Washington currently ranks as the #1 most beautiful state I have visited so far! The weather is beautiful, the scenery is picturesque, and the people seem so out-doorsy and adventurous! In one week, you’ll have more than enough adventure and inspiration to keep you busy.
Downtown Seattle – If you can go in September like us, the weather couldn’t be more perfect! We had sunshine and cool breezes – the kind of weather when no one wants to be indoors. Parking downtown is pricey so it’s best to park your car for the day and walk.
The Space Needle – My personal opinion is that the steep ticket price is worth it! I spent more on my ticket to the Empire State Building in NYC and found that experience a little disappointing. If it’s sunny in Seattle, you can see the whole city from the top of the Space Needle. Plus, the slanting glass walls make for great pictures without any obstructions. I love that you can walk all the way around the tower. You can even lean back and trust the glass walls not to drop you to your death. To add to the fun, there is a rotating glass floor one story down from the top of the Space Needle (included in your ticket purchase)!
Pike’s Public Market is a must-see for the tourists and shoppers. We didn’t spend long here, but it is fascinating and could keep you busy for a long time.
Dinner at Ivar’s – I honestly believe this may have been the best food I’ve ever eaten at any restaurant. It was expensive but amazing! I had the grilled trio – Cod, Salmon, and Shrimp. Seafood doesn’t taste like that back home!
Mount Baker and Mt. Shuksan in the Cascades Mountain Range – Hiking in Washington state will be beautiful in any of its mountain ranges! These summits are great because you can drive most of the way without spending a whole day hiking. We didn’t have a ton of time because we drove about three hours just to get to this mountain range.
The Mt. Baker Visitor Center is extremely helpful. You can get a map of all the sites and hiking trails in the area. We stopped at Picture Lake. Then, we hiked some of the Wild Goose Trail, Heather Meadows, and Chain Lakes Loop where we played in the snow and waded in ice cold water. Since time was limited we didn’t do the entire trails, just explored as much as we could.
Our final stop was the spectacular climax at Artist’s Point! From the parking lot you have many incredible vistas of Mt Baker and Mt. Shuksan. From the parking lot, we hiked to the top of Table Mountain where we had the mountaintop to ourselves. We could bask in the the cold wind coming off the mountaintops and the nearby glaciers! The hike was a tough climb but we booked it to the top in about 15-20 minutes. I 10/10 would recommend this place and any/all hikes you want to try. I love that the trails are “interpretive” so you can basically make up the trail as you go.
Olympic National Park and Port Angeles– True to Seattle-style, it rained all day. We nixed our plan to go to Mt. St. Helens because the rain in Seattle is cold, especially in the mountains. Instead we took the ferry to Port Angeles. We skipped rocks in the ocean from one of the jetties.
After skipping rocks, we bought junk food and road-tripped through the Olympic National Park. We hiked a few hours on the trail that surrounds the stunning Lake Crescent. Despite the rain, the lake was a crazy rich blue that looked unreal. We found a tunnel but we never did find the bridge at Devil’s Punchbowl that we were looking for. We were too cold and wet to continue, but the pictures we took (backdropped by clouds) were really beautiful.
Island Hopping – The day was cloudy and chilly but not raining. We took a ferry to Lopez Island. Can I just say that I love ferries? It beats driving any day and they are so relaxing and beautiful. We never thought we’d be island hopping in a cold place, but the islands are so beautiful and green. On Lopez Island, we walked down to Spencer Spit where we froze our toes off playing in the water, skipping rocks, watching seals, and soaking in the sunshine. It was so calm and quiet there! You’ll want to stay.
Next stop: Port of Friday Harbor, San Juan Islands. We took a ferry over and had such a splendid time. We had lunch right on the water. Then we walked up and down the pier gawking at the yachts and seaplanes. I enjoyed reading the names of the different sailboats and yachts and watching people play cards on their boat decks. What would it have been like to grow up on a boat or by the sea?
Later, we drove to the other side of the island where the jagged cliffs fall away to an endless ocean. There are footpaths that run parallel to the ocean with wild blackberries growing everywhere. You can even carefully climb the rocks down to the water and take a dip! We spent a few hours exploring and soaking in the sun right at the golden hour. On the way back to the port, we stopped at a beach where a few brave people went swimming. The rest of us waded and watched the jellyfish. We also stopped at the lighthouse in Lime Kiln Point State Park for some lovely pictures.
Finally, we made it back to the harbor in plenty of time for the 7:00 ferry. We quickly learned that since that ferry was coming from Canada, we would not be permitted on board. The next ferry would arrive at 10:00 p.m. Since we were on vacation, we weren’t going to let this frazzle or frustrate us.
We headed back out to the San Juan Island National Historical Park (with a picturesque waterfront). We enjoyed a picturesque sunset and listened to the voices and music coming from the sailboats in the harbor. It wasn’t a bad way to spend the evening.
After a late dinner and ice cream, we finally boarded the ferry. Everyone collapsed into the ferry benches for long naps while the last ferry of the day stopped at each island on its way back to Anacortes. We made it back around midnight!
After sleeping in, we took a scenic drive to Deception Pass. We parked on the side of the road before the bridge so we wouldn’t have to pay for another park fee. We hiked under the bridge, over the bridge and down to the beaches. The rain and clouds gave the water an eerie mist.
Next stop: Boeing Future of Flight factory tour in Everett. This is a must! If you have any interest in airplanes or just like to fly, this factory is fascinating. The sheer size of the factory is intriguing. Being up close and personal to these multi-million-dollar machines is worth seeing. The assembly lines and the transportation mechanisms for these huge beasts are awesome. It was exciting to feel like we were witnessing the top-secret future in the making!
We were so sad to leave! I realize that we probably had perfect weather, but it was wonderful! I would love to live in this gorgeous state!