Washington Quick Facts
Uniquely Washington: Geoducks, Orca Whales, Mt. Rainier
Must-See: Snoqualmie Falls
Most Unusual: Mt. St. Helens, sight of the 1980 eruption
Highest Point: Mt. Rainier, 14,410 feet
Food to Try: Clam Chowder and salmon from the Seattle Waterfront
What to Do in Washington
1 Ride the ferry boats
2 Hike in the rain forest
3 See a banana slug
4 Feast on seafood
5 Go whale watching
6 Sleep under the stars
7 Hike through a pine forest
Off The Beaten Path | Washington
Washington State is a great destination throughout the year. In the northwest region the weather is mild even during the winter, although there is quite a lot of rain. Summertime in Washington is amazingly beautiful with the warm sun and green plants. Visitors to Washington will find that although the eastern and western parts of the state are very different, there are all sorts of fun things to do on both sides of the mountains. Throughout the state visitors will find plenty of recreation, delightful towns, stunning island vistas and even ferry rides. Here are just a few of the state's amazing destinations in no particular order.
The little town of Leavenworth lies at the base of the Cascade Mountains. Leavenworth is an especially fun destination in Washington because the entire town has adopted a Bavarian Theme. Visitors to Leavenworth can enjoy the Bavarian homes, shops and even restaurants. Leavenworth is also a great destination for year-round recreation. The town is near to Lake Wenatchee, the Wenatchee National Forest and much more. It is a great rock-climbing spot, visitors can also try some ag-tourism to learn about the areas agriculture including berry farms and orchards. Leavenworth is also a great winter destination, the town has Bavarian themed holiday celebrations, and it is a great spot for cross-country skiing as well as many more winter activities. Visitors to Leavenworth may also want to take the short trip to nearby Cashmere, for a tour of the famous Aplets & Cotlets Factory and Country Store, where visitors can enjoy some of Washington's unique candy.
San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are an ideal northwest Washington vacation getaway. They are remote and filled with Washington's natural beauty. Located in the Salish Sea between Vancouver, BC and Seattle, there are over 700 islands, and less than 200 have names. Visitors will find that access to the islands is limited to ferry, private boat or plane, and only four of the islands are accessible by ferry. These four islands are Shaw Island, Lopez Island, Orcas Island and San Juan Island. Each of these four islands has unique character as well as unique geography. On the islands visitors can enjoy the extensive shoreline, wildlife and plenty of recreation. Visitors can enjoy biking, boating, camping and more. Each of these main islands also has a small town with unique shops, museums, local farms and the delightful local farmers markets. Whale watching is also a great activity that visitors to the island can enjoy.
Mount St. Helens
On May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted, sending ash all the way into eastern Washington and beyond. The eruption and a large earthquake caused the north face of the mountain to collapse and creating a devastation pyroclastic mud flow. The eruption lasted for nine hours. After the eruption, in 1982 the President and Congress created the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, which set aside 11,000 acres for research, education and recreation, and the environment was left to respond to the eruption naturally. Today visitors to the mountain can climb the mountain with a permit. Those visitors that climb the mountain can see the lava dome that was building, but which now appears to have stopped. Visitors to Mount St. Helens that want to climb the mountain should always check mountain conditions and warnings before going up as it is still an active volcano. Other features of the mountain include the Johnson Ridge Observatory, the Silver Lake Visitor Center and the Coldwater Lake Recreation Area, all of which are great places to learn about the history of the mountain, and seeing how the environment has responded to the eruption.
Bainbridge Island is located in the Puget Sound, just an easy 35 minute ferry ride from Seattle. A day trip to Bainbridge is a great way to enjoy the culture of the Puget Sound while getting away from the city. Visitors first have to take the ferry ride from Seattle to the Island. Riding the ferry is a fun way to see great vistas of Bainbridge Island and Seattle, you may even be lucky enough to see some whales on the ridge during certain times of the year. Visitors to Bainbridge Island do not have to drive their car, as the main town of Winslow is a very short walk from the ferry. Winslow is full of cute shops and plenty of local arts and culture. Visitors to Bainbridge Island will also find some excellent dining options. If you decide to drive on the ferry there are many more fun things to do on the Island. During the summer there are many nice beaches that visitors can have picnics and swim in the cold water. Bainbridge also has some very nice parks worth visiting including Fort Ward State Park on the south end of the island and Battle Point State Park, which has a nice walk and duck ponds.
The Methow Valley is a particularly stunning part of the North Cascades and it is a great destination for recreation. The Methow Valley extends from the town of Mazama to the town of Pateros, with Twisp and Winthrop inbetween. Visitors to the Methow Valley will find that Lake Chelan, the Okanogan National Forest and the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area are nearby. At the northern end of the valley is the town of Mazama which is just 30 miles from the Canadian border. Pateros is located at the southern end of the valley and is nestled in a curve of the Columbia River. Visitors will find all sorts of recreation and fun throughout the area. In Chelan visitors can try some great Washington wines. One of the longest cross-country ski trails in the world passes through Mazama, Cross-country skiers will love this 120 mile trail. Twisp, located at the confluence of the the Twisp and Methow Rivers is a great spot to enjoy some river rafting. The area is also a good spot to enjoy wilderness trips, golfing, hot air ballooning, hiking, biking, camping, nature watching, rock climbing, a variety of water sports and even winter sports.
Dry Falls State Park
As you may have guessed from the name, the Dry Falls no longer carry water. In fact, these amazing falls are the remnant of what was once the largest waterfall know to have existed on Earth. Visitors to the Dry Falls will see the 3.5 miles of sheer cliffs that drop 400 feet, which is a little over twice the drop of Niagara Falls. The Dry Falls were created by the collapse of one of the ice dams that held back the waters of the Glacial Lake Missoula. The flood that followed eventually created the Dry Falls. Visitors to Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park can learn all about the geological process that created these amazing falls at the Interpretive Center located in Sun Lake State Park in Coulee City. At the foot of the Dry Falls visitors will find over 73,000 feet of freshwater shoreline. Visitors to this area might also want to stop and enjoy some of the areas many lakes, as well as the Grand Coulee Dam and Coulee City.
The Dungeness Spit is the longest natural sand spit in the country, the spit extends five miles into the Strait of Juan de Fuca and it grows about 15 feet each year. The Dungeness Spit is located just north of the town of Sequim and it is encompassed in the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge. The refuge has over 200 species of birds as well as many species of marine animals. The refuge is over 600 acres and is open daily from dawn to dusk, but access is limited to horseback or foot. Visitors may wan to take the hike out to see the New Dungeness Lighthouse, the lighthouse is located near the tip of Sandy Hook and has a great little museum. Also near the spit is the Dungeness Recreation Area, which has over 200 acres of shoreline which is a great destination for all types of marine recreation. Visitors to this area won't want to miss a stop in Sequim. This town has a great downtown area, and be sure not to miss breakfast or lunch at the amazing Oak Table Cafe. The Olympic Game Farm is also a great destination. Visitors will find a wide variety of animals during their drive through the farm, including zebras, bears, elk, buffalo and much more.
Washington | Fun and Funky Things to Do
Washington is a beautiful state, filled with natural wonders and interesting activities. If you happen to be a visitor to Washington and are looking for some places and attractions to visit that are a little out of the ordinary, here are a few ideas.
Wild Horse Monument
This delightful sculpture collection is located on the east side of the Columbia River near the town of Vantage in Central Washington. The large sculptures were made by local artist David Govedare. Drivers on Interstate 90 can see the large silhouettes on the hill above. If there is enough time, drivers should stop to see the sculptures up close. When exploring the monument, visitors can see that the sculptures are made from welded steel plates and that no two of the sculptures are alike.
Visitors to Seattle should take the time to to explore this amazing sculpture located under the Aurora Bridge. The Fremont Troll peers to the south from underneath the bridge. Visitors to Seattle have been enjoying the unique sculpture since 1990. The head and shoulders of the troll stand 18 feet tall. Visitors and residents alike love to climb onto the troll to pose for unique Seattle photos.
Grand Coulee Dam Laser Light Show
The Grand Coulee Dam features a laser light show daily. Visitors can best see the free light show from the parking lot. The laser light show is displayed on the face of dam, with the water cascading down. Throughout the show there are fun laser light formations, with music and the show is narrated by the Columbia River brought to life.
Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
Located on the downtown Seattle waterfront, the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop is a must see destination for all visitors to Seattle. The shop is filled to the brim with amazing and quirky curios. These curios are displayed throughout the store, some even hang from the ceiling. Visitors come away from the shop with unique souvenirs of Seattle. Be sure to keep an eye out for the shop's resident Mummies.
Mima Mounds Natural Area
In the south Puget Sound, visitors to Washington can stop and visit one of the country's natural curiosities. Each mound is six to eight feet tall, these mounds are spread across the over 600 acres of the preserve. Visitors to the Mima Mounds Natural Area can walk along the interpretive trail to really see the repetitive pattern of the mounds. There is also an observation deck where visitors can see the mounds from above. There are many theories about the origins of the mounds.