The Eastern Washington cities of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco—also known as the Tri-Cities—offer many things to do no matter what time of year you visit. In the warmer months, spend time outside enjoying recreation like golfing, biking, and boating, and when the weather gets cold, warm up by sampling local wines and learning about regional history. Whether you're a fan of the great outdoors or would rather spend the day inside, you're sure to find something to do on your trip to this area of Washington State.
Sunny skies and wide-open vistas make the Tri-Cities region one of the top golf destinations in the Northwest, where visitors can choose from seven golf courses and two championship putting courses. Popular Tri-Cities public golf courses include Canyon Lakes Golf Course, Columbia Point Golf Course, Sun Willows Golf Course, and West Richland Golf Course.
Canyon Lakes features a clubhouse, five sets of tees, a full practice facility, and the city's highest-rated golf course—which received 4.5 stars from Golf Digest. Meanwhile, Pasco Golfland is a great place for all ages and experience levels that prides itself on its family-friendly facilities and programs, which include men's leagues on Tuesdays and Thursdays, Ladies Club on Wednesdays, and a junior leagues throughout the week.
The REACH Museum, also known as the Hanford Reach Interpretive Center, focuses on the compelling human and natural histories of the Tri-Cities area. Permanent exhibits at the museum cover everything from the region's fascinating geology—including the basalt lava flows and remnants of Ice Age-era floods—to the story of the region's first inhabitants, long before settlers arrived following Lewis and Clark's expeditions to the sea. Additionally, guests of the museum can learn about how the region played a vital role in the development of the United States' nuclear weapon and power programs.
Located along the Columbia Park Trail on the waterfront of the Columbia River in Richland, Washington, the REACH Museum is open Tuesdays through Saturdays in the winter and also on Sundays from Memorial Day to Labor Day each summer. Admission is required to attend and includes free guided tours of the facilities.
Wine is one of the Columbia Basin's great treasures, and as you drive through the Tri-Cities area you'll notice lots of vineyards spread throughout the valleys and hills. Winery tasting rooms are open year-round, and many offer additional amenities such as picnic facilities and gift shops. Additionally, special wine tasting and wine-themed events and festivals take place throughout the year, including the Tri-Cities Wine Festival that is held each November.
A great way to see the most wineries and taste the best vintages the Tri-Cities have to offer is to embark on a wine tour. Roads2 Tri-Cities, Desert Wave Limousine, and TC Black all provide luxury transportation between the valley's many wineries.
Encompassing the last non-tidal, free-flowing section of the Columbia River in the United States, the Hanford Reach National Monument is made up of lands surrounding the Hanford Nuclear Reservation. Preserved from human development for over 70 years, this designated area is a haven for flora, fauna, and wilderness lovers alike that has become a popular place for fishing, boating, and wildlife watching.
Located about 40 miles north of Richland on Washington State Road 240, the Hanford Reach National Monument covers approximately 300 square miles. Along with nature-watching and other outdoor activities, the park also hosts a number of special events throughout the year, including the annual Screech At The Reach Halloween event each October.
Sacajawea State Park is located at the point where the Columbia and Snake Rivers meet in Pasco, Washington. The park's Sacajawea Interpretive Center offers exhibits that focus on the Sacajawea's historic story, the Lewis and Clark expedition, and the Native American culture and history of the region. This 267-acre day-use park also features 70 feet of water moorage, a 200-foot dock, waterskiing and boating rentals, a volleyball field, and two horseshoe pits. Hiking, fishing, and swimming are also among the park's recreation opportunities.
The Tri-Cities' stretch of the Columbia River is one of the country's premier hydroplane racecourses, which offers visitors a chance to witness high-speed races throughout the year—especially in the summer. The Columbia Cup races are held annually in late July, and the Tri-Cities Water Follies weekend encompasses all the festivities surrounding the annual races. During this annual event, you can enjoy pit tours, autograph sessions, food booths, an airshow, and more.
However, there are also plenty of other opportunities throughout the year to witness practice races and to see these boats speeding across the waters of the Columbia River. Other events hosted by Water Follies include the HAPO "Over the River" Airshow, the Grand Prix World Hydros, Spring Testing, and the Miss Tri-Cities Program.
Relax in Columbia Park
Spanning both sides of the river in Richland and Kennewick, Columbia Park is a 450-acre public park that features all the amenities you'd expect from a city park—barbecue and picnic areas, basketball courts, a disc golf course, bike trails, boat launches, and plenty of opportunities to fish, swim, and play along the banks of the Columbia River. Additionally, golfers can enjoy the park's 18-hole golf course or the driving range, and kids can splash around in the aquatic playground on hot summer days. Columbia Park is open from 6 a.m. through an hour after sunset year-round and is free for all to enjoy.
Covering 23 miles along both sides of the Columbia River, the Sacagawea Heritage Trail is ideal for walking, jogging, and biking. Paved and accessible, this trail passes through several parks and has a number of interpretive panels addressing the science and history of the local landscape. Access to the trail starts at the Columbia Point Marina Point in Richland and winds through the region to the Sacajawea State Park in Pasco.
Hanford's B Reactor is the world's first full-scale plutonium production reactor, which played an essential part in the Manhattan Project—the research and development project that resulted in the nuclear weapons used during World War II. This historic site, which is now safe for visitors, offers a limited number of scheduled tours each year, and advanced reservations are required to attend. As you tour the B Reactor facility, you'll see interpretive exhibits and artifacts and learn about the role that the Hanford B Reactor played in history.