Washington is best known for its biggest city of Seattle, but the Emerald State is also home to a staggering number of scenic destinations. Whether you want to hike right up to waterfalls, admire snow-capped mountains from a distance or spend the day on islands off the coast, Washington has it all. It is easy to pack your vacation with city life, world-class attractions, national parks and more while in the Pacific Northwest. Use this list of the best places to visit in Washington State as you plan your next trip itinerary.
10. Lake Chelan
At the base of Washington’s North Cascades Mountain Range is Lake Chelan, a hub for scenery, outdoor recreation and wine tasting in the Pacific Northwest. Visiting vineyards is a major draw to the region, and you can spend a day sipping and sightseeing at places like Vin du Lac Winery, Karma Vineyards or Mellisoni Vineyards. For a closer look at the incredible natural terrain, ride on a seaplane that takes off and lands in the lake itself, or try water-skiing during the summer months. Hiking possibilities are abundant, and on Historic Main Street you can dine on farm-to-table cuisine from a range of independent eateries.
9. Columbia River Gorge
South of the Rattlesnake Hills, and right in the heart of the Columbia River Plateau, is the Columbia River Gorge. The gorge cuts through the Cascade Mountains forming the boundary between Washington and Oregon, and you can get spectacular views of the gorge from above. The Multnomah Falls cascade right into the gorge at one point, only adding to the beauty of this particular destination. One of the best ways to see the Columbia River Gorge from the Washington side is to drive along State Route 14, stopping off at the many scenic vantage points for photos.
After Seattle, Spokane is the largest city in Washington, and it is located in the eastern portion of the state close to the border with Idaho. In Spokane, you can visit the Riverfront Park, which was home to the 1974 World’s Fair, and stroll along the banks of the scenic Spokane River. Some of the city’s top attractions include the John A. Finch Arboretum, the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and Spokane Falls. You may also want to check out some of the city’s popular golf courses or take a tasting tour through some of the many breweries that have popped up in Spokane in recent years.
7. Snoqualmie Falls
Halfway between the towns of Snoqualmie and Fall City is Snoqualmie Falls, one of Washington’s most popular attractions. The rushing waters of the falls make it a stunning and unforgettable place to visit and a top spot for photographers in the Pacific Northwest. You might already recognize the falls for its appearance in the popular cult television show “Twin Peaks”. There are short hiking trails around Snoqualmie Falls where visitors can admire enormous trees and lush green plant life within the spray of the waterfalls. There is also a large visitor center and gift shop where you can snag some snacks or souvenirs to help remember the trip.
6. North Cascades National Park
More than half of all the glaciers found in the Continental United States are located within the North Cascades National Park in Washington. The park is also home to a staggering amount of wildlife, including animals like grizzly bears, gray wolves and lynx. Hike or drive to Mount Baker, a volcano located within the North Cascades, to get an unparalleled view of the nearby Mt. Shuksan, which is perhaps the most photographed peak in all of North America. Within the national park, you’ll find opportunities for alpine climbing and back country camping, but you can also set off on shorter day hikes and mountain biking trails during the summer.