Getty Images

Stock Photos from 123RF



Wheat fields in the Palouse, Washington State© Lane LambertWheat fields in the Palouse, Washington State
© Lane Lambert
In outdoorsy, friendly Seattle, you can explore 320 kilometres (200 miles) of fresh and saltwater shoreline. Go to the top of the Space Needle for a bird's-eye view of the city. Back on the ground, the surrounding Seattle Center neighbourhood is home to a wide range of theatres and museums. Near the Puget Sound waterfront you can visit the Pike Place Market, a bustling complex of produce stands, restaurants and boutiques. Also downtown you'll find the Seattle Aquarium and Waterfront Park. Alternatively, you can catch the Mariners or Seahawks in action. Spend an afternoon exploring the 19th-century architecture of Pioneer Square—which actually encompasses almost two dozen blocks—and Klondike Gold Rush National Historic Park.

For an unforgettable scenic drive, reserve at least two days to follow Highway 101 around the Olympic Peninsula, west of Seattle. The 447-kilometre (278-mile) loop takes you along the edge of Olympic National Park, with its snowy mountain peaks, as well as through coastal rainforest, past glittering lakes and along the wild Pacific coast. You can end your circuit in the pretty state capital of Olympia.

If you like to camp, canoe, cycle, hike, raft, sail, ski or snowboard, you'll find no shortage of places in Washington to get out into nature. Kayak among the San Juan Islands, or go whitewater rafting on the Skagit River. Hike in three national parks, including the famous slopes of Mt. Rainier, where you can hunt for calypso orchids in the spring. Looking for something a bit different? Try llama trekking or paragliding.

Cross country skiing across from Mount St. Helens, Washington State© Leland R. BeaumontCross country skiing across from Mount St. Helens, Washington State
© Leland R. Beaumont
Washington is America's second-largest producer of wine, after California. It boasts more than 450 wineries spread across nine winemaking regions: four in southern Washington, three in the Seattle and Puget Sound area, one in the north-central part of the state and one centered on Spokane. Many wineries offer tours and tastings.

by Laura Byrne Paquet

Stock Photos from 123RF

Stock Photos from 123RF