What to Do in Washington State in May

spring is in full swing, meaning most of the events and festivals across the state are outdoors. Just remember, though, it’s always raincoat season in Washington.

Spring Release Weekend

May 6–8

The panoramic Blue Mountains of Walla Walla surround wineries and tasting rooms eager to dispatch newly released wines, with some special releases only available in-person among the region’s brilliant blooms and live music. Also in town, Pioneer Park houses performances, local vendors, and (weather permitting) bounce houses in the annual Spring Fling.

Pacific NW Offshore Yacht Race

May 12–15

In its 46th iteration, crews put their sailing, navigation, tactical skills, and endurance to the test while racing up the coast from Ilwaco to Port Angeles. Onlookers and boating fans kick off the offshore battle with Ilwaco’s annual Blessing of the Fleet before heading inland for local seafood or a jaunt along the nearby Discovery Trail.

Cascadia International Women’s Film Festival

May 12–15

Bellingham brings the world to their big screens in celebration of creative films directed by women. Viewings of short pictures and features, a script-writing workshop, after parties, and discussion panels live in theaters and venues around the coastal city.


May 13–15

Leavenworth’s Bavarian traditions return to usher in springtime with a host of events each weekend of May. Expect maypole dancing, Bavarian music, flower crowns, a cider tour, a Festzug march led by town folk dressed in their Bavarian best, and alphorn concerts signifying spring has sprung.

Pacific Coast Running Festival

May 13–15

Six human-powered racing events span the world’s longest beach over the weekend. Active vacationers choose from the Tour de Pacific Bike Tour, half marathon, 10k, sunset 5k, and three kids events to fill time in picturesque Long Beach. Talk about an unplugged family vacation.

Spokane Lilac Festival

May 16–21

The tulips of Skagit Valley may be topped by now, but there’s a new bloom to buzz about: Spokane’s lilacs. An art show, torchlight military parade, vintage car displays, and gala complete with dinner and dancing (in the style of Bridgerton, no less) rounds out the annual celebration. Plant lovers traipse through over 100 varieties of blossoms in Manito Park’s designated lilac garden. New this year, a brewfest showcasing libations hailing from 16 local breweries adds to the festivities.

viking fest

May 20–22

Norway’s Constitution Day celebration takes form in Poulsbo’s family-friendly event with carnival rides, a parade with traditional Norwegian attire, and a massive two-pound donut-eating contest in true, uh, Viking style. After stomaching that, the Viking group ride takes bikers of all levels on a journey through the Kitsap Peninsula and historic Poulsbo.

Brinnon ShrimpFest

May 28–29

It’s your typical county fair complete with carnival rides, crafts, food vendors, and a beer garden, but all to celebrate the Hood Canal spot shrimp. Seafood lovers won’t leave hungry, as shrimp specials abound and tides on nearby public beaches are typically low enough for clam- and oyster-harvesting missions.

Ski to Sea

May 29

Teams of outdoor folk hurry from Mt. Baker to Bellingham Bay in the original multisport relay race. Groups of three to seven racers traverse 93 miles on cross country skis, downhill skis, running shoes, road bikes, canoes, cyclocross bikes, and sea kayaks in one long day. Teammates and spectators gather in Bellingham’s Marine Park to cheer for finishing racers.

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