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The 2 Absolute Must-Visit Places When in Washington State

The state of Washington is blessed with landscapes both created by nature and by humans that are not only scenic but perfect for outdoor recreation, but that’s not all the Evergreen state has to offer! This area of The United States is waiting to unfold the nature lover‘s dream. The natural scenery in this state is some of the most breathtaking and awe-inspiring in the entire United States. 

From famous sites in Seattle to undiscovered islands, bays, and parks, Washington State is home to many beautiful places to visit. The cities in Washington are as impressive as nature itself. This obviously includes Seattle, the state’s largest city, and Olympia, the state’s capital. Whether you like the view overlooking Elliott Bay from the top of the Seattle Space Needle or prefer shopping at the bustling Pike Place Market, Washington state has something to offer for everyone.

There are a great number of national parks in Washington, some well-known and others less so, but all are equally impressive and worth a trip. Whenever you’re in Washington, plan a weekend trip to Spokane, Vancouver, Leavenworth, Ellensburg, Walla Walla, and other unique towns surrounded by vineyards in stunning scenery. Now, the 2 definite places you absolutely cannot miss when going to Washington State are: 

1. Olympic National Park

time-lapse photography of multi-tier waterfall

Cred: @willwalker

To see a lush green rainforest and a rugged mountain range in a single destination, try the Olympic National Park. The Olympic National Park in Port Angeles is a great place to enjoy the nature on offer in the State of Washington. From Ocean Beaches to glaciers and mountain tops, Olympic National Park overflows with incredible scenery. This place is a unique and diverse wilderness preserve and is designated as a UNESCO World Heritage Site as well as a biosphere reserve. 

The Pacific NorthWest is associated with thick forests, majestic waterfalls, and towering mountain ranges that all can be seen at Olympic National Park. Within the park, there are mineral springs and cool clear water for natural swimming as well as accommodation and comfortable lodges for hikers. Only the Olympic National Park in Washington is home to one of the few temperate rainforests, all of the rainforests in the United States, the Olympic Mountains, and the Olympic Hot Springs. 

Hiking is the most popular and natural way to explore, and there are trails suitable for all fitness levels including strenuous backpacking trails from one campsite to the next. One of the most popular attractions, Mount Olympus, is home to some of the best hiking and backpacking trails in the state. Some of the “must-see” attractions include the Sol Duc Falls and the Sol Duc Salmon Cascades. 

landscape photography of river with trees

Cred: @jachan_devol

You can even rent a mountain bike, kayak, canoe, or paddleboard to explore the Tranquil Lakes. For those who are less energetic or physically fit, there are 3 lake cruises on Lake Quinault each day and a coach tour of the Quinault rain forest which will give you an opportunity to see plenty of wildlife, including, but not limited to, black bears. 

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There are a lot of other activities that you can partake in when visiting the Olympic National Park including birdwatching, going to the beach, fishing, exploring caves, and so much more. In addition, if you are the outdoorsy type and looking for work in the fields of environmental and sustainability jobs or otherwise eco friendly jobs, a position at the national park might be for you. 

This park is a national treasure and there is no other like it. It is the perfect place to escape from the busy city and enjoy the serenity the great outdoors contains. Encompassing almost 1 million acres and several ecosystems, covering most of the Olympic peninsula, the roads around the Olympic National Park only circle it with a scenic Drive on United States’ 101, never cutting through the mountains within. 

Making the trip out to this national park is something you definitely will not regret and must do when you are visiting Washington state.

2. Seattle

Public Market Farmers Market LED sign

Cred: @benjamiindutton

Seattle is an amazing city that is teeming with culture and architecture. If you are in Washington State don’t miss out on visiting this one-of-a-kind city, you will fall in love with it. Your first stop should be Pike Place Market. As one of the most famous places in Seattle, the Pike Place Market is a fun, unforgettable stop in the city. As you walk around the market you can see the famous flying fish, visit the Gum Ally, or even go and experience the first Starbucks. Fair warning though, if you do decide to check out the world’s first Starbucks expect there to be an incredibly long line.

white Space Needle tower

Cred: @claybanks

The immediate second stop has to be the Space Needle. The Space Needle is the most recognizable part of the Seattle skyline, and it’s a great spot for tourists to visit. It isn’t the tallest structure in downtown Seattle, however, it has the most incredible 360° view with an open-air observation area overlooking Elliott Bay and Lake Washington. 

On the floor below, there is also a revolving area on the Space Needle with a glass bottom that you can walk on. It can be a little vertigo-inducing, but it’s a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity and it is overall fun. The space needle is a quick and touristy spot but once you get up to the top and overlook the entire Seattle Bay Area you will not regret visiting it for a second. 

Other fun things to do in Seattle is to visit the Chihuly Garden and Glass Museum, a museum filled with magnificent glass sculptures, visiting the Museum of Pop Culture, to get with the times, Strolling into the Olympic Sculpture Park to see all the incredible world of art, and go on a water taxi ride to West Seattle. There are so many things to do in this magical city that I couldn’t possibly fit all of it into one short article. 

My recommendation is, to visit and spend at least a day, if not more, exploring the city and getting to know all of its art, culture, nature, architecture, and eccentricities.

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