Washington Unveiled: A Comprehensive Travel Guide to the Pacific Northwest

Discover Lake Chelan

Lake Chelan, often hailed as the crown jewel of Washington’s lakes, stands out as the best lake in the state for its unparalleled beauty and diverse offerings. Nestled in the heart of the North Cascades, Lake Chelan stretches over 50 miles, making it the largest natural lake in the state. The lake’s pristine waters are flanked by mountains, creating a dramatic and picturesque backdrop. Popular activities on Lake Chelan include boating, fishing, and water sports during the warm summer months. The surrounding area is dotted with vineyards and orchards, adding a touch of agrarian charm.


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3 Facts about Washington State


Volcanic Presence

Washington is home to five major volcanoes, including Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, Mount Adams, Mount Hood (partly in Oregon), and Mount Baker. Mount Rainier is the highest peak in the state.


Coffee Capital

Seattle is synonymous with coffee culture. The city is the birthplace of the global coffeehouse chain Starbucks, which opened its first store in the historic Pike Place Market in 1971.


First Public Beach

Alki Beach in Seattle is considered the first public beach in the United States. It holds historical significance as the landing site of the Denny Party, Seattle’s first white settlers, in 1851.


Must See Attractions

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Mount Rainier National Park

Nature & Parks

The park features diverse ecosystems, including forests, meadows, and glaciers, providing visitors with spectacular vistas, pristine wilderness, and opportunities for hiking, wildlife viewing, and exploring the majestic landscapes.

Pike Place Market

Local Market

The market is a historic marketplace known for its bustling atmosphere, diverse array of vendors selling fresh produce, seafood, artisanal crafts, and the iconic Pike Place Fish Market, where fishmongers famously toss fish to each other.

Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Nature & Parks

This natural wonder is defined by the dramatic Columbia River cutting through the Cascade Range with its cliffs, waterfalls, and hiking trails.

Washington Lakes

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1. Lake Washington

69 Miles

The second-largest natural lake in the state, Lake Washington is a hub for recreational activities and home to the famous floating bridge.

2. Lake Sammamish

72 Miles

Lake Sammamish is popular for its recreational facilities, including water skiing, kayaking, fishing, and picnicking.

3. Lake Wenatchee

165 Miles

Lake Wenatchee is a picturesque spot for swimming, kayaking, and hiking, especially in the fall when the foliage is vibrant.

4. Diablo Lake

185 Miles

Diablo Lake, located in the North Cascades, offers spectacular views and is a popular spot for kayaking and hiking.

5. Ross Lake

191 Miles

Bordering Canada, Ross Lake is a remote, glacially-fed lake offering unique boating and camping experiences in a wilderness setting.

6. Banks Lake

255 Miles

A man-made reservoir in the scenic Grand Coulee, Banks Lake is known for its fishing and its impressive cliff formations.

7. Lake Chelan

256 Miles

Lake Chelan offers a serene and picturesque setting for boating, fishing, and watersports amidst the beautiful Cascade Mountains.

8. Lake Roosevelt

329 Miles

This large reservoir offers excellent opportunities for fishing, boating, and camping with miles of beautiful shoreline.

Annual Events and Festivals

April 2024

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

The Skagit Valley Tulip Festival is a spectacular spring event that transforms the Skagit Valley in Washington State into a vibrant tableau of color. Held annually, this festival celebrates the blooming of millions of tulips across vast fields, drawing visitors from all over the world. The event is not centralized in one location; instead, the blooming fields are scattered across the valley, allowing visitors to meander through different farms and gardens. The festival’s highlights include photo opportunities, garden tours, and the chance to learn about tulip cultivation.

Friday, September 6 – Sunday, September 8, 2024

The Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend

The Wooden Boat Festival in Port Townsend, Washington, is a remarkable celebration of maritime culture and craftsmanship. This festival, one of the most widely recognized in North America, draws thousands of visitors and features an impressive display of wooden boats, ranging from historic tall ships to handcrafted kayaks. Over the course of the event, enthusiasts can participate in or watch boat building demonstrations, attend educational workshops, and engage in nautical activities.

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September 2024

Hoquiam Loggers Playday

The Hoquiam Loggers Playday is a spirited celebration of the rich logging history that shaped the Pacific Northwest, held in the coastal town of Hoquiam, Washington. This lively event pays homage to the region’s timber industry with a series of entertaining and competitive activities. The festival features classic lumberjack competitions, showcasing traditional skills such as axe throwing, tree climbing, and log rolling. Spectators are treated to the impressive feats of strength and agility demonstrated by skilled competitors.

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Top Hiking Trails

Skyline Loop

Henry M. Jackson Memorial Visitor Center, Paradise Rd E, Ashford, WAshington 98304

Skyline Loop, located within the Mount Rainier National Park in Washington, offers a captivating journey through alpine meadows, lush forests, and panoramic vistas of the iconic Mount Rainier. This trail, known for its diverse landscapes and stunning scenery, is a favorite among hikers seeking a challenging yet rewarding experience. The loop spans approximately 5.5 miles and provides a close up view of the magnificent wildflower displays in summer, contrasting against the backdrop of snow capped peaks.

Visit their website for more information

 Snow Lake Trail

Snow Lake Trailhead, Alpental Access Rd, North Bend, WAshington 98045

This well-maintained path, typically covered in a blanket of snow during the winter months, transforms into a lush, verdant trail in the summer, attracting hikers and nature enthusiasts alike. The trail, approximately 7.2 miles round trip, offers a moderate challenge, making it a favorite among both seasoned hikers and families seeking an immersive outdoor experience. The climax of the hike is the stunning Snow Lake itself, a crystal-clear alpine lake surrounded by towering peaks and glacial remnants.

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 Wallace Falls via Woody Trail

Wallace Falls Parking Lot, Ley Rd, Gold Bar, WAshington 98251

The Wallace Falls via Woody Trail is approximately 5.6 mile round trip hike is known for its enchanting scenery and varying terrain, appealing to a wide range of hikers. The trail’s crowning glory is the series of stunning waterfalls, with the thundering Wallace Falls divided into Lower, Middle, and Upper tiers. Each tier offers a unique view, with the Middle Falls providing a particularly spectacular vantage point. Benches and viewpoints along the way invite hikers to pause and immerse themselves in the natural beauty, listening to the waterfall’s roar and the forest’s serene whispers. .

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Best Golf Courses

Gamble Sands

200 Sands Trail Rd, Brewster, WAshington 98812

Gamble Sands, set against the dramatic backdrop of the Cascade Mountains in Central Washington, is a premier golf destination that has captured the hearts of golf enthusiasts. Designed by renowned golf architect David McLay Kidd, this links style course stretches across the high desert landscape, offering a pure golfing experience. The 18 hole course, known for its wide fairways and fast, undulating greens, provides both a challenge and a delight for golfers of all skill levels.

Visit their website for more information

Chambers Bay Golf Course

6320 Grandview Dr W, University Place, WAshington 98467

Nestled along the picturesque Puget Sound in University Place, Washington, Chambers Bay Golf Course stands as a testament to the harmonious fusion of championship level golf and natural beauty. Designed by Robert Trent Jones II, this links style course is sculpted into the rugged terrain, offering golfers a challenging yet rewarding experience. Host to the 2015 U.S. Open, Chambers Bay is renowned for its undulating fairways, sprawling dunes, and panoramic views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains. The iconic Chambers Bay Bridge, connecting the course to the clubhouse, adds to the dramatic scenery.

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Desert Canyon Golf Resort

1201 Desert Canyon Blvd. Orondo, WAshington 98843

Nestled within the arid beauty of Central Washington, Desert Canyon Golf Resort stands as an oasis for golf enthusiasts seeking a unique and challenging experience. This 18 hole championship course, designed by Jack Frei, seamlessly integrates with the high desert landscape, offering stunning views of the Columbia River and the surrounding cliffs. The signature holes at Desert Canyon are known for their views and the strategic use of the natural terrain.

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Water Sports

Perfect Wave


Stand-up paddleboarding (SUP) has gained popularity in Washington, particularly in calm waters like Lake Washington and Green Lake. Coastal areas such as Alki Beach in Seattle also offer paddleboarding with scenic views. Perfect Wave in Kirkland offers a variety of paddling rentals for your convenience.

Visit their website for more information

All Rivers & Saltwater Charters


Washington State is a paradise for anglers, offering a rich tapestry of fishing opportunities that cater to enthusiasts of all levels. From the bountiful Puget Sound, teeming with salmon and steelhead, to the tranquil lakes and streams in the Cascade and Olympic Mountains, ideal for trout and bass fishing, the region’s diverse aquatic habitats make it a premier destination for fishing. The state’s rivers, including the Columbia and the Yakima, are renowned for their robust runs of salmon and steelhead, drawing anglers from around the globe. All Rivers & Saltwater Charters specializes in both freshwater and saltwater fishing, they offer an array of guided trips that cater to both novices and experienced anglers.

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Puget Sound Diving

Scuba diving

The waters of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands are particularly renowned for their clear visibility and diverse underwater ecosystems. Divers in these cold, nutrient-rich waters can expect to encounter a mesmerizing array of marine life, including giant Pacific octopuses, wolf eels, various species of anemones, and a colorful assortment of fish. The underwater topography, featuring kelp forests, rocky reefs, and even shipwrecks, adds to the allure, making Washington a hidden gem for scuba diving enthusiasts. For those looking to learn scuba diving or enhance their skills, Puget Sound Diving offers a range of courses and lessons, catering to both beginners and advanced divers.

Visit their website for more information


01 / Cross Country Skiing

The Methow Valley, located in the eastern part of the state, stands out as a premier destination for Nordic skiing, offering an extensive network of meticulously groomed trails. Additionally, areas like the Stevens Pass Nordic Center and the Mount Spokane Nordic Ski Park provide a range of trails suitable for all levels of cross-country skiers. Washington’s cross-country skiing experience extends beyond designated centers, with many national parks and mountainous regions offering opportunities for backcountry exploration.

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02 / Snowshoeing

Popular destinations like Mount Rainier National Park, Snoqualmie Pass, and the North Cascades beckon snowshoers with well-marked trails that wind through snow-laden forests and open meadows. The rhythmic crunch of snow underfoot, the crisp mountain air, and the breathtaking vistas create a sensory experience that captures the essence of the Pacific Northwest’s winter beauty.

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03 / Snowboarding

Crystal Mountain, Stevens Pass, and Mt. Baker are renowned destinations where riders can carve through powder-filled bowls, navigate challenging glades, and experience the adrenaline rush of steep descents. Washington’s Cascade Range, with its consistent snowfall, provides ample opportunities for backcountry snowboarding, attracting those seeking untouched powder and serene mountain solitude. The state’s commitment to winter sports is evident in its terrain parks, where freestyle riders can showcase their skills on jumps, rails, and halfpipes.

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Resorts to Explore

Salish Lodge & Spa

Waterfront, Spa
6501 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, Washington 98065

Sagecliffe Resort and Spa

344 Silica Rd NW, Quincy, Washington 98848

The Resort At Skamania Coves

Waterfront, Recreational
45932 WA-14, Stevenson, Washington 98648

Tips on Vacationing in Washington

Road Trip

With its diverse landscapes, a road trip can be the best way to experience the beauty of Washington State. Routes like the Cascade Loop or the Olympic Peninsula loop offer views and varied experiences.

Changing Weather

The weather can be unpredictable, especially in coastal and mountainous areas. Layered clothing is a good idea, and always carry a rain jacket.

Local Cuisine

Washington is known for its fresh seafood, particularly salmon and oysters. The state is also a major producer of apples, cherries, and wine, so try to visit local farmers’ markets and vineyards.

Enjoy the Waterways

Whether it’s a ferry ride in Puget Sound, kayaking in the San Juan Islands, or a boat tour on the Columbia River, Washington’s waterways offer unique perspectives of the state’s beauty.

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Jet Skiing

Washington State is an excellent destination for a vacation, offering a wide range of natural and cultural attractions. From the bustling city of Seattle to the serene beauty of the San Juan Islands, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in this diverse and scenic region. One of the best ways to experience the Evergreen State is by booking a vacation rental, which provides all the comforts of home while allowing you to explore at your own pace.

Many vacation rentals in Washington include cabins, chalets, boats, and apartments. Popular destinations such as the Washington Coast, the Olympic Peninsula, and the Gorge offer plenty of outdoor activities, cultural experiences, and relaxation opportunities.

Booking a vacation rental in Washington is simple and convenient at Lake. Plan your dream getaway to Washington, and let your next adventure begin.

Key Takeaways

– Washington offers diverse vacation experiences, from bustling cities to serene landscapes.
– Vacation rentals, such as cabins and boats, provide the comforts of home while exploring Washington.
– Online platforms like Airbnb, Vrbo, and Vacasa make booking a Washington vacation rental easy and convenient.

Types of Vacation Rentals in Washington

When planning a vacation in Washington State, you have various types of accommodations to choose from. 

A cabin rental might be the perfect fit if you’re looking for a quiet and cozy retreat. Washington has many cabin rentals available, often nestled in picturesque settings near national parks or forests. Many feature amenities like hot tubs, fireplaces, and private hiking trails, providing a relaxing and serene experience. For example, the Tahoma Stay cabin rental is located near Mt. Rainier National Park, offering private relaxation under the stars in a hot tub, cedar steam sauna, and a cozy fireplace.

House rentals offer a more spacious and home-like environment for your vacation. Washington house rentals can accommodate larger groups with multiple bedrooms and common areas for everyone to enjoy. They often come with fully equipped kitchens, allowing you to prepare meals during your stay. House rentals can also provide additional features like private patios or balconies and convenient locations near popular attractions. For example, you can find house rentals in areas like DuPont Circle Inn in Washington D.C., which is close to the metro, famous Kramer books, and other world-class attractions.

If you’re seeking a more urban experience, condo rentals may be ideal for your Washington vacation. Condos often offer upscale amenities like balconies or patios with views of the cityscape, and they tend to be located in the heart of cities or near popular attractions. Additionally, condo rentals often include access to shared facilities like swimming pools or fitness centers. An example of a condo rental in Washington would be the State Street Cottage in Pullman, featuring an air-conditioned suite with designated parking and a smoking area.

Best Locations for Getting Away

Are you looking for an urban escape? Seattle is an excellent choice with its iconic Space Needle, which features a breathtaking observation deck. You’ll find a variety of vacation rentals in Seattle, nestled among local cafes, shopping centers, and museums. This bustling city is a popular location for tourists in Washington, so book your rental early!

If you prefer a quieter and laid-back atmosphere, head to Leavenworth, a charming Bavarian-style town nestled amidst the beautiful Cascade Mountains. Enjoy the stunning mountain views, explore the quaint shops, and taste the local cuisine with various vacation rentals. Leavenworth is perfect for a weekend getaway or an extended stay, depending on your preferences.

San Juan Island
Are you craving some time on the beach? The San Juan Islands offer an array of beautiful vacation rentals, perfect for spending days soaking up the sun on sandy beaches. You can also explore the islands by bike or kayak to discover hidden coves and secluded spots, making it a truly memorable experience.

Olympic National Park
Nature lovers, look no further than Olympic National Park for your getaway. This vast park is home to diverse ecosystems, from rugged coastal beaches to lush rainforests. Vacation rentals in Olympic National Park provide an excellent base for exploring the park, whether hiking, beachcombing, or birdwatching.

Mount Rainier
Mount Rainier National Park is another fantastic option for outdoor enthusiasts. The park boasts breathtaking scenery, with meadows dotted with wildflowers and cascading waterfalls. Vacation homes near Mount Rainier provide an excellent base for hiking, wildlife watching, or just soaking in the majestic landscape.

How to Book a Vacation Rental in Washington

When planning your trip to Washington, booking the vacation destination can make all the difference.  It’ll be your home away from home. 

Rental Availability and Rates

The most popular vacation rental platforms list properties in Washington, such as condos, cabins, villas, and bed & breakfasts. Rates can vary depending on location, size, season, and amenities. Consider researching and booking your rental early to find the best deals, as prices and availability may change.

For example, on Airbnb and Vrbo, you’ll find a wide range of options, from $12 for a shared condo to over $300 for luxurious villas and unique chalets. Keep your budget in mind while browsing, and don’t hesitate to make your reservation once you’ve found the ideal accommodation.

Deciding What Amenities You Need

When booking a vacation rental in Washington, you must ensure it has all the required amenities. Take a moment to list your must-haves while considering your preferences and plans during the trip. Consider whether you’ll need:

– A fully-equipped kitchen
– Internet access
– A pool or hot tub
– A grill for outdoor cooking
– Ample parking space
Pet-friendly policies (if traveling with your furry friend)

By identifying the most important amenities to you, you’ll be better equipped to find a suitable vacation rental.

Using Rental Platforms

There are several rental platforms to choose from when booking a vacation rental in Washington. Each platform has unique features that can be tailored to your specific needs and preferences. Some of the most popular rental platforms are:

Focuses on lakefront and lakeside properties and features an easy-to-use interface, guest reviews, and a user friendly mobile site.

Offers a broad selection of vacation rentals and unique stays. The Airbnb platform has an easy-to-use interface, genuine guest reviews, and a user friendly mobile app.

Specializes in cabin rentals and vacation homes, with 115 options in Washington. Popular amenities like hot tubs, internet access, and dog friendly policies are available here.

Rent by Owner
This platform offers a mix of accommodations, from cozy apartments to charming bed & breakfasts on Orcas Island. Reviews and ratings can help you in making informed decisions.

Vrbo (formerly Vacation Rental by Owner)
You can book over 9,000 properties in Washington, including houses, condos, and chalets.

Besides flights and hotel bookings, KAYAK lists vacation rentals in Washington, including condos from $12, houses from $41, and villas from $293.

Browse these platforms, compare your options, and confidently make your reservation, knowing that you’ve thoroughly researched and identified the best vacation rental for your Washington getaway. Remember your must-have amenities, stick to your budget, and enjoy your stay in the beautiful state of Washington!

Exploring Washington

While visiting Bellingham, you’ll find a diverse range of outdoor activities. Take advantage of the area’s beautiful hiking trails, or rent a bike and explore the city’s scenic routes. To fuel up for your adventures, stop by some local cafes to experience Bellingham’s unique atmosphere.

– Hiking trails
– Bike rentals
– Scenic routes
– Local cafes

Tacoma offers a blend of urban and natural landscapes for you to explore. Discover the city’s thriving art scene or delve into its rich history. Outdoor enthusiasts will be satisfied, as Tacoma is home to stunning parks and waterfront areas.

– Art scene
– Rich history
– Parks
– Waterfront areas

Olympia, Washington’s state capital, provides a prime location for cultural and outdoor activities. Visit the Capitol Campus and immerse yourself in the area’s history, or explore the surrounding parks for a taste of nature. Olympia’s vibrant downtown offers numerous opportunities to shop, dine, and enjoy local events.

– Capitol Campus
– Surrounding parks
– Vibrant downtown
– Shopping and dining

Puget Sound
The enchanting Puget Sound presents countless opportunities for adventure. Enjoy the striking views of water, islands, and mountain ranges while engaging in various outdoor activities. From kayaking and sailing to hiking and wildlife watching, there’s no shortage of ways to appreciate the natural beauty of Puget Sound.

– Kayaking
– Sailing
– Hiking
– Wildlife watching

Throughout your journey in Washington, take the time to explore the unique offerings of Bellingham, Tacoma, Olympia, and Puget Sound. With a blend of outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, and diverse locations, you’re sure to create unforgettable memories during your stay.

Extra Tips for Your Washington Vacation Rental

Here are some extra tips to help you make the most of your stay and save some cash.

1. Plan for Savings

Booking your Washington vacation rental more than 90 days in advance will give you the best price. The cheapest month to stay in Washington is by having an average 20% drop in price, while the most expensive time to visit sees an average 14% rise in price. So, plan early and save on your rental!

2. Get the Most Bang for Your Buck

If you’re on a budget, consider searching for rentals with amenities like an equipped kitchen, laundry facilities, and even a private hot tub. Entertain yourself by staying at a property that offers shared facilities such as swimming pools or BBQ areas. This way, you can get the most out of your rental and have a fantastic vacation without breaking the bank.

3. Capture Your Memories

Remember to pack a good camera or use your smartphone to create a photo gallery of your Washington vacation. Capture the stunning landscapes, local attractions, and, of course, your beautiful vacation rental. Share these photos with friends and family, and make your vacation memories last forever.

4. Discover Hidden Gems

While popular locations like Seattle and Leavenworth might have famous tourist spots and higher rental rates, you can find alternatives in lesser-known destinations. Vacation rentals in places like Baring, SeaTac, and Ocean Shores offer a different charm while still providing you with plenty of things to see and do.

5. Consider Anticipating Your Needs

Lastly, be sure to plan your trip according to your needs. If you’re traveling with pets, check for dog-friendly vacation rentals. If you have limited mobility or need accessibility features, verify those in advance. Remember: your perfect vacation rental experience comes from finding a place tailored to your preferences and requirements.

Follow these extra tips, and you’ll have a unique Washington vacation rental experience. Enjoy your trip!

Frequently Asked Questions about Washington

Yes, it’s possible to see the northern lights (Aurora Borealis) in Washington, particularly in the northern parts of the state. The best chances are during the colder months, in areas away from city light pollution.

Numerous websites help you find the perfect vacation rental in Washington State. Some popular options include Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. You can also check out local vacation rental agencies, such as Bloomer Estates Vacation Rentals. Be sure to compare prices, read reviews, and understand any additional fees before booking.

When searching for vacation rentals suitable for large groups, try using filters on significant websites like Airbnb and VRBO. Look for properties with multiple bedrooms and amenities that cater to groups, such as spacious living areas and outdoor activities. Additionally, websites like Rent By Owner specifically offer large group accommodations, including vacation rentals in Washington State.

Mountain cabins can be found across Washington State, with popular areas being the Cascade Mountains and the Olympic Peninsula. You can search for cabins on vacation rental websites like Lake, Airbnb, and VRBO or seek out specialized websites focusing on cabin rentals, such as MountainReservations.com and Washington-Cabins.com. When booking, consider the proximity to your desired activities and the amenities the cabin offers.

Long-term rentals often come with monthly or seasonal discounts and can be found on vacation rental platforms like Airbnb, VRBO, and Booking.com. Contact the cabin owner or property manager for customized long-term stay options and deals. Consider factors like utilities, internet access, and any additional fees for an extended stay.

Yes, lakefront vacation rentals are available throughout Washington State, such as those on Lake Chelan, Lake Cushman, and Lake Roosevelt. You can browse popular vacation rental websites for lakefront properties and use filters like “waterfront” or “lake view” to narrow your search. Remember that prime lakefront properties may have higher rental fees, especially during peak seasons.

To find luxury vacation rentals in Washington State, explore upscale neighborhoods in cities like Seattle and Bellevue or sought-after vacation destinations like the San Juan Islands and Leavenworth. Websites like LuxuryRetreats.com and TripAdvisor’s FlipKey specialize in luxury rentals. Remember to review photos, descriptions, and guest reviews to ensure the property meets your standards of luxury.

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