Washington Travel Guide

Named after the first president and the only state to be named after a president, the 42nd state of Washington resides in the Pacific Northwest region of the country. Known for its diverse climate and terrain, Washington enjoys much popularity as a destination for outdoor enthusiasts, especially those who love the mountains.

With the Cascade Mountains cutting the state from north to south, western Washington experiences mostly mild temperatures with damp winters and dry summers; its dense coniferous forests are part of the only temperate rainforest climate region in the country. Across the mountains there is an expanse of arid, semi-desert giving way to farmland further inland while many of the highest peaks of the mountain range are active volcanoes covered in glacial ice.

Mount Rainier, the highest peak in Washington State, is home to the Mount Rainier National Park. Open year round, the park welcomes more than two million visitors annually, with the summer months and long weekends being busiest. The fifth oldest national park in America, it contains campsites and inns, incredible alpine scenery, old-growth forests and flower meadows. Special events calendars are available at any of the visitors’ centers, providing information on lodging, backpacking and summit climbing to picnicking and ranger-led hiking itineraries.

Closer to the water lies the well-known port city of Seattle. The state’s largest city, it offers all of the amenities one could hope for in a major urban center, with accommodation options ranging from budget to five-star hotels. One of the more popular seaside attractions is Pier 59, where the Seattle Aquarium and Discovery Center is located amidst a shoreline park of lamps and benches and picnic areas. An observation platform with coin operated telescopes provides a great view of the Olympic Mountains on a clear day.

Another Seattle treasure is the Space Needle. Try an indoor adventure and ride the elevator to the Observation Deck 520 feet above the city to enjoy a breathtaking, panoramic view. SkyCity is a revolving restaurant within the Needle that offers a slow, 360-degree dining experience where local salmon and fresh picked fruit is on the menu.