Otherwise known as Evergreen State, Washington occupies one of the most beautiful corners of the country. Home to snow-covered peaks, spectacular parks filled with unspoiled wilderness, upscale wineries, sparkling lakes, sublime beaches and lush orchards. From my time spent traveling around this incredible state here are the best and most beautiful places to visit in Washington state…
1. Mount Rainier National Park – one of the most stunning places to explore in Washington State
The highest point in the Cascade Range, Mount Rainier is the most glaciated peak in the contiguous U.S.A. An icon of the Washington landscape, the icy volcanic peak is surrounded by subalpine meadows, beautiful valleys and ancient forests on the lower slopes.
Located in southeast Pierce County, Mount Rainier National Park was established in 1899. A premier peak of the country for mountain climbing and hiking, Mount Rainier is covered by some of the largest glaciers and snowfields. Hike the Wonderland Trail or camp out on the lush greens, you’ll be rewarded with endless adventures with spectacular views.
2. Seattle – one of the coolest and best places to visit in Washington
Popularly known as the Emerald City, gorgeous Seattle is a thriving metropolis with vintage charm. Boasting some incredible architecture and art galleries, Pioneer Square is home to the city’s oldest neighborhood. Watch the Seattle skyline from the iconic Space Needle for panoramic views of downtown and surrounding mountains.
Soak up Seattle history and curated exhibits in the Seattle Art Museum and Museum of Pop Culture. Explore the stunning indoor glass installation gardens in the Chihuly Garden and Glass showcases. Shop your heart out at the Pike Place Market or seek a quaint retreat in Bainbridge Island, this city has something for everyone.
3. Manito Park – a beautiful public park with an arboretum, botanical gardens, and conservatory
A nationally recognized garden for its horticultural displays, Manito Park features formal gardens with beautiful flowerbeds and a conservatory.
Located just 2 miles from Spokane, the scenic gardens and manicured lawns make up for a pretty public park. One of the park’s most popular gardens, the Rose Hill features numerous species of roses in this enchanted land. Admire the park’s greens while you walk, cycle or picnic. Watch the ducks and geese in the Mirror Pond, sled down in the snow-covered hills, or skate on the frozen pond, the park offers a range of outdoor activities to enjoy a day in the artistic gardens.
4. Olympic National Park – a Washington beauty spot and World Heritage Site
Renowned for its diverse wilderness, Olympic National Park is located in the northwest of Washington state. A dedicated World Heritage Site, the park combines forests, coastal and mountain ecosystem. Nestled above 5,000 feet, Hurricane Ridge is the most visited site in the national park.
A premier hiking destination and a snowy winter playground, the ridge offers some of the best hiking, skiing and snowboarding experience. The crown jewels of the Olympic coast, Ruby Beach is famous for its reddish sands, driftwoods and sea stacks. With tranquil lakeshores and temperate rainforests untouched by humans, Olympic park offers endless opportunities for adventure, exploration and recreation.
5. San Juan Island – an archipelago and stunning vacation spot perfect for whale watching
An archipelago on the Pacific coastline, San Juan Islands form the core of San Juan County. A short drive from Seattle, San Juan Island can be accessed by Washington State Ferries. The second-largest island by size, the San Juan Island offers some of the best weather in Western Washington. With numerous islands, reefs and water sports activities, San Juan Island offers a memorable outdoor experience.
A charming seaport in the San Juan Island, Friday Harbor offers a refreshing escape with waterways all around. Walk the historic town, explore the marine exhibits at the Whale Museum, or set out for a whale-watching tour, Friday Harbor is a tiny town with the best tropical spirit.
6. North Cascades National Park – a very beautiful place to visit in Washington which perfect for outdoor lovers
Preserving pristine glaciers, majestic mountains, snowfields and cascading waterfalls, North Cascades National Park offers a large wilderness area with unbeatable views. Less than three hours from Seattle, the National Park is home to a diverse ecosystem. Often called the ‘American Alps’, the park offers a mix of recreation and true wilderness.
Winding through the wilderness area and small mountain towns, the North Cascades Scenic Highway offers a stunningly beautiful drive with plenty of viewpoints and hiking trails. The second highest peak in the park, Mount Shuksan is a favorite hiking and skiing destination. Watch the dynamic clouds moving in the mountain and enjoy their ethereal beauty in this alluring park.
7. Leavenworth – one of the prettiest mountain towns to explore with buildings in a quaint style
America’s hidden Bavarian-style village, Leavenworth is a popular spot for Seattleites to visit on weekends. Part of the Chelan County, Leavenworth is a perfect destination for hiking, backcountry alpine skiing and floating on the gentle creeks. Carved by the Wenatchee River, the charming town is always buzzing with outdoor explorers and tourists.
Explore the Nutcracker Museum or hike the nearby Icicle Ridge for a beautiful lookout at the town. With endless sunshine in summer, float down the calm waters of Icicle Creek or stroll the Waterfront Park, this tiny village is a gateway to excellent ski areas and wineries.
8. Diablo Lake – one of the most beautiful lakes to visit in Washington State
A gorgeous reservoir nestled in the snow-capped Cascade Mountains, Diablo Lake is a part of the North Cascades National Park. The remote location and stunning natural surroundings with nearby glaciers make for a jaw-dropping location.
Brimming with turquoise color waters, this man-made lake offers excellent hiking and camping opportunities. Hike along the Diablo Lake Trail on the northern shore, paddle along the sparkling waters, or watch the beautiful surroundings in the Diablo Lake Overlook, there are so many different things to see here.
9. Snoqualmie Falls – one of Washington state’s most popular scenic attractions
A magical waterfall in the northwest United States, the Snoqualmie Falls cascading at 268-feet over granite cliffs. One of the most popular scenic attractions of Washington, the falls are located near the city of Snoqualmie.
Considered to be a place of humanity’s origin by the Snoqualmie Tribe, the falls offer breathtaking vistas with scenic nature trails meandering through old-growth trees. Claimed to be twice as high as Niagara Falls, the Snoqualmie Falls is surrounded by a two-acre park, an observation deck, a gift shop, and the historic Salish Lodge.
10. Deception Pass Bridge – an iconic engineering marvel with scenic views
One of the most photographed places in Washington, Deception Pass Bridge is a magnificent arched structure spanning between Fidalgo and Whidbey Islands. Constructed in 1935, the twenty-eight feet wide Deception Pass Bridge provides grand views of the Pacific coastal shoreline.
A dedicated National Historic Place, the Deception Pass Bridge provides picturesque vistas of murmuring waters & tidal flows from the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Watch the shoreline below or atop the bridge’s sidewalks to enjoy captivating vistas of nearby surroundings. Each year the iconic bridge draws visitors from all around the world for its elegant architecture.
11. Lake Wenatchee State Park – a beautiful mountain lake with clear blue waters
A charismatic northwest icon, the glacier-fed Lake Wenatchee is located 16 miles from the town of Leavenworth. Encompassing an area of 489-acre with miles of waterfront, the Lake Wenatchee State Park offers year-round recreation opportunities.
Bisected by the Wenatchee River, the state park is divided into North and South Park. A popular destination for boaters and windsurfers, the calm waters of Lake Wenatchee offers ample adventures for beginners and experts. Climb a mountain, paddle your boat or soak up your feet in the alpine lake, the state park has a variety of outdoor activities for visitors from all walks of life.
12. Pacific Crest Trail – offering one of the most beautiful hikes in Washington
America’s second-longest trail, Pacific Crest Trail covers the most variable terrain the planet has to offer. Spanning from Mexico to Canada, the trail travels through the states of California, Oregon, and Washington. From the scorching Mojave Desert to the snowy Cascade Mountains, the Pacific Crest Trail covers a total distance of 2,650 miles
. Covering 512 miles in Washington with spectacular scenery, the trail offers something for every adventure seeker. Whether you hike thru or enjoy the beauty, a lifetime of wilderness adventure awaits at this iconic symbol of Western U.S.
13. Palouse Falls State Park – A hidden jewel of Eastern Washington
An official waterfall of the Washington state, Palouse Falls is the magnificent remnant of glacial floods. Standing at a height of 198-feet, the majestic waterfall is surrounded by striking basalt cliffs, plateaus and buttes. Part of the Palouse Falls State Park, the falls are among the last active waterfall on the Ice Age flood paths.
An artist’s dream and a paradise for campers, the Palouse Falls State Park offers an ideal spot for picnicking, birding, hiking, photography with panoramic vistas of the falls and Palouse River Canyon.
14. Puget Sound – a beautiful coastal area of the Pacific Northwest in the U.S.
An inlet of the Pacific Ocean and part of the Salish Sea, Puget Sound is a cluster of islands, waterways and myriad attractions with many fun things to do. Located along the northwest coast of Washington state, Puget Sound borders major cities of Seattle, Tacoma and Bellingham.
Slip into the scenic destinations of the Puget Sound with abundant wildlife, native culture and numerous hidden gems of the state. Explore the antique art galleries in Vashon Island, watch the whales on Whidbey Islands or relish the traditional feasts in Blake Island, Puget Sound is a must-visit island getaway in Washington.
15. Deception Pass State Park – a beloved natural park in the Evergreen State
Washington’s most visited state park, the Deception Pass State Park is located 10 miles from downtown Anacortes. A 4,142-acre marine and camping park, Deception Pass offers freshwater shorelines with scenic vista hikes and recreational activities.
Nestled on the islands of Fidalgo and Whidbey, the mysterious coves, rugged cliffs and captivating sunsets make it a go-to park for locals and visitors. Watch the tidal pools at Rosario Beach, boat at Cornet Bay, or stroll the North & West beaches, the scenic park is a gateway to exploring the alluring beauty of the state.
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