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4 Unforgettable Ways to Enhance Your Washington Race Weekend

By Haley Albert, 06/20/22, 12:45PM EDT

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This Pacific Northwest race venue boasts lush remote wilderness and bustling urban charm. Come and see for yourself.

If your race calendar includes the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Running Series Washington on Labor Day Weekend, it's time to start planning for your best race weekend yet in this beautiful, lush, Pacific Northwest city. Starting and ending at the Bellevue Downtown Park, runners and walkers alike will take on an action-packed course filled with music every mile, stunning skyline views, and the spirit of the Pacific Northwest…all with Mount Rainier as your race day backdrop. 

Here are four of our favorite ways to take your race weekend from finish to fantastic.

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Visit a National Park   

Washington state is home to three incredible and unique national parks: Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades National Park.  

Mount Rainier, the most iconic, features Washington's highest peak at a whopping 14,000 feet above sea level. With options for day hikes enhanced by epic you really can't go wrong with whatever route you pick. Visit one of Rainier’s Visitor’s Centers for more information and to find a hike that suits your ability level.   

Olympic National Park is more remote, but with its rugged coastline, lush rain forests, and soaring mountains, it really packs a punch. While this park is less accessible from the greater Seattle area, its stunning sunsets are a reason to go all on their own.     

If you’re looking for more of an active adventure or challenging hike, North Cascades National Park is the place for you. The payoff: sweeping vistas of the Cascade Mountains, sparkling glacier lakes and deep forested valleys. This is Washington’s natural beauty at its best.   

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Ferry to a Gulf Island  

If there is one part of the Evergreen State that stands out, it’s Washington's Islands Region. From Puget Sound to the Salish Sea — the coastal waterways that stretch from Seattle to Vancouver — hopping a ferry to one or more of these islands is the quintessential Pacific Northwest experience.  

Dotted with lighthouses, small towns, trails and remote beaches, the forested islands of Washington inspire road trips and outdoor experiences year-round. Go and see for yourself.  

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Go on a wilderness adventure   

Washington State features an incredible diversity of natural areas begging to be explored.  

The incredible waterfalls in Washington State are among the most beautiful you’ll see anywhere—and you don’t have to go far. Thirty minutes east of Bellevue, Snoqualmie Falls is one of the state’s most iconic (and breathtaking) waterfalls.  

If your legs are still up for it, pack your backpacking gear and trek to one of the many backcountry spots to escape reality. There’s nothing quite like sitting by the fire and watching a spectacular sunset along the Olympic coast or waking up early for a gorgeous sunrise—High Rock Lookout or Summit Lake both offer epic views.   

Whether you’re looking to set up camp, scale mountains, or pedal down paved paths or rugged mountain terrain, there is a way to get outside for everyone.   

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Be an urban tourist    

Washington might be known for its unparalleled natural beauty, but its urban side is nothing to overlook.   

The city of Seattle alone is known for its alluring sights and activities. Take a trip up the Space Needle for an incredible panoramic view of the city and then head over to Pike Place Market. It’s also the perfect time of year to attend a professional baseball game—the Mariners just so happen to be playing at T-Mobile Stadium later in the afternoon on race day! Or, explore the restaurant and brewery scene and indulge in a post-race meal or beverage. From a classic seafood spot like Elliot’s Oyster House to cold craft beer at Old Stove Brewing, you won't leave town hungry. 

For those after a more quaint, cultured spot to explore, the alpine town of Leavenworth (pictured above) is another option. The entire town is designed to architecturally resemble a Bavarian village, and with the mountains behind and a glistening river running along its outskirts, Leavenworth is a sure-fire pick for a romantic getaway or a family vacation complete with one of their many cultural festivals.   

There are so many ways to make your stay in the Evergreen State during the St. Jude Rock ‘n’ Roll Washington race weekend memorable. Whether you want to fill your days with a city-based itinerary, nurture your adventurous side, or incorporate a little bit of both, Washington has everything you could want in a race-cation destination. 

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