Washington State Travel Guide

I am very blessed to be able to consider Washington State my home. Although notorious for the long, dreary, wet days, Washington is absolutely breathtaking. From our incredibly mountains to the characterized city to its intricate forests, we Washingtonians have a very beautiful place that we live in to be thankful for. Although our winters tend to be dreary and wet, our July and August months always seem to make our long winters completely worth it. Due to our long, rainy days we have such beautiful greenery everywhere you turn. Want to explore our nature-filled neck of the woods? Here are some answers to various questions I often hear from people when considering coming to my home state.

When is the best time to come?  The very best time, if you’re looking for good weather, is between July and September. July and August are our Summer months, but going into September and fall is absolutely gorgeous here. When the weather is nice, Washington is definitely an enjoyable place to visit. If you’re looking for very few crowds, I would recommend coming between October and November or January through May. The only problem is, your weather forecast may look a little more like the stereotypes you’re use to hearing about (a.k.a. rainy and dreary) especially in November and January through May. We also tend to get our windstorms in the month of November.

What are the best places to visit?  The best places to visit, or the most “touristy” places to visit include Seattle, the Space Needle, the Great Wheel, the Columbia Tower, the Gum Wall, the EMP, the Paramount, Pioneer Square, Chinatown, Hoh Forest, Grand Coulee Dam, Underground Seattle, Starbucks Roastery, Pike Place Market, Alki, Long Beach, University of Washington, Washington State University, Snoqualmie Falls, Mount Rainier, Crystal Mountain, Leavenworth, etc.

Any secrets to avoiding crowds?  To avoid crowds, as I stated in a previous answer, is to come during our rainy season. Otherwise, you will most likely find crowds, especially in Seattle.

What are your favorite so-called “tourist spots”?  My favorite “tourist spots” include Pike Place Market, Crystal Mountain, Pioneer Square, Long Beach, and Leavenworth. To give you a little context as to what those places are… Pike Place Market is the fish market you usually see in pictures. It contains amazing restaurants, shops, flowers, and coffee shops (including the first Starbucks). You can also find the Gum Wall down in an alley off the side of the market. Crystal Mountain is great for the ski lover during the winter, but in the summer, it is a great place for a gondola ride, hikes, and an incredible view of the mountain. I prefer going here rather than Mount Rainer itself, because the drive isn’t nearly as bad. Paradise, a popular Mount Rainier destination for tourists and advanced hikers, although absolutely breathtaking, it has a brutal drive. To get into the park, it is VERY expensive and the hour drive up to Paradise caused me a ton of car sickness and altitude sickness. The road is incredibly steep and curvy. If your stomach can handle it, it truly is an incredibly gorgeous drive, but you have been warned. Pioneer Square is one of the older parts of downtown Seattle. It’s character says it all. The neighborhood is filled with brick and vines that crawl up the buildings. It has a lot of unique stores and amazing coffee shops. If you’re looking for a good and pretty latte, I would recommend going to Café Umbria (caffeumbria,com). Not only is the shop itself super cute, but it’s also surrounded by the distinct character of Pioneer Square. Long Beach is about a four hour drive from Seattle and, you guessed it, on the coast. It is the longest beach in the world (who would’ve thought?). My mom, grandma, and I try to go visit for a weekend every year. We like to stay in these cute little cottages called Klipsan Beach Cottages (klipsanbeachcottages.com/), which is about seven miles out from Long Beach itself. The town itself is very cute. It has the cutest little shops and a bakery that has the BEST desserts!! The best time to go is during the summer of course, since it’s much nicer and somewhat warm, but the beach is freezing once you hit October until June. The beach is not crowded, unless there is an event going on, and it is relatively clean. You are allowed to drive on the beach, camp, and start a small campfire. Lastly, Leavenworth, a little German town in central Washington, is one of the most touristy areas in the state, but also one of the coolest places to visit. The town is full of German characteristics. The town is contains German shops, genuine German food, and gorgeous nature. During October, Octoberfest is in full swing. Octoberfest is pretty much a beer festival. In December, Christmas in Leavenworth is overwhelmingly decked out in all things Christmas. The town goes all out and typically already has a good amount of snow. There is an annual Christmas tree lighting every year as well that always tends to be very popular.

Is the weather really as awful as stereotype says it is?  Yes and no. We get the stereotype of constant rain from our long, drawn out, rainy days. Instead of downpours or just a small mist, we tend to get rain that drizzle and lingers. It doesn’t just come and leave like it does in most places. However, we have a pretty steady and mild climate. It typically doesn’t get past 25º in the winter at its coldest and it typically doesn’t get past 90º in the summer at its hottest. Our summers are usually INCREDIBLE! When the sun is out, although humid at times, everywhere you look, it’s beautiful. The natural beauty is gorgeous. It ALMOST makes all those long and dreary days worth it.

Are Washingtonians as depressed as the stereotype says they are?  Honestly, yes and no. Washingtonians are known to always be tired, depressed, and always needing some sort of pick me up (usually coffee, because DUH!). Most Washingtonians tend to fall into seasonal depression when the fall, winter, and spring months hit, because we don’t get very much Vitamin D from the sun since it’s never out. Last year (2016-2017), between October and May, we had a record breaking NINE DAYS… NINE…. DAYS…. of sunshine. That’s it. It was gruelling and many people had a very hard time dealing with the weather. Many, including myself, hit that seasonal depression hard. Once the sunshine comes out, the mood of everyone seems to brighten and Washingtonians tend to be much more cheerful and far more awake people.

What are the best things to do if you LOVE nature?  Well, anything!! I LOVE to hike. I am not one for very difficult hikes though, so if you tend to be more on the adventurous side and like the challenge, I would recommend getting an app called “AllTrails”. Even if you are up for a challenge, this is the PERFECT app to find the hike you’re looking for. It not only gives you hiking ideas, but informs you on the difficulty of the hike, ratings, whether or not it has a view, whether or not it’s pet friendly, if it requires a discovery pass, a trail map, directions to the location, and a description of the hike. It will show you trails all over Washington, but also anywhere else as well. Some of the hikes that I would HIGHLY recommend include Rattlesnake Ridge, Franklin Falls, Twin Falls, Snoqualmie Falls, Crystal Mountain, Mount Rainier (the mountain itself isn’t the only trail. There are several easier ones as well), Mount Peak, Mailbox Peak (for the adventurist), and the Hoh Forest. All of these places have amazing trails and amazing views. It isn’t too hard to find a good hiking trail though. They’re everywhere!

All in all, Washington is a beautiful and wonderful place to visit and explore. Getting outside and getting into the nature that you’re surrounded by is definitely well worth it. I would highly recommend a visit here if you’re on the fence about it.

I hope this post helped inform you of this beautiful state, its tourist attractions, and people. If you have any questions or want to know even more about this great state I get to call home, shoot me a comment below. I would love to answer any questions!

xx Maddie

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