Perhaps you’ve hiked the Rockies or indulged in a wine tasting in Napa Valley. Maybe you’ve rafted, trekked and cycled your way around a National Park a time or two. But if you haven’t visited Washington, you haven’t experienced one of the country’s most fascinating places.
No matter what your travel style, Washington state has an activity for you. From bustling cities to serene mountain hideaways, the state boasts a wide range of attractions, including internationally recognized parks and some of the country’s most up-and-coming wineries. Check out our top reasons to visit the ‘Evergreen State.’
Mountains Upon Mountains
For outdoors enthusiasts, it doesn’t get much butter than the Pacific Northwest. From rafting to camping to glacier trekking, the state has some of the most beautiful and untouched landscapes in the U.S., beckoning nature lovers from all over. All of the state’s highest peaks are located within the Cascade Mountain Range, the largest of Washington’s ranges. Mount Rainier takes the cake as the highest peak in the state, reaching over 14,000 feet in elevation and beautifully serving as the backdrop of the Seattle skyline.
Another popular site, Mount Baker is the state’s third highest peak, an active volcano, and one of the world’s snowiest places. The area has been recorded to receive more than 1,000 inches of snow in one season! And then, of course, there’s Mount St. Helens, the iconic volcano dominating the landscape between Seattle and Portland.
One of the most popular attractions in the state is Olympic National Park. As a designated UNESCO World Heritage Site and International Biosphere Reserve, the park has a lot to live up to… but don’t worry, the stunning wilderness preserve won’t disappoint. Whether you’re looking for an easy day trip out of Seattle, or a multi-day hiking expedition, Olympic National Park is a highlight of Washington and worth a few days of your trip.
Beans and Hops and Grapes, Oh My!
No matter what you’re thirsty for, the state of Washington has got your back. As the number one coffee bean roaster in America, you’ll never be at a loss for your next caffeine fix. The bean lover’s haven Starbucks was founded in Seattle, but the city also has an abundance of independent roasters worthy of a visit.
The state is also home to over 150 breweries, including America’s first microbrewery, Yakima Brewing and Malting Co. Craft beer aficionados will feel right at home, with events like the Annual Tacoma Craft Beer Festival and other popular brew-centric events.
In addition to world-famous coffee and beer, the northwest’s grapes are top-notch quality. Ranking only behind California in wine production, Washington has become known for its crisp whites and full-bodied reds. The rain patterns and consistent climate of the Cascade Range create the ideal landscape for wine grape production. Most notable are the Columbia, Yakima and Walla Walla Valleys, where over 80 grape varieties are grown. Thirsty, anyone?
Urban Playgrounds: Seattle & Spokane
Of course, not everyone visits Washington for its high peaks and hoppy brews. The state is home to several metropolitan areas, most notably Seattle in the west and Spokane in the east. Contrary to popular belief, Seattle is not the capital city of Washington — that’s Olympia. It is, however, the largest city in the Pacific Northwest, and a huge tourist attraction for the state.
Among the must-see attractions in the city is Pike Place Market, the quintessential Seattle attraction. Browse stall after stall of everything from fruits and veggies to jewelry and crafts. Then head over to the iconic building dominating Seattle’s skyline — the Space Needle at the Seattle Center, where visitors can ride to the top and tower over the city. Another new locale for outstanding views of the city’s skyline is the Seattle Great Wheel, which opened in June 2012 at the popular Pier 57.
Spokane, though not as popular among travelers as Seattle, serves as an excellent base for exploring Washington, and has several attractions in its own right. Home to the prestigious Gonzaga University, Spokane is a hub of activity. The town’s river acts as the city’s epicenter, with plenty of outdoor activities for exploring the city, such bike riding or kayaking. Those with discerning taste will enjoy a nigh at the Spokane Symphony, the largest in the region.
Whatever your travel interests, the state of Washington will surprise you with youthful cities, soaring mountains, and miles and miles of green! To view Evolve’s vacation rental cabins and homes in Washington, click here.