Washington is an outdoor paradise at the extreme edge of the Continental United States. It’s the most northwest of the Pacific Northwest where everything, even the major metropolitan greater Seattle area, is draped with nature.

Only there isn’t ‘one Washington’. There are at least four with the cool and wet coast, the western lowlands, the dry and sunny Columbia Plateau, and the mountains that divide them. For example, Coastal Washington has the largest temperate rainforests in the lower 48, while Naval Air Station Pasco was selected because it’s almost always sunny. Somewhere in between, there’s Seattle, with nine months of drizzle and three brilliant fleeting months of the most beautiful summers imaginable.

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US Dollar

Exercise Increased Caution
Summer Winter
Destruction Island (Coastal) 65 41
Seattle (Western Lowlands) 79 37
Kennewick (Columbia Plateau ) 93 27

Fun Facts

  • Washington produces more apples than any other state in the country
  • There are more than 3,000 glaciers in Washington, the most in the Lower 48 States
  • Washington is the largest ferry operator in the country
  • The Long Beach Peninsula is the longest contiguous beach in the United States (28 miles)
  • The Hoh Rain Forest is the largest temperate rainforest in the Lower 48
  • Spokane hosts the world’s largest three-on-three outdoor basketball tournament every year with 6000 teams!
  • Cape Alava in Olympic National Park is the westernmost point in the continental United States
  • Washington is the second largest wine-producing region in the country
  • The Yakima Valley grows 75% of the country’s hops
  • Miami Florida gets nearly twice as much rain as Seattle (62 in vs 37 in) but more days with sun (249 days vs 164 days)
  • Celilo was the oldest continuously inhabited community in North American until 1957 when the Dalles Dam flooded the town

Bucket-List Activities

  • Hike in the Hoh Rainforest (Olympic Region)
  • Climb Mt Rannier (South Puget Sound Region)
  • Kayak with Orcas in the San Juan Islands (Northwest Region)
  • See bald eagles on a Skagit River float trip (Northwest Region)
  • Scuba dive with giant octopi (Northwest / South Puget Sound)
  • Hiking the Wonderland Trail (South Puget Sound Region)
  • Enjoy Octoberfest in Leavenworth (Southeast Region)
  • Drive the Cascade Loop (Northwest / South Puget Sound/ Southeast)
  • Visit the northern terminus of the Pacific Crest Trail and the western terminus of the Great American Rail Trail (Northwest / Olympic)

Natural Wonders

  • Snoqualmie Falls (268 feet high, South Puget Sound Region)
  • Lake Chelan (1,468′ deep Southeast Region)
  • Hoh Rainforest (largest temperate rainforest in the Lower 48, Olympic Region)
  • Ape Caves (the longest lava tube in the Continental United States, South Puget Sound Region)
  • Columbia River Gorge (80 miles long and over 4000′ deep in spots, Pacific Cascade Region)
  • Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park (over 7,000 acres of fossilized Ginkgo trees, Southeast Region)
  • San Juan Islands (over 450 islands, rocks, and pinnacles, Northwest Region)

Major Attractions

  • Seattle Center and the Space Needle (South Puget Sound Region)
  • Pike Place Market (South Puget Sound Region)
  • Mount Rainier National Park(South Puget Sound Region)
  • San Juan Islands (Northwest Region)
  • Olympic National Park (Olympic Region)
  • Leavenworth (Southeast Region)
  • Deception Pass State Park (Northwest Region)
  • Palouse Falls (Southeast Region)
  • Gorge in George (PNWs answer to Red Rocks) (Southeast Region)

Native Foods

  • Salmon (any kind, any way)
  • Razor Clams (especially popular when fried or in clam chowder)
  • Teriyaki (Seattle has more teriyaki than Tokyo)
  • Theo Chocolate (the first and only organic and fair-trade chocolate in the country)
  • Anything made with local apples (or cherries)
  • Aplets & Cotlets (why can’t we just call it Turkish delight?)

General Travel Tips

Common Phrases

  • The mountain is out – It’s a clear day in Seattle, and you can see Mt Ranier.
  • Do the Puyallup – Don’t delay, do the Puyallup aka the Washington State Fair
  • Jesus Christ made Seattle under protest – the mnemonic for remembering the ordering of the streets that make up downtown Seattle
  • S.L.U.T. – A trolly in South Lake Union (not a city in Utah)
  • U-Dub – University of  -W-ashington (do see the dub now?)
  • Seattle-Tacoma/ Seattle–Tacoma International Airport  (SEA ✈✈✈✈) – Washington’s largest metropolis and airport
  • Spokane / Spokane International Airport (Geiger Field) (GEG ✈✈✈✈) – The pride of Eastern Washington
  • Pasco / Tri-Cities Airport (PSC ✈✈) – Wineries and Plutonium refineries
  • Bellingham / Bellingham International Airport (BLI ✈✈) – Gateway to the San Juan Islands
  • Yakima / Yakima Air Terminal (McAllister Field)  (YKN ✈) – Late season rafting on the Tieton and lots of apples
  • Pullman – Moscow / Pullman–Moscow Regional Airport (PUW ✈) – Home to Washington State University
  • Wenatchee / Pangborn Memorial Airport (EAT ✈) – The backdoor the Leavenworth and Stevens Pass
  • Walla Walla / Walla Walla Regional Airport  (ALW ✈) – Sweet onions and fun name
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