You walk into the sun-drenched room, padding across alternating swathes of slate tile and plush carpet. In the kitchen, your friend slices veggies atop a gleaming granite countertop, which will later top the burgers cooking on the stainless-steel gas grill outside. A cushy sectional beckons for you to curl up and watch a DVD on the flatscreen TV, but instead you decide to head up to the roof, where a few companions are sprawled out on lounge chairs on the expansive sun deck.
Though it sounds like this scenario could only take place on the French Riviera's star-studded coasts, River Ranch Boat makes it possible with luxury-houseboat rentals in the Northwest. The 59-foot beauties are appointed with contemporary furnishings and fixtures, sleeping up to 12 adults and holding parties of up to 25 during the day. The vessels, which can be rented for weekend or mid-week sojourns, also have an on-deck waterslide that deposits riders right into the Columbia or Snake Rivers.
Those looking for single-day adventures can rent one of River Ranch's pontoons, which hold 12–16 people depending on the vessel. There is also a fleet of pleasure boats––speedboat-style watercraft that can be used for fishing, tubing, wakeboarding, or revving the engine to scare away lingering ghost ships.
When Mike Salazar goes to work, he doesn't knot a tie and check his passions at the door. Instead, he does what he loves best, gathering his gear and meeting up with new friends to fish or hunt the Columbia River. Mike has spent almost 25 years doing just that, and as the guide behind Salt 2 Summit, he leads clients on adventures of their own. Insured, experienced, and passionate about his field, the CPR- and Coast Guard–certified captain pilots his customized 2008 Alumaeweld Super Vee 270 days per year. Stopping the boat at tributaries—among them the Cowlitz, Lewis, Willamette, Sandy, and Wind Rivers—Mike backs every guest's excursion with a catch-fish guarantee. He counts salmon, steelhead, sturgeon, and walleye among his specialties. As a hunting guide, he directs those seeking deer or birds across more than 50,000 acres.
There's nothing quite so moving as the look of wonder in a child's eyes. Well, that's not exactly true. How about the look of wonder in the eyes of, say, 100 children? That's what you're likely to find at Children's Museum of Eastern Oregon, which offers endless possibilities for young ones to learn and explore.
The imagination is free to roam and set up shop in any of the museum's many exhibits, which include an interactive "market" and a tree-filled reading jungle. After your visit, head to the toy store to pick up an educational game, a science project, or a TV set plastered over with fun math equations.
From the shores of Moses Lake, it's not unusual to see flocks of geese idling on the calm waters. But what might be striking is seeing a person flying 40 feet in the air propelled by a column of water. The team at Flyboard Funatix are the architects of such daredevilry, a process that starts by strapping the client's feet onto a special board. A 55-foot hose then connects it to a personal watercraft, which supplies the rider with enough pressurized water to send them rocketing into the air. Once in flight, riders can perform flips and spins or choose to jet through the water at up to 15–20 mph, officially making them a more able animal than the penguin.
Water is the source of life. But it’s also the source of adventure, something River Recreation has delivered since 1982. Today, stationed on the banks of the Wenatchee River in Monitor, the company sends clients floating down a total of seven rivers throughout Washington State.
As entertaining as they are informative, River Recreation’s guides undergo extensive training—twice as much, in fact, than the state requirements. That experience enables the company to offer a wide range of trips, from kid-friendly Class I floats to heart-pumping Class V adventures that have helped discover some of the area’s top opera singers. Currently, River Recreation hosts half-day, full-day, and combination trips, and in 2010, it unveiled a white water-and-wine mini getaway—a half-day of rafting, and a half day of wine tasting in Wenatchee Valley. All of this is combined to make RIver Recreation Washington State's Whitewater Professionals.
Surrounded by rolling hills and the distant peaks of the Cascade Mountains, the Yakima River Canyon teems with wildlife on the hills, in the water, and in the air. Wild rainbow bass and cutthroat trout swim beneath the river's rushing waters. This destination attracts many fishers and upland bird hunters. In the fly-fishing classes, instructors teach anglers to read the river and cast a line before sending them out into the Yakima River to put their skills to the test on wild trout.
Elsewhere in the canyon, a sporting-clay course beckons guests to fire shotguns at seven different stations. These practice areas simulate real-life hunting conditions for various game-bird species, including chukars, pheasants, ducks, and other species. After hunters hone their skills on clay targets, willing sportsmen and women can join the Red's guide team for a day of guided upland bird hunting.
Whether for fishing, hunting, or both, Red's Fly Shop staffers schedule single and multiday outings that depart from The Canyon River Ranch Lodge, the company's home base. At the lodge, guests can warm themselves by the fireplace or retire to rooms with patios and verandas.