Located in the stunning Pacific Northwest, Washington has no shortage of beauty and entertainment to offer visitors to this enchanting state. The state is split in half by the Cascade Mountain Range, giving it two distinct climates and offering guests a versatile experience. The West side of the state is characterized by jagged mountains, lush evergreen forests and the stunning expanses of Puget Sound. To the East of the Cascade Mountains the land is dry but fertile, and it is common to see bare desert hills bordering hearty fruit orchards. Settled in 1845, Seattle’s first major cities were established as logging towns. Lumber from the forests of Washington were shipped down to California, creating a profitable and viable industry for pioneers. In 1889 Washington was admitted into the Union, and since then it has flourished, trading its logging industry for eco-friendliness. The state is the notable home to business giants such as Microsoft and Starbucks.
Visitors to Washington State can stop by rainy Seattle for a taste of Pacific Northwest culture. Inhabitants of the Emerald City boast a contagious enthusiasm for enjoying the outdoors rain or shine. Guests to Seattle can kayak along the Seattle harbor, view glimpses of the towering Olympic Mountains from the Seattle Seawall or visit one of the city’s many parks. One of Seattle’s must-see attractions is Pike Place Market, which houses shops for hundreds of local artisans, ethnic restaurants and entertainers. Pike Place Market is also home to the famous fishmongers who toss around whole salmon so that visitors can say they ‘caught’ their own fish. Travelers with families in tow can learn about the history of this city on the sea by taking the Underground Tour, which leads visitors through Seattle’s mysterious underground city.
Guests to Washington can escape the bustle of Seattle by taking a ferry or car ride to the picturesque San Juan Islands. The islands are sprawled throughout Washington’s Puget Sound, and offer a wealth of outdoor attractions for the adventurous visitor. Travelers can stop at the picturesque Friday Harbor and stroll through the quaint island town or hike along the rugged beaches. Guests can take a sailing lesson, play a round of golf or view whales from Lime Kiln Point State Park. Visitors with island wanderlust can island-hop to Lopez Island, Orcas Island, Whidbey Island and plenty of other scenic islands in the area.
Travelers who would like to walk among the giants can head over to Olympic National Park. Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the park is home to picturesque old growth evergreens, jagged mountains, scenic rivers and untamed coastline. Adventurous guests can embark off on a journey along the Quinault or Hoh River, while those who would simply like to enjoy the scenery can stop off at La Push or Neah Bay. The National Park is also home to a number of hot springs and a collection of native animals such as deer, bear and bald eagles.
Visitors who are tired of the rain can retreat to the dry reaches of Eastern Washington. While the area isn’t as densely populated as its Western portion, visitors can still enjoy a variety of cultural and active activities in the area. The eastern portion of the state is home to a world-famous wine country tucked away within the hills of Yakima Valley and Columbia Valley. Privately-owned wineries and tasting rooms speckle the scenic hills, offering wine aficionados a rare chance to taste some of their favorite wines while speaking to the craftsman. Visitors who would like to enjoy some rain-free hiking can explore the North Cascades in Okanogan County, and then stop by the Bavarian village of Leavenworth, situated within the scenic mountains. Enjoy the spectacular views of the Columbia River by driving through the rolling hills of Palouse County, which is home to Washington State University.
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