Members of the Pacific-12 Conference, the University of Washington Huskies athletic department boasts a rich history of triumphs. In 2001, their football team added a Rose Bowl victory to a trophy case that already contained the laurels of four national titles, the most recent of which occurred in 1991. In 2011, the men's basketball team claimed its third Pac-12 tournament title, and in 2005, the women's volleyball team steamrolled competition en route to its first-ever national title. Much of the Husky-related glory unfolds on the floors and fields of UW's lineup of pristine facilities, which includes the historic 72,500-seat Husky Stadium and raucous Alaska Airlines Arena.
Outdoor Adventure Center's wildly experienced guides have led groups off the grid for more than a quarter century, pursuing rugged fun in the scenery and fresh air of mountains, rivers, and coastlines. Explorers at heart, the staff boldly launch kayaks into the ocean around the San Juan Islands and conquer the frothy waters of the scenic Skykomish River, known for its beginner-friendly rapids, migrations of spawning merpeople, pool and drop areas, and breathtaking views of 5,000-foot mountain peaks. Horseback and hiking trips delve into the lush woods, and nature photography excursions pause to celebrate the beauty of the wilderness near Index. The core team of 14 guides takes safety seriously, most with certifications from the American Canoe Association, training in wilderness first aid, CPR, and swiftwater rescue, and life vests tattooed over their chests.
Bowling is the great social equalizer—a common ground where grizzled undercover clowns, blue-collar English lords, LARPer librarians, big and tall lingerie models, hordes of hive-minded hipsters, and the other two social demographics that comprise America can unite in common cause and topple a gaggle of stuck-up, inanimate wooden pins. Brunswick has been a household name in this egalitarian pastime almost since the beginning, with a company history that dates back to the 19th century, providing classic American good times to all manner of patrons across the country. And with today's Groupon tying the room together, you'll get to play two games (up to a $10 value) in its hallowed halls wearing a pair of freshly disinfected bowling shoes (a $3.79 value).
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 and tumbling down a total of nine 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 on every side by the city's urban landscape, Lake Union affords a unique vantage point from which to see the Seattle skyline. The captains of Lake Union Charters and Adventures take advantage of this view by chartering adventures aboard the Solana, a sailing sloop outfitted with a full galley, icebox, and bathroom. Sailing adventures range from sunset cruises to girls' night out sails, as well as sailing lessons that give students hands-on experience in tacking, jibing, and whittling a peg leg. For an elevated experience, the captains also sweep passengers off on dinner cruises aboard the schooner Lavengro, a historic, 63-foot wooden vessel first launched in 1926 and named after George Borrow's novel Lavengro: The Scholar, the Gypsy, the Priest.
Mike Dickson plunks his keyboard as he stares into his work computer. But in his mind, he holds a fly rod and looks out onto a river teeming with steelhead. For someone who grew up fly-fishing—including guiding at a river lodge in Alaska and teaching fly-fishing on the weekend—Dickson couldn't endure more than a year at his office job, which he landed out of college. He shuts down his computer one last time and then joins his fisheries biologist dad, Dennis, at Dickson Flyfishing.
Today, the father-son team guides and teaches fly-fishing to all levels of anglers on the waters of the Olympic Peninsula. Conscious of their environmental impact, the Dicksons lead eco-rafting trips throughout the year on the Skagit, Sauk, and Queets Rivers to fish for steelhead, cutthroat trout, and salmon with scales made of gold. For more adventurous clients, Mike and Dennis guide winter fly-fishing trips for tarpon on the flats of the Caribbean and lead three-day campouts on the Grande Ronde River. Additionally, scenic rafting tours bring visitors up close to wildlife such as eagles. The Dicksons also run a virtual fly shop, where they sell their own line of equipment.