From meeting new people to experiencing new sights, sounds, and smells – is there anything more exciting or rejuvenating than a break from the day-to-day mundanity? Traveling is an excellent way to immerse yourself in a new culture, setting, or way-of-life, but the best part is this: you don’t have to venture far from home to enjoy what this world has to offer.
Whether your journey takes you across your own city, to an unexplored part of your state, or even to the other side of the world, there’s no doubt you will still learn a lot about your surroundings – and yourself – along the way.
While the culture an hour away from your home might not be drastically different from what you’re used to, you can still gain a deepened sense of appreciation for where you’ve laid your roots. Plus, traveling locally has a lot of benefits:
More cost-effective. Local travel is certainly a budget-friendly way to explore! Many activities and parks are free or have a low cost of entry. For day trips, you can also pack your own meals to save.
Eco-friendly way to travel. Travel is hard on the environment, but putzing around your area is more sustainable than air travel.
Quick trips. Getting out locally means you can do it more often! Long weekend trips are a lot easier to take when the destination is a short drive away.
Easy to plan. Preparing your itinerary for a local getaway will likely save you some time and stress.
More convenient. Especially if you have little ones, sticking close to home may be much more convenient than far-off destinations. If you forget something, have an emergency, or need to cut the trip short, being closeby definitely has its benefits.
Only incorporated in 1938, Moses Lake is one of the youngest communities in the state of Washington and America at large — and for a while there, it was one of the quickest-growing towns, too. Discover for yourself what’s drawn people to this unique landscape throughout the years: here are our very favorite things to see, do, and explore in Moses Lake, Washington!
*Note: Some of the suggestions may not be doable due to coronavirus closures, but keep this list handy for when things start opening back up more! Be sure to check individual pages for specific operation details.
Moses Lake is lucky to be tucked into the rich central Washington countryside, where high desert landscapes meet lush forests, flowing rivers, sprawling lakes, and more. Here are some of the best state and national parks in the Moses Lake, WA area.
Encompassing almost 50 square miles of undeveloped wilderness, the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge offers a haven for a wide range of local wildlife, including coyotes, beavers, sandhill cranes, Washington ground squirrels and many different types of insects. The refuge is open to visitors who can enjoy hiking trails of a variety of lengths and difficulty levels, as well as those who simply want to drive through and take in the views.
Tucked just a half hour’s drive north of Moses Lake along the shores of Lenore Lake, Grant County Sportsmen State Park offers local outdoor recreation enthusiasts a reprieve into nature. With lake access for boating and fishing as well as areas to walk or hike, this is a great nearby option for those in need of some fresh air and scenery.
Untouched by agriculture or development since the 1940s, the land making up the Hanford Reach National Monument was slowly crafted over thousands of years of interaction between volcanic flows, winter ice, and flooding. Today, the monument preserves unique geological formations and offers habitats for a number of local creatures including mule deer, coyotes, elk, and great blue herons — as well as preserving the historical plutonium reactors built here during the World War II and Cold War eras, which are today in the process of being dismantled.
Don’t worry — these are nothing like the potholes you try to avoid while you’re driving your RV or car! Potholes State Park is named after the unique and fascinating geological formations that have characterized this part of the state since the last ice age, and is also home to a large reservoir perfect for fishing, boating, waterskiing and more. There are also three full miles of hiking trails for those who aren’t looking to get their feet wet!
Including the stunning attraction that is Dry Falls, Sun Lakes State Park covers almost 3,800 acres of beautiful and diverse Washington countryside, and is a popular destination amongst Washingtonians and others for outdoor activities like boating, fishing, swimming, hiking, and even golfing. Located on a dramatic 400-foot cliff, the views from this park are absolutely stunning… though not necessarily for the faint of heart.
Consisting of more than 7,100 acres of land along the western shore of the mighty Columbia River, Wanapum State Recreation Area includes a diversity of different sights, scenes, and biospheres — and is also home to Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park. With more than 27,000 feet of freshwater shoreline from which to cast a line (or simply sunbathe), as well as trails with interpretive signage and a museum housed in an old CCC building, there’s truly no shortage of things to do here!
The Pacific Northwest is basically synonymous with hiking — and central Washington is rich with different landscapes to discover and explore. Here are some of the best hiking trails in and around Moses Lake, WA.
Offering a perfect ratio of effort to payoff, the Red Top Lookout Trail is eminently approachable, being as it’s only a mile long — and the 300 or so feet of elevation gain it sees along the way will only raise your heartrate a little. At the top of this easy climb, see panoramic views from the enclosed lookout tower, including the snowy peaks of Mount Rainier and other towering mountains in the distance.
Running a little more than four and a half miles and seeing less than 300 feet in elevation change along the way, Ancient Lakes Trail is a gentle hike that still offers a full afternoon’s worth of adventure, and is one that dogs and kids are likely to find doable, too. As its name suggests, this trail winds past some beautiful ancient lakes in the North Columbia Basin State Wildlife Recreation Area, as well as offering sweeping desert views.
At about five and a half miles long and seeing about 1,700 feet of elevation gain along the way, Icicle Ridge Trail is certainly in the moderate-to-challenging category… though its incredible views make it well worth the effort. Big skies, distant peaks and close-by hillsides make this one of the most popular hikes in the area, as does its reputation for beautiful wildflowers.
Short and steep, the Palouse Falls Trail is only a mile long altogether… but in order to follow its 400 or so feet of elevation change, you’ll need to be prepared for rocky scrambles, sharp descents and, of course, the equally strenuous way back up. If you’ve got some outdoor know-how and a great pair of hiking boots, it’s probably doable — and the views are sure to make it worth your while!
If you’re down for a serious adventure, look no further than Snow Lakes Trail: at just over 15 miles and seeing more than 4,500 feet in elevation gain, this one’s a serious butt kicker meant only for the most experienced adventurers. That said, if you’re prepared, you’ll certainly reap the rewards of your monumental effort as you wind your way past subalpine lakes, stands of evergreen trees and rushing rivers. This is also a great option for those searching for a backpacking trip!
All the adventure there is to enjoy in and around Moses Lake is sure to fuel your appetite. Luckily, there are some incredible eateries to try out in town!
Whether it’s Taco Tuesday or taco any-darn-day-of-the-week, Tacos Colima is the Moses Lake go-to for authentic, spicy, delicious south-of-the-border fare. Along with the tacos themselves, this spot is also known for its quesadillas, freshly-made salsas, and just-hot-enough queso.
From a hot bowl of pho to a delicious bite of a bahn mi sandwich, Vietnamese cuisine is some of the very best Asian food out there — and Pho Saigon is the best place to go in Moses Lake if you’re looking for a taste of the exotic. With many mains that can also be made with tofu, this place is a great choice for vegetarians and vegans looking for plant-based options.
Offering the kind of casual elegance that can make for an excellent date night pick — or a more relaxed outing with friends — Michael’s on the Lake is a beloved local restaurant serving up a range of American favorites with a few unique twists. Enjoy a classic bacon cheddar burger or go in for the bacon-wrapped stuffed chicken, or keep it light with a candied walnut pear salad. It’s all up to you… just don’t forget to enjoy the view!
Moses Lake may be a far cry from Japan, but that doesn’t mean you can’t find some incredible Japanese food in town. Sumo Japanese Restaurant is the local favorite for those in search of sushi and sashimi as well as hot dishes ranging from gyoza to katsu to tempura and more. Be sure to save some room at the end for mochi ice cream, fried ice cream or a delicious slice of sumo crepe cake!
Located just across the way from Michael’s on the Lake, Mom and Pop’s Diner would be easy to overlook… but if you’re searching for an incredible breakfast or lunch, walking by would be a mistake. Beloved amongst locals for its generous portions of comfort food served with a side of smiles, this place is truly a local legend, and you’ll understand why as soon as you try their hash browns.
Even with the plethora of great dining and outdoor pursuits in the area, that’s not all there is to see and do in Moses Lake! Here are some of our favorite options for families, solo explorers, and everyone in between.
There’s plenty of fun to get into with the whole family in Moses Lake. Here are some options not to miss.
That Washington sun can get pretty serious in the summertime — which is why a trip to Surf ‘n Slide Water Park is the perfect way to beat the heat. With a large pool, three thrilling slides, splash pads, playgrounds and more, kids of all ages (and even grown-ups) will enjoy their wet and wild time at this nearby water park.
If there’s one thing that’s true about just about every kid out there, it’s that they like to get dirty — and in Moses Lake, you don’t have to go very far at all to bring that dream to life. The Moses Lake Mud Flats and Sand Dunes provide a fun place for rollicking family adventures such as ATV rides, camping trips and epic sunrises, all on the shores of the community’s namesake lake.
Keeping busy during the daytime is one thing, but what about after night falls? Here are some of our favorite after-hours options in Moses Lake.
If you’re looking for things for couples to do in Moses Lake — or just about anywhere, for that matter — movie night always scores a place toward the top of the list. This town’s best local theater is Fairchild Cinemas, which is known for its cozy seating and deliciously salty popcorn as well as its slate of both big box hits and the occasional throwback or indie film. Plus, tickets are much more affordable than you’ll find at some bigger chain theaters!
One of the best parts of small-town living is the opportunity to enjoy some truly dark skies. Once night falls in Moses Lake, it’s not hard to find a place in the surrounding countryside to sit back and enjoy the incredible visible universe… and better yet, it’s all completely free of charge (except for the money you might spend on gas and snacks!).
It’s true: there are plenty of activities you can do in Moses Lake that don’t require spending much at all — in some cases, not even a single cent! Here are a few to add to your radar.
Want to get the kids engaged with their natural surroundings in a way that school simply can’t emulate in a classroom setting? The Moses Lake Museum and Art Center includes both natural and cultural historical artifacts that will transport you and your family to a different place and time… and best of all, admission is totally free!
Along with the larger state-level preserves mentioned above, Moses Lake is home to a wide variety of smaller city and regional parks, each of which offers its own unique benefits and attractions. For example, the Japanese Peace Garden is free to enter and a great place to head when you need a moment of zen. Cascade Park is known for its shoreline access and boat ramp, while Blue Heron Park hosts grassy knolls and a fishing bridge. It’s all free for public use!
Need a pick-me-up? A day at the spa can help transform your body and your soul alike. Here are the best day spas and salons in Moses Lake for the next time you need some indulgence.
When it comes to essentials, it’s hard to get more essential than your skin — which is what the experienced, licensed esthetician who founded Essentials Skin & Wellness Center realized when she got started. Offering a variety of treatments for both the face and body, this place is the perfect spot to make sure you’re putting your best face forward.
Massage is about more than just relaxation — though it can help with that, too. It’s about healing, and the professional, licensed massage therapists at Moses Lake’s own Knot-Release Therapies know how to make you feel better. Offering massage in a wide range of modalities in their non-pretentious space, this is easily one of the best day spas in town.
Sometimes, a simple haircut (or professionally applied color) can change not just your day, but your whole life. At Eden Salon in Moses Lake, your look will be personalized by talented professionals who know how to listen to your desires and make them into realities. They also offer waxing, skincare, nail care, and bridal services.
Staying in shape will help your clothes fit better, sure… but even more importantly, it’ll make you feel more at home in your body and mind. Here are the best gyms and yoga studios for those in Moses Lake who are looking to work it out, in more ways than one.
The largest gym not only in Moses Lake, but in all of Grant County, South Campus Athletic Club is a no-nonsense fitness center that offers everything you need to meet your goals, including a welcoming, familiar atmosphere. Along with its range of cardio and strength training equipment, SCAC also offers fun and challenging group classes that will motivate you to get in gear.
No man (or woman) is an island, and sometimes, you just can’t go it alone. At Evolve Fitness, you won’t have to: this wellness center focuses on fun and achievable fitness classes offered in a motivating group structure, and also offers a range of yoga practices for those looking to find strengthening and grounding both inside and out.
While there’s clearly no need to venture far from Moses Lake to find fun things to do, it’s true that some excellent day trips and weekend getaways are within an easy drive! Here are some of our top options.
An active volcano towering more than 14,000 feet above sea level, with a stunning snow-capped peak visible from miles around (and even across state lines down in Oregon), Mount Rainier National Park is certainly a sight to behold — and luckily for those in Lake Moses, it’s only a four hour drive away. Turn the excursion into a full-on weekend by RV camping in the area, and be sure to plan plenty of hikes during your stay!
An iconic skyline and the birthplace of Starbucks coffee, among a variety of other beloved American brands, Seattle is the kind of city you have to experience for yourself. Ride the ferries across the sound and explore the small communities on the adjacent islands and peninsulas, or meander through the city streets and enjoy a pierogi or three at Pike Place Market. You can’t go wrong!
As a final reminder, some of these activities may need to wait until businesses fully reopen from coronavirus closures. However, there is still much to see and experience in Moses Lake that you can enjoy today! What are your favorite spots in Moses Lake? Send them our way to [email protected] or by tagging us on Instagram @rvshare and using the hashtag #rvsharelocal.