Overview

Washington is the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, where wondrous mountain ranges look over lush rainforests, dramatic coastlines and contemporary cities. Washington is the only state in the ‘lower 48’ where visitors can explore a national park in a temperate rainforest in the morning, hike the trails at a National Volcanic Monument in the afternoon and smell the desert sage as the sun sets. The region’s music scene has been flourishing since the adventure of alternative and grunge music in the 1990s, while fans of the “Twilight” series will want to visit Forks, where the novels are based.

Highlights

Diverse terrain and hip city attractions combine in Washington State.

Enjoy a local brew in Seattle

A dynamic, eclectic city, Seattle boasts a stunning coastal setting with a thriving food and drink scene. Shop, eat and explore at Seattle’s famous Pike Place Market. Dodge the ‘flying fish’ as fishmongers toss fish to those wrapping them for buyers. Opposite the market is the original Starbucks store, although the city’s coffee culture has extended to 2.5 coffee shops per every 1,000 citizens - perfect for coffee-lovers. Seattle is also the perfect place to sip on a pint of locally brewed beer, with more than 250 craft breweries calling the state home and most bars and restaurants around town featuring local brews on their menus.

Discover beautiful scenery

One of the most prominent features of Seattle’s skyline, Mount Rainier is an active volcano that is covered in glaciers that feeds six major rivers. A short drive southeast of Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park offers excellent opportunities for scenic drives, hiking and mountain climbing - there’s something for all abilities. To the northwest of the city, Olympic National Park offers hiking through temperate rainforest, cross-country skiing along mountain trails in winter and stunning views of the Pacific Ocean.

Whale watching

The San Juan Islands are an archipelago of over 170 islands northwest of Seattle, home to a diverse population of birds, mammals and other marine life. Magnificent orca whales live here all year round and it’s one of the best places in the world to see them in the wild. Follow the Whale Trail and visit The Whale Museum and The Whale Tail Sculpture before joining a boat trip to try and spot some in their natural habitat.

When to visit

There’s never really a bad time to visit Washington. In the summer, temperatures can reach mid-high 20°C and an abundance of festivals and events make Seattle a great choice. Spring and autumn, when the weather is slightly cooler, are an ideal time to spend time hiking in the national parks, while an abundance of snow sports in winter ensures that there’s plenty to do throughout the year.