This post contains affiliate links. For more information, please read my disclosure policy. Thank you for supporting Far From Family!
While our year in Spain is becoming more firmly planted in the past, the bills we acquired are still very much in the present. As is my wanderlust. (Thank you Instagram and all your beautiful travel photos!)
As we lived and traveled in Spain, we both realized that there were SO many nooks and crannies yet to explore in the Greater Seattle area; as well as across our entire state. Palouse Falls is still on my must-see list!
Since our vacation budget is pretty much non-existent but my wanderlust as well as my need for some dedicated family time was strong, we decided an inexpensive staycation was the way to go. We decided to try two nights yurt camping at Kanaskat-Palmer State Park 25 miles from our home. My preference was for a cabin at Wallace Falls State Park but the kids wanted to stay in a Yurt. I guess it sounds more sexy.
My goal was simple; for us to get outside and have time together. Without the sirens of television, errands, work, facebook or our own beds. This staycation wasn’t simply a vacation near home but one where we stayed put for the duration of our experience. No driving to get to a hike, no driving to get more groceries or other supplies. Just us together enjoying the outdoors and each other’s company for two days and two nights.
When you grew up in the Midwest as we did, it’s hard to call our trip “Winter Camping”. When I think winter camping, I envision feet after feet of snow and freezing temperatures. But technically, February is “winter” and we were camping, although in a yurt, and we were cooking our food over a camp stove and open fire. So, I guess it was winter camping, Pacific Northwest style. Just not snow camping.
I’d read in our local parenting magazine, Parent Map, about cabin and yurt camping at State Parks. And I’m familiar with the Washington State Parks online reservation system so I imputed our dates of travel and looked for a park with a cabin or yurt to match. My only other criteria was that I didn’t want to travel far. Besides having a small car that’s sixteen years old, having three kids in a small space for an extended amount of time would not start our vacation off on the right foot.
It’s been more than 10 years since my husband and I went winter camping. Although, camping at six months pregnant with an almost two-year old in early April in Southern Utah with the snow falling certainly felt like winter camping. However, we have never gone out camping knowing full well it may indeed rain the entire time.
Summer nights in Washington seem to last forever. It’s not unusual for the kids to still be playing around camp at ten-o’clock at night. I forgot just how early the night arrives in February in Seattle. Especially, under a heavy cloud deck. The first night we were in pajama’s and playing card games at 6pm. We made it a little later…9pm the next night but certainly not anything like our typical summer nights that were are accustomed to.
Overall, we had a great time. The kids absolutely LOVED spending their entire day outside playing in the dirt and the mud. We were thankful to have found some dry campfire wood left by some previous campers for our second night.
The yurt kept us warm and dry for when the heavy rain moved in as we were winding down our campfire. The kids loved having the entire family sleeping in the same room.
In fact, they may just love it if we reorganized our two-bedroom home to have a sleeping bedroom for everyone and a playroom for them.
My husband and I would have liked a destination with more trails to explore; as it was chilly playing cards together while the kids made their mud pies. As a bonus (is that the right word?) all cell service was lost the moment we pulled into the park so being unplugged was a lot less challenging as we sipped our hot coco and played Phase Ten and SkipBo.
Our first stay-cation was back in the summer of 2006 when our oldest was 3-months old. Truthfully, I couldn’t take not being able to take a shower and wash away all that baby vomit in the comfort of my own home. Since then we have explored many more destinations within two-hours of Seattle but I also realize that we could take a stay-cation every weekend and never experience all that this area has to offer.
But that won’t keep me from trying!
Plan your next Staycation!
♦ Check out booking.com for an accommodation just a quick jaunt away.
♦ Borrow the Lonely Planet Guide from the library for your nearest city and visit the must-see attractions.
♦ Research if your local State Parks or National Forests offer cabins or yurts to rent.
♦ Visit a local notable location in your state from the book 1,000 Places to See in the United States and Canada Before You Die.
♦ Ask for Facebook requests for your friend’s favorite place to hike, dine, shop, sight-see or shop in your area.
♦ Search Pinterest.
♦ Visit your State’s tourism website. If you have time, request a brochure for your area. I still enjoy having a magazine to flip-through over a screen. As a bonus, you may find valuable coupons!
♦ Be a tourist in your own city and purchase a CityPass for discounted tickets to the top attractions.
♦ Take the bus or train to your destination and explore on foot. Let yourself wander.
♦ Check out local Groupon deals. Not only can you save money, it’s likely you’ll find a new nook and cranny to explore.
Where will your next Stay-cation be to? What will you discover in your own backyard?