Washington State Vacation Planner

2024 Washington State Visitors Guide

Washington hosts a wide variety of opportunities for travelers, from recreation to relaxation to accommodation to adventure. Seattle and Puget Sound are rife with fishing and boating prospects, a trend that continues down the coast to the Olympic Peninsula and on towards Oregon. Mountains rise immediately to the east of the coast, with landmarks such as Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier accommodating hiking, biking, and camping. Vancouver and Yakima are both prominent towns in this area.

The Cascade Loop is a well-traveled area that traverses the Cascade Range, taking visitors through small mountain towns such as Leavenworth. Further east, the Columbia River Basin presents many chances to experience Washington, such as the Grand Coulee Dam, which is the largest concrete dam in North America and the third-largest producer of electricity worldwide. Spokane is the largest city in eastern Washington and the heart of the Inland Empire.

Cascade Loop

The Cascade Loop is a popular driving tour through northwestern Washington State, revealing several unique stops and a diversity of environments along the way. The town of Methow offers both cross-country and downhill skiing, along with accommodations, restaurants, and other services, making it an ideal home base while exploring the area’s recreational opportunities. Leavenworth is also found in the Cascade Loop and is another town known for its hospitality and mountain activities. Modeled to resemble a Bavarian village, Leavenworth is home to a large annual Oktoberfest that features live entertainment, German food, and arts, and crafts. Further along, the loop is Wenatchee, famous for its many apple orchards, but also for the 300 days of sunshine it receives per year. Whether they’re for a day or a week, the Cascade Loop keeps visitors occupied and in awe of the variety of natural beauty of Washington State.

Olympic Peninsula

The Olympic Peninsula in northwestern Washington juts into the Pacific Ocean, just south of Canada’s Vancouver Island. Dominating the Peninsula is the 922,000-acre Olympic National Park, accessed through the visitor center at Port Angeles. Almost 95 percent of the park has a wilderness designation, and eight kinds of plants and 15 kinds of animals exist here and nowhere else on earth. Temperate rain forests, ice-covered mountains, and rugged coastlines characterize the region, where whale-watching excursions, fishing charters, kayak adventures, and mountain bike tours simplify the exploration process. Port Angeles is home to the Fiero Marine Life Center, a public aquarium, an educational facility and a meeting ground for marine-related groups. From Neah Bay and Port Townsend in the north to Queets and Forks in the south, visitors find true adventure in a land of beauty far beyond the imagination.

Mount Rainier

Although Mount Rainier is an active volcano, there are a variety of recreational activities that can be enjoyed in this part of Washington. Mount Rainier National Park makes up nearly 240,000 acres (97,123 ha), providing space for visitors to enjoy all that the Washington wilds have to offer. Wilderness camping, hiking, and climbing are popular activities. During the winter months, Mount Rainier is a choice destination for cross-country skiers and snowshoe enthusiasts, offering many miles of trails for visitor use. In addition to modern outdoor recreation, the past comes to life at the many pioneers and historic attractions that exist in and around the Mount Rainier area. The Pioneer Farm Museum and Ohop Indian Village in Eatonville provide hands-on exhibits that recall the era of homesteading in Washington. The town of Enumclaw is located just north of Eatonville and features a host of amenities in the heart of the scenic Mount Rainier foothills.

Mount Rainier Visitors Guide
Mount Rainier

Leavenworth, WA Visitors Guide

Leavenworth is a unique, Bavarian-style village located in northern Washington. The character-laden buildings house various shops and restaurants, including authentic German bakeries and confectionaries. The city hosts a number of unique events throughout the year, including the Leavenworth International Accordion Celebration, where attendees are entertained by accordion music and competitions in June. Village Art in the Park is another annual event that takes place from the beginning of May until mid-October and is hailed as the longest-running outdoor art show in the Pacific Northwest. Children flock to Icicle Junction Family Fun Center, a five-acre entertainment park that features a replica locomotive, a miniature golf course and batting cages. Winter does not limit the number of activities in Leavenworth; there is a myriad of trails for snowshoeing and snowmobiling, and the Stevens Pass Nordic Center is a popular cross-country skiing facility that offers the use of professionally groomed trails for a fee.

Puget Sound Visitors Guide

The metropolitan area of Seattle and Tacoma and the Kitsap Peninsula boasts a thriving economy, impressive natural beauty, and masses of exciting entertainment choices, all on the shores of Puget Sound. Tacoma lies south of Seattle, with the Sea-Tac International Airport located strategically between the two cities. Redmond is home to technology giants Microsoft and Nintendo. The Cascade Mountain Range borders the region to the east and provides terrain suitable for hiking, camping, and climbing. Seattle Harbor and Puget Sound present a paradise for water sports, and bed and breakfast establishments thrive on the historically significant Kitsap Peninsula. Culturally, Puget Sound has something for everyone. Seattle features a wealth of theaters and auditoriums that house everything from concerts and musicals to plays and films. The area’s museums, amusement parks, historic sites and special events draw visitors from around the world. Olympia, the capital of Washington state, is at the southern end of Puget Sound.

Puget Sound Washington
Puget Sound

Seattle Visitors Guide

Despite a reputation for rain, Seattle is a hotbed of activity in the Pacific Northwest. Located just two hours south of Vancouver, Canada, the city of Seattle is an international port that boasts three professional sports teams, hundreds of restaurants, a myriad of cultural venues, and a lifestyle that is unique to the Pacific Northwest. Recreation abounds here, with golfing, skiing, hiking and camping all within close proximity to the city center. The Pike Place Market is one of the more well-known attractions in the city, boasting a variety of shops, fresh food, and other services. The Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center is a popular destination for history enthusiasts, as it features an 1897 schooner and other nautical exhibits. Families enjoy visiting the over 1,100 animals, reptiles and birds that make the Woodland Park Zoo their home. The Seattle Aquarium also draws sightseers to its adorable marine mammals, underwater dome, and interactive exhibits. Across Lake Washington is Bellevue, Washington which offers a bounty of parks, walking trails and learning centers.

downtown Seattle WA
Seattle Guide

Spokane Visitors Guide

Spokane is Washington’s second-largest city, yet it retains a small-town ambiance. The downtown area is particularly attractive, with Riverfront Park and Spokane Falls offering visitors the chance to experience Washington’s outdoors. Bing Crosby, the legendary crooner, was a native of Spokane and visitors can take in the Bing Crosby Collection at his alma mater, Gonzaga University. American history can be seen at Carr’s One of a Kind in the World Museum, featuring cars that belonged to Elvis Presley and Jackie Gleason among the collection of unique memorabilia. Concerts and sporting events are featured at the local Spokane Veterans Memorial Arena, with a seating capacity of just over 12,000. From May through October, the Silverwood Theme Park welcomes thrill-seekers with a roller coaster and other rides, in addition to food concessions, games, and more. Arts enthusiasts enjoy visiting the Spokane Center, which hosts events ranging from concerts to operas to musicals.

Vancouver, WA Visitors Guide

Vancouver, Washington, is a perfect location to explore parts of southwest Washington and northwest Oregon. From Vancouver, guests can visit Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge the Pacific Coast in Washington, and Portland and Mount Hood in Oregon. While here, tour historic Fort Vancouver and the Pearson Air Museum. At the Clark County Historical Museum, visitors have the chance to tour a number of temporary exhibits and attend lectures and special events that explore local history. Golf enthusiasts can hit the links at several courses located in the area. Vancouver offers a prime location for taking part in a number of recreational activities, from hiking in the Cascade Mountains to cycling on city bike trails to windsurfing on the Columbia River. In late August, local wines, cuisine, art, and music are celebrated at the annual Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival.

Yakima Visitors Guide

The city of Yakima is ideally situated just 145 mi (233 km) southeast of Seattle. Home to a number of exciting attractions, Yakima has something for visitors and locals of all ages. The State Fair Raceway offers stock car racing during the spring and summer months and is located at the city’s fairgrounds. Yakima also supports professional basketball, baseball, and soccer teams, making it an ideal place to go for fans of spectator sports. Located in the heart of Washington’s agricultural country, Yakima boasts a moderate climate and rich soil, enabling the growth of world-class apples, hops, grapes, and more. The area’s winemaking industry is also flourishing and wine tours and tasting are popular pastimes in Yakima. The city is abuzz every September during the seven-day Central Washington State Fair, which includes a rodeo, live entertainment, car races and an array of food vendors.