There is quite simply no more beautiful place during the summertime than the Pacific Northwest. Towering, jagged peaks reflect off deep blue water, as giant clear skies contrast with the deep green of the well-watered forests. The air is a pleasant 78, the humidity is low, and the people who live there are gleeful to be out from the grey blanket they usually live under.
That’s why going to Seattle or Portland is a perfect summer trip. And while both those cities have plenty to offer, getting out and seeing the nature that surrounds them is as much a part of the trip as Pioneer Square or the Voodoo Donuts shop. And this summer, ReachNow — BMW’s car-share service that allows you to tool around town in a Bimmer for cheap — is making that nature fully accessible to everyone. And free.
ReachNow’s new “Wild Within Reach” program is giving its members free admission to all the state parks in Washington and Oregon, all summer long. So you can hit spots like the very not-disappointing Cape Disappointment on the Washington coast or the Trail of 10 Falls at Silver Falls in Oregon at no extra cost.
“With more and more people in urban areas forgoing car ownership to avoid traffic and parking headaches, getting outside the city has become a greater challenge,” said Laura Gonia, head of marketing for ReachNow said in a press release. “ReachNow members can find a car within walking distance and take a road trip without the need to plan ahead.”
The whole experience isn’t free, mind you. But it still makes for an amazingly affordable way to take in all that glorious nature through the open sunroof of a snazzy new BMW. ReachNow has a one-time $15 sign-up fee, but is giving out $15 credits to new members — essentially paying you five bucks to sign up.
Download the app and you’ll have access to a whole fleet of BMWs, most of which are within walking distance of anywhere you’d want to be in Seattle or Portland. Cars rent from 45 cents a minute to $80 a day. Slightly more than Enterprise, but more convenient than getting to a rental-car agency anywhere other than the airport. Also, you’re in a BMW, not whatever motorized roller skate they’re calling a midsize now.
Once you’re in your car, you’ll find it equipped with a state park pass for whichever state you’re in. So you can just roll through the front gates like you own the joint.
You can make the experience even cheaper by doing what you already do and social media-ing the hell out of your state park getaway. Post a picture of yourself by the shores of Lake Wenatchee or in a cabin over the sea at Cape Lookout, tag @reachnow and #WildWithinReach, and you’ll get another $10 off. Plus, ReachNow will donate $30 to the Washington and Oregon State Park Foundations for every visit you make. So you can feel even better about yourself while tearing up the highway in a new 3 series.
The whole deal runs through September 3rd. No word on whether the promotion will run longer, or extend into other states as the weather cools off and skies in the northwest return to their familiar grey. But, if you’re headed that way this summer, or live there now, you’ve got more access to nature than ever before. And a decidedly-cool way to see it.