Top Five Places to Visit in Washington State / By Stephen Toutt
I took my first trip to Washington State in the Pacific Northwest in 2017 to visit Seattle and can’t wait to go back. Here are five of my favorite places from this trip.
Olympic National Park – Located on the Olympic Peninsula and comprises three distinct ecosystems (snow-capped mountains, Pacific coastline, and temperate forests), Olympic National Park is the perfect place for outdoor enthusiasts. At almost a million acres, this national park offers an endless array of beautiful sights, wildlife, and flora. If you’re a fan of hiking, climbing, or photography – or looking to get away from the city’s hustle and bustle – Olympic National Park is a perfect place to camp out or visit on a day trip. Notable and worthwhile destinations within Olympic National Park include Hoh Rain Forest, Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Valley, and Lake Crescent.
Pike Place Market
Pike Place Market is one of the oldest running farmer’s markets in the US. Walking distance from the Port of Seattle and with a view of the Elliot Bay Waterfront on Puget Sound, Pike Place Market is a multi-level shopping destination featuring a variety of independent and unique shops. Local art, antique, and collectibles vendors and over 30 restaurants offering a wide array of cuisine occupy the lower levels, with the upper street level being comprised of fishmonger and produce stalls. Be sure to check out the Pike Place Fish Market if visiting to watch some high-flying fish acrobatics.
Olympic Game Farm
Definitely, an experience I won’t forget, Olympic Game Farm is a drive-through wildlife refuge that puts you face-to-face with various wildlife, including Llama, Tibetan Yak, Elk, American Bison, and Spotted Fallow Deer, Sika Deer, European Fallow Deer, Zebra, and Brown Bears. No need for binoculars to spot these animals, as they will eagerly approach your car window to grab a piece of bread (not the bears), allowing for some great photo opportunities. The drive-through tour lasts about an hour and is a great way to break up the car trip to Olympic National Park. Make sure to wave to the bears as you leave; they will wave back!
Just East of Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls is a 270 waterfall located on the Snoqualmie River and is one of the most popular tourist destinations in Washington (thanks in part to being featured in the credits for the 90’s cult TV show Twin Peaks). Considered by the Snoqualmie Tribe as humanity’s place of origin, the falls attract more than a million annual visitors and feature a two-acre park and observation deck. Aside from being a top tourist destination, the falls also generate electricity for Puget Sound Energy.
La Push Third Beach
Located on the Pacific Coastline of the Olympic Peninsula approximately 15 miles from the historic timber town Forks, La Push Beaches (First, Second and Third) offer 70 miles of protected coastline with some of the best ocean views in the country (provided it’s not raining). While we didn’t make it to the First and Second beaches, the third alone was enough to make the top five. Adorned with giant driftwood pieces and with spectacular views of sea stacks and surrounding cliff sides, La Push Third Beach is serene and picturesque. With rental cabins available walking distance from the shoreline (you’ll probably want to book in advance), La Push Third Beach is a great place to stay the weekend and enjoy some of the US’s best natural landscapes.