The PNW is full of hidden gems and wonderous places to explore. With “National Plan for Vacation Day” (January 26, 2021) right around the corner, we’ve rounded up some story ideas to inspire future 2021 travel, in our own backyard.

Explore Wide Open Spaces with Your Quaranteam: With more than 300 days of sunshine per year, world class recreation, and a rich history, the Tri-Cities offers a sun-drenched retreat for exploration and rejuvenation for all with plenty of space to adhere to social distancing guidelines.  

Consider The Lodge at Columbia Point in Richland for a getaway. Enjoy contactless check-in, waterfront views, breakfast delivered straight to your door and plenty of space for your travel pod to stay in their own designated rooms.  Converge around the outdoor fire pit on the river view deck to cheers a glass of wine or plan the day ahead.  Speaking of wine, the magic of Washington wine country starts here. Define your tasting style or dabble in it all with more than 200 wineries within a one-hour drive with plenty of outdoor space allotted for tastings. 

Looking for adventure? Explore the scenic Red Mountain AVA by horseback with Red Mountain Trails or stop in at Northwest Paddleboards for traditional stand-up Paddleboarding (SUP) along the Columbia River.

Spring into New Experiences Island-style: Whidbey and Camano Islands provide a variety of safe ways to try something new. Canopy Tours Northwest on Camano Island has plans to re-open its zip-line adventure in April 2021.  Scaling a tree with AdventureTerra is a great way to get away from, well everything. With the help of ropes and a guide, climbers ascend Coastal Douglas Firs to reach the top of the forest canopy with a bird’s eye view of the Deception Pass Bridge and the neighboring San Juan Islands. Try a hand at axe-throwing or make a live-edge charcuterie board by sanding, oiling and branding a custom creation at Arrowhead Ranch

Explore the terrain by horse (or pony for the smaller set) with private or small group rides at the Pacific Northwest Riding Academy at the 80-acre Wildwood Farm. Or learn to make a custom silk scarf in a meditative manner at Marbley. Float drops of color on water and reshape them using a comb or stylus before saving it on silk, paper, or wood.

Work from Van, School from Van – it’s all about #Vanlife:  2020 stood tall as the year of the road trip, and that’s not going to change anytime soon. As many students and professionals continues remote lifestyles, opportunities for extended getaways and schoolcations emerge.  Seattle based Peace Vans will continue its Adventure School Program, with student lesson plans, road trip itineraries, and private land camp partnerships. 

With a fleet of both vintage and modern Volkswagen and Mercedes vans, customers can take the modern vans to popular destinations like Yellowstone, Yosemite, Utah and beyond. All vans are designed for renters to fly in and hit the road – no need to pack anything other than clothes or buy anything other than food. Vans come with new built-in refrigerators, heaters for chilly nights and new lithium-ion battery systems for powering cameras, phones, devices, and camping accessories.

New Generations of Washington Winemakers: With the new year comes a new wave of standout Washington winemakers. Red Mountain started under humble auspices with Kiona Vineyards and The Williams family in 1975. And proudly, Kiona Vineyards is still in the family today with a new generation leading the way into 2021 with JJ Williams named the new General Manager and his younger brother Tyler Williams as the lead winemaker, specializing in bold reds and unique varietals. 

Tri-Cities Winemaker Noel Perez, raised in the vineyards in Walla Walla, is making waves as a winemaker at Monarcha Winery, with the aim to release small, handcrafted lots of wine from select plots of grapes. Perez learned about wine making through his viticulture and enology program in college along with a series of mentors, including Victor Palencia. Both are first-generation immigrants to the U.S., Palencia coming here as a child with his family from Michoacán, while Perez’s family came here from Oaxaca. For more information, visit kionawine.com and palenciawine.com. Plan a full tasting trip around the region at visittri-cities.com.

Seattle Restaurants Adapt Creatively: Newly opened Enzo’s Bistro & Bar in Issaquah recently upgraded its expansive outdoor dining space, debuting a distanced area with newly installed breezy all-weather, open air tents with two to three heaters at each outdoor table. Plan the perfect date night on the patio for Valentine’s Day, or take advantage of the robust takeout program, complete with online ordering, to view the full menus visit enzosbistroandbarissaquah.com.  

Uneeda Burger in Fremont is offering a variety of tasty, yet healthy options, available for takeout, like the new to the menu Basil Crusted Salmon Sandwich with Fennel Salad or the Boosted Bowl. Order online here and check out the complete menu at uneedaburger.com.