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Washington State Facts and Fun Places

Updated on March 28, 2013

Remembering Washington State

Evergreens, a mild climate, gorgeous mountains, rocky Pacific points, sandy beaches, tribal lands and quaint cities and towns -- these are just some facts of Washington State.

I was 9 years old when we moved from Illinois to Washington. In an old blue Chevy station wagon and a U-haul truck, my family of 6 took to the trail crossing the USA.

Washington was just a place in a geography book prior to that move. Now, 30 some odd years later (never mind how many) I remember it as the state that stole my heart -- my "wanna be" home state -- and I want to share it with you. You can see it through the eyes of a kid and maybe you will fall in love too.

Image: Kelvin Kay under CC by SA 3.0 License

Washington, USA - The Pacific Northwest of the United States

Washington state is located in the Pacific Northwest, above Oregon on the Pacific coast and borders Canada to the north.

A markerSeattle, Washington -
Seattle, washington
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It took us 5 days of driving (slow going for a family of 6) to reach Poulsbo, Washington on the Olympic Peninsula. Through the Bad Lands in North Dakota, across the width of Montana and through most of Washington state.

Mileage From Seattle to: - Washington State Facts

Washington State Facts - Mileage
Washington State Facts - Mileage

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My dad shared some interesting facts about Washington state when I rode shotgun with him in the U-Haul truck. It also took my mind off some of the sheer drops outside my window as we drove through the Badlands.

Washington State Facts -- Early History

  1. November 11, 1889, Washington became the 42nd state.
  2. Washington state was named for our first president, George Washington. It is the only state in the union that is named for a president.
  3. The first aerial circumnavigation of the world used Seattle's Sand Point Airfield for the starting and finishing line of their journey around the world -- starting April 6th, 1924 and arrive back at Sand Point Airfield on September 28th, 1924.
  4. Sonora Smart Dodd was credited with creating Father's Day in Spokane, Washington at a local YMCA in 1910.
  5. In 1926, Bertha Knight Landes was elected mayor of Seattle. This was the first time a woman mayor had been elected in a major city.

Washington State Flag

Washington State Flag
Washington State Flag

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Viking Fest Poulsbo, Wa
Viking Fest Poulsbo, Wa

Velkommen to Viking Fest in Poulsbo, Washington

Celebrating Scandinavian Heritage

The small city of Poulsbo, Washington is located on the Kitsap Peninsula, just west of Seattle and Puget Sound. Founded by Jorgen Eliason, a Norwegian immigrant, Poulsbo was a popular settlement for Norwegian and other Scandinavian immigrants.

For 44 years, the city has celebrated it's heritage and traditions by hosting "Viking Fest". The Festival is held Friday, Saturday and Sunday in mid May each year.

It features normal festival foods and events like parades, rides and craft booths but also has an area on the waterfront designated as "Viking Village". Here, you can watch as folks wearing traditional Viking clothes work their trades -- jewelry making, metalworking and weavers teach about the old Viking ways and give you a taste of like long ago.

Image: Public Domain

Remembering Poulsbo, Washington

Poulsbo, Washington
Poulsbo, Washington

I went to elementary school in Poulsbo for a year. I remember the downtown area -- the buildings and Scandinavian styles, the bakery where we would buy "streakers" and donuts, walking to the waterfront to watch the boats and ships in Liberty Bay. I really enjoyed my time in Poulsbo and went back to visit family and friends during my 5 years in Washington. I still have an aunt and uncle living there...

Image: Joe Mabel under the CC by S.A. 3.0 License

Quick Video with Washington State Highlights - A Scenic Tour of Washington

Washington state facts - ferries
Washington state facts - ferries

Washington State Facts -- Ferries

* Washington state has the largest ferry transportation system in the United States and is number 3 in the world behind British Columbia, Canada and Sydney, Australia.

* Annually, the ferries transport over 24 million passengers and 10 million vehicles to 20 different ports of call.

* The largest ferries (Jumbo Mark II) can carry 2500 passengers and 202 vehicles.

* Of the 24 million annual passengers on ferries, 50% are commuters

* There are 200 miles of marine highways in Washington.

My very first ferry ride was from Edmonds to Kingston. I remember standing on the bow with my family, leaning against the railing and thinking how gorgeous the water and the skies were. Today, what comes to mind is the scene from Titanic where Jack leans over the water and screams: "I'm King of the World".

The Space Needle at Night

Space Needle, Washington State
Space Needle, Washington State

Washington State Facts... Did You Know these 10 Facts?

  1. Among all 50 states, Washington state was rated the best state for cleanest public spaces as well as highest-quality public environmental practices.
  2. Washington state is/was home to many large companies such as: Microsoft, Amazon.com, Classmates.com/MemoryLane.com, and Boeing.
  3. 1 of only 7 other states, Washington does not have a personal state income tax.
  4. Washington is the home state of many celebrities including Jimi Hendrix, Bing Crosby, Bob Barker, Steve Miller, Ray Charles and Adam West (Batman).
  5. The Olympic Peninsula is home to the only Rain Forest in the continental United States.
  6. Grand Coulee Dam on the Columbia River is the largest electric producing dam in the United States.
  7. The city of Seattle has the largest percentage of citizens with a college degree.
  8. The World's Fair was hosted in Seattle in 1962. The Space Needle was the centerpiece of the fair.
  9. Spokane also hosted a World's Fair in 1974.
  10. The Boeing company based in Seattle was the manufacturer of the Lunar Rover - the vehicle astronauts used on the moon.

Scenes from Washington State

Click thumbnail to view full-size
Deception Pass Bridge -  Famous 2 lane bridge that connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island. Bridge width is 28 ft. and height is approx. 180 ft.Washington state ferry, Walla Walla, approaching to dock at the Edmonds port of call.The Evergreen Floating Bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world at 7,580 ft (2,310 m). It connects Seattle to Medina over Lake Washington.Grand Coulee Dam is the 7th largest power producing dam in the world.Seattle Center is the home to the Space Needle and the International Fountain (foreground). The center and the attractions were built as part of the 1962 World's Fair hosted in Seattle.Mount. St. Helen erupted in 1980. Since, 110,000 acres have been decreed the Mount St. Helen's National Volcanic Monument. The photo shows her reflection in Spirit Lake.Pike Place Market, Seattle. Shopping, music, restaurants, artisans and more all at Pike Place Market!One of the small islands in the Strait of San Juan de FucaSnoqualmie Falls gets more than 1.5 million visitors per year. The falls are are a 268 ft. high "curtain" style waterfall. Gorgeous!Legendary Soap Lake is located in Eastern Washington. It has long been thought to have medicinal value due to the lake water having 23 different minerals in its make-up.
Deception Pass Bridge -  Famous 2 lane bridge that connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island. Bridge width is 28 ft. and height is approx. 180 ft.
Deception Pass Bridge - Famous 2 lane bridge that connects Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island. Bridge width is 28 ft. and height is approx. 180 ft.
Washington state ferry, Walla Walla, approaching to dock at the Edmonds port of call.
Washington state ferry, Walla Walla, approaching to dock at the Edmonds port of call.
The Evergreen Floating Bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world at 7,580 ft (2,310 m). It connects Seattle to Medina over Lake Washington.
The Evergreen Floating Bridge is the longest floating bridge in the world at 7,580 ft (2,310 m). It connects Seattle to Medina over Lake Washington.
Grand Coulee Dam is the 7th largest power producing dam in the world.
Grand Coulee Dam is the 7th largest power producing dam in the world.
Seattle Center is the home to the Space Needle and the International Fountain (foreground). The center and the attractions were built as part of the 1962 World's Fair hosted in Seattle.
Seattle Center is the home to the Space Needle and the International Fountain (foreground). The center and the attractions were built as part of the 1962 World's Fair hosted in Seattle.
Mount. St. Helen erupted in 1980. Since, 110,000 acres have been decreed the Mount St. Helen's National Volcanic Monument. The photo shows her reflection in Spirit Lake.
Mount. St. Helen erupted in 1980. Since, 110,000 acres have been decreed the Mount St. Helen's National Volcanic Monument. The photo shows her reflection in Spirit Lake.
Pike Place Market, Seattle. Shopping, music, restaurants, artisans and more all at Pike Place Market!
Pike Place Market, Seattle. Shopping, music, restaurants, artisans and more all at Pike Place Market!
One of the small islands in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca
One of the small islands in the Strait of San Juan de Fuca
Snoqualmie Falls gets more than 1.5 million visitors per year. The falls are are a 268 ft. high "curtain" style waterfall. Gorgeous!
Snoqualmie Falls gets more than 1.5 million visitors per year. The falls are are a 268 ft. high "curtain" style waterfall. Gorgeous!
Legendary Soap Lake is located in Eastern Washington. It has long been thought to have medicinal value due to the lake water having 23 different minerals in its make-up.
Legendary Soap Lake is located in Eastern Washington. It has long been thought to have medicinal value due to the lake water having 23 different minerals in its make-up.

Image credits from above photos:

1. Deception Pass Bridge - Public Domain

2. Edmonds Ferry photo - Moxfyre under CC by SA 3.0 License

3. Evergreen Point Floating Bridge - Public Domain

4. Grand Coulee Dam - Public Domain

5. Seattle Center - Space Needle - DimiTalen under CC by SA 3.0 License

6. Mount St. Helen - Public Domain

7. Pike Place Market, Seattle - Rootology under CC by SA 3.0 License

8. San Juan Islands at Night - Melamed Katz Copyrighted by free use permissible.

9. Snoqualmie Falls - Deadstar under CC by SA 3.0 License

10. Soap Lake - Public Domain

We only drove over the Deception Pass Bridge a couple of times but my fear of heights was alive and well even at a young age. I spent the time it took to drive over the bridge in the floorboard of the back seat.

(Remember, no seat belt laws back then.)

My 4 Hometowns in Washington State - Poulsbo, Kingston, Sultan, Arlington

In 1974, we lived in Poulsbo. In 1975, we moved to Kingston. In 1976, we moved across Puget Sound to a little town on the way to the Cascade Mountain pass called "Stevens Pass".

In 1977, we moved a bit north and west to another small town, Arlington. I spent half my 7th grade year there along with my whole 8th grade year and the beginning of my freshman year before dad re-joined the US Navy and we were shipped off to Guam, but that's a whole 'nother story...

show route and directions
A marker1974 -
Poulsbo, Washington
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B marker1975 -
Kingston, Washington
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C marker1976 - 77 -
Sultan, Washington
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D marker1977 - 79 -
Arlington, Washington
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Washington has Professional Sports Teams

Seahawks, Mariners, Sounders, Storm

Washington state has teams in the NFL, MLB, WNBA, MLS as well as various farm and training teams. My brother is still, 30 some years later, a HUGE Seahawks fan.

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I was on a field trip with my class to see the inside of the King Dome before it officially opened in 1976. I remember being in such awe of it. Now it's gone...

How Many ______ are there in Washington? - Answers to Your Questions about Washington State

  1. There are 140 public airfields in Washington.
  2. There are 23 to 28 ferries in the fleet owned by the Washington State Department of Transportation.
  3. Washington boosts 3 National Parks - Mt. Rainer National Park, North Cascades National Park and Olympic National Park.
  4. There are 2 National Monuments in Washington state: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument and the Hanford Reach National Monument.
  5. There are 8 military bases/facilities in the state of Washington.
  6. 9 National Forests are all or partly in the state of Washington.
  7. There are 8 Wild Life Refuges, wholly or partially in Washington.
  8. There are 692 wineries in the state of Washington.
  9. There are over 400 Starbucks locations in its birthplace, Washington state.

Washington State is the Home of Starbucks

Have Starbucks at Your House!

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Space Needle - Washington
Space Needle - Washington

Me and the Space Needle

On another field trip, this time with my junior high class, we went to Seattle Center. At the time it was like a small amusement park with exhibits and such. One of the highlights of the day was to ride to the top of the Space Needle and look out over Seattle and the surrounding area from the observation deck.

I was worried, knowing my fear of heights but had to play it cool in front of my classmates. I was at the front of the line so I was one of the first on the elevator. There are lots of windows on the elevators and, as luck would have it, I was plastered up against one of the long windows in the center.

They crowded on a ton of junior high kids for the ride to the top. It was very tight and I couldn't get turned around. I rode to the top in less than a minute watching the ground slip out from under me all the way.

When we got to the top, I refused to get off the elevator. They had to take me right back down.

From that point on, I appreciated the Space Needle from the ground. :)

Image: MaplessinSeattle under CC by ND 2.0 License

Washington State
Washington State

Washington State - My Adopted Home State

Fact is, I always thought I would end up back in Washington. My whole family loved it. We went from Washington to Guam to Kentucky to North Carolina to Indiana (complements of the US Navy). After I got married we went from Indiana to Illinois to Florida and back to Indiana.

Somehow, I never made it back. I swear, sometimes when I'm alone late at night, I hear the mountains and evergreens calling to me -- guess I always will. I'll get back one day even if it's just for a visit. Washington state is my adopted home state.

Image Credit: Public Domain

Mt. Rainer Reflected in a Lake - A Last Look at the Beauty of Washington State

Mt. Rainer, reflection in lake
Mt. Rainer, reflection in lake

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What do you Think of Washington State?

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    • profile image

      Ibidii 4 years ago

      I love it! I lived in Clallam county for 7 years. My daughter's husband family lived in Bremerton for 100 years. Lovely state and I hated to leave it!

    • poldepc lm profile image

      poldepc lm 4 years ago

      great information; thanks for sharing...

    • missmary1960 profile image

      missmary1960 4 years ago

      I went to Spokane 2 years ago to visit my husbands side of the family (part of it at least), and absolutely loved the area that we got to visit. The country over that side is so beautiful. We traveled around a bit and even crossed over 2 states. It was one of my all time favorite vacations ever.

    • profile image

      aNomadsDream 4 years ago

      Starbucks heaven :D I now want to go. I always enjoy working from Starbucks... I love the atmosphere. Washington sounds like my kind of state, lol.

      Very interesting facts... didn't know they had lady mayors in those early days. I am quite impressed - that is indeed a noteworthy achievement in my books!

    • Fcuk Hub profile image

      Fcuk Hub 4 years ago

      People from Washington state must be proud of where they live :)

    • vineliner57 profile image

      Hal Gall 4 years ago from Bloomington, IN

      I visited Washington state back in the late 70's. Went to the Whidbey Island Naval base with some friends. I remember how peaceful it was looking out over the Pacific.

    • Sara Krentz profile image

      Sara Krentz 4 years ago from USA

      It is a beautiful state with so many great places to hike. LOVE the Seattle area.

    • SandraWilson LM profile image

      SandraWilson LM 4 years ago

      I so want to visit Washington and maybe even move there. Beautiful pictures.

    • lesliesinclair profile image

      lesliesinclair 4 years ago

      The state is glorious in its wide variety of geography, climate, lifestyles, miles and miles of coastlines, nearness to Canada's splendor, and educational and cultural resources. It boasts the famous Columbia River, Puget Sound, Mt. St. Helens - of volcanic eruption fame, Mt. Rainier and the Cascade Mountains running north and south, dividing the state into a liberal and a conservative side.

    • Titia profile image

      Titia Geertman 4 years ago from Waterlandkerkje - The Netherlands

      Looks like a beautiful State. I've only been at the East Coast of the US, never on the West Coast. Congrats on your raffle ticket. Blessed.

    • profile image

      anonymous 4 years ago

      Visited the Seattle area last year and was entranced by Ruby Beach.

    • MarilynThompson profile image

      Marilyn Thompson 4 years ago from Washington State

      I fortunately was born in Seattle and have lived in Washington my entire life, not too many of us left. I love, love love all the state has to offer. I enjoy visiting just about anywhere but will always call the west side of Washington home! Nice lens!

    • Dressage Husband profile image

      Stephen J Parkin 4 years ago from Pine Grove, Nova Scotia, Canada

      The photo graphs make it look amazing and there is definitely a lot of history and things of interest in the state. I would love a visit. Blessed.

    • Scraps2treasures profile image

      Scraps2treasures 4 years ago

      I would love to visit Washington state and do some hiking. It looks gorgeous! Blessed by a Squid Angel :)

    • walkingstick profile image

      walkingstick 4 years ago

      I grew up near Ann Arbor, MI and moved near Seattle over 25 years ago. Love the change in climate from the Midwest, and the variety of micro climates available withi just a short drive. These days I hike and walk all over the State for amusement. Thanks for this lens highlighting just some of our cool spots! Come back when you can.

    • profile image

      traveldestinations 4 years ago

      We have have something in common. Right after my 8th birthday, we moved from Utah to Washington State. Spend the remainder of my childhood there. Now I live in Wisconsin. Washington State very beautiful. Thanks for the memories. Blessed!