You’ll know you’re in Washington when the wild and rugged scenery of the Pacific Northwest unfolds in front of you—and you only just left the big city of Seattle moments ago. (Plus, there’s at least one espresso shop on every block.) Washington is the only state in the ‘lower 48’ where you can explore a national park in a temperate rainforest in the morning, hike the trails at a National Volcanic Monument in the afternoon and smell the desert sage as the sun sets.
Don't leave without tasting...
Geoduck (pronounced gooey-duck), a mighty mollusk that is definitely not for the faint of heart. The mere sight of the giant clam might leave you feeling a bit frightened, but prepared correctly, the meat of the Geoduck is sweet, tender and tasty, either pan-fried or in fritters. A good place to start: Shiro’s Sushi Restaurant, in the Belltown area of Seattle.
You might be surprised by...
At Cherry Wood Bed Breakfast and Barn in the Yakima Valley, you can enjoy wine tasting on horseback—and then spend a night in a luxurious teepee.
- Mount Storm King Trail in Olympic National Park for its ethereal groves of massive old growth cedars and the view of Lake Crescent from the top
- At Seattle’s Space Needle, you’ll get 360-degree views of the city’s skyline, Puget Sound, the Olympic Mountain Range and Mt. Rainier
- The rolling hills of the Palouse, in a palette of colours as wheat and wildflowers intermingle. Steptoe Butte, one hour south of Spokane, is the perfect place to enjoy the scenery.
Top photo opportunities
- The Washington State International Kite Festival
- The Space Needle in Seattle
- Mt. Rainier in the spring, when the wildflowers are blooming
- Deception Pass Bridge, connecting Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands in Puget Sound
- The 268-foot Snoqualmie Falls—on sunny days, you’ll see spectacular rainbows.
- At Tacoma’s Museum of Glass, inspired by the works of northwest native and world famous glass-blower Dale Chihuly, you enter by crossing a 500-foot-long bridge of glass!
- First conceived as a Jimi Hendrix-only museum, the Experience Music Project quickly grew to embrace all of rock ’n’ roll. Frank Gehry designed the building
Your child will always remember...
Washington’s coastline has a unique mix of sandy beaches and rugged, rocky shores where, twice a day, when the tide is low, children delight in discovering tide pools filled with sea anemones, snails, small fish, clams, barnacles and crabs, both small and large.
Classic road trip
The Cascade Loop, a 440-mile Scenic Byway beginning 28 miles north of Seattle, circles through the North Cascades mountain range, along the semi-arid Columbia River Valley, past glacier-fed Lake Chelan, though the North Cascades National Park and back into the Puget Sound area.
Notable roadside attractions
- The 44-foot-wide cowboy hat and giant cowboy boots in Seattle’s Oxbow Park
- The Grand Coulee Dam Laser Light Show, in Grand Coulee
- John Rigg is obsessed with robots. If he’s convinced you love them too, he might let you see his collection of around 3,500 robots! The Robot Hut is in the town of Elk; email John in advance at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Don't overlook this...
In 1889, the Great Seattle Fire torched everything in its path. See how the city was born again—along with the secrets that were buried in the ashes—on Seattle’s Underground Tour.
One awe-inspiring building
Most would say the Space Needle. But how about the world’s largest building (472,000,000 cubic feet), home to the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour. See jets being built, including the 787 Dreamliner. It’s in Mukilteo, 25 miles north of Seattle.