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Washington State Offers Something For Everyone

Updated on June 20, 2011

Washington State Offers Something For Nearly Everyone

Choosing a vacation destination is an important decision because there are a number of destinations that may lack certain types of attractions that appeal to some people.  Washington State is affected by this though as the state offers one of the widest varieties of locations, activities, and attractions that can be found in the entire United States.  People are often confronted with locations that claim to have something for everyone, but Washington State is truly a location that does.

Fresh fish is always available at the Pike Place Market.
Photo by: dherrera_96

There are a number of quality shopping opportunities in Washington State offering all kinds of goods. One of the most unique shopping experiences can be had in Seattle at the world famous Pike Place Market where fresh fruit, fresh seafood, and handmade and imported goods can be purchased in an open market setting. Seattle also has a number of other shopping opportunities including large national retailers like the Gap and Nordstrom, small boutiques like Betsy Johnson, and even downtown shopping mall experiences at Westlake Center. Shopping throughout Seattle can be had at a number of unique locations including First Hill, the Fremont District, the International District, and Pioneer Square. There are also many factory outlet malls in Washington State, including some located near the communities of Marysville, Spokane, North Bend, Pasco, and Vancouver.

Experience Music Project is dedicated to musicians' popular music creativity.
Photo by: Darwin Bell

Washington State is loaded with cultural experiences including some of the best museums on the West Coast. Some of the most well known museums include the Experience Music Project, the Pacific Science Center, the Frye Art Museum, the Museum of Flight, the Museum of History and Industry, and the Northwest African American Museum, all located in Seattle. Some of the better museums that reside outside of the state's largest city include the Bellevue Arts Museum, Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour, and the Maryhill Museum of Art. The state is also home to some very interesting and unique museums too including the American Museum of Radio and Electricity in Bellingham, the Bing Crosby Museum in Spokane, the Cashmere Museum and Pioneer Village in Cashmere, the Cle Elum Telephone Museum in Cle Elum, the Timber Museum in Forks, the Hydroplane & Raceboat Museum in Seattle, the Museum of Glass in Tacoma, the Northern Pacific Railway Museum in Toppenish, the Maritime Museum in Westport, and the Electric Railway Museum in Yakima.

Breathtaking Olympic mountains in western Washington.
Photo by: Alaskan Dude

Washington is a popular destination for those interested in outdoor recreation. Hiking can be enjoyed throughout the state in the Olympic Mountains and coastal regions, the Cascade Mountains that stretch across the entire state, and even the more arid desert-like areas of Eastern Washington. Camping is also a popular pursuit in Washington State, and the state offers a number of well developed campsites, along with access to more primitive and remote campgrounds too. Bicycling, both street and mountain, is a popular activity within the state and there are a number of organized meets, rallies, and races held yearly. Washington State is also home to a number of first class golf courses that are spread across the entire state from the Seattle area in the west to the Spokane area in the east, and everywhere in between. There are a good many popular skiing locations around the state as well including White Pass, Mount Spokane, Mission Ridge, Stevens Pass, Snoqualmie Pass, and more. In addition to these activities, most of the communities also have both school level and community level sports teams that compete in various events as well like baseball, softball, football, basketball, tennis, golf, volleyball, and more.

Houses on Lake Washington.
Photo by: camknows

One of the most plentiful resources found in Washington State is water, and residents and visitors to the state both make great use of it as they pursue a variety of types of water recreation. On the state's Pacific Coast there are places where visitors can enjoy beach combing, swimming, boating, fishing, scuba diving, and even surfing. Puget Sound is a huge water inlet that offers a great opportunity for boating, fishing, scuba diving, and sightseeing tours to take place. The mighty Columbia River is an important part of the entire Pacific Northwest and offers a great amount of fishing, boating, jet skiing, swimming, and more. The smaller rivers around the state are popular locations for fishing, boating, river rafting, and inner tubing. Washington also has a number of popular lakes that are open for water recreation including Lake Chelan, Lake Washington, Lake Wenatchee, Fish Lake, Lake Sammamish, and more.

Ocean Shore, WA.
Photo by: jbyoder

Washington is also home to some great public beaches. The ocean beaches of the Long Beach, Westport, and Ocean Shores areas are scenic and unique. These beaches are not the sunny and sandy variety that are found throughout California, but for those that enjoy their beaches a little rockier and more rugged, Washington is the place for them. There are a number of inlets and bays that allow for a good deal of activities and fun times to be had on the beaches of Washington. Many of the beaches in Washington State are accessible by motorized vehicle too, including cars and trucks. In fact, in certain areas the beaches are treated as state highways and are an alternate way to get to and from hotels, restaurants, and rental properties. Washington also offers some very remote and secluded beaches too, the further north that the traveler ventures. There are also a number of sandbars and beaches available lining Puget Sound and on the islands located there too. These beaches are unique in that the ecology and habitat are much different than that of ocean beaches. Washington's beaches have a look all their own, most with evergreen forests growing right up to the sandy shoreline. A visit to Washington isn't complete without a trip to one of the many beaches in the area.


Washington State has a fascinating history and has played an important role in the development of the region and the country as a whole. The state was first a noted source for furs during the initial days of exploration, then developed into an important destination for settlers looking for wide open spaces and plentiful natural resources. The state has also acted as a jumping off point for travelers headed further west to Asia or north to the gold fields of Alaska and the Yukon. The deep waters of Puget Sound played a big role in Washington developing its shipping and fishing industries. The eastern portion of the state is famous for a number of agricultural products including apples and pears. There are a number of museums detailing these and other innovations and milestones, but they are no substitution for visiting the actual historical sites themselves. Mount Rainier is a beautiful location with strong ties to the state's history. A good deal of the trail that Lewis & Clark followed to the Pacific Coast runs through Washington and much of it is labeled and can be followed by modern travelers today. The state is home to a number of historical forts that can be viewed today, many are in ruins or no longer exist while others remain standing. Some of the more popular forts in Washington include Fort Okanogan, Fort Columbia, Fort Nez Perces, Fort Nisqually, Fort Spokane, Fort Vancouver, Fort Worden, and more.

Sporting Events

Fans of professional sports have a great many options in Washington State including professional football with the Seattle Seahawks, professional baseball with the Seattle Mariners, and professional soccer with the Seattle Sounders. There are also many minor league baseball teams and second-tier sports franchises in the state too. The University of Washington, Washington State University, and Gonzaga University have all made their mark on the college athletic scene too, and a number of smaller schools have successful sporting programs as well. Washington is also home to a number of yearly athletic events as well including skiing, running, biking, and more.

Metlako Falls at Columbia River Gorge.
Photo by: Steven Berardi

Road trips appeal to a certain part of the traveling public, and Washington State has some great roadways to explore. The Columbia River Gorge that separates Washington and Oregon can be explored from both shores. The Cascade Loop which leads travelers across the Cascade Mountain Range via two major mountain passes offers some of the most incredible scenery that can be seen anywhere. Highway 101 largely follows Washington's coastline and is a great way to explore the Olympic Peninsula as well as the Pacific Coast south towards Oregon. One of the best ways to explore any geographic area is by road, travelers can simply see more of the area that way and even enjoy locations and attractions that they might otherwise miss. Washington State offers some great road trips that will take the traveler through beautiful, varying, and interesting locations all within one state.

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Plan your next vacation to Washington

Washington State is often called "the other Washington" as many people confuse it with Washington D.C. The truth is though that Washington State should be more famous than it is because of the amount of pleasure it can bring to the travelers that choose to head that way. From the arid eastern area of the state to the wet and forested western side, Washington offers communities and attractions that are perfectly suited to supply a great vacation to anyone who chooses it as their travel destination. A visit to Washington is perfect for anyone interested in outdoor recreation, history, culture, shopping, sports, and more. It really does offer something for almost everyone.

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