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Procrastinators, Have No Fear: Last-Minute Tricks For Weekend Escapes

Todd Petit
Lakeside Park looks out over Lake Chelan, and is about three hours by car from Seattle.

You’re looking to get away for a weekend, but the Fourth of July (or maybe the summer in general) kind of crept up on you. KPLU travel expert Matthew Brumley says have no fear: There are still plenty of options.

First, this late in the game you'll need to be flexible. But there are some tricks you can use:

Make a list. Pick three places you’d like to go, and if possible, three weekends you’re able to go. Be prepared for a combination.

Check on cancelations. This is a good option if you’re really flexible, since these usually happen 48 to 72 hours in advance. For state parks, try or call 866-CAMPOUT.

Do a combination trip. Camp for a few days, then hit a small hotel. Put the hotel on the back end of the trip, though. After a few days camping, you’ll be ready for that shower, and that crisply made bed.

Set an alarm for next year. Smart phones can set alarms and calendar reminders months in advance. That’s good, because a lot of campgrounds open reservations 9 months in advance – and plenty of people book then. If you like the place you got at the last minute this year, be prepared to book it again next year.


Mt. Rainier is the go-to for many in our area, but can be incredibly crowded.

In Eastern Washington, Brumley recommends Lake Chelan or Sun Lakes.

You could also head to the North Cascades. You’ll find Ross Lake, which is home to a resort and camping opportunities. 

Closer to Seattle, Whidbey Island offers nice getaways. Look to Langley for summertime fun, including its Shakespeare Festival beginning later this month. 

From Seattle, you can camp on Blake Island. It's only accessible by water, and if you have a boat, you can dock there for a fee. Argosy Cruises leads leads a full tour to the island's Tillicum Village, but for a reduced rate, you can book passage for transportation only.  

And of course, there’s Washington’s outer coast, along the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll find rentals there through, among other services.


"Going Places" is KPLU's weekly exploration of travel topics. Matthew Brumley is the co-founder of Earthbound Expeditions on Bainbridge Island, which provides small-group travel for clients, including KPLU. If you have a nearby escape you'd like to share (we promise, we won't all show up at once), or any other comments, leave them below.

Ed Ronco came to KNKX in October 2013 as producer and reporter for KNKX’s Morning Edition. Ed started in public radio in 2009 at KCAW in Sitka, Alaska, where he covered everything from city government, to education, crime, science, the arts and more. Prior to public radio, Ed worked in newspapers, including four years at the South Bend (Ind.) Tribune, where he covered business, then politics and government.
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