This archipelago, made up of four main islands and several small islands not accessible by ferry, provides beautiful scenery and fun towns to explore. They are known for Moran State Park on Orcas Island, Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, and excellent whale-watching opportunities throughout the area.
The third largest city in the state is well known for its museums: the Museum of Glass, the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, the Tacoma Art Museum, and the Washington State History Museum. A few other points of interest include the Point Defiance Zoo and Aquarium, as well as the Tacoma Dome.
The Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway lies in the desert region of Washington State. The Grand Coulee Dam is the “largest hydropower generating facility” in the nation and provides 75% of the Pacific Northwest’s power. The area has captivatingly stark scenery, with opportunities to explore areas such as the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge.
The city of Port Angeles, with a population of approximately 20,000, lies right outside the Olympic National Park. With views of the Olympic Mountains to the south, the Canadian city of Victoria sits on the other side of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. The impressively scenic city is also the starting location for the Olympic Discovery Trail.
The state’s capitol building in Olympia is a sight to behold. The building, which cost seven million dollars to build before opening in 1928, has the tallest masonry dome in North America. Tours are available, including that of the five-ton Tiffany chandelier and the permanent sculptures.
One of two cities in the state to host the World’s Fair, Spokane is the second largest city in Washington. Not too far from the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture, the Riverfront Park is 100 acres set on the Spokane River and features a sculpture walk and a cable car providing views over Spokane Falls.
Lake Chelan National Recreation Area was created in 1968 along with the North Cascades National Park in which it resides. The 50-mile-long (80 km) lake is the third deepest natural lake in the nation and a popular annual destination for locals. Aside from the numerous opportunities for outdoor activities, there is also a nearby water park called Slidewaters.
This Bavarian-style town in Washington State was redesigned as a tourist destination in the 1960s after the decline of the logging and sawmill industries, which threatened the town’s existence. Now a scenic getaway, Leavenworth is known for its Nutcracker Museum and their Christmas Lighting Festival.
It’s not so much the ferries themselves that are so spectacular, but rather the views possible only from a ferry in the middle of the Puget Sound. Surrounded by water, vistas include the Cascade and Olympic Mountain ranges, islands, the Seattle skyline, and—if you’re lucky—some orca whales!
With more than 1.5 million visitors every year, Snoqualmie Falls is a 268-foot (81.6-meter) waterfall—that’s 100 feet (30.4 meters) taller than Niagara Falls! With hiking trails and observation points, the waterfall has attracted daredevils who have done a tightrope walk across it or parachuted into its canyon—some successfully and others to their death.
Approximately a half hour from the Canadian border, the northern city of Bellingham is enveloped by evergreen trees and Mt. Baker. Two points of interest, in particular, are the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention and the Whatcom Museum. Known as a more “hippie” section of the state, it is also the location of Western Washington University.
One of the locations to travel to on the previously mentioned ferries is Vashon Island. The 13-mile-long (21 km) island has 45 miles (72.4 km) of shoreline. It is a wonderful opportunity to experience the more relaxed, island life while still maintaining proximity to the major city of Seattle.
Dividing Oregon and Washington, the Columbia River Gorge is a canyon in which the Columbia River cuts through the Cascade Mountains. The 80 miles (128.7 km) of canyon drops down to 4,000 feet (1,219.2 m) deep.
The largest city in the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is one of the most popular attractions in the Evergreen State. Hosting the 1962 World’s Fair, it has since grown into a flourishing hub for technology and arts alike. Don’t miss the Seattle Center (with the Space Needle), the Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Pike Place Market.