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111 Places to Go and Things to Do In Western Washington

Updated on June 26, 2017
Becca Linn profile image

I've lived in western Washington for 13 years and am admittedly addicted to seeking out all the beauty and adventure it has to offer.

The world's largest spruce tree is one of the best kept secrets of the Quinault Rainforest in western Washington.
The world's largest spruce tree is one of the best kept secrets of the Quinault Rainforest in western Washington. | Source

There's Something For Everyone In Western Washington

Being a western Washington native myself, I have to admit that I'm a little bias and truly believe that it is one of the most beautiful places on earth, but even if you aren't the outdoorsy type, you won't be disappointed by all the exciting activities that western Washington has to offer.

Having moved away, I love to go back and pretend to be a tourist from time to time. Sometimes I visit some of my favorite places from my childhood, and a lot of times I like to check out something totally new.

This is a list of some of my favorite adventures as well as some that I haven't tried yet. I hope that it will be useful to you.

I've included links to informational websites for as many of these places and activities as possible to make this list more user friendly.

In order to make this list a little bit easier to navigate, I'll give you an idea of what order the activities and locations will be listed in to get you started. some of these categories do overlap a little bit. For example, the list of waterfalls may include some hiking.

Also, I've included the locations where these activities can be found to make planning a little bit easier for you.

  • Hiking (1-26)
  • Puget Sound Beaches (27-33)
  • Ocean Beaches (34-40)
  • Waterfalls (41-51)
  • Caves (52)
  • Mountain Biking (53-63)
  • Animals and Wildlife (64-71)
  • Sports (72-78)
  • Seattle Tourist Attractions (79-87)
  • Museums (88-105)
  • Ferries, Cruises, Water Adventures (106-111)

I hope this list will be useful to you. Now go out there and enjoy all of the awesomeness that western Washington has to offer!

If you have been to some of these places, I'd love for you to vote on some of my polls about which places and activities are the best. That way other people who read this hub can easily figure out which tourist attractions are the tried and true favorites.

Thanks for your help!

The rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula is full of beautiful hikes that will take your breath away.
The rain forest on the Olympic Peninsula is full of beautiful hikes that will take your breath away. | Source

Western Washington Hiking

Obviously, this isn't a complete list of hikes in Washington. There are way too many awesome hikes for me to include them all here, but these are some popular hikes as well as some well-kept secret type hikes that you might enjoy.

  1. Cathedral Falls-4 miles round trip (Mount St. Helens)
  2. Cape Flattery-1.5 miles round trip (Makah Indian Reservation near Neah Bay)
  3. Snow Lake-2.6 miles (Mt. Rainier)
  4. Surprise Lake-9 miles (Off Hwy 2 near Stevens Pass)
  5. Skyscraper Pass-8 miles (Mt. Rainier)
  6. Cascade Pass-up to 12 miles round trip (North Cascades National Park)
  7. Harry's Ridge-8 miles (Mount St. Helens)
  8. Little Bandera-7 miles (Snoqualmie Pass)
  9. Mount Townsend-8.2 miles (Olympic Peninsula)
  10. Ozette Triangle-9.4 miles (Olympic Peninsula)
  11. Nisqually Estuary Boardwalk-4 miles (Olympia area)
  12. Hummocks Trail-2.3 miles (Mount St. Helens)
  13. Beacon Rock State Park-2 miles (Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area)
  14. Deception Pass Headlands-up to 5 miles (Anacortes)
  15. Lime Kiln-5 miles (Mountain Loop Hwy)
  16. Point Wilson-2.5 miles (Fort Worden State Park-Port Townsend)
  17. Mount Constitution and Mountain Lake-6.7 miles (Orcas Island)
  18. Guemes Mountain-2.3 miles (Guemes Island)
  19. Goose Rock-2.5 miles (Widbey Island)
  20. McLane Creek-1.5 miles (Capitol Forest-Olympia Area)
  21. Watershed Park-1.4 miles (Olympia)
  22. Gazzam Lake and Close Beach-3.4 miles (Bainbridge Island)
  23. Iceberg Pt.-3 miles (Lopez Island)
  24. Guemes Mountain-2.3 miles (guemes Island)
  25. Camano Island State Park-2.5 miles (Camano Island)
  26. Island Center Forest-9 miles (Vashon Island)

Hiker on Cascade Pass trail.
Hiker on Cascade Pass trail. | Source

Where is your favorite place to hike?

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Burfoot Park is a great place to see starfish, sand dollars, crabs, geoducks, and many other types of wildlife when there is a low tide.
Burfoot Park is a great place to see starfish, sand dollars, crabs, geoducks, and many other types of wildlife when there is a low tide. | Source

Puget Sound Beaches

Again, this isn't a complete list of all the Puget Sound beaches in western Washington, but these are some favorites.

27. Salt Water Park (Des Moines)

28. Burfoot Park (Olympia)

29. Priest Point Park (Olympia)

30. Tolmie Park (Olympia)

31. Seahurst Park (Burien)

32. Dash Point State Park (Federal Way)

33. Alki Beach (West Seattle)



Another cool sea creature at Burfoot Park
Another cool sea creature at Burfoot Park | Source

Which is your favorite Puget Sound Beach?

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Point of the Arches at Shi Shi Beach
Point of the Arches at Shi Shi Beach | Source
Watch out for vampires and werewolves when you visit the La Push beaches outside of Forks.
Watch out for vampires and werewolves when you visit the La Push beaches outside of Forks. | Source

Ocean Beaches

These beaches are listed from south to north for your convenience.

34. Long Beach (Long Beach)

35. West Port Beach (West Port)

36. Ocean Shores (Ocean Shores)

37. Ruby Beach (Olympic National Park about 40 miles south of Forks)

38. La Push Beach 1, 2, & 3 (Forks...look out for Vampires and Werewolves!!!)

39. Rialto Beach (-Forks)

40. Shi Shi Beach (Clallam Bay)

Beautiful Ruby Beach at Sunset
Beautiful Ruby Beach at Sunset | Source

Which is your favorite ocean beach?

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Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls
Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls | Source

Western Washington Waterfalls

I'm sure that you are aware that Washington has a reputation for having lots of water. That being said, there are a lot of waterfalls in western Washington. Again, I'm just giving you a short list of attractions, but don't be afraid to venture out on your own and visit a waterfall that isn't listed here.

41. Mima Falls (Olympia area)

42. Tumwater Falls Park (Olympia Area)

43. Snoqualmie Falls (Snoqualmie Pass)

44. Sol Duc Falls (Olympic National Park)

45. Wallace Falls (Stevens Pass)

46. Cedar Falls (North Cascades Hwy)

47. Twin Falls (North Bend Area)

48. Bridal Veil Falls (Stevens Pass)

49. Marymere Falls (Olympic Peninsula)

50. Lower Falls Creek (Columbia Gorge)

51. Cathedral Falls (Mount St. Helens)

Wallace Falls at Wallace Falls State Park
Wallace Falls at Wallace Falls State Park | Source

Which waterfall do you like to go see the most often?

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The entrance to the Ape Caves
The entrance to the Ape Caves | Source

Western Washington Caves

52. Ape Caves (Cougar Washington)

If you want to explore caves in western Washington, the Ape Caves is really the only safe place to go. These lava tubes from Mount St. Helens make for a fun, but not too difficult adventure that can be enjoyed by almost anyone.

There are two parts of the Ape Caves. There is one area that is fairly flat and easy to navigate where they do tours, and if you are up for a bigger challenge, you can explore the rest of the cave, but it is a little bit more difficult.

Regardless of which part of the cave you explore, make sure to bring a light, because like most caves, it is dark in there.

There are some ice caves at Mt. Rainier (Paradise Ice Caves) and in Snohomish County (Big Four Ice Caves), but I can't recommend exploring them, because there are multiple warnings that they are unsafe.

You can hike a trail that goes to the Big Four Ice Caves and look at them from a distance, but people have been killed there (the most recent death in 2010), so please do not try to venture into these caves!

Source

Western Washington Mountain Biking

I'm going to be honest, I'm not a mountain biker, and I've never tried mountain biking at any of these locations, but in doing some research, these appear to be some of the most popular places to mountain bike in western Washington.

53. Galbraith Mountain (Bellingham)

54. Duthie Hill (Issaquah)

55. Anacortes Community Forest Lands (Anacortes)

56. Capital Forest (Olympia)

57. Swan Creek (Tacoma)

58. Moran State Park (Orcas Island)

59. East Lake Sammamish Trail (Seattle)

60. Island Center Forest (Vashon Island)

61. Chehalis Western Trail (Lacey)

62. Mima Creek (Olympia)

63. Section 36-Beaver Lake (Sammamish)

Where is the best place to go mountain biking?

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We learned the hard way that there is a reason they tell you not to stop your car in the buffalo area at the Olympic Game Farm. This guy was friendly and a little scary.
We learned the hard way that there is a reason they tell you not to stop your car in the buffalo area at the Olympic Game Farm. This guy was friendly and a little scary. | Source

Western Washington Animal and Wildlife Exhibits

64. Pt. Defiance Zoo and Aquarium (Tacoma Area)-This is one of my favorite places to see the animals, because both the zoo and the aquarium here are quite impressive. It also features a zipline course, and if you are in town during the holiday season, you can go to Zoo Lights and see the zoo completely decked out in Christmas lights.

65. Woodland Park Zoo (Seattle)-This zoo is well known for creating very natural environments for the animals so that they can feel right at home.

66. Seattle Aquarium (Seattle)-One unique feature of this aquarium is that it is built right out into the sound so that you can see what is going on in the waters of Seattle.

67. Northwest Trek (Eatonville)-Northwest Trek has 435 acres of land where you can check out native wildlife. They offer foot tours, tram tours, and even zipline tours.

68. Olympic Game Farm (Sequim)-This is an awesome place to get up close and personal with wild animals. You go on a car tour through the park and are able to feed the animals wheat bread (which you purchase at the beginning of the tour). The animals come right up to your car and will eat from your hands. This place is a lot of fun for kids and adults alike. Personally, I loved it! Just make sure to buy plenty of bread. The first time we went, we only bought one loaf and we were wishing we had more.

69. Wolf Haven (Olympia area)-Wolf Haven provides a unique opportunity to see wolves up close and the tour guides do a fantastic job of teaching you a lot of interesting facts about wolves that if you are like me, you never knew before. This place was a great deal for the price in my opinion. Don't forget to do the short hike to the grandfather tree while you are there. Your tour guide can tell you where to go. It's pretty cool!

70. Cougar Mountain Zoo (Issaquah)-The master plan of this zoo is to focus on unique and endangered species with a high educational value.

71. The Reptile Zoo (Monroe)- If you want to pet a tortoise, watch a two headed turtle swim around and come face to face with a lot of reptiles that many people never see in real life, this is the place for you!

Where is the best place to see the animals?

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You don't need to be worried about the rain, because the Mariner's have a retractable roof at Safeco field.
You don't need to be worried about the rain, because the Mariner's have a retractable roof at Safeco field. | Source

Western Washington Sports

Whether you are a huge fan of the Seattle teams or not, it's always fun to catch a live sporting event.

72. Seattle Seahawks (NFL)

73. Seattle Sounders (MLS)

74. Seattle Mariners (MLB)

75. Tacoma Rainiers (minor league baseball)

76. Seattle Thunderbirds (hockey)

77. Everett Silvertips (hockey)

78. Everett Aquasox (minor league baseball)

Seattle Tourist Attractions

79. Pike Place Market-buy some fresh cut flowers and fresh fruit or just enjoy the show of the famous Pike Place Market flying fish

80. Ivar's-you won't get chowder or fish and chips like this anywhere else, and don't forget to save a few fries to feed the seagulls.

81. Space Needle

82. Pacific Science Center

83. Underground Seattle Tour

84. Troll Under the Bridge-you can find this guy hanging out in the Fremont neighborhood

85. Kubota Japanese Garden-This place is absolutely beautiful year round, and it's free! You've definitely got to check it out if you've got the time.

86. Ballard Locks

87. Ye Old Curiosity Shop-stop into see some interesting artifacts that you won't find anywhere else, and don't forget to ask for a free sample of Seattle Fudge.

Don't forget to feed the seagulls at Ivar's!
Don't forget to feed the seagulls at Ivar's! | Source

Which is your number one must see Seattle tourist attraction?

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This crazy looking building is the Experience Music Project in Seattle.
This crazy looking building is the Experience Music Project in Seattle. | Source

Western Washington Museums

88. Experience Music Project aka EMP (Seattle)

89. America's Car Museum (Tacoma)

90. Museum of Flight (Seattle)

91. Museum of History and Industry aka MOHAI (Seattle)

92. Museum of Glass (Tacoma)

93. Seattle Art Museum aka SAM (Seattle)

94. Seattle Pinball Museum (Seattle)

95. American Museum of Radio and Electricity aka SPARK (Bellingham)

96. Bremerton Naval Museum (Bremerton)

97. Forks Timber Museum (Forks)

98. Fort Lewis Military Museum (Between Olympia and Tacoma)

99. The Whale Museum (Friday Harbor)

100. Hydroplane and Raceboat Museum (Kent)

101. Museum of Northwest Art aka MoNA (La Conner)

102. World Kite Museum (Long Beach)

103. Makah Cultural and Research Center (Neah Bay)

104. Washington State Capital Museum (Olympia)

105. Olympic Flight Museum (Olympia)

From the Bremerton ferry, you get a view of Seattle that you won't get anywhere else.
From the Bremerton ferry, you get a view of Seattle that you won't get anywhere else. | Source
Source

Cruises, Ferries, and Other Water Adventures

106. Bremerton-Seattle Ferry-If you haven't come into Seattle on the Bremerton ferry yet, you are missing out on a beautiful slow paced adventure.

107. Victoria Clipper-This is the fastest way to make it from Seattle to Victoria, Canada

108. Argosy Cruises-Argosy offers a variety of cruises around the Puget Sound. The one I'm most interested in, but haven't tried yet is Tillicum Village which I will list separately below.

109. Tillicum Village on Blake Island- Come here for a cultural experience that you will never forget. Take the opportunity to learn about Native American culture, watch Native American dance performances and of course eat a delicious salmon meal baked over an alderwood fire.(You can get here from Seattle or Bremerton)

110. Deep Sea Fishing-You can do this from several different ports on the coast. It's a great adventure, and you end up with a lot of delicious fish to take home with you.

111. Whale Watching-This is honestly an amazing experience that I can't even put into words. I spent several years thinking I'd go do it "some day," but now that I've done it, I just want to do it over and over again. There is something so humbling about being able to be so close to these majestic and beautiful creatures.

Which of these water adventures do you recommend?

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    • Becca Linn profile image
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      Rebecca Young 5 months ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks! I'm glad you were able to find my page, and I hope you have a great time visiting!

    • profile image

      Leona 5 months ago

      AMAZING page! Thank you so much. Planning on visiting your beautiful state and it'll be a valuable resource.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks!

    • sajupalu profile image

      Sajesh 2 years ago from India

      Interesting information with nice images and videos. Superb!

    • Daniel Winzer profile image

      Daniel Winzer 2 years ago from Budapest

      The Wallace Falls are amazing. Your animal and nature photos are funny and spectacular.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks! You should definitely visit again. It's a great place!

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thank you for all of your comments! I'm particularly grateful for those of you that have added new suggestions to my list. I wish that I could have included every single fun activity in western WA, but as many of you know, there are just way too many to list, and I didn't want to overwhelm people. For example, I started out not knowing there were any hockey teams in western WA, then someone told me about the Thunderbirds in Kent, and I just barely had another person tell me there's a hockey team and a minor league baseball team in Everett. I guess I need to spend more time up north. I'm missing out!

    • Akriti Mattu profile image

      Akriti Mattu 2 years ago from Shimla, India

      Thank you so much for writing this post.

      The information is good and the pictures posted are superb. Voted up :-)

    • profile image

      Aaron Reed 2 years ago

      For Mountain Biking I really enjoy the Japanese Gulch trails in Mukilteo.

      You'll find lots of variety and challenges for all kinds difficulty levels.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks for the input! I love it!

    • lambservant profile image

      Lori Colbo 2 years ago from Pacific Northwest

      Oh sister. I am a Western Washingtonian too and this is fabulous. I belong to the Key Peninsula Washington facebook page and will share this. I am sad to say I've never been to most of these places. I live on the Key Peninsula near Gig Harbor and the beauty here keeps me from going other places, plus, I can't hike much anymore due to physical issues. I would invite you to come to Gig Harbor and the Key Peninsula. We have two state parks here - Penrose Point State Park, and Joemma Beach State Park both and several other beautiful parks and beaches. Western WA is a photographers paradise. Like you, I think it's the best place on earth to live. I wrote a hub on Key Peninsula Washington. Not sure if we are allowed to share in comments section, so if you're interested, you can find it in my article list. Nice job!!

    • Becca Linn profile image
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      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks David!!! There's no way I could capture everything that western Washington has to offer so your suggestions are very welcome. I appreciate it!

    • profile image

      David Hymel 2 years ago

      Welcome to the Town of Eatonville. There are some seriously beautiful bike trails, waterfalls, hiking and camping in the Eatonville area. The recently established Bud Blamcher trail connects the Town and UW Pack Forest along the Mashel River. A few miles West construction is starting on the Nisqually State Park with parking, toilets, trails and access to the Nisqually River. All of this can be enjoyed under the shadow of Mt Rainier National Park, just a few miles East along Hwy 7.

    • Zack Kahiri profile image

      Isaac Kahiri 2 years ago from Nairobi, Kenya

      Thank you so much for compiling such a great list! Next time I'm on the road, that's the list to be crossed off one by one.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      @Jill-one of my favorite road trips ever was doing the coast from CA up to WA. You will love it! I'm excited for you...and a little jealous. :-)

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      I meant to add Ye Old Curiosity Shop in, and I forgot...I might need to do some editing and make my list longer, because I keep thinking of places that are missing.

    • profile image

      Sandy 2 years ago

      Awesome list! Makes me want to schedule a trip you visit! I also enjoy Yet Old Curiosity shop in Seattle as well as other things you mentioned.

    • profile image

      Jill Winkler 2 years ago

      Wow! I am so glad to get this link!! I am printing the whole thing. We live in Oklahoma and have always dreamed of driving from California to Washington and seeing all the neat things in the Pacific Northwest. Thank you for creating this!

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks Rachel! I'm going to take that as an extra awesome compliment since that's my family in the rain forest, and I'm the girl holding the star fish. The rain forest and the beach are two of my favorite places on the planet, but of course I still have a lot of places to explore. :-)

    • Rachel L Alba profile image

      Rachel L Alba 2 years ago from Every Day Cooking and Baking

      Your pictures are absolutely beautiful. I love the one with the rain forest and the one with the girl holding the starfish. Great hub. Voted up, awesome and beautiful.

      Blessings to you.

    • Becca Linn profile image
      Author

      Rebecca Young 2 years ago from Renton, WA

      Thanks! I hope it will prove to be useful to a lot of people. I had a lot of fun researching for this hub and finding new places to visit. I'll be up there in June, and I'm excited to try some of these new (to me) hikes that I found.

    • Peggy W profile image

      Peggy Woods 2 years ago from Houston, Texas

      I have only spent a few days total time in the State of Washington. We started and ended our trip in Seattle; saw Leavenworth and Snoqualmie Falls; spent the night on the coast and took a San Juan Island's day cruise; saw Port Washington and unfortunately did not see much of the mountain drive there due to fog...but suffice it to say...that part of the country is beautiful. We spent most of that trip in Canada that year. Would love to see more of Washington sometime. You have certainly compiled a great list of places to see and experience!!!