8 Best Things To Do in Washington State
If you didn't know, Washington State is also known as the Evergreen State because it is the perfect place for those who love to spend time in nature. In fact, almost any outdoor sport can be practiced here. Sleeping volcanoes like Mount Rainier rise above the horizon, and time seems to stand still in the lush green landscapes of the Hoh Rain Forest on the Olympic Peninsula. The San Juan Islands and Puget Sound offer Pacific Northwest paradises to escape into, and charming cities like Leavenworth, Bellingham, and Port Angeles each offer a unique set of attractions. In conclusion, one trip to Washington will never be enough, and with each visit, it's easy to discover more of what makes Washington State one of the best to visit in the nation. Here are some of the best things you can do here:
1. Olympic National Park
The park covers most of the Olympic Peninsula, and roads only circle the park with a scenic drive on US 101, never cutting through the park's mountainous heart. Iconic coastal areas like Ruby and Rialto Beach define the rugged western edge of the park, only a short drive away from the over-sized trees and abundant foliage found in the Hoh Rain Forest. An absolute must-do hike for all ages, the Hoh River Trail explores the rain forest and river corridor with a flat path for 13 miles before ascending to the lateral moraine of Blue Glacier on Mount Olympus.
2. Chihuly Garden and Glass
Chihuly Garden and Glass is an exhibit in the Seattle Center that displays the studio glass of Dale Chihuly. Chihuly has played an important role in the international glass art scene and the museum presents a representative collection of the renowned artist's work. The centerpiece of the site is the Glass-house, a 40-foot-tall building that features a 100-foot-long glass sculpture in a red, orange, and yellow color palette. Additionally, there are eight galleries and three Drawing Walls that demonstrate a variety of Chihuly's works and art styles.
3. Sky View Observatory
The Sky View Observatory is a public observatory on the 73rd floor of the Columbia Center in Seattle. The observation deck is the tallest of its kind in the Northwest United States and the impressive view includes Mount Rainier, the Cascade Mountains, Bellevue, Elliot Bay, the Olympic Mountains, the Space Needle, and other parts of the city of Seattle. If you are looking for something unique, know that the Sky View Observatory can be rented for private events, weddings, and parties.
4. San Juan Islands
North of Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands are the best known of Washington's many islands, with the four largest being readily accessible by ferry. Each has a mix of galleries, seafood restaurants, and parks, including San Juan Island National Historic Park where British and American troops became embroiled in the Pig War border dispute. Favorite things to do on the San Juan Islands include sea kayaking, whale watching, and dining on local fare.
5. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
When Mount St. Helens explosively erupted on May 18th, 1980, it reduced the peak by 1,300 feet and leveled much of the surrounding area. A cloud of ash rose 13 miles into the air. Almost 150 square miles of forest were destroyed, houses were overwhelmed by masses of water and mud, and 57 people lost their lives. The landscape of Mount St. Helens today is still rebounding from the massive event, and visitors are encouraged to learn more about the geological processes still underway at the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. Set aside for both research and recreation purposes, all the best hiking trails at Mount St. Helens provide interpretive information and a first-hand look at the destruction.
6. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is the tallest peak in the state (14,410 feet). Located south of Seattle, Mount Rainier lies at the center of its namesake national park. Two areas of particularly stunning interest include the Sunrise and Paradise regions of the park. The Road to Paradise is open, weather permitting, year-round, allowing visitors to reach high elevations for hiking in summer and snowshoeing in winter.
7. The Wing
The Wing or the Wing Luke Museum of the Asian Pacific American Experience was opened in 1967 in Seattle’s Chinatown. This history museum of Asian Pacific American history, culture, and art celebrates Asian trailblazers and pioneers, using a range of exhibits to show how they helped shape Seattle of today. Exhibits tell real-life stories, including the story of Bruce Lee. On top of this, the museum offers a tour of the Chinatown-International District neighborhood, providing an insider point of view of its history, foods, and the most significant sights.
Today, the town of Leavenworth proudly recognizes itself as a Bavarian Village, and it's common to see residents wearing lederhosen or blowing a morning serenade on an alphorn. There are several annual festivals, including a holiday lights celebration in December. To the east, the Wenatchee Valley is famed for its apples and hosts the annual Washington State Apple Blossom Festival