Monday, June 6, 2016

5 Can't Miss Attractions in Washington

I hope you enjoyed our stops in California and Oregon last week. This week, we're continuing the tour with a stop in Washington State. If you've never been to the state, then you're in for a real treat since this post highlights several places to see while you're there!

Of all the states that my military family has been stationed in, Washington has been (and continues to be) the most unexpected. When we moved here over five years ago, I expected nothing but rain and trees. All you ever hear about the Pacific Northwest is the gray wet weather and, well, the woods, right? I mean they don’t call it ‘The Evergreen State’ for nothing! But Washington is so much more than a little rain and a few trees.


This may seem like a no-brainer, but Seattle is possibly one of the coolest, quirkiest cities I’ve ever visited. There are, of course, some really great tourist attractions. The Space Needle is a must-see for visitors, and it’s conveniently located in Seattle’s City Center where you’ll also find the Pacific Science Center, Chihully Gardenand Glass, and the amazing International Fountains.

There’s also a lot of quirky fun in Seattle. You can catch the fish throwers at Pike Place Market, add your DNA to the Gum Wall, or pose for a photo with the Fremont Troll. You can catch burlesque shows, rock concerts, professional ballet, and street buskers. Practically every corner of Seattle has something fun, interesting, or just downright weird to enjoy.

 Mount St. Helens

It’s been 36 years since the Mount St. Helens eruption, but this national park is still a favorite among tourists. Tour the visitor’s center at Johnston Ridge Observatory and see chilling pictures and listen to actual recordings for the national disaster, or take a hiking through any of the parks amazing trails or lava tubes. The scenery is beautiful, but when you add in the powerful history of her eruption, Mt. St. Helens views (and photo opps) are incredibly moving.

The Beach

Washington beaches don’t get a lot of press … probably because coastal Washington never really gets hot enough to don a bikini and dive in. (Also the water is really cold. Don’t dive in. Seriously.) However, Washington and her many beaches are beautiful! There are gorgeous rocky beaches like Scenic Beach State Park and smooth sandy beaches like Long BeachPeninsula, and Washington beaches are great for beachcombing. You’ll easily find driftwood and shells, and if you time your trip with the tides you just might see crabs, sand dollars, and starfish right within your reach!

Mount Rainier

You might think you have mountains wherever you’re from, but do you have mountains like this? Located southeast of Seattle, Mount Rainier stand nearly three miles high, and is the highest peak in the Cascade Range. Over 13,000 people try to scale her peaks each year, but there are plenty of adventures available to those of us who prefer a more casual hiking experience. In Washington it’s almost commonplace for families to take a daytrip to the mountain for snowshoeing, sledding, and skiing well into May and even June in the upper elevations and in July and August for strolls in her beautiful wildflower fields.

And also … the trees!

Washington has hundreds of state and national parks all over the state, and they truly make this state wonderful. Once you arrive you might notice that camping and hiking are practically mandatory. It’s because there are so many great options. From the mountains to beaches to actual rain forests, Washington truly has something for every outdoorsmen (even those of us new to the whole “outdoorsy” game).

Washington is truly one of those something-for- everyone kind of places to be. Whether you love the city or the forest, the mountains or the beaches, the quirky or the … quirkier, Washington does not disappoint!

Jodi M. Ubelhor-Strauch is a Navy wife and mom first and foremost, and she dabbles on the side with freelance writing, blogging, (slow) running, and a lifelong love of coffee. Most recently she has discovered the beauty all around her in Washington (it only took five years), and she shares her adventure stories at  Homeport: Washington. She can also catch her on Facebook and Instagram.

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