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To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

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Vancouver, Canada
posts: 11
To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

My husband and I are leaving next week for a ten day road trip in Washington and Oregon. Roughly speaking, our trip will take us to the Oregon Coast, Crater Lake, Portland, Columbia River Gorge, Yakima Valley and Leavenworth. While my planning has been going very well overall, I'm suddenly feeling a bit stumped about what to do on our second to last day.

We have hotels booked in Kennewick and Yakima. While this unfortunately limits our flexibility in planning now, I wanted to get hotel booking out of the way quickly, given that we are travelling in peak season. When I was initially planning our route, I imagined the stretch from the Tri-Cities to Yakima being filled with vineyard tours and wine tasting. Now that I've started planning, it seems that while the wineries have tasting rooms, there aren't really any options for tours of the winery or vineyard. I've also realized that there will be lots of winery stops scattered throughout our trip. I'm hesitant to fill the whole day with wine tasting (particuarly since I think my husband will be getting a bit bored of wineries, especially since he will be doing very little tasting as our designated driver!) Having started looking at other ways to spend (at least part of) the day, I've been surprised that there I'm not finding a lot of options of things to do!. With all that said, I'm hoping someone can shed some insight into:

- What tasting rooms shouldn't be missed in the region

- Do any wineries offer tours of either their facilities or vineyards?

- What other activities can we do in this region?

To give you a few more details about us, we are a married couple in our late 20s. We love the outdoors, scenic drives and good food and wine. We'll be nearing the end of our (very busy) trip, so a fairly laid back day would be just fine - however if we are going to take it easy, i'd like to do it somewhere nice :)

Any suggestions would be much appreciated

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Spokane, Chelan
posts: 8,511
reviews: 40
1. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

Erica, you are right there isn't much to see between those two. One idea would be to turn off onto highway 97 at Toppenish on your way to Yakima and go down to Maryhill museum yes it's back down to almost the Oregon border but a different route and the museum is interesting. Just a short ways away is a full size replica of Stonehenge, I really enjoy that because I'd been to the original in England and this really gave me a fuller picture.

It's definitely doable for you, I took my mom for the day from Spokane and we returned in the early evening easy day trip.

www.maryhillmuseum.org

Collie

Renton, WA
posts: 2,441
2. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

Maybe the fact that we are in our 80s makes a difference, but we stopped in Toppenish and took a mule-drawn tour of the town's murals.

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Spokane, Chelan
posts: 8,511
reviews: 40
3. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

Bob, how long did it take? Maybe that would be of interest to them too.

Collie

Mukilteo, Washington
posts: 586
reviews: 5
4. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

Having lived in the Tri-Cities (Kennewick/Richland/Pasco) for many years I'd say this:

In Kennewick (and Richland) there is a beautiful hike n bike trail to explore along the Columbia River that goes for fifty miles. Local wineries in Kennewick have some patios with live music and good food (check Tagaries in Richland). There's also pretty good micro-breweries there (check Ice Harbor brewery) that often have live music. A very unique thing to do in the Tri-Cities is take the B-Reactor tour with the Dep of Energy in Richland - fascinating - the world's first operating nuclear reactor, now shut down but a national historic site. Tours are usually filled up, but its free. You may catch a cancellation to get on the tour (go to U.S. Dep or Energy - B-Reactor Tour).

Outside of Yakima and just past the town of Naches is Yakima Mountain, a state game preserve that you can drive up into - there are bighorn mountain sheep up there along with elk and bears - very nice and few people go there. Or drive up Yakima Canyon outside of Yakima off of I-84.

Renton, WA
posts: 2,441
5. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

I guess it took an hour...we weren't really watching the time.

Spokane, Washington
Destination Expert
for Spokane, Chelan
posts: 8,511
reviews: 40
6. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

Thanks Bob, if you weren't paying any attention to the time then was this a romantic time for you, lol ,you know, beautiful woman, starry eyes, music in your ears that kind of thing.

Collie

Vancouver, Canada
posts: 11
7. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

Thank you so much for the suggestions everyone! I will look into these options

Issaquah, Washington
posts: 439
reviews: 19
8. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

I drive through that section of the freeway fairly often and there isn't much to do and I'm usually in a hurry heading from home to our family farm. I like to eat deep fried asparagus at Stoke's Burger Ranch in Sunnyside. It's seasonal but they have many other delicious deep fried items and wonderful old school hamburgers on their menu. It's also the only drive in I've ever been to that sells shoes.

In Prosser I often stop at Chukar Cherries to purchase dried cherries and many other delicious products at their company headquarters. They will give you a free ice pack for your items if it's hot. At the same exit you can also stop at a number of wine tasting rooms at Vinters Village. There are more than a dozen wineries represented along that stretch of road.

gotastewine.com/prosser-vintners-village.php

I like the murals in Toppenish, too and you can drive through town and check them out.

Seattle
posts: 2,696
reviews: 18
9. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

I am a life long wine buff, and worked in the business for seven years during my early retirement, fun-job, stage.

Here's the thing about winery tours. They are all very similar!

"Here are the vines. They are planted here because of blah, blah soil. And they benefit due to blah blah microclimate characteristics. Here are the crusher/destemmers. Here are the temperature controlled fermenting tanks. Here are the aging barrels. Here are the bottles awaiting release. Would you like to taste our Sauvignon Blanc? Would you like to buy a few bottles?" - For which, by the way, you'll pay more than at many retail shops in Seattle!

Don't get me wrong, a winery visit or two is worth doing, especially the better wineries. Just don't jerk your whole vacation around to visit more then one or two.

My advice would be to visit Hedges in Richland...

www.hedgesfamilyestate.com

Gorgeous location! And then head on to Seattle where you can visit some excellent wine shops~~~~~~~~~~

Green Valley...
Destination Expert
for Yellowstone National Park, Seattle
posts: 16,870
reviews: 53
10. Re: To Do for a Day between Kennewick and Yakima

@ AlandRoberta, big smile.

@ EricaCLM, do I ever hear your husband!

"since I think my husband will be getting a bit bored of wineries, especially since he will be doing very little tasting as our designated driver!) "