Plan a Summer Vacation to Washington State
Visit but Please, Don’t Move Here
"Perhaps travel cannot prevent bigotry, but by demonstrating that all peoples cry, laugh, eat, worry, and die, it can introduce the idea that if we try to understand each other, we may even become friends."
We who live in Washington are quite happy with our ranking of thirteenth in population. We really don’t need anyone else moving to our beautiful state.
We are more than happy to welcome you here and take your vacation dollars, and we promise you won’t be disappointed on your visit.
Few states in this country offer as much as Washington does. I do not say that because I am being paid a kickback from the state. In truth, the politicians who run this state only know I’m alive because I keep paying my taxes. I have visited thirty-five states during my lifetime, so I speak from experience rather than some undying allegiance, when I say that Washington really does have something for just about everyone.
The physical beauty of this state is hard to imagine if you have never visited. Few states offer the combination of towering mountains, an ocean, an abundance of rivers, lakes, an inland sea, and islands as Washington offers.
Yes, Washington has something for everyone. Check it out and see if you don’t agree.
How to Get Here
Wherever you are in the United States, just head for the northwest corner and you’ll find us. If you’ve hit the Canadian border you have gone too far north. If you drove into the Pacific Ocean you have gone too far west. Pretty simple, really!
By air, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport is your destination. If you would prefer a smaller airport, then fly into Portland International Airport, rent a car, and drive across the Columbia River into Washington. If you would prefer a really small airport, fly into Spokane and then enjoy the state travelling east to west.
If you are a “by the numbers” kind of driver, I can tell you that it takes nine or ten hours to drive Washington from the eastern border to the western border, depending, of course, on how many speed limits you choose to ignore. Travelling from the Canadian border to the Oregon border will take you between six and seven hours.
But for those who come here to enjoy the beauty, plan on a much more leisurely trip. Here are just a few things you should plan on seeing during your visit.
"The traveler was active; he went strenuously in search of people, of adventure, of experience. The tourist is passive; he expects interesting things to happen to him. He goes 'sight-seeing.'"
Daniel J. Boorstin
Washington boasts three national parks and all three are truly dazzling mountain jewels. Northeast of Seattle you will find North Cascades National Park. On the Olympic Peninsula make sure you visit Olympic National Park. And no trip to Washington is complete until you drive to Mount Rainier National Park, truly one of the most beautiful parks in America.
Day passes are available for Mt. Rainier. There are portions of the other two parks where passes are not necessary.
Welcome to the Inland Sea of Washington, and home to a majority of the people in the state of Washington. Puget Sound stretches from the San Juan Islands in the north to Olympia on the southern end, and it is a boating haven. You are never too far from a hot mocha or a tall, cool drink if you are a boater. You are also never far from whale sightings as well as excellent saltwater fishing.
Many of the major cities in Washington can be found along the shores of Puget Sound. Moving from north to south you will find Everett, Seattle, Tacoma and Olympia, and all offer nightlife, shopping, museums, and a plethora of accommodations.
A Rich Agricultural History
Washington likes to boast that it is the apple capital of the United States, but that really only scratches the surface when discussing agriculture in the state. The majority of crops are grown in eastern Washington, an area that was once desert until the life-giving waters of the Columbia River were diverted for farmers.
Check out the many wineries while touring the state. Washington is the third-leading wine-producing state in the nation, and a wise tourist, with an eye for value, can find some great deals on some premium wines.
Rich History, Anyone?
Can you say Oregon Trail? Ignore the "Oregon" part of that historical landmark and know that the last leg of the Oregon Trail was played out on the Columbia River, and we in Washington like to think that the Columbia is ours.
Can you say Lewis & Clark? Yes, they trekked all over the southern part of this state, and museums abound that detail their journey.
Can you say Fort Vancouver? How about the Whitman Mission?
We are overflowing with history, folks, and it is all here for you to see.
If you are into hiking, then Washington is a must-visit state.
If you are into photography, then Washington is a must-visit state.
If you are into river-rafting, birding, mountain climbing, rock climbing, fishing and/or swimming, then Washington is a must-visit state.
Did I mention kayaking, canoeing and skiing?
A Climate for Everyone
There is a common misconception about Washington State that it rains here constantly. That simply is not true. Even in the Puget Sound area, where rain is a common occurrence, it rains less here than in many cities on the east coast of the United States.
The coastal cities see quite a bit of rain for sure. As a general statement, the further you move eastward and inland, the less rain you will experience. Cross the Cascade Mountains into eastern Washington and you are in near desert-like conditions.
Western Washington has a very moderate climate. There are few extremes in summer or winter. Move to the Cascades and you will find one of the snowiest areas in the country. Move to the east side and you have extremely hot summers and extremely cold winters.
I am convinced that the idea of dressing in layers originated in Washington. Just dress for the worst and be prepared at any time to peel off layers as the weather dictates.
Please Note the Lack of Washington Cities
The 10 rainiest cities in the U.S. by amount of annual rainfall include:
- Mobile, Ala.: 67 inches average annual rainfall; 59 average annual rainy days
- Pensacola, Fla.: 65 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
- New Orleans, La.: 64 inches average annual rainfall; 59 average annual rainy days
- West Palm Beach, Fla.: 63 inches average annual rainfall; 58 average annual rainy days
- Lafayette, La.: 62 inches average annual rainfall; 55 average annual rainy days
- Baton Rouge, La.: 62 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
- Miami, Fla.: 62 inches average annual rainfall; 57 average annual rainy days
- Port Arthur, Texas: 61 inches average annual rainfall; 51 average annual rainy days
- Tallahassee, Fla.: 61 inches average annual rainfall; 56 average annual rainy days
- Lake Charles, La.: 58 inches average annual rainfall; 50 average annual rainy days
Have you ever visited Washington State?
You Name It, We’ve Got It, and We’re Willing to Share It
For the most part we are a friendly people. Oh sure, we have our Negative Nellies and our Grumpy Georges, but they are few and far between. Most of us laugh and smile at strangers, and all of us can give you directions to the nearest coffee shop, where you’ll find a delicious mocha waiting for you. We do love our coffee in Washington.
Come and see for yourself just how much Washington has to offer. We would love to have you stay for a couple of weeks but please, please, head back home when you are done. We like our lifestyle here, and although we are willing to share for a short period of time, we really don’t want you moving here.
2014 William D. Holland (aka billybuc)