Washington is home to a variety of landscapes including towering old-growth forests, rugged mountains and rivers, and a strikingly beautiful coastline with a range of recreational opportunities. Seattle is a sophisticated, culturally diverse metropolis and the nearby Puget Sound area is popular for fishing and boating. Directly to the east of the coast, a range of mountains rises including Mount St. Helens and Mount Rainier, offering camping, hiking, and a number of other recreational activities. The Cascade Loop leads travelers among the Cascade Range and several charming small mountain towns. Spokane and Vancouver are also major cities and offer a diversity of entertainment and attractions.
The Cascade Loop is a driving tour that reveals unique landscapes and interesting stops along the way. Methow, a popular stop along the loop, offers a variety of skiing activities, accommodations, restaurants and shops and makes a perfect base for exploring the area. The enchanting town of Leavenworth is modeled after a Bavarian Village, and is popular for its mountain activities and annual Oktoberfest. Further south, the town of Wenatchee features famous apple orchards and fabulous weather.
The city of Seattle is a treasure chest of exciting attractions. Seattle is an international port city, hosts three professional sports teams, an incredible number of cultural venues and a unique Pacific Northwest atmosphere. Golf, skiing, hiking and camping are all available a short distance from the city center. Pike Place Market is one of the most popular areas in the city, and features an entertaining array of unique shops, galleries, tempting eateries, a fresh seafood market and endless diversions. Families with children will enjoy the Northwest Seaport Maritime Heritage Center which showcases an authentic century-old schooner and interactive nautical exhibits. The Woodland Park Zoo is home to over 1,100 creatures, and the Seattle Aquarium is another fun option featuring countless marine mammals, underwater viewing dome and hands-on displays.
Vancouver is a great location for exploring Mount St. Helens, the Columbia River Gorge, and Washington’s Pacific Coast. The city is located in the center of a hotbed of recreational activity, including several championship golf courses, hiking the Cascade Range, city bike trails, Columbia River windsurfing excursions and more. The annual Vancouver Wine & Jazz Festival showcases award-winning local wines, innovative cuisine, art, and music.
Several islands are located off the Washington shoreline and these are popular vacation destinations for both locals and visitors. The largest and most popular of these islands are San Juan Island, Lopez Island, and Orcas Island, all of which are easily accessible by ferry from Anacortes, a town situated just north of Seattle on the Puget Sound. The San Juan Islands are comprised of over 786 mostly unnamed and uninhabited islands surrounded by exquisite seascapes, spouting whales and orca sightings. The islands are most commonly explored by canoe or kayak, and explorers will find enchanting protected inlets, striking rock formations and delightful surprises around every corner.