Washington State is filled with incredible attractions, cities, and natural phenomena. There is so much to explore that even the main tourist destinations are only a snippet of everything the Evergreen State has to offer. On that note, here are some worthwhile experiences that aren’t so touristy.
Destinations Unlocked:Let our travel expert Stefano help you find your perfect Culture trip
Looking for an expert's perspective?Uncover my top 3 recommended places from each continent on the map.
1. GuatemalaAn express adventure for those with limited time off. Prepare yourself incredible experiences. You will hike a volcano, visit mayan temples and witness a ceremony and take in beautiful colonial Antigua.
2. BelizeA quick trip not too far away for those seeking a relaxing mini break. You will have plenty of free time to relax but also some awesome activities to experience the rainforest and the caribbean sea.
3. MexicoAn exciting mini trip exploring the lesser known colonial towns of central Mexico. This is hte perfect trip for someone with limited time off and still wants to turn on explorer mode and do something different.
1. EcuadorA remarkable 8 days adventure through the Andes and the Amazon rainforest. The best choice for adventure seekers wishing to visit the 2 most iconic areas of South America, in only 1 week and no flights.
2. PeruAn alternative itinerary to classic Peru, from Cusco to Arequipa. This itinerary is great combination of highlights Cusco and Machu Picchu with the lesser known Arequipa and Colca Canyon.
1. ItalyThe ultimate Italian experience from the vibrant streets of Naples to the breathtaking sceneries of the Amalfi Coast followed by Matera and down to Puglia with its golden beaches, intense flavours and fascinating destinations.
2. ScotlandEmbark on this great adventure starting from London all the way to Scotland with a true Scottish experience made of breathtaking sceneries, whisky tasting and ..lots of fun! Ideal for train lovers and explorers.
3. PortugalA wonderful train journey around Portugal, from the romantic city of Porto to the Douro Valley, to the beautiful Aveiro all the way to Lisbon and Sintra. The perfect trip to train, culinary and culture lovers.
1. South KoreaDiscover incredible temples, mountains and modern cities on this 10 day adventure. This trip is perfect for those seeking immersion in the cuisine, culture and natural wonders of South Korea.
2. ThailandFrom Bankgok to Angkor Wat to Ho Chi Minh City and everything in between - adventure through the heart of South-East Asia. Taste the delights, see history brought to life and unwind on a Mekong River cruise.
3. Sri LankaA fantastic adventure that showcases Sri Lanka's fantastic landscapes, wildlife and flavours. With 3 epic rail journeys, 3 UNESCO heritage sites and time to relax, this trip has loads to offer at a great price
1. MoroccoAn epic journey across Morocco: from Casablanca to Marrakech, through the blue city of Chefchaouen to the wonders of the desert and deep to the High Atlas Mountains - this trip has it all! Ideal for true explorers!
2. EgyptFrom Cairo to Aswan, this trip brings the land of the pharaohs to life. You'll visit the Pyramids, Valley of the Kings and Luxor Temple and cruise down the Nile in style. This is the perfect way to explore Egypt.
Olympic Hot Springs
Located in the northern area of the Olympic National Park, the Olympic Hot Springs include 21 seeps with water ranging from lukewarm to 139 degrees Fahrenheit. According to the National Park Service, the pools “are not monitored or maintained and may contain high levels of fecal coliform bacteria”. Still, visitors trek the 4.8 miles (7.73 km) round trip with a 600-feet (182.88-m) elevation gain to dip into the pools. Note that a National Park Pass is required for entry.
Ladder Creek Falls and Gardens
The Ladder Creek Falls and Gardens are available year-round. What really makes this waterfall special is the light show that goes with it every night from dusk to around midnight. Located in the North Cascades, the trail leading to the area is no longer than a half-mile round trip.
Port Angeles Underground
Flooding concerns around the turn-of-the-century motivated Port Angeles to raise their city in 1914. Leaving behind a maze of old roads and tunnels, visitors now have the opportunity to see what remains through the Port Angeles Underground and Heritage Tours. Tickets are no more than $15 per person. The seasonal Haunted Underground Tour costs a few more dollars.
One of the few private castles in the nation, and the only one on the West Coast, Thornewood Castle was built in 1908. Taking three years to build, the castle includes 27,000 square feet of space with 54 rooms, 22 bedrooms, and 22 baths – all under one roof. Now a bed and breakfast, the castle was the haunted house in Stephen King’s “Rose Red” mini-series. After its ghostly role, reports of paranormal activity at the castle began to come forward. As this is a private residence, there are no tours and visitors are not allowed on the property without a reservation for a room or event.
This “living history museum project” is a village portraying rural England in 1376. The non-profit was incorporated in 1984 with the intent of preserving lost arts and values, allowing visitors to explore their heritage. Camlann Village has feasts and festivals, but otherwise maintains a modest village life and offers dinner at the Bors Hede Inne. In each event, in-costume interpreters guide visitors through life in the 14th-century with information based on in-depth research of the time-period.
The Brautigan Library
The Brautigan Library is different than any other library in that it exclusively collects books that are unpublished. The purpose of the library is to allow for public reading of manuscripts that are worth reading, but don’t cut it in mainstream publication spheres. This allows authors to explore writing with less boundaries. The library currently has over 300 unpublished, analog manuscripts and is curated by John Barber, a faculty member of The Creative Media & Digital Culture program at Washington State University.
Marsh’s Free Museum
“Enter and be entertained or annoyed by Dada in Walla Walla.” Challenging, well, everything – from social expectations to the very definition of art – Gerry Matthews’ museum was born from a desire for a display of a less factual, potentially offensive, point of view on the world than, say, a museum of natural history. Opening his “museum” every Saturday from 10 am to 2 pm, the collection is all his own work, which he describes as “opinionated, satiric iconoclastic creations of questionable taste.”
Point Roberts is a small town that became forgotten when Canada and the U.S. agreed on a border. Though part of Washington State, the only way to get to it on land is through Canada. With a population of just over 1,300, the five square miles of city don’t even offer public education after primary school. Students have to cross the Canadian border twice over a 40-minute commute just to get to the nearest U.S. public school – not to mention the return trip.
As the video below shows, this mysterious hill allows the defiance of gravity. Beginning at the helpfully spray-painted start-line, vehicles are able to roll up a hill in neutral without so much as touching the gas pedal. Don’t believe it? Check out Gravity Hill for yourself!
Goldendale Observatory State Park
In the 1960s, a telescope was built by amateur-astronomers, who then donated their creation to the town of Goldendale in 1973 for the purpose of a public observatory. Today the observatory houses several telescopes, including the original gift, which is now one of the largest public telescopes in the U.S. Set on the hills near the Columbia River, the observatory is well-located for optimal viewing.
Yep – Washington State has wallabies, too! The Fall City Wallaby Ranch is USDA-certified for breeding Gray and Albino Bennett’s Wallabies and Red kangaroos. Options include adoption of these cuties or tours, including education of and interaction with the animals.
Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge
The Maryhill Museum of Art was opened in 1940 after the death of its founder, Samuel Hill. The museum building was intended originally to be his house, but failing industry in the area required creative solutions. With the help of friends in France’s art circles, including Queen Marie of Romania and Loïe Fuller, the transformation into a museum was possible. Today’s permanent collections include August Rodin, Art Nouveau Glass, and the Outdoor Sculpture Collections. Admission is no more than $9 per person. The nearby Stonehenge Memorial honors the fallen heroes in World War I.
Less “experiences” and more interesting things to see, check out natural phenoma such as The Ape Cave, Snoqualmie Tunnel, Blue Lake Rhino Cave, Big Four Ice Caves, and Twin Sisters as well as man-made (or at least man-affected) sights including the Bicycle Tree, Temple of Power, Hobbit House, North State Hospital Farm (creepy-factor), and the Garbage Eating Goat Statue.
Volcanic Iceland Epic Trip
meet our Local Insider
HOW LONG HAVE YOU BEEN A GUIDE?
WHAT DO YOU LOVE ABOUT YOUR JOB?
It's the personal contact, the personal experiences. I love meeting people from all over the world... I really like getting to know everyone and feeling like I'm traveling with a group of friends.
WHAT DESTINATION IS ON YOUR TRAVEL BUCKET-LIST?
I have so many places on my list, but I would really lobe to go to Africa. I consider myself an “adventure girl” and Africa feels like the ULTIMATE adventure!
Every CULTURE TRIP Small-group adventure is led by a Local Insider just like Hanna.
KEEN TO EXPLORE THE WORLD?
Connect with like-minded people on our premium trips curated by local insiders and with care for the world
Since you are here, we would like to share our vision for the future of travel - and the direction Culture Trip is moving in.
Culture Trip launched in 2011 with a simple yet passionate mission: to inspire people to go beyond their boundaries and experience what makes a place, its people and its culture special and meaningful — and this is still in our DNA today. We are proud that, for more than a decade, millions like you have trusted our award-winning recommendations by people who deeply understand what makes certain places and communities so special.
Increasingly we believe the world needs more meaningful, real-life connections between curious travellers keen to explore the world in a more responsible way. That is why we have intensively curated a collection of premium small-group trips as an invitation to meet and connect with new, like-minded people for once-in-a-lifetime experiences in three categories: Culture Trips, Rail Trips and Private Trips. Our Trips are suitable for both solo travelers, couples and friends who want to explore the world together.
Culture Trips are deeply immersive 5 to 16 days itineraries, that combine authentic local experiences, exciting activities and 4-5* accommodation to look forward to at the end of each day. Our Rail Trips are our most planet-friendly itineraries that invite you to take the scenic route, relax whilst getting under the skin of a destination. Our Private Trips are fully tailored itineraries, curated by our Travel Experts specifically for you, your friends or your family.
We know that many of you worry about the environmental impact of travel and are looking for ways of expanding horizons in ways that do minimal harm - and may even bring benefits. We are committed to go as far as possible in curating our trips with care for the planet. That is why all of our trips are flightless in destination, fully carbon offset - and we have ambitious plans to be net zero in the very near future.