6 Popular Things To Do In Washington State During Winters (2023)
While there is a common perception that Washington receives mostly rain throughout the year, people often overlook its winters. Its distinct physiography and spectacular snow make Washington a western winter wonderland. The western part of the state is more about hills and mountains; the temperature here stays quite cold. However, to the surprise, this part doesn’t actually experience much snowfall; instead here comes the dry winters. Whereas eastern Washington, with the Cascade Range effects, stays colder, receiving 200 inches of snowfall almost every single year. This part of the state thus turns into a winter paradise during the end and beginning of the year.
No matter how cold and snowy Washington State’s winters are, the season is also brimming with wonderful things to do. From cross country skiing to snowshoeing, adventures here are common to what the other U.S. States offer. Though Washington also hosts multiple winter festivals, which since are unique in their own way are rare and must experience. And not to forget the spectacular snowy scenery that most of Washington’s region is, of course, blessed with. With that, here are some of the best winter activities to try in Washington State.
6 Popular Things To Do In Washington State During Winters
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1. Winter Road Trip to Palouse Falls
The shining star of Eastern Washington, Palouse, is beyond being the summertime ground. The Palouse Landscape is stunning, be it the Waterfall or State Park. The entire grounds are lush green during summers, and the waterfall flows beautifully. But to its exact opposite, the grounds and rolling hills transform into snowfields during winters. And beyond that, the grand Palouse Falls starts to freeze, which results in an absolutely magical sight. As it takes a lot of water before the fall freezes to the core, the final sight of both the fall and the flow below is divine in true terms. Someone who is adventurous and enthusiastic enough must definitely make an effort coming here. However, since winters in this part of the state can turn extremely brutal, not everyone can make it here. The roads become a bit treacherous, and unless you are a pro driver with a 4X4 vehicle, you can experience a really hard time reaching here.
2. Tour the Campbell House in Spokane
The Campbell House is an early 1900s house now turned into a museum. It is right next to the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture and is a year-round attraction. Though during winters, when snow covers the entire region, being here feels pleasurable. The original period interiors turn into beautiful Christmas-themed décor that captivates the eyes quite easily. Visitors can go for self-guided tours from 10 pm to 4 pm from Tuesday through Saturday. Or the mansion also offers guide tours where the guide narrates historic stories both about the mansion, the region, and Washington State itself. Besides that, Campbell house also organizes multiple engaging activities like baking, cooking along with the house chef, Halloween events, and much more. However, since exploring the house means climbing many stairs up and down, prepare your trip accordingly.
3. Spend a Day Skiing or Snowboarding
Washington State has mountains and a hell lot of them. Washington winters mean enjoying snow adventures in high elevation regions, especially the spectacular Ski resorts. And since Washington has a lot of them (also the best ones’), winter adventure is never out of the question. Some of the hottest and most happening Washington Skiing spots include:
- Stevens Pass Ski Resort: A pinnacle of Washington skiing, it has 1,125 acres of snow terrain and receives 460 inches of average snowfall every year. The resort is within proximity to Seattle and Emerald City, which makes it a popular Skiing resort in Washington.
- Crystal Mountain Resort: The thing to do in Washington State during winter is to observe and visit Crystal Mountain. With 2,600 skiable acres, it makes up the largest ski resort in the state of Washington. While skiing and snowboarding down the slopes, it also offers one of the best views of Rainier.
- Mt. Baker Ski Area: Its 1,000 acres of skiable terrain receives the most snowfall of any ski resort in Washington (600 inches). During winter, it is also popular for its social gathering and events.
4. Dip into a thermal pool
Washington State’s position along with the Pacific tectonic plate (Ring of Fire) blesses it with an abundance of thermal/ hot springs. The magma beneath the earth’s crust heats these thermal pools, and the chemical reactions grant it healing and soothing water. While the idea of soaking in them is appealing any time of the year, winters make it a bit exciting. Hiking through the snowy forest and ultimately finding small thermal pools in the middle of the wilderness provides pleasure beyond anything. While some thermal pools are located within resorts, some can only be reached after a tiring backcountry hiking. But whatever the locations are, taking effort is always worth it. Some of the hottest and most happening Washington hot springs/ thermal pools include:
- Goldmyer Hot Springs: It is any day the best kept hot spring in Washington State. It is 45 minutes east of Seattle in the ancient forests of the Cascade Mountains. Reaching here requires a short drive followed by a nearly 4.5-mile hike into the wilderness. Since it accommodates fewer people a day, reservations are recommended.
- Olympic Hot Springs: It is another Washington hot spring within its wilderness. Reaching here requires hiking from Elwha Valley at the Boulder Creek Trailhead. Since it is an unmaintained thermal pool, be cautious in each step.
- Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort: Unlike the other two, it is a well-maintained hot spring resort and a popular one in the entire state. Besides soaking in the hot pools, the resort also allows camping to close them. And with that, visitors can even access the pool during night hours.
5. Attend the Winter Beer Festival
If your age is above the official drinking list, then do attend the Winter Beer Festival. It is by far one of the most popular things to do in Washington State during winters. During December’s first week, from Noon to Night, the festival takes place at the Hangar 30 Warren G. Magnuson Park Seattle. The event gathers about 26 breweries and more than 200 beer varietals, all in one single place. The options you will find here are truly endless, from craft breweries to microbreweries and creative winter beers. It is a 21+ event where entry prices for $40 in advance and $45 at the door. Though since the passes get full super soon, reservations are recommended. An entry ticket includes your general admission, a tasting glass, and ten 4oz beer tastes. For more, participants can buy $2.50 for each additional taste, and a $10 minimum for the additional token is a must. For someone who is into beers, this is an event they must visit.
6. Rent a Cozy Cabin in the Woods
Washington’s small towns, villages, and parks are home to several cosy cabins. These cabins are available for rent for days, weeks, and months. Though they operate year-round, there is nothing beyond spending time in them during chilling winters, especially when it is snowing. Whether you want to spend time in a cosy cottage or enjoy lush views from the treehouse, the options here are truly endless. Here are some of the finest examples of the same:
- Treehouse Place at Deer Ridge: Deer Ridge is home to a grand mountain view estate and two world-class treehouses. Know that both of them are featured as the top 10 Treehouses in the United States of America. First is the Ole’ Mill, a luxury tree house 5ft up among the trees. It has an outdoor hot tub, a 10 foot tall, fully functional waterwheel, and a luxurious soaking tub. The second is the Sasquatch Cabin, a romantic design and craftsmanship masterpiece.
- The Garden House: It is a lovely cabin home located on Six private waterfront acres on a remote corner of Orcas Island. The house has several guest quarters, sitting rooms, kitchens, a sunny deck, and a beautiful garden. Staying here during winters comes with its own warmth and charm. There is a beach 4-minute walk away, and Moran State Park too is close by. The property is also popular for its sunset views.
- Sky Haus A-Frame Cabin: It is a gorgeous and airy A-frame cabin with a minimalist design and vintage-style appliances. It allows a family of 4 to sleep comfortably and enjoy their snowy winters in the woods. Visitors can even bring their pets for some extra dollars. Since tall woods all-way surround it, the feeling of spending a night here is truly divine.