Washington state

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Often referred to by its full title, Washington State, to distinguish it from national capital Washington, D.C. on the other side of the USA.

Washington offers rugged coastline, deserts, forests, mountains, volcanoes, and hundreds of coastal islands to explore. The Cascade Mountains bisect the state, with the damp forested coastal areas to the west, and pine forests, deserts and irrigated farmland of the Columbia River Plateau to the east.

Regions

Columbia River Plateau
On the southeastern side of the Cascades  this region features canyons, deserts and steppes set in hillside valleys. Cities included within this region are Kennewick, Walla Walla, and Yakima.
North Cascades
Beautiful mountains and fresh water lakes, outdoor activities galore, national parks (North Cascades National Park) and secluded getaways await travelers to the North Cascades region. Cities included within this region are Bellingham, Leavenworth, and Wenatchee.
Olympic Peninsula
Known for its rugged beauty with rain forests against a spine of dramatic mountains and miles of isolated beaches this area includes Olympic National Park.
Palouse
This largely agricultural area includes the cities of Spokane, Cheney and Pullman
Puget Sound
With Seattle, the state’s largest city  Tacoma, Olympia (capital), and the islands and waters between Seattle and the Olympic Peninsula including Vashon Island and the Kitsap Peninsula
Northeast Washington
This semi-arid area includes the Lake Roosevelt National Recreation Area created by the Grand Coulee Dam.
San Juan Islands
A scattering of forested islands in the serene waters adjacent to British Columbia. Ferries, private boats, kayaks, and orca (whales) criss-cross the waters, while float planes and bald eagles soar overhead.
Southwest Washington
Known for its breathtaking coastline and amazing views along the Columbia River

Cities

There are many cities in Washington; these are some of the more popular.

1 Olympia — State capital in the fast growing South Sound area. Home of The Evergreen State College and St Martins College
2 Bellevue — Seattle’s suburban cousin across Lake Washington, a commercial center with a growing downtown area.
3 Bellingham — Home of Western Washington University. Near the Canadian border and Vancouver, B.C.
4 Seattle — Largest city in the Pacific Northwest. Home of the University of Washington and Seattle University.
5 Spokane — The heart of Eastern Washington, unofficial capital of the Inland Empire and home of Gonzaga University and Whitworth University.
6 Tacoma — Port city with several good museums downtown. Home for the University of Puget Sound, Pacific Lutheran, University Washington Tacoma (downtown), and Joint Base Lewis-McChord, a major army and air force base.
7 Vancouver — Just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon. Not to be confused with the larger Canadian city of Vancouver, BC.
8 Walla Walla — Small eastern city in the heart of Washington’s blooming wine country.
9 Yakima — In the Yakima Valley, the major agricultural and wine region of the state.

Other destinations

Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve – preserves and protects an unbroken historical record of Puget Sound exploration and settlement from the 19th century to the present. Historic farms, still under cultivation in the prairies of Whidbey Island, reveal land use patterns unchanged since settlers claimed the land in the 1850s.
2 Lewis and Clark National Historic Trail – Between May 1804 and September 1806, 32 men, one woman, and a baby traveled from the plains of the Midwest to the shores of the Pacific Ocean. They called themselves the Corps of Discovery.
3 Mount Rainier National Park – a 14,410 feet volcano. Contains more snow and ice than all other Cascade range volcanos combined, and is the most “prominent” mountain in the lower 48 states.
4 Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument – At 8:32 Sunday morning, May 18, 1980, Mount St. Helens erupted and life in the area was altered for better and for worse
5 North Cascades National Park – Home to 50% of all glaciers in the lower 48 states
6 Olympic National Park — Temperate rain forest, rugged Olympic Mountains and wild coastline, this is the only UNESCO World Heritage site in the Pacific Northwest.
7 San Juan Islands — in the rain shadow of the Olympic Mountains in Puget Sound these islands are famous for abundant eagles and Orca whales and includes the newly formed San Juan Islands National Monument as well as the San Juan Island National Historical Park.
8 Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park – An overlook where you can see the remains of the end of the last ice age where a flow of up to 10 times of all the present-day rivers of the world merged into a huge waterfall. While not as deep as the Grand Canyon, you can get dizzyingly close to the edge.
Washington Coast – scenic, wild and interspersed with quaint towns the coast includes 100 km of wilderness coastline, the longest undeveloped coast in the contiguous United States.
Itineraries

1 The North Cascade Loop is a very scenic drive that loops around this area through pristine mountains, grand rivers, crystalline lakes and scenic islands. If you can’t do the loop, at least go as far as Mazama (eastbound) or the visitor center near Newhalem (westbound) on State Hwy 20. The most spectacular parts of the drive are not where the highway is sandwiched between the two halves of the national park, but further east in the Okanogan National Forest. Washington Pass is the highest point at 5,477 ft (1,669 m). As the park has virtually no roads, non-hikers should stay on the main highway unless clearly marked signs are visible (such as the visitor center which is about a mile to the south).

Access : Coordinates: 48.1125, -123.440833 / By plane : Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, (SEA IATA), called “SeaTac” by locals, is the biggest airport in the region, and the major hub for flights throughout the state and the Pacific Northwest. It connects Seattle to all regions of the world, especially with frequent transpacific routes. Competition is heavy on the busy San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California routes. Transfers are required from the Caribbean and Central and South America.
Spokane International Airport, (GEG IATA). Flights go to Seattle, Portland (Oregon), Boise, Oakland (across the bay from San Francisco), Salt Lake City, Sacramento, Denver, Phoenix, Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Minneapolis, Dallas/Fort Worth and Honolulu. Also, seasonal flights to both Chicago airports, and a weekend only flight to Anchorage. All direct service to Canada has been suspended.
Portland International Airport, (PDX IATA) is just one mile across the state line in Oregon. For Southwest Washington (i.e. anything south of Chehalis along I-5 exit 77) this is the nearest major airport. There are daily international non-stop flights from Tokyo, Amsterdam, Guadalajara and Frankfurt.
Vancouver International Airport (YVR IATA) is in Canada 27 miles (44 km) from the border. You will have to go through U.S. customs at Blaine, Washington. For U.S. residents, going through customs twice probably isn’t worth it unless you also want to visit Vancouver (see Bellingham below). For Canadians wanting to go to the San Juan Islands, it’s the best choice. It also has lots of international flights from Asia, Europe, Australia and Mexico as well as from the United States. There are also shorter flights to the San Juan Islands, Vancouver Island and other remote places in northern British Columbia and the Yukon with turboprop aircraft
Tri-Cities Airport (PSC IATA) is a commercial airport 2 miles northwest of the city of Pasco and is the third largest commercial air terminal in the State of Washington. Flights go to Seattle, San Francisco, Los Angeles, Las Vegas, Mesa (near Phoenix), Salt Lake City, Denver, and Minneapolis (seasonal).
Bellingham International Airport (BLI IATA) is a regional airport about 90 miles north of Seattle and 60 miles south of Vancouver, Canada. Allegiant and Alaska Airlines have jet service to Las Vegas, Los Angeles, Oakland, Mesa (near Phoenix), San Diego, Honolulu and Palm Springs (seasonal). There are many shorter flights (mostly to Seattle and San Juan Islands) with turboprop aircraft.
By train
Amtrak has 3 routes into Seattle’s King Street Station. These are: Amtrak Cascades: Going north towards Vancouver, BC via Edmonds, Everett, Stanwood, Mt Vernon and Bellingham and south to Portland via Tacoma, Olympia, Kelso and Vancouver, WA. The train runs between Seattle and Portland 4 times daily and twice daily between Seattle and Vancouver BC and Portland to Eugene. At other times when they provide a bus from Portland to Eugene and from Seattle to Vancouver.
Coast Starlight runs the same route with the same stops (except Tukwila and Oregon City) as the Cascades between Seattle and Eugene. The train continues southward from Eugene to Chemult, Klamath Falls, etc. on its way to Los Angeles.
Empire Builder (Seattle branch): Connects Seattle and Spokane through Edmonds, Everett, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Ephrata. Joins with the other branch coming from Portland (or split going westbound) in Spokane to continue east towards Chicago.

By car : From British Columbia
Interstate 5 and the Peace Arch crossing is the main land port-of-entry to Washington from Canada. However this is only one of five land crossing points between the Lower Mainland region of BC and the Northwest Cascades region of Washington. See the Get in — by car section of Northwest Cascades region article for details.

From Oregon
Interstate 5 (and Interstate 205) provide access from the greater Portland area. Interstate 82/US 395 provides access from eastern Oregon to the tri-cities area of Eastern Washington. For a more scenic entry, try taking US Route 101 along the Washington and Oregon coast, but be aware for the many speed traps in the small cities.

From Idaho
Interstate 90 is the main route in via Coeur D’Alene, but US 2 provides access to the northern parts of Idaho and Washington.

By bus : BoltBus. Service from Portland, OR Seattle; Bellingham, WA  and Vancouver, BC. Fares $1-20.
Cantrail (Western Trailways of Canada), (bus stops) Seattle’s King Street Station & Vancouver’s Pacific Station. Additional stops at Sandmans Signature Hotel and Pacific Inn in Surrey. No additional stops in the U.S. Operates direct buses between Seattle to Vancouver, BC $40 for one-way, $75 round trip; discounts for students, military, seniors & children ages 4-11.
Greyhound. Direct service to Seattle from Portland and Vancouver BC. Additional service from Sacramento (via Portland) and from Salt Lake City (via Boise, Stanfield or Portland). Prices vary depending on your destination.
Jefferson Lines. Direct services to Spokane from Billings, Montana (via Coeur d’Alene, Missoula and Bozeman)
Northwestern Trailways. Boise to Spokane via Horseshoe Bend, Cascade, Donnelly, McCall, New Meadows, Riggins, Whitebird, Grangeville, Cottonwood, Craigmont, Lewiston, Moscow, Pullman and Colfax. $51 one way to Spokane, $97 round trip.
Quick Shuttle, toll-free: Runs between Seattle and Vancouver, BC. Stops in Downtown Seattle (outside the Best Western at 200 Taylor Ave N) and SeaTac Airport (at the main terminal near south end of baggage claim, outside door 00, bays 11-16). Despite the multiple stops they have, northbound buses can only pick-up in the U.S. and drop off in Canada and vice versa for southbound buses. Fares from Vancouver to SeaTac, fares are $49 one-way, $87 round-trip.

By ferry : With the exception of the Victoria Clipper the ferries crossing the San Juan de Fuca and the Puget Sound are capable of transporting vehicles.

Alaska Marine Highway System . A ferry service from Bellingham, Washington up the Inside Passage to Haines Alaska. Plan your travel early as this service tends to fill up fast. They no longer go to Seattle.
MV Coho by Blackball Ferry, 101 E Railroad, Port Angeles WA 98362 and 430 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8V 1W9 @ Victoria’s Inner Harbour . Crosses the San Juan de Fuca between Port Angeles and Victoria BC. $63 for car and driver (0-18ft)+$5.25 per lineal ft over 18ft. $18 per adult passenger & $9 per child..
Tote Maritime, (office) 32001 32nd Ave, Suite #200, Federal Way WA 98001 . Operates more as a private shipping company than a “ferry” for shipping of vehicles and/or personal household goods between Anchorage AK and Tacoma WA for those moving between the lower 48 and Alaska.
Washington State Ferries. The Washington State Ferry system offers once or twice daily sailings from Sidney BC to the San Juan Islands with continuing service to Anacortes. For security and immigration processing when traveling between the US and Canada, a 60-minute advance arrival is strongly suggested for vehicle traffic. Walk-on passengers must arrive 30 minutes in advance.
Victoria Clipper, 2701 Alaskan Way Pier 69, Seattle, WA 98121 @ Seattle downtown waterfront and 254 Belleville Street, Victoria, BC V8V 1W9 @ Victoria’s Inner Harbour. High speed catamaran passenger ferries which connect Victoria, British Columbia to the San Juan Islands and Seattle. If you are heading to San Juan Islands, you can also join a whale-watching tour. (Passenger only, no vehicles.)

By seaplane : A quick and spectacular, though not cheap, way to travel. There are many American and Canadian companies offering sea plane travel into and around the Puget Sound area. Such as Kenmore Air and Northwest Seaplanes both based out of Seattle with regular scheduled flights and chartered flights within the region and into Canada. Many planes only offer between 6 to 8 seats and are small enough that the captain may ask for someone to sit in the front seat next to them. If you ask nicely they may be willing to take you on a scenic route or follow a pod of whales as opportunities and schedules allow.

By cruise ship
Cruise ships arrive in the area in both Astoria Oregon and Seattle Washington with continuing connections along the west coast including Canada and Alaska.

Bell Street Pier Cruise Terminal at Pier 66, 2225 Alaskan Way S, Seattle, WA. near the middle of Seattle downtown’s waterfront, serves as home port for Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises. Has bus, taxi and shuttle connections for transfer of passengers and luggage. For travelers with connecting flights, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is less than 15 mi (24 km) away.
Smith Cove Cruise Terminal at Pier 91, 2001 W Garfield St, Seattle. At the north end of Seattle’s downtown waterfront, serves as home port to Holland America Line, Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises.

By boat
It is not coincidence that so many cities in this region are on the water. Early settlers found the thick regional forests too impenetrable to navigate by land so waterways became the Pacific Northwest’s early highway system.

However, when arriving from Canada or other foreign countries, there are only a handful of ports, including Roche Harbor, Friday Harbor, Anacortes and Bellingham, that are official U.S. ports-of-entry and can process boaters through customs. The Cardinal Rule is touch land at customs dock before any other stops  fines for not doing so can be up to $5000. Besides a passport for everyone on board, you will need your boat’s license number and User Fee Decal number.

Customs enforces USDA guidelines for what foods are acceptable to bring into the country and these guidelines are constantly changing so it is best to check in with them before arriving. Boaters are responsible for knowing the prohibited foods and can be fined for not declaring them.

By foot
The Pacific Crest Trail (PCT) is a well known trail that extends along the West coast of the United States, from Mexico to Canada. It passes through California, Oregon, and Washington State.

The Pacific Northwest National Scenic Trail is a trail connecting Washington with the Continental Divide Trail in Montana.

Get around : To explore most of Washington (outside of main cities), you will generally need a car because there is very little public transportation, especially to more remote locations.

By car

Washington’s road network is well-maintained and cars are the quickest way to travel around the state. The main freeways are I-5, running along the west side of Washington through many of Western Washington’s population centers. I-90, running east of Seattle to Ellensburg and Spokane, and I-82, which starts at I-90 near Ellensburg and heads southeast through Yakima and Kennewick. Other US highways and WA state routes access all parts of the state. Rental-car agencies can be found in the larger cities.

All of the state’s major east-west highways cross over the Cascade Mountains, which are subject to closure, delays, and studded tire or chain requirements in wintertime. In severe weather, it may be better to use I-84 just across the border in Oregon. This route goes through the relatively low elevation of the Columbia River Gorge. On rare occasion, I-84 may also have weather-related problems where it passes north of Mount Hood. A 20-mile detour on Washington State Hwy 14 is available between I-84 Exit #44 Bridge of the Gods, and Exit #64 Hood River Bridge. Both have a small toll.

By ferry
Washington State Ferries . The Washington State Ferry system is the largest in the country. It has routes crossing Puget Sound and to Bainbridge, Vashon, Whidbey and the San Juan Islands from opposite sides of the Sound. In Eastern Washington they also operate the Keller Ferry to cross the Columbia River from Ferry County & the Colville Indian Reservation in the north to Lincoln County in the south. There are also numerous other destinations served by county operate ferries such as Anderson and Steilacoom by Pierce County Ferry and Anacortes to/from Guemes Island by Skagit County Ferry. Nearly all ferries accommodate vehicles for an extra charge. For the state ferry system, online reservations are recommended for vehicles, especially going to Seattle/Everett during the morning commute and the reverse in the evenings and during summers (especially weekends) between the San Juan Islands and Anacortes.
Many ferry destinations are not islands without a bridge, but peninsulas where going by land would involve a very long detour. The most extreme example of this is the Port Townsend — Keystone route on State Hwy 20 which is only five and a half miles across by ferry. Traveling by the shortest land route (Tacoma Narrows) turns into a whopping 217 miles (354 km) journey!

By train
Getting around by train on Amtrak is likely to be quite a hassle, especially with infrequent departures, slow travel times, inconvenient schedules and limited routes. For those who still wish to take trains to get around Washington, these are the main routes:

Amtrak Cascades: Goes along the I-5 corridor, connecting Vancouver, BC  Bellingham, Mt Vernon, Stanwood, Everett, Edmonds, Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia/Lacey, Centralia/Chehalis, Kelso, Vancouver, WA and Portland, OR. Train runs between Seattle and Portland 4x daily and twice daily between Seattle and Vancouver BC and Portland and Eugene. At other times when they provide a bus from Portland to Eugene and from Seattle to Vancouver.
Coast Starlight runs the same route with the same stops (except Tukwila and Oregon City) as the Cascades between Seattle and Eugene. Train continues southwards from Eugene to Chemult, Klamath Falls, etc. on its way to Los Angeles.
Empire Builder (Seattle branch): Connects Seattle and Spokane through Edmonds, Everett, Leavenworth, Wenatchee, Ephrata.
Empire Builder (Portland Branch): Connects Portland and Spokane through the Columbia gorge (Vancouver, WA, Bingen and Wishram) and Pasco. Both branches join (or split going westbound) in Spokane to continue east towards Chicago.
By boat
The Puget Sound region is one of the most popular places for cruising on small craft in the United States offering hundreds of miles of protected coastlines and dozens of remote islands to explore. Many cities and towns were built around their harbors and are well suited to cater to visiting boaters. The Strait of San Juan De Fuca, the Pacific coast and even the Columbia River are also excellent areas to travel by boat with a wide variety of ports and possibilities for visiting boaters.

By bus
BellAir Airporter . Goes up from SeaTac & downtown Seattle to Stanwood, Burlington/Mt Vernon, Bellingham & Blaine on one route and a separate route to Anacortes and the San Juan ferry terminal in Anacortes from Burlington. They also have a third route and from Sea-Tac to Cle Elum, Ellensburg & Yakima.
BoltBus, toll-free: Service between Portland, Seattle, Bellingham and Vancouver, BC. Up to $30.
Greyhound . Greyhound travels primarily on Interstate 5 (Seattle-Vancouver & Seattle-Portland on two separate routes. Some southbound buses continue from Portland to Sacramento contiguously); 90 (Seattle-Spokane with some variation of the route diverging from Ellensburg to Yakima, Pasco (Tri-Cities), and Stanfield, OR along I-82  84/US-395/90 (Portland, Hood River, The Dalles, Pasco & Spokane). Prices vary depending on your destination.
Lower Columbia River CAP. The rural public transportation service South from Longview to Vancouver, 6 times a day, Monday through Friday. Stops include: Longview (Transit Center), Kalama (Toteff Park), Woodland (Visitors Center/Park & Ride) and Vancouver, WA (99th Street Station). The service North from Longview to Castle Rock runs twice a day, Monday through Friday. Stops include: Longview (Transit Center), Lexington (Country Run Apts.) and Castle Rock (Exit 49 Park & Ride) $1 per one way trip.. (updated Jul 2015 | edit)
Northwestern Trailways (Northwestern Stage Lines). Seattle & Spokane via Everett, Stevens Pass, Leavenworth, Ephrata, Moses Lake and Wenatchee; Boise to Spokane via Horseshoe Bend, Cascade, Donnelly, McCall, New Meadows, Riggins, Whitebird, Grangeville, Cottonwood, Craigmont, Lewiston, Moscow, Pullman and Colfax. Fares vary by destination..
Travel Washington Intercity Program. WSDOT’s Travel Washington program is a way to provide more service options for statewide travel, connecting towns and rural communities with major transportation hubs and urban centers. They are:
Apple Line (operated by Northwestern Trailways). follows a 160-mile route, along US-97, through Omak, Ellensburg and Wenatchee with connections to Amtrak and Northwestern Stage Lines in Wenatchee and Greyhound in Ellensburg.
Dungeness Line (operated by Olympic Bus Lines). serves the Olympic Peninsula, connecting in Port Angeles, Port Townsend, Seattle and Sea-Tac International Airport with links to Greyhound, Amtrak and Washington State Ferries in Seattle and connections to the MV Coho Ferry to Victoria, B.C. in Port Angeles.
Grape Line (Operated by Bellaire Charters). provides service between Walla Walla and Pasco. Connections to Greyhound, Amtrak and additional commercial flights in Pasco (Tri-Cities).
Gold Line (Operated by Bellaire Charters). runs twice daily along US 395, connecting Colville, Arden, Addy, Chewelah, Loon Lake and Deer Park to Spokane and key transit hubs, including Spokane International Airport..
People for People Transportation. They are a NGO providing shuttle services across several rural counties in eastern and central Washington for locals who cannot afford to drive or unable to drive due to disability, medical condition(s) or legal restrictions. They provide scheduled shuttle services on fixed routes to the general public (similar to buses in urban areas) which may work for travelers who are trying to get around central & eastern Washington without a car and to/from places not served by Greyhound buses either. Their other services also include brokered non-emergency medical transport, dial a ride for door to door transportation, senior nutrition, information/referral services (dial 2-1-1) and training for long term employment for locals.
Various county-operated transit systems and private shuttle companies to/from SeaTac. There are various other county transit agencies across the state with some operating buses between cities & towns, across rural areas or suburban communities (Olympic Peninsula and Puget Sound Region). Services vary from every 15-30 min on multiple routes (Seattle Metropolitan area) to non-available (Cascade Mountains and much of central & eastern Washington) and everything in between. See the above link and the article of a specific locality as to what is available.
By plane
Delta/Delta Connection and Alaska/Horizon Airlines offer intrastate flights from Seattle to Portland, Pasco and Spokane. In addition to the other larger airports listed under Get in, Horizon Air (subsidiary of Alaska Air) is the only carrier that offers intrastate flights to the following small cites from Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and/or Portland International Airort (nearest to Vancouver, Washington and southwest Washington):

Lewiston, Idaho (next to Clarkston, Washington) (LWS IATA) Seattle-Tacoma
Pullman (PUW IATA) Seattle-Tacoma
Walla Walla (ALW IATA) Seattle-Tacoma, or Portland via Eastern Oregon Regional Airport (PDT IATA) in nearby Pendleton
Wenatchee (EAT IATA) Seattle-Tacoma, Portland (1 stop)
Yakima (YKM IATA) Seattle-Tacoma, Portland

Highlights :

  • Natural scenery :
    The iconic snow packed Mount Rainier towers over western Washington and is symbolic of the natural beauty of the area which includes both the Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges which extend into Oregon and even down into northern California. However Washington has several other national parks including the North Cascades National Park famous for having most of the glaciers in the lower 48 states and Olympic National Park which is the only UNESCO World Heritage Site in the Pacific Northwest and famous for its glacier peaked mountains, vast rainforests and the longest undeveloped beach in the lower 48. Mt. St. Helens was the site of one of the largest volcanic eruptions in recorded United States history and shed ashes over dozens of states. However Washington is also a very diverse region including rugged coastlines, sparkling streams, huge rivers, wide deserts and picturesque islands. The Columbia Gorge Scenic drive and its waterfalls follows along the mighty Columbia river which divides Washington from Oregon.
  • A Discover Pass is required for all private vehicles entering a state park. There are some exceptions for camping, fishing, and hunting, which have their own fees, plus a few annual “State Parks free days.” The pass applies only to vehicles–there’s no per person admission charge to the parks. A daily pass is available for those staying only a day or two; otherwise it’s valid for one year (no upgrades) for two vehicles. (Only one vehicle at a time, and you can fill in the second license plate number later.) Dealers, such as sporting goods stores, and online sales add a surcharge. As most state parks have no staffed entry booth, there’s been confusion over whether it’s allowed to enter without a pass, then purchase one at the ranger station or visitors center. Only do so during daily business hours, going promptly from the main entrance without any recreational stops in between. Calling the park ahead of time, and inquiring about the pass is a good idea if you don’t already have one. Some smaller state parks, and even larger ones at off-peak times are completely unattended, requiring the pass be purchased elsewhere in advance. There’s no additional fees for out-of-state vehicles entering the parks, but there is a non-resident surcharge for camping.
  • Historical attractions : Unlike many areas of the country, the prehistory of the region is rich and evident. Areas such as Suquamish still actively practice Native American traditions and Northwest Native American art is a common theme even in contemporary urban public artworks. The city of Seattle is named after Chief Seattle and many other natural and manufactured features bear the names of the areas first peoples which are often difficult for outsiders to pronounce.    Areas such as Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve have kept large areas preserved much as they were when the first european settlers came to the area. Klondike Gold Rush – Seattle Unit National Historical Park – Klondike Gold Rush National Historical Park preserves the story of the 1897-98 stampede to the Yukon gold fields and Seattle’s role in this event
  • Monuments and architecture : Most of the areas architecture can of course be seen in urban areas such as Seattle’s Smith Tower which although now dwarfed by Seattle’s modern skyscrapers stood for years as the tallest building west of the Mississippi. But interesting architecture can be seen even across rural areas such as Puget Sounds first lighthouse in Hansville.
  • Museums and galleries : There are many museums in the region and although most of the well known one’s such as the Seattle Art Museums and the Museum of Glass in Tacoma tend to be in the larger cities, many quality museums can be found scattered across the area and are often a rewarding and enriching break when exploring. Even small towns will sometimes offer their own regional art and historical museums that offer glimpses of local art, history and culture.

Activities :

Visit the San Juan Islands, famous for sailing, fishing, sea kayaking, scuba diving, hiking, bicycling and fine vistas and sunsets.
Go killer whale watching in Haro Strait and Lime Kiln State Park
Go bird-watching and see some of the 400+ species of birds with a local birding guide who knows all the best locations.
Go fishing for salmon, albacore tuna, or bottomfish while visiting the Washington Coast
Go hiking in the Ape Caves
Go skiing at Mount Baker
Go rock climbing at Frenchman Coulee
Tour wineries in Washington’s wine country
Pick farm fresh produce at Yakima Valley farms

Go next :Oregon – The state’s southern neighbor is known for lush forests and craggy mountains.
Idaho – Washington’s eastern neighbor is a rugged state, with snow-capped mountains, whitewater rivers, forests, high desert, and plenty of wilderness.
British Columbia – Crossing the state’s northern border into Canada leads into the mountainous terrain of British Columbia and the seaside city of Vancouver. There’s also a ferry from Port Angeles to Victoria on Vancouver Island.
Montana – While Washington does not share a border with Montana, due to the narrow panhandle you can pass through Idaho in just over an hour on I-90, US 2, and Route 200. However, allow more time on US 12 in the southern part of the state, as Idaho is significantly wider here.
Alaska – Though quite far, Washington State has been the gateway to Alaska for well over a century, with ferries and cruise ships connecting the two today. In addition, there are dozens of flights to Alaska’s four main cities from Sea-Tac Airport, mostly on Alaska Airlines.

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