Welcome to Washington
Washington isn’t just a state — it’s a state of mind. Home to thousand-year-old trees, windswept beaches and towering volcanoes crowned with glaciers, the Evergreen State gives a whole new meaning to “the great outdoors.” Look past Mother Nature’s flawless creations and you’ll uncover urban enclaves overflowing with iconic landmarks, hip neighborhoods and some of the best wine and coffee in North America.
Wine in Walla Walla
Head southeast from Seattle long enough and you’ll wind up in Walla Walla wine country. You can unlock the secrets of wine making and sample premium vintages at famous wine estates such as Seven Hills, Three Rivers and Woodward Canyon.
Life in the Emerald City
You’ll never get bored or hungry in Seattle. Indulge in everything from hearty bowls of chowder to flaky Russian pastries at the legendary Pike Place Market. Just a stone’s throw away is the very first Starbucks location and the historic waterfront with popular attractions like the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop, Seattle Aquarium and Seattle Great Wheel. Don’t leave the city without visiting the colossal troll sculpture in the artsy Fremont district and admiring sweeping skyline views from the top of the Space Needle.
Climbing dreams become a reality in Mount Rainer National Park. Draped in dense forest and glaciers, Mount Rainer is an active volcano soaring over 14,000 feet into the sky. Drive the Road to Paradise to easily reach high elevations and traverse a network of trails and climbing routes at the top. Carve some time out to explore the massive thousand-year-old trees in the Grove of Patriarchs and admire panoramic views of the Puget Sound basin near the Paradise Visitor Center.
A trip to Cape Disappointment State Park is far from disappointing. Eight miles of trails lead to secluded coves and the west coast’s oldest functioning lighthouse. The park also marks the end of the Lewis and Clark expedition. You can learn more about the epic journey and find a vantage point for humpback whale spotting from the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center.
Trails of the Pacific Northwest
With over 400 miles of trails winding through alpine lakes and rugged peaks, the North Cascades National Park east of Seattle packs in enough hikes to last a lifetime. If your time is limited, take the Horseshoe Basin Trail, which covers a glacier and 15 waterfalls.
Summertime’s the right time in Washington. On July 4, revelers can watch fireworks choreographed to musical scores at the Seafair Summer Fourth. Also in July, the Sequim Lavender Festival invites you to capture stunning photos in its vibrant purple fields on the Olympic Peninsula’s north coast. A diverse food court, live music and over 150 booths selling crafts and lavender products can be enjoyed as well. In August, dance the days away at the North Cascades Bluegrass Festival, or attend the Omak Stampede to watch horses and riders compete in the famous Suicide Race.
Olympia’s Old World Charm
Washington may be one of America’s youngest states, but you’ll still manage to find an impressive collection of historic architecture in Olympia. The magnificent State Capitol Building was designed in 1911 and hosts free tours every day of the week. Constructed in 1892, the Old Capitol Building is worth a look-see, too, for its castle-like appearance. Some of the town’s oldest residences also are open to the public, such as the Bigelow House and Museum and Crosby House Museum.
Marine Life Havens
Located in between Washington and Vancouver Island, the San Juan archipelago comprises of more than 170 islands, and over 80 of them are protected under the San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge. Orcas reside in the waters year-round, giving boaters, kayakers and beachcombers a remarkable show. To the south, along the Pacific Ocean, Long Beach Peninsula is home to one the longest beaches in the United States. Its coast is sprinkled with seafood markets serving up the freshest salmon, halibut and tuna. If you’d rather catch your own meal, take a fishing charter out of nearby Ilwaco to snag some of the finest seafood in the Pacific Northwest.