Hi guys, welcome to my travel guide on the best outdoor adventures in Washington State. My name is Lauren and my fiance’s name is Kevin. And our fox dog’s name is Kota! We both grew up in Ohio and met in college.
Nine years later and here we are. Kevin is my best friend. He still gives me butterflies! A few years ago, while we were living in Ohio, Kevin got a job offer in Washington State. We were so stoked because we had always dreamed of living on the West Coast. So we packed everything up and moved across the country to start our new adventure together!
The amount of beauty and trails that Washington has to offer blew our minds. We found ourselves hiking and going on adventures every weekend here – taking full advantage of all the beautiful trails of this incredible place.
Endless Beauty of Washington
Being Midwest natives, moving to Washington opened our eyes to how vast and beautiful our planet is. The state is diverse and wonderful. From lush and mossy forests, to cascading mountain ranges, icy blue lakes, expansive coastlines and rocky desert terrain – Washington has it all!
We were blown away by how many different landscapes Washington has. So far we have traveled around the entire state but I honestly don’t think we will be able to explore everything because there are literally endless trails and places to explore. The more you explore the more you discover.
Some places still on our bucket-list are located in Eastern Washington – it’s literally a desert out there! There is also an amazing waterfall we want to see. We would love to explore the Hoh Rainforest and Olympic National Park. Whenever we are in that area we have our dog with us and they don’t allow dogs in the park. One day we will visit without our pup!
Favorite Places in Washington
Everywhere is so beautiful in Washington but narrowing it down to our two favorite places we would choose Mount Rainier National Park and The Enchantments. Every time we visit Mount Rainier it’s over the top and absolutely stunning! It literally blows our mind upon each different visit.
I recommend going at sunrise or sunset for an even more mind-blowing experience! The Enchantments are incredible too. We had to win a lottery to get permits to backpack there and it was one of the most beautiful places we have ever seen! My fiance proposed to me at The Enchantments – so this destination will always hold a special place in our hearts.
Best Outdoor Adventures in Washington State
The landscapes and seascapes of Washington make it a paradise for adventure-seekers. Considered the beating heart of the Pacific Northwest, visitors can discover dramatic coastal beaches, wild mountain peaks and unique island formations. There is never a shortage of things to do – so let’s get started with the best outdoor adventures in Washington State.
1. Go Hiking in Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is a wonderland of never-ending mountains and wildflower meadows (in summer). There are over 260 miles of trails for you to enjoy. Choose from popular hikes such as the Skyline Trail, Nisqually Vista Trail, Trail Of The Shadows and Grove Of The Patriarchs Trail.
2. Discover the Moody Vibe of Olympic National Park
Discover moody Pacific Northwest vibes at the amazing Olympic National Park. This place offers three distinct natural features: mountains, ocean and the rainforest. And the weather is distinctly moody too. Even the summer season can bring its fair share of rain! So pack a raincoat and enjoy the vibe.
3. Take Photos at the Mossy Hoh Rainforest
Hoh Rainforest is another moody place in Washington but this time with a more “mossy” atmosphere. This rainforest attracts a lot of fog and mist due to the rain which makes it one of the most lush places in America. Wandering around the mossy trees and taking photos is always a fun time.
4. Visit North Cascades National Park in Fall
Come to North Cascades National Park in Fall to see larches – beautiful yellow trees that last for a few fleeting weeks in this season. Starting in late September and lasting through to early October, the search for larches has become one of the most popular outdoor adventures in Washington State.
5. See the Desert Terrain of Eastern Washington
One of the most surprising aspects about Washington State is the diversity in the landscapes which can be seen in the Eastern regions with its desert terrain. It literally feels like you have been transported to parts of Arizona or Utah. See wide open spaces, sagebrush, wildflowers and desert wonders.
6. Road Trip down the Rugged Washington Coast
Cruise north on U.S. 101 from the start of the Columbia River to the tip of the Olympic Peninsula and discover epic sea stack beaches. Keep an eye out for starfish and sea urchins. If you are bringing your dog then Ruby Beach is a fantastic place to visit with its sea stacks and driftwood.
7. Relax at the Hot Springs of Washington State
Relaxing in a hot spring – be it a natural hot spring or a luxurious location – is a wonderful way to recharge your batteries after your outdoor adventures in Washington State. Choose from places like Olympic Hot Springs on the Elwha River Valley or the luxurious Sol Duc Hot Springs Resort.
8. Stay in a Cosy Cabin in Washington State
What you can do is check out Airbnb and go to filters, scroll down to “Property Type” and select “Cabin”. This will generate a bunch of incredible and unique cabin stays. You will be surprised with what shows up!
9. Enjoy Skiing and Snowboarding in Winter
Favorite Memory of Washington
The best memory I have of Washington is when my fiance proposed to me while backpacking The Enchantments. It was after a four day backpacking trip which took us across 25 miles and about 5,000 feet of elevation.
On the very last day of some of the most grueling and incredible days of hiking in my life, we were sitting by a lake called Snow Lake on a warm sunny morning. Kevin asked me to marry him! That place is so special to me now and I will always love this state because of this experience.
Need to Know Before you Go
The most important thing to know is that research is crucial! There are so many amazing blogs and people out there (like us) that live and breathe Washington everyday. We can provide you with the best travel tips.
Next, you should always be prepared – especially when hiking in the mountains. Mountain weather is unpredictable. Prepare yourself with extra clothes (layers are vital), food/snacks and water, and safety essentials when hiking. Always check WTA reports or Alltrails before going. Alltrails is a fantastic app where you can download trail maps straight to your phone.
My final tip is to meet the locals! I feel as though the people here all share the same love for the outdoors. We all have access to some of the most beautiful nature in the world and that is something to be proud of. Thanks for reading and enjoy your outdoor adventures in Washington State!