Tri-Cities: Fun (and affordable) Getaway for all!

Credit: Northwest Paddleboarding

Summer is here, and sun-filled getaways are top of mind! The Tri-Cities is the ultimate summer getaway with amazing weather, three rivers with a variety of affordable lodging options and free or inexpensive attractions. Centrally located in the Pacific Northwest, the Tri-Cities is less than a tank of gas away from metropolitan areas like Portland, Seattle, Spokane and Boise. The Tri-Cities is the perfect place to get away with friends, family or solo without breaking the bank. Read on to learn how to have a ball on a budget in Tri-Cities, Washington!

Edutainment

The Tri-Cities is the epicenter for some of the most prolific scientific discoveries and advancements in the last century—not a theory, it’s proven! There are several activities that are entertaining, educational, family-friendly, ADA accessible and many are free!

Manhattan Project National Historical Park is home to the B Reactor National Historic Landmark, the world’s first production-scale nuclear reactor that launched the atomic age during World War II. Preserved over the years, a walk through the B Reactor is brief time travel to the 1940s. The tour provides education about the reactor and reflection on the Manhattan Project and its global impact. Visitors can register for scheduled tours at no cost.

Explore deep space at the new LIGO Exploration Center (LExC),* home to the Nobel Prize-winning facility LIGO (Laser Interferometer Gravitational-wave Observatory) that discovered gravitational waves resulting from the collision of black holes, confirming Albert Einstein’s theory of relativity. Tours are free and begin in September 2022.

Other STEM explorations include:

Bechtel National Planetarium *Admission Fee
Coyote Canyon Dig Site
East Benton County Historical Museum *Admission Fee
Franklin County Historical Museum *Admission Fee
Pasco Aviation Museum *Admission Fee
REACH Museum *Admission Fee
Robert and Elisabeth Moore Observatory
USS Triton Sail

Check out all of the awesome STEM attractions in the Tri-Cities with our STEM itineraries—it will be an out-of-this-world adventure.

LIGO Exploration Center (LExC)

Outdoor Adventures

For those who prefer to keep their explorations Earth-bound, the Tri-Cities has outdoor adventures from land to water!

Hike the highest peaks in Tri-Cities. The local ridges (Badger, Candy and Red Mountains) are popular with visitors and residents alike. Each ridge offers unique trails and terrain that allow hikers of all abilities to connect with nature and enjoy scenic vistas of the Tri-Cities. No permits or passes are required to hike the local trails and parking is free.

Pack your favorite snacks from any one of the local farmers' markets, towels, and water equipment, and enjoy an afternoon in the sun. The Columbia River is lined with beautiful parks with shady trees and play structures that give way to sandy beaches with direct river access. Sunbathing is always an option, but visitors can take to the water with their favorite floatie or even a paddleboard or kayak! Feel free to bring your own but there are a variety of water implement providers located conveniently near river access points.

You don’t have to get in the water to enjoy the river. The Sacajawea Heritage Trail is a 23-mile paved loop, accessible to all, connecting the Tri-Cities (Kennewick, Pasco, Richland) that is enjoyed by pedestrians, cyclists and skaters.

Whether you’re known for birdies or bogies, you will have a blast at the Columbia Park Golf Tri-Plex along the Columbia River in Kennewick. You and your travel companions can get competitive with golf of all types: Foot Golf, Disc Golf or traditional golf! 12 dollars or less per person for foot golf, $8 or less for disc golf and an average of $27 per person for traditional golf!

Foot Golf at the Columbia Park Golf Tri-Plex

Free & Family-Friendly Events

The Tri-Cities loves to celebrate and gather—for any reason—and many activities have no admission fees. Free entry festivals and activities leave room for you to spend as much or as little as you’d like while making memories.

The HAPO Live @ 5 Summer Concert Series brings local live music to John Dam Plaza in Richland every Thursday throughout the summer. This outdoor event is free to attend with food and beverage options ranging from $6 per item to $16. Live @ 5 offers all ages entertainment, kids’ games and a beer and wine garden.

Tri-Cities Geocoin Challenge brings treasure hunters of the digital age for a weekend of exploration throughout the Tri-Cities while searching for geocaches. Those who complete the challenge earn a unique commemorative coin. Registration is free but requires a mobile phone or a GPS device to seek geocaches.

Art in the Park is a longstanding celebration of creativity and art! Every summer artisans from throughout the Pacific Northwest gather in Richland’s Howard Amon Park to showcase their skills during this free festival. Art in the Park takes place the last full weekend in July, in conjunction with the Tri-City Water Follies.

Tumbleweed Music Festival is a free, family-friendly celebration of acoustic folk music, crafts and culture in Howard Amon Park in Richland. Experience the music of more than 100 performers during the three-day festival on the first weekend of September.

To learn more about these events, or to find other free activities, check out VisitTri-Cities.com/events.

Photo courtesy of the Tumbleweed Music Festival.

Tri-IDEAs is a program exploring and celebrating Inclusivity, Diversity, Equity and Accessibility through tourism in the Tri-Cities.

At Visit Tri-Cities, we believe travel is transformative on multiple levels. Exploring new destinations exposes us to different ideas, cultures, history, heritages and people. Through Tri-IDEAs, Visit Tri-Cities will connect with local business owners, community leaders, event organizers, residents and more to highlight, share and celebrate the diversity of the Tri-Cities that can be experienced through travel and tourism activities.