10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions To Visit In Washington State (2022)
Washington State has a population of nearly 77 lakhs but those aren’t the only ones who see the state. Over its residents, Washington hosts millions of tourists every single year. With so many places to visit and things to do in Washington, tourism of the state stands as one of the largest industries. More than the urban and metropolitan life, the natural world is larger and more prominent here. The Evergreen State is home to lush rainforests, archipelagos, sleeping volcanoes, verdant landscapes, snow-capped mountains, and a staggering number of scenic destinations.
Washington is unique and different from other regions of North America. While most of the attractions are nestled in and around the city of Seattle, there are several undiscovered lands far across as well. Though when options are in a dizzying amount deciding where to go can become tough. And to ease that, we have compiled a list of popular and must-visit tourist attractions in Washington State.
10 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions To Visit In Washington State
Have a look:
1. The Olympic National Park
The locals and national’s favorite, Olympic National Park, lies on the western side of Washington. Spread over a million acres, it is on Washington’s Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest. This truly impressive wilderness is home to four huge rainforests, glaciated mountaintops, ocean beaches, thick forests, majestic waterfalls, and a diverse range of unique ecosystems. The Park’s centerpiece is the Hoh Rainforest and its sky-touching 500-year-old trees. Besides that, more of its notables include Sol Duc Falls, Sol Duc Salmon Cascades, Hurricane Ridge, Kalaloch and Ruby Beach, Lake Crescent, and more. The National Park is also home to several hiking trails and recreational zones traversing over different landscapes.
2. The San Juan Archipelagos
Located on the north of Puget Sound, off the northwest mainland, are the prestigious San Juan Archipelagos. Regardless of where you are coming from, these are the top-rated attractions in Washington you must not miss. The Archipelago is home to nearly 174 named islands, of which 4 are extremely popular amongst locals and tourists. These islands include Lopez Island, Shaw Island, Orcas Island, and the obvious San Juan Island. Every single island houses a distinct landscape and has a small-town feel to it. The islands are full of parks, seafood restaurants, galleries, shops, and endless recreational activities. Some of the popular destinations within these islands include Eastsound and Moran State Parks, Friday Harbour, and Rocher Harbor. Since all the islands are reachable via ferries, do take out some time and explore them.
3. The Seattle Downtown
The beautiful city of Seattle is amongst the most popular places in Washington. The town, though, has an enormous variety of tourist attractions, but its real deal is the ‘Downtown Seattle.’ It is a relaxed waterfront region operating a cultural hub and a whole lot of attractions. If there is one word that can describe this region, it is ‘Diverse.’ Since Seattle is the home city of Starbucks, you will obviously find numerous first-hand coffee shops here. Besides that, the region is home to diverse attractions, including the Seattle Great Wheel, a ride that lets you grab the amazing views of the downtown skyline and right out across Eliot Bay. Other notables here include Olympic Sculpture Park, Harbor Cruise, Seattle Art Museum, Spheres, Klondike Gold Rush Museum, and the Space Needle.
4. The Town of Port Angeles
Port Angeles is Washington State’s beautiful town and a must-visit destination. It serves as a basecamp for Olympic Adventures and has so much to do for tourists of all kinds. The best way to explore the town is via bicycle on the Olympic Discovery Trail. The south of town allows for a drive into the famous Hurricane Ridge, one of the most scenic places. Or you can also drive 18 miles towards the Lake Crescent, a crowned jewel of both Port Angeles and Olympic. Besides that, the town’s waterfront is home to Feiro Marine Life Center, where one can meet native sea creatures from close. And since it has a huge waterfront, activities like ocean and lake kayaking, paddleboarding, swimming, and fishing are quite popular here. Lastly, hop on for the Heritage Tour of the Downtown Historic District or whale watching excursion.
5. The Town of Bellingham
The northwest gem of the State, Bellingham is popular for its tourism in Washington. The town is popular for its Pacific Northwest culture with local culture, museums, and natural space. For a quick introduction to the city, begin with walking through the Fairhaven Historic District. Some of the notable attractions within the city include the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, Mount Baker Theatre, and Whatcom Museum. For outdoor fun, Bellingham is home to Larrabee State Park, Lake Padden Park, Boulevard Park, and the very popular Whatcom Falls Park. From April through December, the town also organizes the local Bellingham Farmers Market, a lively local affair. Besides that, the third Saturday market takes place from January to March.
6. The City of Tacoma
Tacoma is a beautiful Washington city located on the banks of Puget Sound. The city is popular for its wealth of cultural and recreational opportunities. Since it is the nearest city to the Cascade Mountain Range and Mount Rainier National Park, it also behaves as a basecamp to these wildernesses. However, the most notable feature here is the huge and exclusive Museum of Glass. The museum features the work of Dave Chihuly, a world-renowned artist and Tacoma native. A visit to the museum will introduce you to the amazing Chihuly Bridge of Glass and let you learn the art of glass blowing. Other popular attractions in the city include the Tacoma Art Museum, American Lake, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, and the Foss Waterway Seaport.
7. Bloedel Reserve
Bloedel Reserve is the most beautiful natural attraction in Washington State. Located in Bainbridge Island, the Bloedel Reserve is a beautiful 150 acres forested garden. It once was a personal property to Virginia and Prentice Bloedel, though since 1988, it has been operating as a public place. Visitors can walk through its two-mile looped hiking trail and soak into the extreme greenery of the garden. Some of the notable features of the reserve include the Japanese garden, the Stone Garden, and the Manor house. For reaching the reserve, one can take a ferry ride from Seattle, which takes half an hour to reach here. Bloedel Reserve is extensive and engaging enough to spend 2 to 3 hours of peace.
8. The Washington State Capitol Building
No American State is complete without its Capitol Building, and Washington, too, isn’t an exception. When in Washington State, do explore its State Capitol Building. This massive 287 feet white structure is located in Olympia, the capital city of Washington. Even though it runs the current legislature, part of the capitol building is open for public exploration. Visitors can join the free guided public tour and learn about the architectural, historical, and political influence of the structure. Some of the highlights of the tour include the five-ton Tiffany chandelier and the State Reception Room. The tour last nearly half to an hour, though it is a must-try.
The Capitol Visitor Center is open to visitors Monday through Saturday from 8:30 am to 4:30 pm. Sundays and National holidays mark no entry into any part of the capitol building. Besides the capital building, the other top attractions you can explore include the Children’s Museum, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, and the Olympic Farmer’s Market.
9. The Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
Another top-rated tourist attraction to visit in Washington State is the Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest. The forest runs with North Cascades National Park at its south, the Canadian border at its north, and the Cascade Mountains as its background. It covers a region of 1.7 million acres dominating several valleys, lowlands, hills, and forest-covered areas. Mount Baker-Snoqualmie, due to its proximity to major cities, is also one of the most-visited wildernesses in the United States. Throughout the forest, several recreational opportunities wind including hiking, biking, horseback riding, waterfall seeking, and camping. It is also home to several water bodies that facilitate water-based adventure and activities.
10. The Riverfront Spokane
Spokane is an eastern Washington city also known as the Lilac city (by locals). It is known as the birthplace of Father’s Day and is the host of the largest basketball tournament in the world. The city of Spokane is an economic and cultural hub and is popular for the popular river that runs right through the center adjacent to several world-class buildings. The crown jewel of the city is the illustrious Riverfront Park which encompasses over 100 acres of green space, pedestrian trails, and notable attractions. Following that, other attractions include Manito Park, Riverside State Park, Spokane Falls (a must-see), Mount Spokane State Park, John A. Finch Arboretum, and Mount Spokane Ski & Snowboard Park. Since the weather here is comparatively sunnier, Spokane hosts a longer tourism season than most of Washington.