by Katy McGovern

During this time, people all over the world are being asked to stay at home, and after a while, it can make you a little stir crazy and eager to experience the outside world. Luckily, destinations across Washington state have been able to adapt and create virtual tours and online collections so you can experience what they have to offer right from your living room!

From art galleries to the great outdoors, there are many options for a virtual vacay your way. Here are a few ideas to get you through this time and spark your creativity for places you might want to visit in the future.

Washington State Parks

Washington State Parks offers virtual tours. Photo of Cama Beach State park by Gayle Picken of Day Trips in Washington

Washington State Parks is currently offering amazing virtual tours of all 149 parks in our state. For each park you are able to take a walk-through of the area with 360 degree views of the walking trails, water views, picnic areas, and campgrounds. Each virtual tour also offers a map of the location and link to its own designated page on the site providing detailed information of the park. It’s a great way to browse through Washington’s state parks and decide where you want to go when we can travel again!

Check out the Virtual Tour of Washington State Parks

Whidbey and Camano Islands

Iconic whale watching in Puget Sound. Photo by Gayle Picken of Day Trips in Washington

Whidbey and Camano Islands have found a creative way to bring you the sights, sounds and flavors of the islands through their new new virtual vacation series, Escape It All. Through these digital tours, armchair travelers can discover hidden beaches, outdoor galleries and gardens, iconic whale watching, and more.

New topics are added each week! Some of my favorites include an amazing video of the whales that pass through the islands every year, a beautiful tour through Deception Pass, and a delicious recipe for Sweet Pea Tortellini!

Take a virtual drive off the mainland to Whidbey and Camano Islands

National Nordic Museum

On of the free zoom backgrounds from the National Nordic Museum
One of the free Zoom backgrounds you can download from National Nordic Museum

The National Nordic Museum in Ballard has developed a new way to ensure their museums collections continue to be accessible to the public through digital catalogs on their online portal. Currently, these sections include over 500 photograph print records, art and artifact records, rare book records, and interviews from the Nordic Museum’s oral history archive.

Of special interest is the new oral interview series Interwoven: The Blended Heritage of Nordics and Native Peoples that shares personal stories of individuals with blended Nordic and Indigenous cultural identity in the Puget Sound region.

Want to up your Zoom game? Download a free Nordic Museum Zoom Background image. And for some binge-worthy Nordic films, check out this collection made possible through a partnership with the University of Washington Libraries.

The Museum of Flight

747 Cockpit - Courtesy of Museum of Flight
Photo courtesy of Museum of Flight

The Museum of Flight in Seattle continues to amaze us, by providing 3D tours of the cockpits and interiors of their aircraft. They also offer 360 views from the inside of most the airplanes on their site. You can take your time looking through the intricate details that are put into the design of these planes and make them functional for the crew.

The museum has also put together kids activities and puzzles and created digital collections of many artifacts and objects that you would normally see in person, allowing you to experience the whole Museum of Flight at your leisure from the comfort of your home.

Explore The Museum of Flight at home!

Seattle Art Museum

The Seattle Art Museum’s collection currently contains nearly 25,000 works of art from around the world. Its permanent collection represents a wide range of global cultures and historical perspectives. You can begin exploring these collections online where they are categorized with photos and detailed descriptions.

And during the temporary closure of the museum during the COVID-19 crisis, the Seattle Art Museum has launched Stay Home with SAM to share videos, interviews, art-making activities and art news. Highlights include digital experiences for the recently opened show Georgia O’Keeffe: Abstract Variations, selections from the long-running Object of the Week blog series, and videos from the My Favorite Things series. Check it out here!

Pro Tip: The Seattle Art Museum’s site is also home to the digital collection of the Asian Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park, allowing you access to all three museums on one site!

View the art collections here.

The Burke Museum

The recently renovated Burke Museum in Seattle is an active research museum. It has over 16 million biological, geological and cultural objects in its collections are a respected and relied-upon resource for researchers here and around the globe. You can search through all this amazing objects through their online database. You can be as specific or generic as you would like and can search based on location or category. The museum is focused on natural history and culture, and partners with institutions, communities and people around the world to understand and share the past.

The new Burke From Home page is a great place to find kids activities and weekly curriculum packets from the museum to keep the whole family engaged and entertained during the COVID-19 lock down.

Bonus: While we’re at home, the staff at the Burke Museum are offering a free online trivia game every Friday night. Check their Facebook page for details!

Discover the Burke Museum Collections here.

Katy McGovern

Hi everyone! My name is Katy and I am an intern here at Day Trips in WA. I am currently wrapping up my Bachelors degree in Marketing while working at a law firm in Seattle. I am proud to say I was born and raised in Washington. In my free time I enjoy cooking, gardening and playing with my two cats. I am drawn to the outdoors and exploring new places, making Day Trips in WA the perfect place for me to grow as a young professional. I am excited to work with an amazing team and look forward to connecting with our community.