Whatever you’re looking for in a travel experience, Washington state probably has it. The topography is as diverse as its residents. Desert? Rainforest? Ponderosa? Maritime climate and sea level adventures? Mountain air and alpine meadows? You can find it all in Washington state.
But what about the natural beauty, foodie finds, and a globally connected region with cultures and flavors from around the world? We got it.
These recommendations include itineraries, local attractions, tour operators, and tourism companies. Bookmark this page and more ideas for your wish list are to come. Starred (*) entries have received Tourism Grants from the Port of Seattle.
Camping and outdoor activities
- Four Outdoor Adventures in Washington State that You Must Experience
- Cascade Bicycle Club*
- Recreate Responsibly
- Cascade Loop * — Washington's Ultimate Roadtrip
- Cheryl's Northwest Tours
- Visit Washington State
- Map of Washington State tourism organizations
Metro Puget Sound
Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) is the gateway for the Pacific Northwest. The dramatic mountain and sea backdrop provides inspiration for major brands (Amazon, Microsoft, etc.), the arts, music, and dining. Attractions reflect the unique flavor of the Pacific Northwest such as the Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and Boeing.
Check out Visit Seattle's Top 25 top things to do
- Seattle Opera*
- Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)*
- Seattle Good Business Network*
- Young Women Empowed Programs*
- Seattle Premier Attractions*
- Space Needle
- Chihuly Garden and Glass
- Boeing Museum of Flight
- Seattle Historic Waterfront Association*
- Cruise and Stay Guide
- Explore the Sound of Seattle
- Play on the Waterfront this Summer
- Five Fun Things to do this Summer on the Waterfront
- Staycationing the Seattle Way
- Pioneer Square*
- Seattle itineraries
- Things to do in Seattle without Dragging Your Luggage Around
- Museum of History and Industry*
- Five Reasons to Set Sail for Ballard
- Ballard Brewery Day Trip
- Local’s Guide to Five Seattle Neighborhoods
- Regenerative Travel Company Unites Travelers and Communities
- Woodland Park Zoo*
- National Nordic Museum*
South of Seattle
Mt. Baker, the third highest mountain peak in Washington, dominates the skyline here. The valleys below are home to the lush Skagit Valley, well-known for its tulip and daffodil fields along with fresh produce stands. Bellingham is noted for its craft breweries and Blaine is a border town to British Columbia, Canada.
Accessible by ferry, seaplane, and in some cases, bridges, the San Juan Islands, as well as Whidbey and Camano islands, provide a mellow vibe to enjoy nature. Resident Orcas call this region home and it’s the heart of Washington’s whale watching. Historic seaport villages are havens for numerous artists plus sea-to-table and farm-to-fork restaurants.
- Itinerary: Wandering Washington Waterways
- Washington’s Island Escape
- Whidbey and Camano Islands*
- San Juan Islands Visitors Bureau
From seaport towns and fields of lavender to the high alpine vistas of Hurricane Ridge, the Peninsulas offer diverse landscapes. In Olympic National Park, a UNESCO World Heritage Site, you will find deep turquoise lakes, thermal hot springs, rain forests, rugged Pacific coastlines and the northwestern most point of the contiguous continental USA, Cape Flattery.
In Washington, the bounty of the sea and land is evident with oysters, clams, deep-sea fishing, and abundant cranberry bogs. Cape Disappointment State Park brings the history of the Lewis and Clark expedition to life.
At the southern end of the Cascade Mountain Range, are two well-known volcanoes located in Mount Rainier National Park and Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. The White Pass and Chinook Scenic Byways provide magnificent mountain vistas and insight into the past and present timber industry.
- Mount Rainier National Park
- Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
- Pacific Northwest Ultimate Fly/Drive/Cruise Tour
The mighty Columbia River provides most of the border between Washington and Oregon. Popular river boat cruising follows the path of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Driving east, the scenery changes dramatically from evergreen forests to dry alpine desert. Explore the curves of the Columbia to find wind surfing, wineries, and spectacular scenery.
Trails and Lakes
Home to the rugged mountain peaks of North Cascade National Park and Cascade Loop National Scenic Byway, abundant activities await. The 440-mile (708 km) loop includes dramatic park overlooks of deep turquoise mountain lakes; Leavenworth, a Bavarian-themed village; Wenatchee’s apple country; Lake Chelan, a favorite getaway for Washingtonians; and Winthrop’s cowboy country.
- Leavenworth Visitor Guide
- Lake Chelan Visitor's Guide
- Visit Winthrop Washington
- North Cascade National Park
Spokane is a gateway to the national parks of Glacier (Montana), Yellowstone and Grand Teton (Wyoming). It is a key stop for Amtrak’s Empire Builder from Seattle to Chicago. With the Spokane River running through the heart of the city and numerous city parks, visitors can enjoy an active, outdoor lifestyle.
Over a million years ago, during the Ice Age, glaciers covered this region. Palouse Falls State Park is an example of the power of nature carving out canyons and creating spectacular waterfalls. Palouse is an agricultural wonderland with rolling hills of wheat that are beautiful from verdant spring to the golden harvest season.
Top photo credit: Jason Hummel Photography