|Washington, also known as the Evergreen State, has a population of 6,300,000 people which is the second highest among the western states. Often called Washington State to distinguish it from Washington, DC, Washington offers rugged coastline, mountains, volcanoes, and hundreds of coastal islands to explore. The Cascade Mountains bisect the state, with the damp coastal areas to the west, and the deserts and farmland of the Columbia Plateau to the east. Situated in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, the state is named after George Washington, the first President of the United States. |
Washington State has some of the most beautiful landscapes in the whole US. The Cascades mountain range that passes from north to south across the state has two great rivers - the Columbia and Snake Rivers - cutting through it and eventually joining. All along the Pacific Coast are many beautiful and attractive beaches, which enthrall tourists round the year. There is the right blend of mountains and sea that makes it a good spot for both hikers and surfers. People can enjoy yachting on Puget Sound, or climbing the Olympic and the Cascade Mountains (about 14,500 ft tall), as well as hiking or taking a train on the Pacific Ocean National Scenic Trail. Its capital city is Olympia.
Seattle (also known as the Emerald City) is the largest city in the State, and Washington’s primary and most important gateway city. It’s bounded on one side by water (Puget Sound and Lake Washington) and on the other by mountains (Cascade and Olympic Mountains), which make it a fascinating place to see and visit for a holiday.
Seattle has a lot of modern world entertainment activities such as opera, ballet, and theater companies. Part of this is largely because it has the Seattle Centre, constructed and constituted specifically for the 1962 World Fair. This Centre has another major attraction, the Space Needle, which is a phenomenal 185 m tall structure that includes a well-planned observatory which comes equipped with a restaurant and bar. A good place to visit if you want to know about the history of the city is the Pioneer Square.
Here you will find a number of shops, eateries including some very special restaurants and bars. There is also a specifically oriental place called Chinatown where you get a great number of Chinese and Japanese works of art and of course Chinese food. One of the largest farmers’ markets in the US is the Pike Place Public Market, where you’ll get your choice of sea food and many hand crafted artifacts. For fishing enthusiasts, Harbor tours are extremely enjoyable. A particular must-visit is the Tillicum Village. While you are in Seattle, don’t forget to visit the Seattle Aquarium which is one of the most comprehensive and well organized aquariums in the world. The Woodland Park Zoo is also an extremely popular visitors’ attraction. However, when you plan to visit the zoo, you should keep the whole day free.
The Point Defiance Park in Tacoma (which is the third largest city in the State) is one of the most beautiful landscaped parks in the State. If you’re an avid nature lover, you’ll really enjoy Washington State. The Olympic National Park in the West has splendid glacier mountains, crystal clear lakes, vast rainforests and kilometers of virgin shoreline. It isn’t possible for anyone to come to Washington and be disappointed by the scenic beauty.
The great number of mountains in the state offer hiking, mountain climbing during summer, and an innumerable list of sports during the winter. Skiing is the most popular activity among tourists. Washington State is where Mt Helen, a sleeping volcano, erupted in 1980. People who want to see the crater created during the volcanic eruption can do so with specially booked flights on light airplanes.
Washington also houses a few of the finest wine breweries, located in the Kennewick, Yakima, Richland and Pasco areas. Every Labor Day weekend the Ellensburg Rodeo is held in Ellensburg, attracting millions of visitors from all over the world. Another extraordinary place to visit is he Riverfront Park in Spokane – which is incidentally also the second largest city of the State.
• Seattle-Tacoma International Airport, (Airport code: SEA), called "SeaTac" by locals, connects Seattle to all regions of the world, with especially frequent transpacific routes. Alaska Airlines provides something approximating discount air fare to and from the San Francisco Bay Area and Southern California.
• Spokane International Airport, (Airport code: GEG).
Portland International Airport, (IATA: PDX) is just one mile across the state line in Oregon. For SW Washington this is the nearest major airport. One non-stop from Tokyo.
• Vancouver International Airport (IATA: YVR) is in Canada 27 miles (44 km) from the border. You will have to go through US customs at Blaine, Washington. For US residents, going through customs twice probably isn't worth it, unless you want to see the Vancouver area also. For Canadians wanting to go to the San Juan Islands, it's the best choice. Also has lots of international flights.
• Yakima Air Terminal (IATA: YKM) is a commuter airport with turboprop aircraft, but the largest in the center of the state. Connections are via Seattle-Tacoma.
Amtrak has 3 routes into Seattle's King Street Station. These routed are Amtrak Cascades, Coast Starlight and Empire Builder
You can also travel to and from Washington by ferries. The Washington State Ferries connect the Olympic Peninsula and Bainbridge Island with Seattle, while the Victoria Clipper catamaran services connect Vancouver and Victoria with Seattle.
• From British Columbia: Interstate 5 and the Peace Arch crossing is the main port-of-entry to Washington from Canada, though expect to be in queue for awhile when crossing here. An alternative to crossing at the Peace Arch, is to take the Pacific Crossing via British Columbia Provincial Route 15, which typically has much shorter queues, and is the commercial truck crossing. It continues on as Washington State Route 543, and runs right onto Interstate 5. Both crossings are open 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.
• From Oregon: Interstate 5 (and Interstate 205) provide access from the greater Portland area. Interstate 82 / US 395 provides access from eastern Oregon to the tri-cities area of Eastern Washington. For a more scenic entry, try taking US Route 101 along the Washington and Oregon coast, but be aware for the numerous speed traps in the small cities.
• From Idaho: Interstate 90 is the main route in via Coeur D'Alene, but US 2 provides access to the northern parts of Idaho and Washington.
• Visit one of three national parks in Washington, Mount Rainier National Park, North Cascades National Park, and Olympic National Park.
• Learn about the events surrounding the 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens by visiting this well-known site of nature
• Go hiking in Ape Cave, the third-longest continuous lava tube in the continental United States located just to the south of Mt. St. Helens.
• Visit the San Juan Islands where sea kayaking and orca-watching are popular tourist attractions
• Go skiing at Mount Baker
• Go rock climbing at Frenchman Coulee
• Visit the Seattle Space Needle featuring an observation deck at 520 feet, SkyCity restaurant and a gift shop. Also in Seattle visit the Museum of Flight, the Seattle Aquarium, or even take a Seattle Harbor Cruise.
• Washington state contains many hot springs from the Cascade and Olympic Mountains to the Columbia River Gorge.
• Washington Tourism Official site of Washington State tourism
• State of Washington Official state information web site
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Waptus Lake, central Washington, U.S.A.
• Puget Sound
• Olympic Peninsula
• Southwest Washington
• North Cascades
• Columbia River Plateau
• Rocky Mountains
The State generally has warm not hot summers, which make it an ideal time to visit. The temperature rarely rises above 28 degrees in the West of the Cascades Mountains. On the other side of the state the summer and winter are more pronounced, though not uncomfortable. Those who love winter sports prefer winters, which are pretty enjoyable.
In the spring and summer prevailing winds from the northwest bring relatively cool air and a predictably dry season. In the autumn and winter prevailing winds come from the southwest, bringing relatively warm and moist air masses and a predictably wet season. The term "Pineapple Express" is used to describe the extreme form of this wet season pattern.
The average annual temperature ranges from 51° F (10.6° C) on the Pacific coast to 40° F (4.4° C) in the northeast. Western Washington is known for its mild climate, considerable fog, frequent cloud cover and long-lasting drizzles in the winter, and sunny and dry summers.
economical and available both on private and commercial basis. You can get very comfortable private accommodation from $20 upwards, inclusive weekly rented villas for upwards of $200 per week, and hotel, accommodation varying in price depending on season and luxury level. You’ll get very decent hotel accommodation for as little as $65 off-season, and about $90 in season.
Nightlife and Dining
Washington State nightlife is dominated by nightclubs which play jazz – the most popular music in this corner of the world. There are also a great number of discotheques where the young freak out till early morning hours under throbbing lights, great music and good fast food. The minimum drinking age of 21 years old is strictly enforced all over the State. Bars usually are open till 2-3 am on week days.
The best eating available here is the seafood. Dining choices range from highly exotic to normal – all the cuisine offered is great and within a reasonable price range. There are more than 2,000 restaurants, most of which offer seafood, though you can get great continental and Chinese food as well.