It’s the last weekend for the Seattle Boat Show.

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It’s been a great year for winter recreation fans, with plenty of snow in the mountains for skiing, snowshoeing, tubing and other winter fun. For many Northwesterners, though, February is the time to start thinking spring. It doesn’t officially arrive until March 20, but the days are getting a bit longer and temperatures a bit less chilly.

The Seattle Boat Show has plenty of inspiration and information to plan for nice days, though boating season never really stops around here. Friday and Saturday, Feb. 3 and 4, are the final days of this year’s show with boats, accessories and seminars at CenturyLink Field Event Center and on the water at South Lake Union.

While we’re looking ahead to summer, it’s a good time to start planning a visit to our Washington State Parks and National Parks. Tent and RV camping are always popular, but if that’s not your style, cabins and yurts with simple furnishings, electricity and heat are available at many state parks for vacations with rustic outdoor charm without roughing it. They’ve been so popular that 34 new sites have been added in the past few years, including cabins at Dash Point State Park in Federal Way, Dosewallips and Belfair on Hood Canal and Deception Pass on Whidbey Island, one of the most popular state parks.

Seattle Boat Show

CenturyLink Field Event Center: 11 a.m. to 9 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 8 p.m. Saturday, Feb. 3-4, 800 Occidental Ave. S., Seattle

South Lake Union: 11 a.m. to 5 p.m. Friday, 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Saturday, Chandler’s Cove, 901 Fairview Ave. N., Seattle; free shuttle between locations

Cost: $14; $5/ages 11-17, ages 10 and younger free; see website for specials and discounts

More info: 206-634-0911 or

Washington State Parks


National Parks

Northwest Flower & Garden Show

Time: 9 a.m. to 8 p.m. Feb. 22-25, 9 a.m. to 6 p.m. Feb. 26

Location: Washington State Convention Center, 705 Pike St., Seattle

Cost: $5-$22, ages 12 and younger free; shuttle $22/round trip

More info: 253-756-2121 or

Park accommodations near ocean beaches include recently added cabins at Twin Harbors State Park. Furnished with a queen-size futon, bunk bed, table and chairs, the cabins are heated and include an outdoor picnic table and fire pit, with bathrooms and showers nearby. Other options near ocean beaches include yurts at Pacific Beach State Park and Grayland Beach State Park and cabins at Cape Disappointment State Park on the shore of Lake O’Neil. Prices for cabin and yurt reservations vary from approximately $45 to $89 a night, depending on location and time of year.

Popular options for accommodations and campsites at state and national parks often fill early, especially for summer weekends. Planning an outdoor summer getaway might be a good conversation starter at Sunday’s Super Bowl gatherings with friends and family. Accommodations can be reserved nine months in advance for Washington State Parks and six months in advance for National Parks that take reservations; camping is first-come, first-served at many locations and nonpeak season dates.

Another note looking ahead to spring: early-bird tickets are on sale for the Northwest Flower and Garden show with display gardens, vendors and seminars, Feb. 22 to 26, at the Washington State Convention Center, Seattle. This year, showgoers can avoid downtown driving and parking with shuttle service to and from the show available by advance reservation from Shoreline, Federal Way, Kirkland and Issaquah locations.