Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Places to Visit in Western Washington

Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washington
Photo by Nitish Meena on Unsplash

The great state of Washington is definitely my favorite of the 50 United States (thus far). Not only is it absolutely beautiful, but it holds a pretty special place in my heart. There are plenty of reasons to explore the Evergreen State, and lots of scenic places to visit in western Washington.

The Pacific Northwest holds a lot of clout for adventurers and outdoor lovers–and for good reason. Evergreen forests, national parks, and beautiful bodies of water abound in this huge state, where anyone can get outside and enjoy nature. Washington is also home to many charming towns and cities that perfectly incorporate the outdoors into everyday life.

There are so many places to explore in the Evergreen state. So many, in fact, that it would be hard to list them all in one post. That’s why this post is going to focus on places to visit in Western Washington. Honestly, I still need to explore more of Eastern Washington before making recommendations for the whole state.

From parks and wilderness areas to little towns you may have never heard of, this list of scenic places to visit in western Washington is a great starting point for any trip to the Evergreen State.


Of all 50 United States, Washington is my favorite to explore. The Evergreen state is filled with stunning landscapes, natural beaty, and the cutest little towns. Here are 12 must-visit places in western Washington. Washington state / Exploring the Evergreen State / Western Washington / Seattle / Seattle daytrips #PNW #TravelWashington #travel


Top Places to Visit in Western Washington


Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washginton #PNW #Seattle

Seattle

I’m starting this list off with one of my favorite cities: Seattle. This is the first place many people think of when they think of Washington, and it is the state’s largest city. Here, you’ll get a good dose of art, culture, music, and food. With surprisingly beautiful weather in the summer, Seattle makes for the perfect mix of city- and outdoor-life.

Read Next: Seattle Guides


San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands sit up north near the Canadian border. The archipelago is made up of San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and a few smaller islands. San Juan is the most popular tourist island, with Friday Harbor being the main port. In addition to the fun stuff to do on land, sailing and whale watching around the islands is best thing to do.

Read Next: Searching for Orcas in the San Juan Islands


Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washington
Photo by Kash Goudarzi on Unsplash

Olympic National Park

You certainly can’t visit the Evergreen state without spending some time in the forest. Located over on the Olympic Peninsula, Olympic National Park covers almost a million acres throughout the peninsula. Within the park, you’ll find a range of landscapes, including rainforest, beaches, and stunning mountains. Drive around the peninsula to get a taste of the national park in one day, or spend more time hiking and exploring the region.


Winthrop

Winthrop is more central Washington than western Washington, but I’m going to include it anyway. This quiet little town is just east of North Cascades National Park. It’s quite remote, but there are plenty of amenities in town. Winthrop is the perfect weekend getaway destination, great for hiking trips or romantic weekends. It’s a fun stop on any Washington roadtrip.

Read Next: A Cabin in Winthrop


Bellingham, Washington // Travel Daze

Bellingham

Bellingham is a fun little city—one I almost skipped over, but I’m glad I didn’t. It’s a college town, which brings in a nice mix of arts, culture, and outdoors. While it’s not as exciting as Seattle, it’s a wonderful place to spend a couple of days for a more relaxing pace. Take a walk through Whatcom Falls Park and spend some time in the historic Fairhaven district.

Read Next: Bellingham Photo Diary


Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washington
Photo by craig kerwien on Unsplash

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier is the shining star of Washington, the state’s tallest mountain. Standing at 14,410 feet, Rainier has a big presence in the Evergreen state. While you can see the mountain for miles and miles around the state, there’s no better way to see it than to get a little closer. Mount Rainier National Park is the perfect place for a hike, with colorful wildflowers in the spring and picture-perfect snow in the winter.


Port Townsend

Port Townsend is an adorable harbor town on the tip of the Olympic Peninsula. You’ll find lots of bed and breakfasts inside old Victorian homes, Fort Worden State Park, and of course, more of that classic Washington scenery all around. It’s an easy drive to the rest of the Olympic Peninsula, and just a ferry ride away from Whidbey Island.

Read Next: Fort Worden State Park


Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washington

Kitsap Peninsula

With the perfect location between Seattle and the wild landscapes of the Olympic Peninsula, you’ll be spoilt for choice on the Kitsap Peninsula. The ferry system makes it easy to hop over for a day trip from the city to explore the towns of Kitsap County. Bainbridge Island is the perfect stop for shopping and dining, while Poulsbo embraces its Scandinavian heritage with a beautifully-designed main street.

Read Next: A Guide to the Kitsap Peninsula


Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washington #PNW

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park isn’t quite as popular as the other national parks in Washington, which makes it all the better! The park feels quite isolated, with less infrastructure than other national parks. It’s connected to the greater Ross Lake National Recreation Area, and is a fantastic place for hiking. Diablo Lake is one of the most recognizable features of the park with its bold turquoise waters. The Pacific Crest Trail also runs through the park.


Olympia

Olympia is the oft-overlooked capital of Washington. It’s also the technical northern terminus of the famous Highway 101, which winds along the west coast all the way down to Southern California. The 101 makes for a scenic drive around the Olympic Peninsula, and it is definitely a must-do in the Evergreen state. But back to Olympia: check out the State Capitol building and Tumwater Falls Park.


Exploring the Evergreen State: 12 Scenic Places to Visit in Western Washington
Photo by Ivana Cajina on Unsplash

Snoqualmie Falls

Famed for its appearance in the cult TV show Twin Peaks, Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most-visited waterfalls in the state. You can get the iconic view of the 268-foot falls (with Salish Lodge perched right next to it) from the viewing deck, or you can hike down to the lower falls. It’s a quick half-hour drive east from Seattle, making it an easy day trip.


Fidalgo Island

Anacortes is the terminal for ferries heading over to the San Juan Islands. Before you go, take some time to explore Fidalgo Island. Head down to Deception Pass State Park, and then stop over at Cap Sante Park and Washington Park before hopping on the ferry.


There are still so many little towns and hidden spots around Washington that I’d love to tell you about. And even more that I myself haven’t had a chance to see yet! That’s the beauty of the Evergreen state—everywhere you go is absolutely stunning. So get out there and explore Washington on your next adventure!

 

Comment below with any places in Western Washington you’d add to this list!


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Of all 50 United States, Washington is my favorite to explore. The Evergreen state is filled with stunning landscapes, natural beaty, and the cutest little towns. Here are 12 must-visit places in western Washington. Washington state / Exploring the Evergreen State / Western Washington / Seattle / Seattle daytrips / Snoqualmie Falls / North Cascades National Park / Mount Rainier National Park / Olympic National Park / Olympic Peninsula #PNW #TravelWashington #travel

 

TravelLatte

By Courtney Minor

Wandering around and writing about it.

19 comments

  1. Hi, Natalia, thanks for including the Kitsap Peninsula in your 12 Places to Visit Western WA blog post. We just re-posted it on the Visit Kitsap Facebook page! Looking forward to your up-coming KP guide!

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    1. Hi! I’m actually the owner and writer of this blog. Natalia was just commenting. But thank you for sharing the post on Facebook! My Kitsap guide is set to be published next week, so check back soon.
      x Courtney

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  2. I have only made it to Seattle so far, but would love to visit the rest of the state. It looks beautiful, your pictures are gorgeous. I especially loved the waterfall. Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  3. Thank you for sharing this! My mother is currently talking about moving back to Washington and I’ve only visited her before in Moses Lake and there was nooooothing there. We’re also talking about moving back to the States, but I just don’t think Washington is right for us. I lived in Montana for a couple of years so it looks and feels the same a bit to me. It is certainly pretty and I would love to explore it, but for living, I’m just not sure. I’m more of a city girl. Pinned nonetheless as I’m sure a visit is coming! Thanks for sharing on #TheWeeklyPostcard!

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    1. I totally understand. If you’re a city girl, Washington might not be enough. Seattle is a great city, but definitely not as big and energetic as some cities. It’s beautiful, though, so definitely worth a visit!

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  4. I love Washington State! We spend time there almost every summer, and love to explore the region. My favorite spots are probably Mt. Rainier, though it gets crowded at times, and I like the North Cascades even more so, because of its remoteness. Once there, we rarely even have phone service. Thanks for sharing this on #TheWeeklyPostcard. Beautiful photos!

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  5. After reading about Western Washington I am ready to go exploring! A weekend in Winthrop would be nice with some hiking. Maybe look for Oras around the San Juan Islands. So much to see. Pinned this for later use. Thanks for sharing! #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  6. I have seen so little of Washington and that is a shame. One time I spent some time in Spokane because I was going to visit family crossing the border in Idaho. I really want to see Seattle and the National Parks. Hope that happens soon. #TheWeeklyPostcard

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  7. Hi Courtney – Thanks for linking up with us for #TheWeeklyPostcard! We really love the PNW. If we had to pick a favorite place, it would probably be Rainier and the lands around it. But the Olympic Peninsula and the San Juan Islands are super-close runner ups! Great post – really want to get back and explore more of Washington!

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  8. Wow, these are some fabulous places! I’m ashamed to say that I have never been in Washington although I’ve lived on the West Coast for 30 years. I think it’s time to see these National Parks and also the beautiful Seattle. Thanks for sharing this on #TheWeeklyPostcard.

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  9. Just moved to Washington four months ago from Southern California and we love it here! Everyone says it rains too much…all I have to say about that is; we love the rain! It is so beautiful here! The air is crisp and clean and these gorgeous trees are amazing!

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    1. That’s so exciting! I absolutely loved living in Washington, and could definitely see myself living there long-term again. It’s so beautiful! And I really loved the rain too, so it didn’t bother me (most of the time).

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