The 10 Most Beautiful Parks in Washington
Washington Park Arboretum | © Steve Ginn / Flickr
About two million people visited Washington State’s Mt. Rainier National Park in 2016. That same year, ranked alongside Yosemite and Yellowstone, the Olympic National Park was ranked the 7th most visited national park by National Geographic.
It’s no secret that the diverse landscape of the Evergreen State is one of its greatest qualities and main tourist attractions. But its national parks aren’t the only spaces offering lush green scenery and stunning views. Located in the heart of many of Washington’s cities are a number of breathtaking parks. Here are 10 of Washington State’s most beautiful parks.
This 220-acre park sits on the Western edge of Anacortes. Washington Park
’s expansive views of both the ocean and the San Juan Islands are seen along its 2.2-mile (3.5-kilometer) Fidalgo Head Loop Trail that starts at Green Point shoreline. Visitors can spot everything from paddling kayakers to bald eagles and seals to ferries making their way from one island to another.
With over three million visitors per year, Redmond’s Marymoor Park
is the oldest, most popular, and largest park in King County. Inside its 640 acres is an expansive off-leash dog park that boasts fields and a lengthy river for swimming. Visitors can take advantage of the park’s many recreational spaces, such as their rock climbing structure, biking trails, and sports and radio aircraft flying fields. Marymoor Park is a summer hot spot as well, with its popular concert series and outdoor movie nights.
Established in 1902, Pioneer Park
is the oldest park in the southwestern city that borders Oregon State, Walla Walla
. Pioneer Park’s most notable offerings are its outdoor aviary and historic Band Stand. Visitors can also enjoy the park’s popular rose garden, picnic areas, green spaces, walking trails, and ponds.
Situated on the shores of Bellingham is one of Washington’s most beautiful parks, Boulevard Park
. It’s known for its stretched overwater bridge that connects downtown Bellingham with the historic Fairhaven District. From above, visitors can spot anything from fish to starfish. The park offers lush greenery perfect for picnics and lounging. And students from the local university are often found studying in the sun or using the many trees for tightrope walking.
Priest Point Park
Established in 1905, Priest Point Park
is Olympia’s first waterfront park. Its name originates from the Catholic missionaries of the Oblates of Mary Immaculate who first arrived in the area in 1848. From picnic spaces to scenic trails to views of the Puget Sound, the 314-acre park offers the state’s capital an invigorating escape.
Fort Worden State Park
Underneath the Olympic Rain Shadow sits Port Townsend, a U.S. National Historic Landmark District. The small town is home to one of three military forts along the Admiralty Inlet, Fort Worden
. The other two, which make up the Puget Sound Triangle of Fire, are Fort Casey on Whidbey Island and Fort Flagler on Marrowstone Island. Fort Worden has been around since 1897 but officially closed in 1953. The park’s 2.1 miles (3.4 kilometers) of shoreline offer beaches, sea life sightings, and views of Mt. Baker and the San Juan Islands. With the fortifications still in place, Fort Worden is a maze of lush green trails and hidden edifices that visitors can climb on and explore.
Washington Park Arboretum
Park, Botanical Garden
covers 230 acres and hosts 5,500 different plants from around the world, the popular Japanese Garden, and boasts one of the largest Japanese Maple Tree collections. The beautifully maintained park located in the Madison Park neighborhood is a joint effort between the University of Washington and the City of Seattle. While any time of year is a good time to visit, spring and fall are certainly remarkable for the color and grandeur on display from the myriad plantings and native species.
Manito Park and Botanical Gardens
In the South Hill neighborhood sits one of Spokane’s most beautiful parks that is both open daily and free of charge. Manito Park
is 90 acres of biking and walking trails, open green spaces, playgrounds, topiary shrubs, and gardens, along with a greenhouse conservatory. On display in the Rose Hill Garden are 1,500 rose bushes representing over 150 varieties, and the Nishinomiya Japanese Garden lies at the corner of the park.
Luther Burbank Park
The Luther Burbank Park
offers everything from history to views of Lake Washington to three miles (4.8 kilometers) of pet-friendly trails. Named after the agricultural science pioneer Luther Burbank, who concocted a number of new types of fruits and vegetables, the park is home to a few oddities such as the Himalayan blackberry bushes. The waterfront public park sits at the northeast end of Mercer Island.
Situated in the Magnolia neighborhood is Seattle’s largest park, Discovery Park
. The park occupies over 500 acres of the Emerald City, and within that space are 11 miles (17.7 kilometers) of walking trails both in the tree-laden forest and on the shores of the Puget Sound. With stretching views of the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges, the park is a perfect destination for catching the Pacific Northwest’s orange sunrise and sunset.
These recommendations were updated on April 2, 2018 to keep your travel plans fresh.