Washington State lies in the middle of the Pacific Northwest. It is sandwiched between the beautiful British Columbia, and the outdoorsy Oregon. The Pacific Northwest is famous for its stunning scenery and abundance of nature-based activities. Washington is a great place to visit if you are an adventurer or a nature lover .
Best Places to Visit in Washington- There are many places to see in Washington, even if you’re not a fan of the outdoors. You will find charming towns and vibrant cities as well as a great wine region and a wide range of cuisines that will appeal to all foodies.
This area is home to me, and I have spent most of my adult life exploring it. For the purposes of this article, I’ve narrowed it to seven of my favorite Washington places.
Best Places to Visit in Washington
Best Places to Visit in Washington- Seattle, Washington is the most well-known tourist destination. It’s surrounded by mountains and the sea, but it’s a beautiful city.
The “Emerald City”, or as it is also known, has a youthful and energetic vibe. It also loves performing and visual arts. Seattle Center is home to the iconic Space Needle, and there are many festivals and events throughout the year. Two of my favorite events are Bumbershoot, and Bite Of Seattle.
Seattle is a paradise for foodies, with an abundance of restaurants offering both local and international cuisines. A visit to Pike Place Market, which has incredible displays of every kind of edible, is a must. Make sure you try fresh seafood and clam soup!
There are many neighborhoods to explore in this city. Pioneer Square is the original Seattle neighborhood. Fremont, aka The Center of the Universe, is a bohemian-inspired spot.
Belltown is a great place to find live music and nightlife. Capitol Hill is home to the vibrant LGBTQ community. You’ll also find the city’s top attractions in the Downtown, Queen Anne, Waterfront areas.
2. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park can be found on the beautiful Olympic Peninsula in Washington. It is one of the most popular places to visit in Washington State. The park covers almost 1 million acres. There are many unique ecosystems within this area, ranging from the rainforest to the coastline to the glacier-capped mountains peaks.
The Hoh Valley Rainforest, with its old-growth trees and moss-draped trees, is magical no matter the weather. This is a beautiful place to take a short hike. This National Park has many trails that are suitable for all levels of hikers. The most famous is the breathtaking Hurricane Ridge.
You will love the park’s 650 lakes and 15 river flows if you are a fan of water and all its activities. Lake Crescent and Lake Ozette are the largest, but you will be amazed at the number of alpine lakes.
Two hotsprings and several waterfalls are other watery wonders. Sol Duc Falls is a popular spot with easy access via a beautiful trail. Marymere Falls can be viewed from many platforms and is located along Lake Crescent.
There are also 73 miles of unspoiled, natural coastline that make Olympic National Park one of the best national parks in America! Although you will need to hike up many of these beaches, the breathtaking scenery at the end is well worth it. Rialto Beaches and Kalaloch Beaches can be reached by car if hiking is not an option.
Camping in the park offers the best way for you to experience nature at its most beautiful. With a Wilderness Camping Permit, you can camp on the beach. Second Beach is my favorite spot for camping, but it can be quite busy during the summer months.
Imagine driving from Seattle east for 2.5 hours to arrive in Bavaria. This is how it will feel when you visit Leavenworth in Washington.
One of my favorite Washington escapes is Leavenworth , a Bavarian-inspired town. This charming village is located at the foothills of the Cascade Mountains, and is surrounded with iconic Pacific Northwest scenery.
It is unique because the buildings were inspired by a Bavaria town. You feel transported to Europe when you walk into the downtown shops, restaurants, or hotels.
You’ll find everything you need to eat in the town, including German food, beer and clothing. Stop by the Munchen Haus to enjoy a bratwurst or pint of ale in an authentic beer garden setting.
Leavenworth is also known for its love of festivals. There are events and festivals almost every month. It is a great place to visit all year. The town lights up in Christmas spirit from December through Valentine’s Day. Every weekend in December, there is a lights festival with music and food that will fill you with holiday cheer.
Leavenworth hosts an amazing Oktoberfest to keep in line with this theme. Oompah bands will keep you entertained while you enjoy the German spirit of eating and drinking.
4. Lake Chelan
Washington is the Evergreen State because of its evergreen trees, and also because it gets so much rain that everything stays lush and green. Lake Chelan, north-central Washington, doesn’t follow that rule.
The climate around Lake Chelan is arid and desert with a low rainfall. There are four seasons. It is a popular spot for outdoor enthusiasts due to its 300-day average of sunshine.
The lake is 50 miles long. Washingtonians love to camp, watersports and relax in the sun during the summer months. You can also enjoy the beauty of Lake Chelan by glamping.
Lake Chelan is busiest season, but summer can get very hot.
Spring and fall offer great conditions for outdoor activities such as hiking, biking, golfing and other outdoor pursuits that can be done in cooler temperatures. You can also enjoy wine tasting at the Chelan wineries.
People from Seattle come to the area in winter to escape the grey skies and enjoy the blue skies and white powdery snow. Get active by snowshoeing, cross-country skiing and sledding.
Walla Walla Washington is a great place to enjoy wine tasting in beautiful surroundings. Walla Walla Valley, located about 300 miles from Seattle and straddling the Oregon border, is another favorite Washington getaway.
Due to the varied climates of the region, this fertile valley is able to produce a wide range of agricultural crops. You may see golden fields of wheat or rows of strawberries, onions and asparagus depending on the season.
Walla Walla is a renowned wine region with over 120 wineries and 3,000 acres of vineyards. Red varieties are most prominent, with Syrah leading the productions and Cabernet Sauvignon leading.
Walla Walla can be a little far to travel from any other place, so it is recommended that you stay at least two nights. You can choose from full-service hotels or quaint guesthouses, or unique boutique accommodations.
You’ll find great Walla Walla wine-tasting spots along with many wonderful restaurants and cafes lined the charming streets of downtown Walla Walla. It’s easy to discover the charming town by foot, with more than 30 tasting rooms and adorable little shops.
6. San Juan Islands
The archipelago of the San Juans, which is made up hundreds of islands between Washington State and Vancouver Island in British Columbia, is called the San Juans. Only 172 of these islands have been named.
The San Juan Islands are not accessible by bridges so you can only reach them by boat or air. Only four islands are accessible by ferry. You can access San Juan Island, Shaw Island Island, Orcas Island, and Lopez Island by car via Washington State Ferries starting in Anacortes, WA or Sydney, BC. You can also walk on passenger ferries.
Wildlife viewing is a top activity with more than 80 islands protected by the San Juan Wildlife Refuge. You are almost certain to see seals, sea lions and seabirds. You can actually see Orca whales year round in San Juans, by sea kayak.
Orcas Island is the largest, and it is home to Moran State Park. San Juan Island is the most populated and therefore is the most visited.
Friday Harbor, the main town of San Juan Island, is the perfect example of a charming Pacific Northwest seaport town. You don’t even need to drive if you are arriving by passenger ferry. The town is easily walkable. To explore the island, there is a trolley and shuttle bus.
Friday Harbor is home to many charming shops and restaurants. There are also no fast food chains. This is a great place to base yourself for wildlife viewing, kayaking, and whale watching.
7. Olympic Peninsula Coastal & Towns
Yes, Olympic National Park is a place I have already ranked as one of my favorite places in Washington. The entire Olympic Peninsula is amazing, so I am mentioning it again.
I love to travel to the Olympic Peninsula in summer and visit the charming little towns along the coast. Port Angeles, Ocean Shores and Port Townsend are some of my top picks.
Port Angeles is located on the northern coast of the peninsula and offers small-town charm with a variety of amenities. You can take a beautiful ferry ride from Victoria, BC to Port Angeles.
The picturesque Port Townsend was named ” One the America’s Best Small Towns“. It just oozes charm. It was once a Victorian seaport that had aspirations to be the largest harbor west of the Mississippi. Personally, I’m happy that it never happened.
Sequim is another great place to visit with its stunning views, heady lavender farms, and Olympic Game Farm. Ocean Shores offers a variety of beach activities, including some excellent surfing.
Other places of interest in the Olympic Peninsula include Dungeness Spit and Fort Worden State Park. Cape Flattery, Cape Flattery, Fort Worden State Park and the Ozette Triangle.
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