. For a complete guide of hiking options in WA, check out WTA’s Hiking Guide!
- Practice physical distancing: When you see approaching hikers, give them a little “on your right (or left)!” to let them know you’re coming towards them. Give each other space, and cover your mouth when passing.
- Clean up: Respect public lands and communities by making sure that anything you bring with you is also brought back/thrown away properly. After all, Mother Earth is going through enough already!
Hiking is such a great way to soak up the summer while still being active, so I will definitely be giving some of our local trails a visit throughout the next few months!
Alright – I think that’s all I have for this time! I hope I gave you all some ideas for activities to try this summer, while still practicing social distancing in the process. We don’t have to be bored just because summer looks a little differently this year, and I encourage you all to make the most out of this time despite some restrictions. Stay safe, everyone!