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20 Top-Rated Tourist Attractions in Washington State

For some of the most breathtaking and picturesque locations in the United States of America, Washington State is a popular destination There is plenty to appreciate for the visitors in this state with snow-capped mountains and a thick green forest cover, interesting islands, and beautiful Pacific coasts. These are twenty of Washington's most popular tourist sites you really should not miss.

1. Mount Rainier National Park

Apart from Alaska, this active volcano—whose summit stands at 14,410 feet above sea level—is the highest mountain in Washington and has the most glaciers in the United States of America. Because of its old-growth woods, great waterfalls, and meadows full of vibrant flowers, the park is well-liked by hikers, campers, animal lovers, and photographers.

2. Olympic National Park

Covering over a million acres of the state, Olympic has glaciers, temperate rainforests, and an unusual blend of Pacific coasts. Its beaches include Ruby and Rialto as well as its paths like the Hall of Mosses are well-known.

3. Pike Place Market

Established in 1907 and among the oldest and biggest public markets in the nation selling fish, fruits, and vegetables, souvenir items from local artists, various edible businesses, and many public performers with their fish-throwing stunts, a visit to this amazing location is a must-do when in Seattle.

4. San Juan Islands

Comprising 172 islands in Puget Sound's northern section, this island is well-known for water sports like kayaking, and wildlife tours—particularly for orcas, hiking, and island relaxation. The San Juan, Orcas, and Lopez Islands are among the top places one should visit.

5. Mt St Helens Volcano

Take hikes with an easy route over pumice stone fields to observe the scene of Washington’s biggest volcanic eruption of 1980 which saw the top of the mountain blown off by 1,300 feet. For those seeking the scenic view, there is the Mount Margaret Backcountry climbing trail.

6. North Cascades National Park

Known as the “American Alps,” the grandiose North Cascades that lay ahead are home to alpine lakes, evergreen forests, the glaciers, and more than 300 glaciers; the mountain ranges like Goode Mountain and bucked up Mount Shuksan beckon to climbers.

7. Cape Disappointment State Park

Situated at the Pacific coastline at the confluence of the Columbia River, this park is named after John Meares, a discoverer of the 18th century, offering old-growth forests, two lighthouses, campsites, hiking trails with vantage views over the ocean, and some the best collecting grounds for washed up treasures in the United States of America.

8. Mount Baker

This is another of Washington’s active glaciated volcanoes and is used for backcountry,  snowboarding, and ski mountaineering. During autumn and after the melting of the snow, one will be able to observe beautiful tracts of wildflowers and beautiful sceneries of steaming fumaroles.

9. Chuckanut Drive – Bellingham

This is a scenic highway that is located on the edge of Chuckanut Mountain where one can get a view of the San Juan Islands, the coastal beaches, the Sea cliffs, and the forests.

10. Leavenworth

This central Washington town in the Cascade foothills is especially famous for its Bavarian Village style architecture, and hence it offers German food, locally brewed beers, cafes, shopping centers and slopes for sledding, and also the best Christmas decorations in Washington state.

11. Grand Coulee Dam

As one of the greatest wonders made by mankind in Washington, this concrete powerhouse dam constructed on Columbia River is the largest producer of hydropower in the United States; While in the center you can visit the museum, or get a guided tour that lets you viewing how the interior of the power and the concrete structure that extend for a mile looks like.

12. Snoqualmie Falls

A powerful waterfall that hurls water down from a height of about 260 feet, Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most famous waterfalls in Washington. It is based outside Seattle, in a picturesque region near the Salish Lodge and the famous Twin Peaks waterfalls scene.

13. Lake Chelan

This is another natural lake that is fifty and a half miles long, bordered by snow-capped mountains where one is allowed to swim, take a boat ride, fish, water ski, and do other activities. Some of the scenic places that one should not fail to visit are the historic towns of Chelan and Stehekin which can only be accessed by water or on foot.

14. Spokane

Behind Seattle, this community boasts of pedestrian bridges and a fountain that expands across the roaring Spokane Falls together with a well-established one-hundred-year-old park system designed by none other than Frederick Law Olmsted Jr. You can also get some great restaurants for eating and some new craft breweries as well as a beautiful historic art deco hotel from the 1920s.

15. Friday Harbor

This historical town in San Juan Island is the gateway to the islands with small businesses, local restaurants, fish markets offering locally sourced seafood, whale-watching tours to identify and observe the killer whales, kayak rentals, and bicycles for beach and trail adventures.

16. Olympic Peninsula Loop Drive

Discover the sandy shores, temperate rainforest, hot springs, and other incredible sights as you drive out to the wild Pacific coast of Washington starting from Port Angeles. Some of the notable places of interest are the Lake Crescent and the Sol Duc Falls before getting through the towering trees.

17. Sun Mountain Lodge

At 1733 feet this luxury lodge of logs and stone on the crest of a mountain overlooking the Methow Valley has large luxurious rooms and cabins, a gourmet restaurant, golfing on the best course of the northwest in summer, and 130 miles of cross-country skiing in winter.

18. Seattle Center

Former location of the 1962 World’s Fair, this 74-acre facility is home to the famous landmarks, Space Needle, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Experience Music Project (EMP) Museum, Warren and Trudy Kirkland Space Needle Foundation and Pacific Science Centre and Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP).

19. Columbia River Gorge which formed with the Cascades as the Columbia River carved through the mighty rock face, provides a national scenic area of shear basalt cliffs, roaring waterfalls, and beautiful vistas with seemingly endless hiking trails and picture-taking opportunities right across the bridge from Portland.

20. Palouse

Located in southeast Washington, Palouse –An agriculturally rich area from the Ice Age –Offers great green views of hills for photography every season with gold wheat and yellow canola fields along with red barns.

Ranging from the snow-capped volcanic mountains flowing down to wildflower meadows, the rocky Pacific coast and islands, the rainforests, and waterfalls of the Olympic Peninsula, Washington’s topography is a perfect fit for hikers, backpackers, climbers and skiers, and nature enthusiasts. Of all these attractions, which one would be appealing to you most?

FAQ

What kind of attractions are on this list?

Does it include a mix of natural wonders (mountains, forests, waterfalls), cities (Seattle, Spokane), historical sites (National Parks, forts), or quirky destinations (Leavenworth)? This helps you decide if the list aligns with your interests.

Is there a focus on a specific region of Washington?

Knowing the geographic spread is important for planning logistics. Does the list cover all areas, or is it concentrated around Seattle, the Puget Sound, or the Cascade Mountains?

Are you looking for a relaxing or adventure-filled trip?

Washington caters to both. Consider if you want to hike Mount Rainier, kayak in the San Juan Islands, or explore the Pike Place Market and museums in Seattle.

When is the best time to visit Washington?

The state has a temperate climate with wet winters and dry summers. Shoulder seasons (spring & fall) offer pleasant weather, while summer is ideal for outdoor activities.

How much time do I need for a Washington vacation?

This depends on how many places you want to visit and the pace of your trip. Seeing all 20 attractions would likely require a lengthy trip (2+ weeks) compared to focusing on a specific area (Seattle & surrounds - 1 week).