Photo courtesy of Tri-Cities Visitor & Convention Bureau
Drifters: A Tour of Washington’s Tri-Cities
by Margo Greenman

Introducing our new travel-inclined column, featuring journeys and adventures of the food-and-beverage-kind from a troupe of roaming writers.

If you’ve spent some time in the Pacific Northwest, you probably associate the weather as being gray, cold and often dreary. But just east of Washington’s Cascade Mountains, the landscape shifts from overcast skies and evergreen forests to carved hillsides, arid soils and 300 days of sunshine. Met by the confluence of three major rivers, these heavily irrigated desert soils have made this unique region famous for its bountiful harvests of wine grapes, apples, hops and more. A mid-sized joint metropolis, Washington’s Tri-Cities offers something for everyone.

Neighboring cities Richland, Pasco and Kennewick, along with the Yakima, Snake and Columbia rivers make up this unique destination. With attractions from vineyards to golf courses and waterways to parks, the Tri-Cities provides a wide range of activities for visitors of all ages. Long sunny days make the region ideal for outdoor adventures, while bountiful harvests entice those looking to indulge their palates in fine wine, craft beer and gourmet food.

Visit the Columbia Valley and see why the Tri-Cities are considered the “Heart of Washington Wine Country.” Home to more than 160 wineries, the Tri-Cities and surrounding area offers a bounty to see and sip while visiting the region. With tastings, winery and vineyard tours, food pairings and more, Washington Wine Country is a destination in and of itself.

In addition to miles of vineyards, the Yakima Valley and Tri-Cities area accounts for 75 percent of total hop acreage in the United States, making the region a must see destination for any craft beer lover. Across the Tri-Cities you will find a variety of craft breweries featuring locally-made suds. Stop by Shrub Steppe Smokehouse and Brewery in Richland where you’ll enjoy slow-cooked, melt-in-your-mouth barbecue perfectly paired with their uniquely intoxicating selection of microbrews.

Exceptional weather provides the perfect conditions for a round (or more) of golf. If you’re itching to hit the greens, add Richland, Kennewick and Pasco to your hole-in-one itinerary. With nine stunning courses to choose from, including Sun Willows Golf Course in Pasco and Columbia Point Golf Course in Richland, beginners and experts alike enjoy world class golf in this beautiful setting.

Outdoor adventuring is made easy in the region with beckoning waterways surrounding the area. Scorching summer temperatures are made more comfortable with a day spent on the Snake, Columbia or Yakima river. Enjoy scenic views as you sail, splash and swim across these refreshing waters. From water-skiing to dinner cruises, these inviting rivers offer something for everyone from adrenaline junkies to pleasure seekers.

Another favored Tri-Cities outdoor destination is Kennewick’s Columbia Park. Neighboring the Columbia River and fun for the whole family, visitors will enjoy the Family Fishing Pond, the splash park, bird watching, the Playground of Dreams, a public golf course and part of the Sacagawea Heritage Trail.

Whether you’re looking for an elevated excursion of fine wines and gourmet foods or you want to dip your toes into the sparkling waters of the Tri-Cities three rivers, the region offers something for everyone. Ready to plan your trip to the Tri-Cities? Visit the Tri-Cities Visitor and Convention Bureau to book your hotel and set your itinerary.

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