Urban sophistication meets glorious wilderness in Washington state, the state that gave birth to everything from Microsoft to grunge music and Starbucks. It's mountains contain active volcanoes, thousand year old forests, and the only rain forests in the United States. Puget Sound forms one of the best water playgrounds around. Seattle practically defines urban hipness. Although little visited, the eastern part has its own charms, including vast fruit orchards and the largest dam ever built in the United States.
Highlights from Washington
- Seattle Bustling hipster haven with an incredible art and music scene, great scenery, many historic sites, and some of the best beer in the United States
- Mount Rainier National Park The fourth highest mountain in the United States; surrounded by glaciers, ancient forests, wildflowers, clear rivers, and vast vistas
- Olympic National Park A park of endless variety: lush rain forests, isolated wilderness beaches, and glacier covered mountain vistas
- Mount Saint Helens The most active volcano in the continental United States. The devastation from its 1980 eruption forms a compellingly beautiful landscape
- San Juan Islands Beautiful escape from Seattle's bustle in the middle of Puget Sound
- Spokane Low key center of art and culture in eastern Washington, site of a World's Fair in 1974.
Hints and Tips for Washington
- Western Washington has seemingly constant rain spring, fall, and winter. Mountain areas receive heavy snowfall in winter and roads may close. Summers are warm with little precipitation. Eastern Washington is dry nearly year round.
- Major cities are served by public transportation. Other areas, including all National Parks, require a private vehicle.
- Most urban areas feature hostels or budget hotels. Rural areas feature abundant campsites.
- Lodging should be reserved in Seattle and near National Parks three months in advance, and six months ahead for major festivals.
- Islands in Puget Sound are served by Washington State Ferries. Most are first-come, first-served, so arrive early
- State law requires drivers to use roadside pullouts when faster vehicles appear behind.