Along with the colourful images comes a plethora of activities such as surfing, camping, whitewater rafting, horseback riding, paragliding, hiking, kayaking, climbing, cycling and more. And to top off all those images is the people and culture. Washington is an incredibly friendly state, whether it’s because they have the “west coast laid back-ness” or if they just really want to share, there is always someone friendly to help you find your way.
Places to Visit in Washington State
- Long Beach
- Skagit Valley
- Mount Baker
- San Juan Islands
- Vancouver WA
- La Conner
Unique Things to See and Do in Washington State
- See a concert overlooking the Columbia River at the Gorge Amphitheatre
- Stay in a seaside B&B on Whidbey Island
- Hike up Mount Rainier or visit the famous Mount St. Helens
- Photograph the colourful tulip festival in Skagit Valley
- Have lunch in the unique Bavarian town of Wenatchee
- Explore all the great wine tasting rooms in Walla Walla
- Devour raw oysters along the coastal Chuckanut Drive
- Enjoy a walking tour of Pike Place Market in Seattle
- Ski the slopes of Mount Baker
Activities Worth Exploring in Washington
Each state in the US has several distinctive geographical features that define the lifestyle and culture of the society. In Texas the land is expansive and perfect for raising cattle and BBQ parties; in California the beaches are long and the weather is hot, perfect for surfing communities; and in Washington the land has a combination of high altitude mountains and temperate rainforests, perfect for outdoor activities like hiking, canoeing, and camping.
Now along the coast we all know that it rains a lot in Seattle (155 days per year on average), but the rest of the state is varied and the rains provide a luscious evergreen forest. The Cascade Mountains run from north to south separating its coastal side with all its watery buildup from its drier eastern side which sits in the rain shadow of the Cascades. This dry eastern side is what gives Washington its agricultural crops of wheat, fruits, and wines.
Travelling through the regions of Washington is easiest by car and there are a few areas in particular that you’ll want to visit. Seattle for Pike Place Market, Pioneer Square, Seahawks games, Starbucks coffee, and a lively nightlife scene. Head to the Olympic Peninsula for crystal clear lakes, ocean front camping, and crimson sunsets. In the southeast region, like Walla Walla, You’ll find an abundance of wineries. In the interior regions of Washington you’ll find lots of lush green forest and volcanos, including Mount Rainer and Mount St.Helens.
Getting Around Washington State
By far the best way to travel around the state is by car. If you’re flying internationally, you can pick up a rental car at the Sea-Tac Airport. With a plethora of companies to chose from, the big names are Budget, Avis, Hertz, Enterprise, and Alamo. If you’re arriving in the height of the summer plan ahead and book your rental early. In the major metropolitan areas you won’t need to worry about services, however if you driving through the mountains or rural areas on Olympic Peninsula make sure to fill up your tank when possible. Gas stations can be sparse at times.
Train service in Washington is not that extensive and doesn’t offer many rural locations. Amtrak provides rail service along the coast from Vancouver, British Columbia, through Seattle and down into Portland, Oregon. Plus they have service heading east from Seattle to Spokane.
Did you know…?
More than a million visitors come from all over the world to see the Tulip Festival - a piece of Holland tradition in Washington State.
Did you ALSO know…?
This is taken directly from the Seattle Space Needle website: “On a hot day the Space Needle expands about one inch!”
Best Time of Year to Travel to Washington State
The driest months of the year are July and August, which also coincides with just about everyone’s summer vacation time with their families. The weather is warm and if you’re planning to head to the coast you won’t get hit with everyday rains. On the eastern side of the state, the temperatures are quite different and they really soar in the summer. Expect highs of 38C inland, whereas the coast could see highs of 25C with some cooler winds.
Fall is a great time to travel with fewer crowds and the days are still a bit warm. The colours of the trees are starting change and leaves are dropping. Fall festivals start up and all the winter activities start their programs again too, like theatre productions musicals, and the all time favourite football!
In the winter months, the temperatures along the coast only drop as low as 5C, but the precipitation rates are high with 100cm plus of rain and very grey skies. Closer to the Cascades is where you’ll find all the powdery white snow, particularly on the ski slopes of Mount Baker. And on the eastern side where there are high desert plains, the temperatures can drop below zero.
Ready to plan your visit to Washington? Check out these popular guides and trips.