Staycation good getaway alternative during bad economy
With people losing their jobs or having their work hours/paychecks cut back as a result of this difficult economy, going on that big family vacation this summer to Disneyland or another resort is most likely out of the question. If your budget is tight, it doesn't mean you have to stay at home and stare at the four walls. Why not consider a staycation?
In lieu of a vacation, a staycation is a period of time in which an individual or family relaxes close to home or takes day trips to area attractions.
Ruth Richardson's article two weeks ago in this newspaper highlighted some excellent examples of what she and her family did during their staycation, which provided four days of fun for under $200.
We are fortunate to live in a state that offers some of the most beautiful, pristine, and outdoor recreational-friendly areas of the nation. More than 100 state parks provide a diverse range of activities, from hiking to biking, skiing to sailing, exploration of rocky shorelines or climbing snow-capped peaks. Within the 39th Legislative District, we have Rasar, Rockport, Mount Pilchuck and Wallace Falls state parks — all offering low-cost, fun activities, and within a very short drive from Sedro-Woolley. For information on these and other Washington state parks, go to: www.parks.wa.gov.
Another alternative is the national park system within Washington. During three weekends this summer, entrance fees will be waived at national parks and monuments. The weekends are June 20-21 (this weekend), July 18-19 and Aug. 15-16. Parks included under the fee waiver are: Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, Lewis and Clark National Historic Park and Whitman Mission National Historic Site. The closest site to Sedro-Woolley is the North Cascades National Park which doesn't have an entrance fee. The fee waiver will save you an average of $15 for a non-commercial private vehicle. For more information on the national parks within Washington, go to: www.nps.gov/state/wa.
Another great resource to help you plan your vacation is the Washington State Tourism Web site: www.experiencewa.com. It offers the ability to search the best places to visit by region or by activity. You can also order a travel planner from this site.
You may also want to check with local chambers of commerce that can direct you to the best places in the area to visit for a staycation. Two great local resources are the Bellingham-Whatcom County Tourism Web site at: www.bellingham.org and the Snohomish County Tourism Bureau at: www.snohomish.org.
Not only will you have fun with a staycation and save money, you'll also be helping our state's economy. It's estimated tourism contributed nearly $16 billion to Washington's economy last year and directly provided nearly 150,000 jobs.
With thousands of low- or no-cost activities to enjoy here in our state, there's no reason to stay home this summer. Check out these resources, plan for a staycation, help our state's economy, and above all, go out and have fun with your family. You'll be glad you did!
EDITOR'S NOTE: State Rep. Dan Kristiansen, R-Snohomish, represents the 39th Legislative District, and also serves as chairman of the Washington House Republican Caucus. He can be contacted at (360) 786-7967 or from his Web site at: houserepublicans.wa.gov/Kristiansen.