If you’re planning your first trip to Washington state, you’re on the right track. Washington offers it all: iconic mountains, sparkling rocky beaches, jaw-dropping waterfalls, gorgeous islands, lush woods, stunning lakes and rivers, attractive little towns, and bustling cities.
With so many fantastic possibilities, all remains to determine where to travel in Washington.
Because of its enormous public land and natural parks, Washington State is an excellent destination for hikers, trekkers, and campers. The state also has fascinating museums, art galleries, retail malls, restaurants, and historical landmarks.
In short, the state has everything, including beautiful mountains, delicious food, stunning wildlife, and possibilities for cultural immersion.
In this article, we have attempted to summarize the best places to visit in Washington State for your convenience.
Seattle is frequently ranked as the top tourist destination in Washington state. Seattle is perhaps the biggest and most well-known city in the state, and there are many fun things to do there.
You may explore the Seattle Center and Pike Place Market and ride up the Space Needle. You may stroll through Pioneer Square’s historic area, discover the dynamic Capitol Hill neighborhood, and admire the Golden Garden sunsets.
In Seattle, there are countless things to do, whether you want to view museums and art exhibitions, eat at top-notch restaurants, drink the best coffee you’ve ever had, explore lovely city parks, or take a boat across Puget Sound.
Spokane is the second-largest city in Washington State and situated in the state’s eastern region. The Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and the Spokane Art School are just two of the city’s unique institutions and activities.
If you want to visit Spokane, you must see Riverfront Park, the city’s gem. Spokane Falls, one of the state’s largest urban waterfalls, is located in this historic park, which was created for the 1974 World Fair Expo. The Clocktower, the Numerica SkyRide, and the famous garbage goat are other park attractions.
Hiking and mountain bike paths are close, and many genuinely fantastic restaurants and breweries keep food and drink enthusiasts pleased. Music fans should put the Bing Crosby House Museum on their bucket list.
3. Olympic National Park
The Olympic National Park is a local favorite located on Washington’s western side. The Olympic Peninsula is home to this enormous 1,442 square mile National Park, which offers a spectacular blend of rainforests, snow-capped mountains, and beautiful beaches.
Olympic National Park’s hiking paths, as well as the numerous opportunities for camping and backpacking in every landscape, will attract outdoor enthusiasts. The beaches with spectacular sunsets over the Pacific Ocean will take your breath away. The Sol Duc hot springs are located at the Park’s northern end and are a must-see for anybody who takes the journey out here and wants to reward themselves with a relaxing soak. Even better, you may remain at Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort and enjoy the hot springs for as long as you like.
4. Museum of Pop Culture
Museum of Pop Culture or MoPOP is the museum which Paul Allen, a co-founder of Microsoft, built in 2000. It is the ideal destination for anybody interested in how culture has influenced society over time.
The museum features various exhibitions, including ones on horror movies, video games, music, and science fiction. Other interesting items include a strand of John Lennon’s hair and Jimi Hendrix’s stage costumes.
In this museum, there are a number of lounges and an acoustic theatre with cutting-edge technology and spectacular performances that you will never miss it. There aren’t always places on the benches for you to sit when you’d like, so take advantage of them when you see them.
5. LeMay – America’s Car Museum
Harold LeMay had a successful company in the Tacoma area called Harold LeMay Enterprises. He also had the world’s largest private car collection. After he died, the city of Tacoma gave 10 acres (4.0 ha) of land next to the Tacoma Dome for a museum that would hold some of his cars.
You’ll appreciate LeMay – America’s Car Museum if you love cars. This museum features a variety of fascinating, old, and vintage American vehicles and motorbikes. Car enthusiasts like learning about the history of the many brands and models on show and how they have changed through time.
6. San Juan Islands
Puget Sound’s northernmost point is where the San Juan archipelago is located. San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez are the largest and busiest islands.
Lime Kiln State Park, located near Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, is one of the best places in Washington to watch whales. The most populated island, San Juan, has easy access to many beaches.
Meanwhile, Orcas Island is a rugged, forested beauty. It’s ideal for anyone seeking the island’s quiet and peace. Lopez Island is perfect for cyclists. Lopez’s vast open fields and rolling slopes make riding a pleasure.
7. Pike Place Market
Another incredibly famous tourist destination in Seattle is Pike Place Market. Many different merchants offer anything from fresh food to crafts at the market.
There are also numerous top-rated restaurants and cafés, as well as a fish market, in the market. Pike Place Market is also an excellent place to buy souvenirs.
8. White Pass Ski Area
The White Pass Ski Area is a famous ski resort in Naches, Washington. In addition to various ski terrain, this resort offers convenient services such as a ski school, a daycare, and a rental store.
There is also a lodge at the base of the ski area that is an excellent place to relax, stretch, and unwind after a day on the slopes.
9. Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest, located in Olympic National Park, is a temperate rainforest. There are a lot of plant and animal species in the forest, including elk, deer, bears, eagles, and salmon.
The Hoh Rainforest is a popular hiking location; several routes exist to explore the area. You may also camp in the Hoh Rainforest, where several campgrounds are available.
Leavenworth is a small town with Bavarian heritage near the Cascade Mountains. You can have fun there any time, regardless of the season. Hiking, birdwatching, golfing, and swimming at Colchuk Lake are all great things to do in the spring and summer.
Oktoberfest in Leavenworth is a fall must-do, but other popular activities include bicycling, rock climbing, and ziplining over the gorgeous foliage. The town is transformed into a magnificent paradise right out of a storybook during the famed Christmas Lighting in the winter. There are plenty of opportunities for skiing and snowmobiling the rest of the season.
11. Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument is the best place to visit if you want to see an active volcano. There are various tourist facilities in the region for anyone interested in learning more about the mountain’s fascinating geological history. They related to the story of the 1980s eruption that gave Mount St Helens its characteristic crater-shaped top.
Those interested in seeing the volcanic beauty from above might take a seaplane tour! Visitors to Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument can participate in various outdoor activities. Go camping, hiking, or exploring the Ape Caves, which were formed by lava flow 2,000 years ago!
12. North Cascades National Park
North Cascades National Park is best place to visit if you want to enjoy the wild, rough, and beautiful. This national park, located east of Bellingham, includes hundreds of hiking paths to explore, wildlife to see, and beautiful landscapes to see.
Check out the enchanting turquoise waters of Lake Diablo. Bring a picnic if you want to spend the day here. You may also explore the park at speed by boating in or trekking.
Hiking is the most popular activity in the park, with several paths to select from based on your hiking skill level and scenic interests.
13. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is considered as one of the Washington most iconic landmarks. Adventurers will discover ancient forests, alpine lakes, meadows, and waterfalls. Hiking options are available all year. From spring to fall, hike the trails and enjoy snowshoeing in the winter. Visitors may also take scenic driving tours or a gondola ride from Crystal Mountain to experience Rainier from a different perspective!
If you are willing to spend more time around Washington’s favorite mountain, nearby communities, offer hotel alternatives. Coming here should be at the top of most people’s lists of things to do in Washington state.
The third-largest city in Washington, Tacoma is located an hour south of Seattle and offers a lot of exciting things to do.
Tacoma is a good starting point for cultural discovery and offers stunning views of Mount Rainier. Visitors can explore fascinating museums like the Tacoma Art Museum, the LeMay Car Museum, and the Museum of Glass.
The Point Defiance Zoo is also worthwhile for family-friendly entertainment, as is traveling a little further to Maris Farms. Tacoma offers waterfront dining alternatives for eateries specializing in flavors and cuisine from the Pacific Northwest.
15. The Port Angeles
Port Angeles is located south of British Columbia’s Vancouver Island and north of the Olympic National Park. Port Angeles has a lot to offer tourists on its own, even while it is a gateway to many amazing sites to explore. Riding a bike along the Olympic Discovery Trail, exploring Ediz Hook in search of seals and otters, and swimming or canoeing in the lovely Lake Crescent are all recommended.
The Port Angeles mural trail is excellent for art lovers to explore the city’s vibrant art scene. Don’t forget to check out a museum or two to learn more about the history of the local Native Americans.
The largest city in Washington, Bellingham, is close to the Canadian border. It’s a fantastic location for outdoor recreation. The San Juan Islands can be accessed easily from Bellingham because of its near the North Cascades National Park.
The two most famous scenic highways in the Bellingham area are Chuckanut Drive and Mount Baker Scenic Byway. While Bellingham’s surrounding areas are worth exploring, the downtown area is also a great spot to taste some tasty seafood and a beverage from one of the region’s delicious cideries, breweries, or wineries.
East of Seattle is the city of Bellevue, which serves as a suitable starting point for exploring Mercer Island, Kirkland, and Redmond, three other Eastside cities. Bellevue is between Lake Washington and Lake Sammamish, a family-friendly community with many green spaces, parks, and places to enjoy the outdoors.
Locals love to picnic at Bellevue Downtown Park. The Bellevue Botanical Garden is a lovely haven for those who love the outdoors. In addition, many shops, retail spaces, and premium brands are spread throughout the city’s several shopping areas.
If you like waterfalls, Snoqualmie Falls is one of the best places to visit in Washington. You may have seen this waterfall before. It became well-known because it was in the TV show Twin Peaks.
If you like the TV show, you should definitely visit this place in Washington. But even if you haven’t been there, this is one of the most beautiful places in Washington. Many people think it’s one of the best things to do in the state of Washington. There are also popular hiking trails in the area, and you won’t regret taking a little tour of the tiny town of North Bend.
19. Port Townsend
Port Townsend is a lovely town with lots of maritime history and old Victorian buildings. It’s pretty much a must to get out on the water here. There are many ways to sail, kayak, and row, and the Northwest Maritime Center and the Port Townsend Marine Science Center are great places to learn (you can even book a wildlife cruise!).
Fort Worden is an excellent place to go if you want to see beaches, bike, hike, or learn about history. It’s one of the most exciting state parks in the area, and you can stay in the buildings that used to be a military base and have been fixed up. Just don’t forget about the city center! It is on the water and has great places to eat and shop for antiques.
20. Walla Walla
Even though Walla Walla is small, its historic downtown is also very charming and has a lot of personalities. The town has a lot of shops, restaurants, and bookstores. Visit the Fort Walla Walla Museum to learn about the city’s history. The Wine Valley golf course is consistently named one of the best in Washington, so golfers should go there.
On the south end of Puget Sound, Olympia is Washington’s capital. The Capitol Building is one of Olympia’s many exciting places to visit. Visitors can walk through the beautiful building on their own.
Nature lovers sould check out the beautiful and extraordinary Mima Mounds Natural Area Preserve and the Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge.
22. Cape Flattery
Cape Flattery is in the northwest corner of the United States that is joined together. It is on the Makah Indian Reservation and looks over the Pacific Ocean and Tatoosh Island.
Cape Flattery in Washington state is a great place to go if you want to see beautiful views and maybe even whales, seals, and sea lions. The trail isn’t too hard, and the sunsets here are stunning. You can camp, hike on the beach, fish, and go to the Makah Museum if you want to stay longer.
23. Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls State Park is undoubtedly one of Washington’s most exciting places to visit. It’s north of Snake River and 2 hours from Spokane. Palouse Falls is a natural wonder that is 13,000 years old. It was formed by floods caused by melting glaciers during the last Ice Age. It was named the state waterfall of Washington in 2014 and is a beautiful place to see.
Even though there aren’t many places to camp in the area, Palouse Falls State Park has a lot of trails and lookouts for people to explore. Photographers and artists will definitely want to come here, especially at sunset when the light makes the falls even more stunning.