10 best places to visit in washington state

Washington is best known for its largest city, Seattle, but the Emerald State is also home to a staggering number of scenic destinations. Whether you want to hike to the falls, admire the snow-capped mountains from a distance, or spend the day on islands off the coast, Washington has it al

Washington is best known for its largest city, Seattle, but the Emerald State is also home to a staggering number of scenic destinations. Whether you want to hike to the falls, admire the snow-capped mountains from a distance, or spend the day on islands off the coast, Washington has it all. It's easy to fill your vacation with city life, world-class attractions, national parks, and more while in the Pacific Northwest. Use this list of the best places to visit in Washington State as you plan your next travel itinerary.

1. Mount Rainier National Park


Less than an hour's drive from Seattle is Mount Rainier National Park, which is centered on the top of Mount Rainier itself, the highest mountain in Washington. This incredible park is a popular destination to visit year-round, but snowy weather limits access to some areas. In the Paradise section of the park, you'll see fields of colorful wildflowers and great walking trails. In the Sunrise section, you can drive to the highest point in the park for truly spectacular views. Mountaineering and glacier climbing are two recreation options in the park, but Mount Rainier also offers easier hikes. Green Lake Trail, for example, takes just over an hour and takes hikers through old woods and waterfalls.

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2. Mount St Volcanic National Monument


In southwest Washington is Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, a destination that marks the site of the 1980 volcanic eruption. Accessible from Seattle on a day trip, but also the perfect place to spend a few nights, Mount St. Helens has a number of interesting and scenic attractions for visitors. Don't miss the Mount St. Helens Visitor Center in Silver Lake, where you can get a brief history of the region and the 1980 eruption, or head to the Hoffstadt Bluffs Visitor Center for tours and dining options with a view of the volcano. The Johnston Ridge Observatory boasts spectacular panoramic views of the north side of Mount St. Helens, as well as an extensive visitor center.


3. Seattle

Occupying a narrow isthmus between Puget Sound and Lake Washington, Seattle is a beautiful city and one of the most popular places to visit in Washington. The largest city in the Pacific Northwest may be best known for Starbucks, but there is so much more Seattle has to offer. Downtown, stop at Pike Market for fresh produce and fish caught that morning. Experience the culture of the city at the Experience Music Project, an incredible museum dedicated to music, film, and pop culture. Head to the Space Needle for views over the city and the Puget Sound, or walk around Green Lake for some fresh air and a glimpse of local life in Seattle.


4. Spokane


After Seattle, Spokane is the largest city in Washington and is located in the eastern part of the state, near the Idaho border. In Spokane, you can visit Riverfront Park, where the 1974 World's Fair was held, and stroll along the banks of the scenic Spokane River. Some of the city's top attractions include the John A. Finch Arboretum, the Northwest Museum of Art and Culture, and Spokane Falls. You can also visit some of the most popular golf courses in the city or take a tasting tour of some of the many breweries that have popped up in Spokane in recent years.


5. Lake Chelan


At the base of Washington's North Cascade Range is Lake Chelan, a center for landscapes, outdoor recreation, and wine tasting in the Pacific Northwest. Visiting the vineyards is one of the region's biggest attractions, and you can spend a day sipping and visiting places like Vin du Lac Winery, Karma Vineyards, or Mellisoni Vineyards. For a closer look at the incredible natural terrain, ride a seaplane that takes off and lands on the lake itself, or try water skiing during the summer months. Hiking possibilities are plentiful, and on the historic main street, you can dine on farm-to-table cuisine from a number of independent restaurants.

6. Columbia Rio Gorge

South of the Rattlesnake Hills, and right in the heart of the Columbia River Plateau, is the Columbia River Gorge. The gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains that form the boundary between Washington and Oregon, and spectacular views of the gorge can be obtained from above. Multnomah Falls cascade right into the gorge at one point, which only adds to the beauty of this particular destination. One of the best ways to see the Columbia River Gorge from the Washington side is to drive along State Route 14, stopping at the many scenic overlooks for photos.


7. Olympic National Park

To see the lush green rainforest and rugged mountain ranges in one destination, try the Olympic National Park. One of the highlights of a visit to the Olympic National Park is the Hoh Rain Forest, where herds of elk can be seen roaming the landscape, or a challenging hike to the top of Mount Olympus can be undertaken. For a less strenuous adventure, admire the summer wildflowers at Hurricane Ridge or hike between cliffs and sea caves at Cape Flattery. Clear blue water and stunning scenery await you at Lake Crescent Lake in the park, and some of the most amazing views you can see directly from your car are found along the road known as the coastal strip.


8. the San Juan Islands


North of Puget Sound, and near British Columbia, are the San Juan Islands. Despite their proximity to Canada, they belong to the United States, and to Washington State in particular. The San Juan Islands are a welcoming place and an escape from the hustle and bustle of everyday life, offering an abundance of outdoor activities in the breathtaking scenery. You can kayak in the water, take tours to observe orcas in their natural habitats, dine on fresh seafood, or walk through the San Juan Island National Historical Park. Friday Harbor and Rocher Harbor are the two centers for eating, shopping, and sightseeing, and they also offer some commercial flights, boat arrivals, and museums.


9. North Cascades National Park

More than half of all glaciers found in the continental United States are found within the North Cascades National Park in Washington. The park is also home to an astonishing amount of wildlife, including animals such as grizzlies, gray wolves, and lynxes. Hike or drive to Mount Baker, a volcano located within the North Cascades, for an unparalleled view of nearby Mount Shuksan, which is perhaps the most photographed peak in all of North America. Within the national park, you will find opportunities for hiking and camping in the countryside, but you can also take shorter day hikes and mountain biking trails during the summer.


10. Snoqualmie Falls


Halfway between the towns of Snoqualmie and Fall City is Snoqualmie Falls, one of Washington's most popular attractions. The torrential waters of the falls make it an impressive and unforgettable place to visit and a prime spot for photographers in the Pacific Northwest. You may already recognize the falls from your appearance on the popular cult TV show "Twin Peaks." There are short walking trails around Snoqualmie Falls, where visitors can admire huge trees and lush plant life within the falls. There is also a large visitor center and gift shop where you can grab some snacks or souvenirs to help remember the trip.

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Alicia Sanders

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