10 Best Places to Visit in Washington
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If you’re looking for a destination that offers a perfect combination of natural beauty, vibrant city life, and unique cultural experiences, then Washington State deserves to be at the top of your travel list. With so much to see and do in this Pacific Northwest gem, it can be challenging to decide where to begin. But no worries! We have put together a comprehensive guide featuring the 10 Best Places to Visit in Washington, including must-visit attractions in Washington and Washington travel destinations that will take your breath away. From the iconic Space Needle in Seattle to the untamed wilderness of North Cascades National Park, we’ve got you covered.

1. Seattle

Seattle, the largest city in Washington, is one of the top tourist spots in Washington, brimming with popular travel destinations and iconic landmarks. A trip to Seattle would not be complete without seeing the Space Needle, a 605-foot observation tower that offers stunning panoramic views of the city.

Another popular landmark is the Pike Place Market, a bustling marketplace that has been around for over a century. Here, you can find fresh seafood, flowers, and crafts from local farmers and vendors.

Take some time to explore the city’s eclectic neighborhoods, each with its own unique character and charm. Some of the most popular neighborhoods include Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Queen Anne.

Top tourist spots in Washington

“Seattle is a mecca for music lovers, foodies, and outdoor enthusiasts alike.”

Seattle Highlights:

AttractionDescription
Museum of Pop CultureA museum dedicated to contemporary popular culture that features exhibits focused on music, movies, and more.
Olympic Sculpture ParkA free public park featuring a variety of contemporary sculptures and artwork.
Chihuly Garden and GlassAn exhibit showcasing the extraordinary glassworks of artist Dale Chihuly.

2. Olympic National Park

Washington State is home to countless natural wonders and breathtaking landscapes, and Olympic National Park is no exception. Immerse yourself in the natural beauty of this park, which features diverse ecosystems, stunning mountains, and breathtaking coastline.

The park is home to a variety of outdoor activities that will suit every type of traveler. If hiking is your thing, there are numerous trails through old-growth forests, along shoreline paths, and up mountains. Meanwhile, natural hot springs offer a chance to relax and rejuvenate amid the lush surroundings.

The park is also home to some of the most picturesque beaches in the Pacific Northwest. From the rugged coastline at Rialto Beach to the tranquil beauty of Kalaloch Beach, you will find yourself mesmerized by the stunning vistas and natural beauty on display.

beautiful places in Washington

Olympic National Park boasts diverse ecosystems, stunning mountains, and breathtaking coastline.

3. Mount Rainier National Park

Marvel at the awe-inspiring beauty of Mount Rainier, an active volcano that towers above Mount Rainier National Park. As the centerpiece of the park, Mount Rainier offers breathtaking vistas, challenging hiking trails, and the chance to see wildflowers in bloom.

The park covers 369 sq miles and is home to several glaciers, making it a destination for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers alike. The park also offers scenic drives, including the 18-mile Paradise Valley Road, which offers views of the mountain and surrounding landscapes.

Whether you’re an avid hiker or prefer a leisurely stroll surrounded by picturesque views, Mount Rainier National Park is a must-visit attraction in Washington.

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beautiful places in Washington

“Of all the fire mountains which like beacons, once blazed along the Pacific Coast, Mount Rainier is the noblest.” – John Muir, the father of National Parks

4. San Juan Islands

Located off the coast of Washington, the San Juan Islands are a hidden gem waiting to be explored. Your Washington travel destinations list is incomplete without visiting these serene islands. With stunning natural beauty, charming towns, and incredible wildlife, the San Juan Islands offer a unique experience for visitors seeking hidden gems in Washington.

You can embark on a whale-watching tour and witness these majestic creatures in their natural habitat. You can also experience kayaking and hiking in the beautiful outdoors. This paradise is perfect for travelers looking to escape the hustle and bustle of the city.

From Friday Harbor to Orcas Island, each island has something unique to offer. Discover galleries and boutiques for shopping, dine at exceptional restaurants, marvel at the stunning coastline, and explore each island’s distinctive culture.

Escape from reality and unwind in one of Washington’s most beautiful travel destinations – San Juan Islands.

hidden gems in Washington

San Juan Islands Table:

IslandAttractionsActivitiesCuisine
Friday HarborSan Juan Islands Museum of Art, Whale Watching ToursKayaking, Hiking, ShoppingNorthwest Cuisine, Sustainable Seafood
Orcas IslandMount Constitution, Orcas Island Historical MuseumHiking, Kayaking, Fishing, SailingFarm-to-table, Organic Food, Craft Beers
Lopez IslandShark Reef Sanctuary, Lopez Island Historical MuseumBiking, Hiking, GolfingHome Baked Goods, Farm-to-table Dining

“Visit the San Juan Islands for a unique adventure that you won’t forget. Whether it’s whale-watching or hiking, island hopping, or discovering new cuisine, these hidden gems in Washington will amaze you!”

5. Leavenworth

If you’re looking for a unique travel destination in Washington, Leavenworth is a must-visit spot. This charming town is situated in the North Cascades, boasting a picturesque setting and Bavarian-inspired architecture.

But Leavenworth is more than just a pretty face. Throughout the year, the town comes alive with lively festivals celebrating everything from Oktoberfest to Christmas. You can immerse yourself in the Bavarian culture while enjoying outdoor activities like hiking, mountain biking, and river tubing.

Don’t forget to indulge in the local cuisine, which features German-inspired dishes like bratwurst and spätzle. For a sweet treat, make sure to visit the local fudge and candy shops.

Washington vacation spots

Leavenworth is the perfect vacation spot for families, couples, or anyone looking for a unique travel experience. Add it to your list of must-visit attractions in Washington and enjoy all that this charming town has to offer!

6. Mount St. Helens

One of the top tourist spots in Washington, Mount St. Helens is an iconic landmark that boasts beautiful landscapes and soaring mountain peaks. Known for its catastrophic eruption in 1980, which completely reshaped the surrounding area and sent ash and debris across the state, visitors today can explore the impact of this event at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument.

Hike through the stunning landscapes surrounding the volcano, wander through the blast zone to see how the eruption changed the natural environment, and visit the Johnston Ridge Observatory for panoramic views of the landmark. You’ll be astounded by the destructive power of nature and the incredible beauty of this natural wonder.

Mount St. Helens

“We saw ash, pumice stone, rocks, and several trees that had fallen and were stripped clean of all branches and needles. All vegetation and trees were flattened in the direction of the explosion.”

7. Spokane

Located along the Spokane River, Spokane is a vibrant city that has something to offer for everyone. With its beautiful parks, art galleries, and a rich history and culture, Spokane is a must-visit attraction in Washington.

Riverfront Park is the perfect place to enjoy numerous outdoor activities, such as biking, strolling, and picnicking. You can also visit the Spokane Falls or enjoy a riverboat tour to explore the city’s fascinating history. Art lovers must visit the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture to discover the region’s unique art and history.

Spokane offers a diverse range of dining and shopping options, from local boutiques to international stores. The city is also home to various wineries and breweries, making it a fantastic destination for wine and beer enthusiasts.

Don’t forget to check out the city’s stunning architecture and rich cultural sites, such as the Martin Woldson Theater at The Fox and the Bing Crosby Theater. Spokane is undoubtedly one of the top Washington vacation spots that you do not want to miss.

Washington vacation spots

8. Columbia River Gorge

Escape to the stunning Columbia River Gorge, one of Washington’s hidden gems. Carved by the Columbia River, this breathtaking canyon is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers.

Explore the scenic hiking trails, from easy walks to challenging hikes that offer panoramic views of the gorge. Visit picturesque waterfalls, including the famous Multnomah Falls, and enjoy windsurfing or kiteboarding on the river.

Don’t miss the chance to take in the stunning views of the gorge from above, by driving along the Historic Columbia River Highway. This scenic byway offers countless vistas, including the iconic Vista House at Crown Point.

Make sure to bring your camera, as the spectacular landscape of the Columbia River Gorge will leave you in awe.

beautiful places in Washington

“The Columbia River Gorge is a hidden treasure, with its breathtaking landscape and endless opportunities for outdoor adventures.”

9. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest

Escape into the wilderness and explore the natural wonders of the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. Encompassing more than 1.7 million acres, this forest is home to towering mountain peaks, cascading waterfalls, and serene alpine lakes.

Immerse yourself in the great outdoors by hiking through the lush forests, breathing in the fresh mountain air and losing yourself in the stunning scenery. Bring your camping gear and spend a night under the stars in one of the many beautiful campgrounds throughout the forest.

Cast your line and try your hand at fishing in one of the crystal clear streams and lakes. Get your heart pumping by white water rafting or kayaking down the roaring rapids. And keep an eye out for the wide array of wildlife that call this forest home, including bears, deer, elk and more.

beautiful places in Washington

Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest highlights:

  • Home to Mount Baker, a volcano that towers over 10,000 feet high
  • Adventurous outdoor activities like hiking, camping, fishing, kayaking, and rafting
  • Enjoy picturesque views on the Mount Baker Highway Scenic Byway
  • Experience the snow-covered wonderland at the Steven’s Pass Ski Resort in winter

10. North Cascades National Park

Explore the rugged beauty of North Cascades National Park, one of the most stunning Washington travel destinations. A landscape renowned for its iconic landmarks and peaks, cascading waterfalls, and glaciers, this park has remained relatively untouched, allowing you to immerse yourself in the untouched wilderness.

Begin your visit at the North Cascades Visitor Center, where you can learn more about the park’s history and natural wonders. Discover remote hiking trails through the untouched wilderness, ranging from easy nature walks to challenging multi-day treks. You can also go camping in the park’s serene backcountry and indulge in stargazing or fishing by nearby lakes, or simply relax in the park’s tranquil environment.

Alternatively, consider embarking on a rafting or kayaking trip down the Skagit River, or a fishing excursion in local streams and rivers. Regardless of your travel style, North Cascades is a top popular travel destination in Washington for outdoor enthusiasts.

Washington travel destinations

Exploring More of Washington

While the top 10 travel destinations in Washington are undoubtedly breathtaking, there’s still a lot more to explore in the state. If you’re a wine lover, consider visiting the Walla Walla or Yakima Valley wine regions, both renowned for their exceptional wine and beautiful vineyards. Another stunning destination is the Skagit Valley Tulip Fields, where vibrant tulips bloom in vivid colors and stretch for miles. If you’re seeking outdoor adventure, head to Mount Adams, one of the state’s lesser-known peaks. The snow-capped mountain is perfect for hiking, skiing, and snowboarding.

Washington Travel Destinations

No matter where your interests lie, Washington has something to offer. From hidden gems to must-visit attractions, this state is truly remarkable.

Planning Your Washington Adventure

Washington State is a treasure trove of beautiful landscapes and iconic landmarks that provide an unforgettable experience for every visitor. But before you embark on your Washington adventure, it’s essential to plan ahead to ensure you make the most of your trip.

Start by determining the best time to visit based on your preferred activities. If you’re interested in outdoor adventures, plan your visit during the summer months to explore the state’s stunning national parks and hiking trails. Additionally, check for any seasonal closures or permits required for certain attractions or hiking trails.

Plan your itinerary to incorporate top Washington travel destinations such as Seattle, Olympic National Park, and Mount Rainier National Park, and explore hidden gems such as the San Juan Islands and Leavenworth.

Washington vacation spots may also include Walla Walla and Yakima Valley, which are famous for their wineries and vineyards, or the picturesque Skagit Valley Tulip Fields and Mount Adams.

When exploring Washington State, be sure to pack for all weather conditions, as temperatures and weather patterns can vary greatly depending on the region and season. Remember to wear comfortable shoes, bring sunscreen and a hat, and stay hydrated during outdoor activities.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a seasoned traveler to Washington State, planning ahead will help you make the most of your visit and ensure you have a memorable adventure of a lifetime.

Washington Travel Destinations

Getting Around in Washington

Washington State is well-equipped with transportation networks, making it easy for you to explore various destinations. The most convenient way to get to Washington travel destinations is by plane. Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, also known as Sea-Tac, is the major airport located about 14 miles south of downtown Seattle. There are several other airports located throughout the state as well.

If you plan on driving, Washington State has a well-maintained system of highways including several scenic byways, including one that journeys through Mount Rainier, with pullouts providing access to hiking trails, waterfalls, and lakes. Renting a car can provide flexibility, but be aware that in some areas, mountain roads with steep grades can be challenging to navigate.

If you don’t want to drive, Washington State also has a public transportation system, ranging from buses to trains. Various bus companies offer routes throughout the state, including Greyhound, BoltBus, and the local bus system. Amtrak’s Cascades service can provide you with stunning views of the Washington State scenery as you explore the region.

Washington state sightseeing

Some of the popular travel destinations in Washington require alternate modes of transportation. For example, if you’re planning to visit the San Juan Islands, the Washington State Ferries offers daily sailings from Anacortes. The ferry journey provides plenty of opportunities to witness stunning vistas along the way.

Washington State Travel Tips:

  • Consider getting a Washington State Discover Pass, which grants you access to state parks, recreation lands, and water-access sites.
  • In Seattle, explore the city on foot by taking one of the many walking tours.
  • Keep an eye on the weather, as it can change quickly in Washington State.
  • Book your accommodations in advance, especially if you’re visiting during the peak tourist season.

Conclusion

In conclusion, Washington State offers a diverse range of attractions and natural wonders that are sure to captivate any traveler. Whether you’re seeking outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or simply breathtaking landscapes, the top 10 places to visit in Washington State have something for everyone. From the bustling city of Seattle to the remote wilderness of national parks and hidden gems, you can explore a variety of travel destinations that will leave you with unforgettable memories.

Before embarking on your Washington adventure, make sure to plan ahead. Determine the best time to visit based on your preferred activities and check for any seasonal closures or permits required for certain attractions or hiking trails. Getting around in Washington is easy, with well-connected airports, highways, and public transportation systems. You can also rent a car for more flexibility or opt for bus and train travel in different regions of the state.

So pack your bags, get ready to explore and experience the best that Washington has to offer!

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