Over spring break we spent some time in Washington's Palouse Prairie and visited the small towns of Dayton and Walla Walla. Spring time on the Palouse is an experience as you drive through the verdant green hills of grass and sprouting green crops.
Our first stop along our route was at Palouse Falls State Park, the state park has a spectacular 198ft water fall and many miles of trails. There is limited parking near the falls view point and you will need to purchase a Washington Discovery Pass. The view point is very spectacular year around as the river cascades over the cliff and into a massive canyon. The trail system at the state park is still under development and you do need to be careful on some of the user created trails since they can take you near numerable cliffs. We were not able to explore the trails as much as we would have liked since someone had fallen and emergency crews were on the scene assessing the situation.
After visiting Palouse Falls we headed to Historic Dayton. Dayton has a wide main street and many historic buildings. You can check out the old train depot just one block off of main street or check out the many well maintained historic building right on the main drag. There is a wonderful wine scene in town with many excellent restaurants. You will find many varieties of local wines at the restaurants in town. The dining options in town will defiantly keep you happy. There is the Petit Creek Restaurant, a four star french restaurant that attracts people from miles around to enjoy the delights. You can find a little more casual atmosphere at the Manila Bay Cafe, a quaint little restaurant with numerous dishes that will be sure to keep you happy and a great kids menu for the little ones. On busy weekends we defiantly recommend calling ahead for reservations since the restaurants are all pretty small with limited seating. Dayton is also home to Mule Mania days over Memorial Day Weekend. It is a fun and family friendly event that celebrates the often overlooked mule.
Just south of Dayton is Walla Walla and many more places to explore. Walla Walla also has a nice historic downtown area and some amazing dining options. Walla Walla is consider the capitol of Washingtons wine country and you will find numerable tasting rooms and wineries to visit.
Walla Walla has a unique combination of climate and has become home to one of the finest wine regions in the US, boasting more than 100 wineries and 2,800 acres of grapes. To get started on your wine tour check out this list.
The campgrounds recommended below are open during the spring time. There are also numerous campgrounds in the nearby national forest, but many don't open until Memorial Day weekend.
Palouse Falls State Park- There is limited camping here with bathrooms and the sites are all first come first serve.
Lyons Ferry Marina KOA - Located on the Snake River and right across from the Lyons Ferry State Park. The sites here all have shade and trees like a more traditional campground. If you want to spend some time on the Snake River then this is a great destination to call home.
Lewis and Clark Trail State Park - In between Dayton and Walla Walla is this state park which offers and great spot to stay while exploring Dayton or Walla Walla. There are 24 sites and you have access to the river and some short hiking trails.
Campervans available for rent in Boise, ID and Salt Lake City, UT.