Monday, July 16, 2007

Visiting Seattle? Check out Some State Parks

If you're visiting Seattle, and are into outdoor beauty and activity, you might want to check out some of the State Parks in the area. Some of my favorites?

Lime Kiln Point State Park

Lime Kiln Point State Park is a 36-acre park that is only for day use. Located on the western side of San Juan Island, the largest island of the archipelago, Lime Kiln State Park is considered the best spot in the world for spotting Orca whales cruising Haro Strait, in addition to viewing bald eagles and more than 200 species of birds. June and July are the best for whale watching, but really any time during the months of May throughout September you'll find the possibility of spotting a whale quite good. In addition to whale watching you can go hiking and tour the Lime Kiln lighthouse, which still serves as a navigational aid for ships in the Haro Strait. Diving is possible here but very dangerous as the currents are pretty strong.

Fort Worden State Park

Along with Fort Flagler and Fort Casey, Fort Worden formed a "triangle of fire" to protect the entrance to Puget Sound at Admiralty Inlet, and became a state park in 1955. Fort Worden, on the Quimper Peninsula at the extreme northeastern tip of the Olympic Peninsula, sits on a bluff near Port Townsend, and anchors the northwest side of the triangle. Fort Worden State Park is a 433-acre multi-use park offering 12 miles of hiking and biking trails, as well as 2 miles of saltwater shoreline. Convention and camping facilities are open year round and there is plenty to do to keep you busy. In addition to the traditional hiking, biking, diving, water skiing, swimming, boating, and animal watching, Fort Worden offers baseball, basketball, softball, and volleyball facilities. And, if you're a photographer, or someone who just enjoys a great view, you definitely need to pay a visit, as the park offers incredible views to keep your shutter-finger happy.

Fort Flagler State Park

One of the anchors in the "triangle of fire," Fort Flagler State Park is now a 784-acre marine camping park surrounded on three sides by 19,100 feet of saltwater shoreline, as well as some of the original military structures that tell the history of this island. Unlike Fort Worden, which allows camping year round, Fort Flagler State Park is only open for campers for part of the year. Day visitors are allowed year round, however. It is the stunning view of the Sound and the surrounding mountains, however that makes this park so spectacular.

Deception Pass State Park

Deception Pass is a narrow body of water separating Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island, in the northwest corner of Washington State, and is surrounded by Deception Pass State Park, the most-visited park in Washington. Though not officially part of the San Juan Islands, the park shares a geologic history: The cliffs of Deception Pass are made of the same rock that underlies Orcas Island. This park has salt water, fresh water, camping, hiking, boating, spectacular views, and a few areas with playground equipment for the kids. There are many activities available: hiking, horseback riding, boating, fishing, swimming, white water kayaking, diving, clamming, crabbing, bird watching, mountain biking, and simply taking in the beautiful scenery. Again, take a camera.

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