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Washington

Washington

Great Destination:

4.5

Value for Money:

3.5

Total Stars:

8.0

Personality Types that Like it Best

Favors the venturesome side of the scale, but many enjoyable sights and activities for Authentic types

Did You Know…?

  • There is a town called George (yes, that’s George, Washington).
  • Father’s Day was originated by Spokane’s Sonora Louise Smart Dodd (1910).
  • Washington is the only state named for a U.S. president.
  • The Concorde on view in Seattle broke a transcontinental speed record getting there.
  • Seattle’s Pike Place Market is the nation’s oldest farmers market (debuted 1907).

State of beauty

Washington is a naturally beautiful state with mountains, lakes, rivers, rain forest, high desert and the Pacific coast, all offering the venues for activities that appeal most to active travelers. They are captivated by the sense the state has not lost its natural charm; it retains a pristine quality and has not become overly commercial.

Visitors also come to Washington’s cities, towns and valleys to enjoy urban culture and art scenes, to sample seafood and other fine dining experiences and to taste the local wines.

Active travelers are Washington state’s biggest fans. They like the variety of lifestyles available to vacationers and believe the state offers more diversity than almost any other destination.

Tall, snow-capped mountain ranges provide the setting for skiing, hiking, camping or personal meditation. And clean, clear water everywhere — oceans, the inland waters of Puget Sound, harbors, lakes and streams — invites visitors to sail, man a powerboat, swim or just enjoy its calming effects.  In reality, travelers of all personality types appreciate the chance to be active outdoors in Washington.

Enthusiasts also cite Washington’s abundance of manmade attractions, such as good ski resorts, fabulous restaurants and well-maintained cities that seem to have escaped overdevelopment.

Although Seattle is the city visitors like best, most references are to other parts of the state. It’s not that enthusiasts don’t appreciate Seattle. It’s that the state’s natural beauty and the many opportunities to do things outdoors override most thoughts about city life.

Washington sometimes is criticized for its high annual rainfall and relatively cool climate, but those at the middle or venturesome side of the personality scale who like the state believe the weather borders on the ideal. They like its coolness which is invigorating for those inclined to get out and do things. Indeed, the state, in America’s Pacific Northwest, boasts a milder climate along its coastal areas west of the Cascade Mountains than its northerly location would suggest.

For those who need the sun, the solution is going inland. The inland Tri-Cities region boasts it has 300 days a year of sunshine. It is in the heart of wine country and calls itself a golf destination.

Things to do for Venturers

  • Go whitewater rafting in September on the Tieton River.
  • Do your whale watching by sea kayak. Or, see whales by taking a cruise from Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
  • Rent a teepee at the Yakama Nation Resort RV Park and Cultural Center and immerse yourself in the story of the Yakama people as revealed at the center there.
  • Go fishing. Choose the Columbia or the Willapa River for salmon and sturgeon. You can also fish for salmon on the ocean.
  • Sample some of the game served in Washington, such as buffalo, elk or venison — even ostrich.
  • Hike into the Mount Baker Wilderness, walking on Iron Goat Trail, an abandoned stretch of right-of-way that once belonged to the Great Northern Railway.

Things to do for Centrics

  • Go clam digging on Long Beach Peninsula. A license is required, and the season is generally a few days of each month October through April.
  • Take a float trip through the Skagit River Bald Eagle Natural Area in December or January to look for bald eagles. Elsewhere, at varying times of the year, birders can find more bald eagles plus peregrine falcons, redtailed hawks, snow geese and trumpeter swans.
  • Tillicum Village on Blake Island serves up a Native American experience. Accessible by tour boat from Seattle’s waterfront, it offers native salmon dinner buffets and traditional Northwest Coast Indian dancing.
  • Take a cooking class at Methods in the Vancouver National Historic Reserve. Classes are held in the restored historic buildings of Vancouver Barracks, which once were part of a military post.
  • Watch traditional blacksmiths at work, or take classes, at a traditional operating blacksmith shop, found between Belfair and Shelton. Blacksmithing also is part of the living history demonstrations at Fort Vancouver, the original 1825 trading post for the Hudson Bay Company.
  • Visit an alpaca or llama farm; they are common in Washington. Buy a sweater or scarf made with the animals’ lightweight but warming fibers.

Things to do for Authentics

  • Visit Mount Rainier, a national park and a short drive from Seattle. A 14,410-foot volcano, it has a permanent glacial cap. Particularly attractive in the summer when wild flowers bloom, the park is closed in the winter, except for low-altitude roads.
  • Visit Seattle’s Pike Place Market. Overlooking the waterfront, the long narrow complex stretches across nine acres and offers an enticing display of fresh seafood, produce, and arts and crafts.  Also, take in Pioneer Square Historic District, just south of downtown, an area rebuilt after an 1889 fire; it’s good for walking tours.
  • Eat the fresh fruit grown here — apples, cherries, pears.
  • Visit the Museum of Flight, housed in the old Red Barn (Boeing’s first manufacturing plant) south of Seattle, which documents the history of flight from medieval times through the modern era. War planes and commercial aircraft (including a Concorde) are on display.
  • Visit the Cranberry Museum in Long Beach, and walk through its demonstration farm, available year-round but best mid-September to mid-October.
  • Visit the Lewis and Clark interpretive center, one of several in the state, at Cape Disappointment (formerly Fort Canby) State Park. As a bonus, the center and its grounds also offer a chance to watch whales without going to sea.

Additional Resources

For more information, consult the Washington Tourism Alliance at www.experiencewa.com