Wow. I must say this feel exciting finally updating the blog! So many fun, yet crazy things have been happening! First, school is out so that means the kids’ and I get to plan a fun summer of weekend regional travels. Let me tell you, this list wasn’t that easy for us to make this year considering everyone’s schedules, a few of the big kids may have to miss out on a few weekend getaways due to commitments, priorities, ya-da-da-da…

Next, I’ve been patiently waiting to announce that I’ve been prepping for a new project with Northwest Military. I’ll be hosting a travel show that speaks to the travel needs of the local military here at Joint Base Lewis-McChord, better known as JBLM. The show is called “Milcation” (play on words to Staycation), and I must admit I’m proud of the title! The show will feature Pacific Northwest destinations, as well as neighboring travel hotspots in Canada, Idaho and Oregon. Even for those who are not military, the show will include travel tips that will be universally beneficial to those looking to travel out West.

With that said, here is the list for our summer!

Summer in Seattle, Washington | Mapping with Mandy Travel Blog


Scenic Seattle has so many incredible attractions for every type of tourist, including music, art, food, museums, shopping, and a variety of family activities to choose from. For the most breathtaking views, visit the Sky View Observatory, Smith Tower, and of course the newly renovated the Space Needle, all which offer unbelievable views of the city, Lake Union, and the neighborhoods of the Puget Sound.

Since the renovation of the Space Needle, there’s so many cool features to see now! The kids and I are pumped to try the virtual reality Sky Jump! For more great views, the Sky View Observatory offers a cool Sunrise Yoga and Pure Barre package that my daughter and I are really looking forward to!

Pro Tip: One of my sunny-day favorites in Seattle is to head to The Center for Wooden Boats and rent a canoe to sail on Lake Union. It’s fascinating watching the seaplanes land on Lake Union! Chihuly Garden and Glass and the EMP museum are popular among tourists as well. Foodies will enjoy tasting their way through the Pike’s Place Market- be sure to stop by the famous Fish Market and Beechers Cheese! Yummy!

Views of Seattle, Washington | Mapping with Mandy


I honestly forgot how affordable and accessible for families Spokane is! It’s been years since I visited, but I can’t wait until my next summer getaway with the kids! From family fun, free parks and gardens, there’s much to explore. A gorgeous Riverfront Park sits at the center of Spokane, with the Spokane River running through the heart of the city. Riverfront park is the place to be during the summer months, where visitors can enjoy outdoor markets with locally produced goods, movie nights in the park, a summer concert series. Attractions at the park include pedal karts, a carousel, a skate ribbon and a Skyride that looks fantastic!

Farmers Market in Spokane, Washington | Travel Blogger Mapping with Mandy

Friday Harbor, San Juan Island

Did someone say cute island shops, wine tasting rooms, charming cafes, and whales? If you’re looking for a weekend getaway that includes something for everyone, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island has it ALL! Whale watching, kayaking adventures, fishing tours, hiking, and boating are all very popular activities- with several tour operators offering fantastic deals for visitors. If you’re a military family, be sure to ask for a military discount! For information on tour operators and activities the best website to use is Visit San Juan’s! Don’t worry, kids will enjoy themselves in Friday Harbor. Rent some bikes, kayaks, get ice-cream and spend quality time in one of the most picturesque towns of all Washington.

Ferry Ride | Travel Blogger Mapping with Mandy

Kitsap Peninsula

The peninsula is in the heart of Puget Sound, marked by several coastal towns, and is a popular outdoor reprieve for a beach break. Beach combing, kayaking, fishing and sailing will keep adventurists busy. Beyond the obvious draw to the water, the whole area is full of history! Port Gamble lies north of the Kitsap Peninsula, and has a nostalgic historical museum that will take visitors back in time. The town offers a variety of guest houses that are historic waterfront homes, as well as a variety of vacation rentals. Viking Fest is a cool festival held in the town of Poulsbo which is also known as the “Little Norway” of Washington. The town has much character and truly makes you feel like you’re in Norway!

Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park is a must if you’re looking to experience a unique opportunity to venture and camp in the lush, green Pacific Northwest wilderness. This area is known for its lush forests, serene lakes, and because it’s a UNESCO World Heritage Site it gets busy amongst tourists. Don’t let that discourage you from visiting though, just plan accordingly! Some of the must-see attractions are the mineral pools at Sol Duc Falls, a lake cruise and overnight stay at Lake Quinault Lodge, and hiking the Quinault Rain Forest! Stay tuned for a separate post where I will give tips and tricks on camping at Rialto Beach (which is much further from Lake Quinault) and adorned with both driftwood and enormous rocks!

Quinalt Lodge in Washington | Mapping with Mandy

Lake Quinault Lodge, Photo Credit: Marguerite Cleveland

Mount Rainier National Park

If you’re in Washington you’re most likely going to want to see the infamous Mount Rainier! I encourage everyone to venture out and make the trip to see the national park’s scenic beauty which offers a variety of hiking trails, picnic areas and viewpoints accessible for the entire family. Camping is prevalent, and there are many campgrounds to choose from where visitors can enjoy the sounds of the woods and sleeping under the bright night sky! A few of my favorite Rainier spots are Paradise and Sunrise. For more information on planning your visit to iconic mountain visit the National Park website.

Mount Rainier flower in Washington | Travel Blogger Mapping with Mandy

So, there we have it! The summer vacation list is complete! Everything is in driving distance, affordable for the family budget and something for everyone. What summer destinations will you see this season? Do you have suggestions that will be great on a travel show?