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There is still time to squeeze in a summer vacation

Last week marked the end of summer school for students throughout the Yakima Valley, and with only four more weeks of summer left there is still time to take a quick family vacation before school is back in session.

Living in the Yakima Valley put families in a great place to take last minute vacations, with Portland, Seattle and Spokane each being less than four hours away.

Dottie Cervantes with Travel Connection in Sunnyside said there are plenty of options for families looking to squeeze one last vacation in before school starts.

Cervantes said families could easily load up the kids and take a long weekend trip to places like Leavenworth and Silverwood, which is located near Coeur d'Alene.

Another option is to take the kids to a large metropolitan area, like Portland. Cervantes said Portland has a lot to offer visitors, from the Oregon Museum of Science and Industry to the lively Saturday Market.

"It's like a blast from the past," Cervantes said of the market, which offers everything from homemade crafts to tie-dyed t-shirts.

Just across the Columbia River from Portland is Vancouver. Cervantes said children will enjoy taking a tour of historic Fort Vancouver.

"It's always good to give kids a bit of history," Cervantes said.

She added that Seattle is always a fun way to spend a weekend. Cervantes said families can take in a wide range of sights, from the aquarium to the Woodland Park Zoo and the Space Needle.

But families don't have to travel a long way to find a vacation destination. Cervantes said in Toppenish families can tour the murals, have a nice dinner and then spend the night in an authentic Native American tee-pee.

"There is just so much to do in this area," Cervantes said.

She said the Tri-Cities is a hotbed of activity for travelers. Families can take a walk through Columbia Park, picnic on the river's edge, watch a Tri-City Dust Devils game and finish the day with a cruise of the Columbia River.

In Granger, Cervantes said family members can challenge each other to a game of miniature golf, and then they can rent a paddle boat in Hisey Park.

A destination that is little more off of the beaten path is a trip to the Ginko Petrified Forest, located near Vantage. The petrified forest offers families a chance to take a look at science in action, as well as see some unique landscapes.

For those who want to make a vacation out of a simple shopping trip to Yakima or the Tri-Cities, don't have to look very far to give their children a different view point. Cervantes suggests taking the long way when going to these everyday destinations. She said taking the back roads gives the whole family a new perspective.

"It gives you a chance to see all sorts of things," Cervantes said.

In the end, Cervantes said the Yakima Valley and the surrounding area offers families many opportunities to take one last trip before school starts later this month.

"There's a lot do," Cervantes said.

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