27 Best Things to Do in Washington State

With the epic Cascade Mountain range, cold weather rainforests and one of the fastest growing cities in the nation, Washington state is a gem in the Pacific Northwest.

With adventures for outdoor enthusiasts of all levels and a mix of big cities and small towns, there is something for everyone in this west coast state. I even would go as far to say it's our favorite state in the US.

From Washington state's best kept secrets to can't miss destinations, we've put together a list of places and things to do in Washington that you can add to your PNW Bucket List. 

Whether you live in the Evergreen State and are looking for a weekend adventure or you're road tripping through the PNW, these amazing places in Washington are sure to stoke your wanderlust.


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Most Epic Nature in Washington State

Washington has it all: Mountains, Oceans, Lakes, Forests, Rivers, Valleys and Waterfalls. You'd be hard-pressed to find another state with just as much beauty and diversity of nature. 

1. Olympic Peninsula

Across the Puget Sound from Seattle, the Olympic Peninsula sits with its wild beaches, towering mountains, dense rainforests, fairytale waterfalls, port towns and Native American reservations.

Olympic National Park is full of so much epic beauty that we have an entire article dedicated to what to do and the best things to see in the Olympic Peninsula (the "OP", for short). 

Next Read: Eco-friendly packing list to help minimize your footprint and save you money.

2. Lake Diablo

The spectacular turquoise waters of Lake Diablo will make you squint, rub your eyes and make you wonder if you are in fact dreaming. Yes, this is real life, and no, this lake has not been injected with dye.

That milky turquoise water you find in many Washington lakes comes from the sun reflecting onto tiny particals of glacial "rock flour". The turquoise color becomes more vibrant later in the summer months. 

Camping near Lake Diablo

There are plenty of camping spots near Lake Diablo. Some of the more popular camping sites are Thunder Point Campground and Colonial Creek Campground.

However, our favorite campsite is the Gorge Lake Campground. It's a small, 8-spot campground with fire pits and toilets, but it is right up next to Gorge Lake with trails that go along the lake. It's far from the busyness of Lake Diablo and a nice home base for exploring. And the best part is it is FREE!

3. Mount Baker

This epic mountain is beautiful year round. Whether you come for the skiing during the winter months, or you prefer to hike when the snow has melted, Mount Baker is a sight to behold. We visited during both the winter and summer and truly can't decide which season we prefer.

Mount Baker in the Summer

With wildflowers, sunshine and clear views of the famous peaks -- Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan -- summer is the perfect time for hiking and photography in North Cascades National Park.

  • Hiking around Mount Baker:

    • Artist Point - Only open in the summer time, you can drive through the Mount Baker Ski Area up to Artist Point where you have 360 degree view of the surrounding peaks like Mount Baker, Mount Shuksan, and Mount Herman. Hiking 1 mile loop.

    • Chain Lakes Loop Trail - A great day hike for those who are up for a challenge. Distance: 8 miles. Elevation Gain: 1700 ft

  • Best Waterfall near Mount Baker:

    • Nooksack Falls: This thundering waterfall is just a short drive off of Mt Baker Highway (542) and is right next to the parking lot. Be careful as there are many signs of the number of people who have fallen in. There is a chainlink fence next to the trails, but we would advise not to lean on it.

  • Camping around Mount Baker: Silver Fir Campground - Spots line up against creeks that flow into the North Fork Nooksack River and is only 14 miles from Glacier, WA. 15 of the 21 spots are reservable, there is a picnic shelter, vault toilets, and water available. $16 per night.

Mount Baker in the Winter

Mount Baker boasts some of the most epic skiing in Washington state. Whether you're looking for resort runs or to get lost in the backcountry, Baker is sure to be any snow-lover's paradise. And if you'd prefer to be on flat ground, you'll be able to find trails for cross-country skiing and snowshoeing in the area, too.

  • Skiing at Mount Baker. Duh. This is why you come in the winter!

  • Snowshoeing or cross country skiing

  • Stop at Wake 'n Bakery for a caffeine fix and breakfast before heading out for the day!

  • Aprés skiing beer and pizza at Chair 9 (Tip: If you can't decide between 2 specialty pizzas, order it half & half for the same price) and pair your 'za with a craft beer.

  • Carb up with pasta at well-loved Milano's Pasta Fresca

4. Palouse Falls

Prior to visiting this waterfall, we'd seen pictures of it plastered on Pinterest and Instagram, and seeing it in real life was pretty darn epic. With rolling green valleys carved out by these powerful falls that crash down to creates a winding river, the landscape looks eerily similar to Iceland.

While there's not much to do in the area other than see the waterfalls, this is a great stop on a road trip to Idaho and also makes a fun day trip.

Before you visit Palouse Falls, consider these words of warning: 

  1. Think about the time of year. The super gorgeous photos you see online are almost all taken in late spring or early summer when the grass is green and the water is flowing fast from the spring melt. If you show up later in the summer, expect the grass to be turning brown and the fall itself to have much less water volume. We've heard that in the late summer months and early autumn it can be reduced to just a trickle. When we visited in early June, the falls was a bit past its peak.

  2. Be extremely CAREFUL when walking on the trails near Palouse Falls. We're not trying to scare you, but on the day we arrived there were diving crews recovering a body of a man who had fallen off a cliff the day before. Wind near the falls is surprisingly strong, the dusty paths are slippery and the shale rock can crumble easily beneath your feet. For your safety, do not go past the fences or the warning signs.

5. Lake Chelan

With a length of 50.5 miles long, you might be fooled into thinking this is a river when you first see it on a map. But make no mistake, this is Washington's biggest lake. And it's actually the 3rd deepest lake in the United States (28th deepest in the world!). 

Spending a weekend in on the lake is a popular summer getaway for many Washington families. Chelan, with its opportunities to go boating and winery hopping (did we mention there's vineyards nearby?!), is a hotspot for bachelorette parties and girls trips! 

But honestly, in our opinion, the town of Chelan itself was lacking a certain "wow" factor. If you're going to make it a stop at Chelan, we would highly encourage you to make it to the tiny town of Stehekin at the end of the lake (info below in #14). It will most definitely be the highlight of your time on Lake Chelan (it definitely was for us!).

6. Mount Rainier

At 14,410 feet (4,392 m), Mount Rainer is the tallest mountain in Washington. This iconic peak can be seen from Seattle on a clear day, but the best way to experience its grandeur is to get up close and personal.

Mount Rainier National Park is open year-round and boasts plenty of hiking trails in the summer and snowshoeing, skiing and even winter camping. The National Park website has all sorts of information to help you plan your visit to Mount Rainier

7. San Juan Islands

This cluster of islands sit near the Canadian border and are known for their laid-back small towns and epic natural beauty. Oh, and did we mention there are WHALES!

Don't pass up the opportunity to go on a whale watching tour and see these beauties up close. San Juan Island (Friday Harbor), Orcas Island and Lopez Island are the most populated of this archipelago, and have the most choices when it comes to dining and accommodation. Camping on San Juan Island is an option too!

More info: Read up on the San Juan Islands and start planning your trip!

8. Mount St. Helens

This active volcano lies 96 miles south of Seattle. Mount St. Helens is most famous the major eruption in May of 1980 that killed 57 people, making it the deadliest and most destructive eruption in US history. 

Visit this natural and historic landmark and spend your time at the visitors center with interpretive displays, or get out on the walking trails and explore caves and lava-carved canyons. 

More info: This website has visitors center hours and information on planning your visit to Mount St. Helens.

9. Colchuck Lake

Relatively easy to access, Colchuck Lake makes a wonderful day hike and an even better place to spend a couple nights beneath the stars. Note that you will need a permit to camp here during most times of the year.

This alpine lake is a stunning blue that has to be seen in person to believe. Colchuck itself is a marvel, but it is an entry point to the Enchantment Wilderness (see #17 for more info), easily one of the most naturally beautiful places we’ve ever seen in person.

The hike to Colchuck: This moderate hike is 8-miles round trip and has a 2,280-foot elevation gain, so be sure to bring plenty of water and start early if you’re planning to return.

Insider tip: After completing your hike (or camping trip!) to Colchuck, head into Leavenworth and grab a beer at one of the many restaurants, breweries or beer halls. Find more info on Leavenworth in #10.


Big Cities & Small Towns in Washington State

Washington is home to one of the fastest-growing cities in the nation as well as charming towns you likely have never heard of. This mix of big city excitement and small town beauty is just one of the reasons we love traveling in Washington state.

10. Leavenworth

While Seattle is often shrouded in a cloak of clouds and rain, Washington state enjoys many different climates, some much sunnier and drier than its biggest city. In fact, if you head east over the Cascade Mountains, you'll end up in the little Bavarian town of Leavenworth, Washington that boasts 300 days of sunshine a year.

We spent a winter season in this magical mountain town while we worked at nearby Stevens Pass Mountain Resort and we found that there is so much more to Leavenworth than its kitchy, German-themed exterior.

With incredible hiking, whitewater rafting, skiing, mountain biking and a tight knit community of locals, this is one of our favorite towns in the United States. We even put together a local’s guide packed with fun things to do in Leavenworth.

11. Seattle

There's a lot to love about Seattle. From world-renowned coffee to a thriving live music scene to must-see tourist attractions, this city is diverse in its population and in things to do. Most visitors traveling to Washington state make a stop in Seattle, and for a good reason. This is one of our favorite major cities in the United States.

Whether you're visiting Seattle for the first time and only have a few days, or you are a new resident to this rapidly-growing city, we've put together an ultimate guide of things to do in Seattle

12. Bellingham

Not far from the Canadian border, Bellingham is a good size city: big enough to have everything you need, including a buzzing nightlife, but little enough to retain a small town charm.

Things to do in Bellingham

  • Go Berry Picking: If you're in Bellingham during the summer, head to one of the nearby berry farms to pick your own blueberries and raspberries. We picked a whole crate of fresh berries at Boxx Berry Farm for only $5.

  • Brewery Hopping: We really love Wander Brewing, not only for their name, but for their large selection of unique beers. We've tried quite a few beers here and have always been impressed. We often find ourselves leaving with a growler in hand. Oops! Bellingham is also home to Boundary Bay Brewery (try their Inside Passage Ale, best IPA I've ever had!), Stones Throw Brewery, and Aslan Brewing.

13. Winthrop 

If you want to get a little taste of the Wild West without venturing too far, Winthrop is sure to put a little swagger in your step and a twang in your voice. The facades shops in this western-themed look as if they belong on a set in Hollywood, and there is of course a General Store Emporium and sweets shop. 

Things to do in Winthrop

  • Wander around the main street and take pictures of the Western facades.

  • Grab a craft beer (or 2!) at the Old Schoolhouse Brewery. If the weather is nice, get a table in the shade by the river.

  • If you're in this area in the winter, there is epic cross country skiing in the Methow Valley!

Tip: If you've made it all the way to Winthrop, drive through the neighboring town of Twisp (or make a short stop!). Known as the "heart of the Methow Valley", this town of less than 1,000 residents is just 9 miles south on highway 20.

14. Stehekin

Be charmed by this remote wilderness town situated at the end on Lake Chelan. The only way to get to Stehekin is by hiking (which takes 2-3 days) or by ferry (4 hour ride). We opted for the latter.

While it is possible to take the ferry to Stehekin, disembark, explore for 90 minutes and return to Chelan all in the same day, we'd strongly encourage you to give it a bit more time and stay a night or two. 

With just a handful of year-long residents, this tiny town feels almost like you're on an island. Locals have had cars carried over in the ferry, but since you can't drive very far in this town, cars last a lot longer than they do in a typical city. Most of the cars you'll see are quite old, giving this little lakeside mountain town a feeling as if it's stuck in time.

We spent 2 days here, but wish we had more time to do some of the longer hikes like the McGregor Mountain trail or the Purple Creek trail.

Things to do in Stehekin

Bakery: We can't say anything negative about the Stehekin Pastry Company. It is adorable and everything we tried was fantastic. From the gazpacho to sandwiches to jalapeno cheddar bagels to the raspberry cream cheesecake (we went there 3 times in 2 days -- don't judge!), everything was clearly homemade and fresh.

Even their day-old baked items still taste great, and the price has been cut. Lots of PCT through hikers spend a day in Stehekin, and we saw some of the staff handing out day-old baked goods to the hikers for free. What a sweet idea!

When you get off the ferry, you'll likely see a shuttle bus taking passengers to the town's famous bakery. Hop on board if you're in a hurry, or walk the 2 miles instead if you've got time to spare — you'll get a lovely introduction to the area if you go on foot.

The Garden: If you visit Stehekin, you have to visit the sweet man that runs the Garden. It's just a 7-minute walk (heading back to town) from the bakery. The Garden is beautiful with rows of flowers and vegetables. The farmer sells fresh goat cheese and honey that is amazing.

Hiking: There are plenty of hikes to do around Stehekin. From the visitors center, you can head south and hike along the Lakeshore trail. It's nice to go for a mile or so, but if you want you can continue for 17 miles back to Chelan. The visitor’s center can provide you with a map of many more hikes of all lengths.

Shorter Walks: If you walk north on the road from the bakery, you can reach landmarks like the Old Stehekin Schoolhouse, Rainbow Falls and the Buckner Orchards.

Hitchhiking: If you end up walking too far up the road (like us) and not wanting to trek back to town, Stehekin is a prefectly safe place to hitch hike. There is only one road and people are extremely friendly. 

Swimming: There are plenty of swimming spots near the visitor center. It's nice on a hot day, but the lake can be pretty cold depending on the season. 

Camping in Stehekin

Immediately after getting off the ferry, head to the Ranger Station to choose a campsite. We visited Stehekin in August, and there were still plenty of campsites available at the Purple Point Campground when we arrived at 12:30 in the afternoon. 


Amazing Adventures in Washington State

Washington state is full of adventures to be had in the outdoors. Whether you're an adrenaline junky or you prefer tamer adventures, Washington has something for you.

15. Camp on Shi Shi Beach

The beaches in the Olympic Peninsula are what Instagram dreams are made of. With craggy sea stacks jutting out of the water and the surf crashing up against them, there's no arguing the beauty of this rugged coastline.

Spending the night under the stars on one of the Olympic Peninsula's beaches is arguably one of the coolest places you can camp in Washington state. 

Second and Third Beach are easy to get to and quite popular, but our pick was Shi Shi Beach. Being that it requires a 2-mile hike through a muddy trail to reach, Shi Shi doesn't see the same crowds as some of the other beaches in the OP. Plus, the beach is nearly 1.5 miles long, so there's ample space for people to spread out and enjoy driftwood bonfires in solitude.  

We've put together a guide to camping in Shi Shi Beach, complete with everything you need to know about getting there and what to pack! (There are a few things you definitely won't want to forget!)

16. Spend the night in a Mountain Hut

If you're looking for a winter adventure, we've got a perfect idea for you! Situated up in Mount Tahoma Hiking area are 4 mountain huts that can only be accessed during the winter. Strap on your cross country skis or snowshoes and trek into the wilderness knowing you'll soon be rewarded with a cozy cabin, a hot meal and an epic view of Mount Rainier. 

These huts are communal, so there will likely be others staying there as well, making it a great place to mingle and play card games! 

  • Bruni's Snow Bowl Hut: We stayed in this newly renovated hut and were pleasantly surprised with the spacious and modern facilities. Snow Bowl Hut has a spectacular view of Mount Rainier, but unfortunately when we were there the clouds were in the way. (Sleeps 14 people)

  • High Hut: We wanted to book this hut but it was full when we went. It has amazing views of Mt. Rainier, Mt. St. Helens, and Mt. Adams. (Sleeps 8 people)

  • Yurt: 6 miles to get to make it the most isolated hut in the area, which could be exactly what you are looking for. (Sleeps 6 people)

  • Copper Creek Hut: 5.5 mile hike on the Rainier Vista Trail leads you to the hut (located in a different area than the othe three). (Sleeps 14 people)

Tip: Pack something easy to cook for dinner, like quinoa or rice, pre-cut vegetables and seasoning. (Extra tip: We carried up a bottle of wine to pair with our super classy camp dinner, which was a nice touch!) While there are some staple items in the huts, you'll want to be prepared with your own ingredients. The appliances and cookware in the hut we stayed in were surprisingly very nice!

How to book: You must make reservations with the Mount Tahoma Trails Association, and weekends tend to fill up in advance.  

17. Backcountry Camping the Enchantments

If you're a hiking enthusiast, the Enchantments should definitely be on your radar. With piercing blue glacial lakes, wildflower meadows, wild mountain goats roaming at their leisure and peaks that are as stunning as they are challenging to climb, this wilderness area certainly lives up to its name. 

But don't expect to just show up with your tent and hiking boots. The Enchantment Wilderness area holds an annual lottery, and of the 18,000 applicants, only 728 are granted a camping permit in the Core Enchantments area. It may seem a bit stingy, but when you consider that these limits are to protect a wilderness area from being overrun by crowds, you will understand. Apply for your Enchantment Permit here

Alternative to the Enchantments: This hike is lesser known, but comparable in beauty. The best part is that you won't need a permit.

  • Tuck and Robin Lakes: 16 mile roundtrip with 2900 ft elevation gain, this difficult overnight hike, but supposed to be equally as beautiful as the Enchantments.

18. Soak in a hot spring

While there aren’t as many hot springs in the state of Washington as the neighboring states of Idaho and Oregon, there are still a handful of ones you can visit.

Our favorite hot spring is not far from Stevens Pass, and requires a bit of a hike to get to. But soaking in steamy water with mountain views and hopefully only a few other people will make the effort well worthwhile.

We’ve written up all the important details of getting to Scenic Hot Springs here.

19. Whitewater Rafting (or kayaking!)

Get your adrenaline pumping on one of Washington's many rivers. Our friends Lance and Justine run Wildwater, and they are a highly reputable and professional rafting company that run trips in 7 different rivers all over the state of Washington.

Whether it's your first time in a raft or you're a seasoned pro, there's a river with rapids at just the right level for you.

Note: If you book a whitewater rafting experience with Wildwater, tell them Ben and Katie from Two Wandering Soles sent you!

20. Hike (part of) the PCT

The Pacific Crest Trail runs north to south from the border of Mexico all the way up to Canada, and some of the best sections of the trail are in Washington. Hiking the whole trail takes a few months, but if you don't have just a few months off of work, you can always just do a section.

We've been told the most beautiful section of the PCT is between Stevens Pass and Snoqualmie Pass that takes about 5 or 6 days to complete. We would love to do this hike some day, do you want to join us?!

21. Spend the night in a Fire Lookout

Forget tent camping; the most unique place to sleep in Washington state is in a fire lookout. These structures were made with the intention for volunteers to be on the watch for forest fires, and since they are perched high atop mountain ridges, they offer spectacular views.

Some fire lookouts are still in use, while others are open to the public and people can actually spend them night in them. One of the most popular lookouts to spend the night is the "lookout cabin" at the top of Mount Pilchuck.

More info: Here's a map of all the fire lookouts in the state of Washington.

Note: Don't expect a hotel. These lookouts are non-reservable, so expect communal sleeping with basic comforts.

22. See a Concert at The Gorge Amphitheatre

This epic outdoor venue has incredible acoustics and is a stunning backdrop for live performances. Seeing a show at the Gorge Amphitheatre is a "bucket list" item for many Washingtonians! From reggae to country to pop to electronic, you'll find shows from just about every genre. And there's a ton of BIG names that perform in this epic venue year after year.

Check out their concert calendar and choose a show that speaks to your musical taste. Some shows are just one day, while others span over a weekend and include camping and a festival atmosphere. 

23. Go Skiing or Snowboarding

If you love winter, take advantage of the fantastic snow Washington has to offer. With 16 ski resorts across the state — each with their own vibe — you'll have plenty to choose from. 

Here are some of the most well-known ski resorts in Washington state:

  • Stevens Pass Mountain Resort: Located in a National Forest about 1.5 hours from Seattle, you'll feel a world away from the city and can enjoy some of the 450 inches of powder this resort receives on average each year!

  • Crystal Mountain: Largest ski resort in Washington, complete with an enclosed gondola lift and the highest restaurant in the state of Washington.

  • Mount Baker: Boasting the (unofficial) highest average snowfall of any resort in the world at 641 inches, Mount Baker is the perfect place to enjoy some excellent powder.

  • Summit at Snoqualmie: Just 52 miles from Seattle, this resort is conveniently located and offers runs for beginners as well as advanced skiers; and for those non-skiers, there's tubing!

  • Mission Ridge: Wide open runs that face east means Mission Ridge is sunny when many other resorts are not; but this can also mean the runs get icy more quickly.

  • Hurricane Ridge: Located on the Olympic Peninsula, this is the only place in the world you can go surfing and skiing within 17 miles of each other! A small ski resort is only open Friday - Sunday (and occasional holidays).

Or of you prefer to make your own tracks, there are tons of epic places to ski in the backcountry. Just be sure you are an experienced skier, have been trained in avalanche safety and have proper equipment. The backcountry is not a place for those who are inexperienced or underprepared. 

24. Snowshoeing & Cross Country Skiing

To be honest, we didn't love winter until we moved to Washington state. Being from Minnesota, we know how brutally cold winters can get. But in Washington, there is plenty of snow without the frigid bite of old man winter. 

Being able to explore the outdoors in the wintertime was a game changer for us. There are so many cross country skiing or snowshoeing trails throughout Washington that it's hard to just highlight a few. Washington Trails Association has a great list of where to go cross country skiing and snowshoeing in Washington

25. Go Mountain Biking

If you love the adrenaline of skiing but prefer t-shirts to winter coats, consider taking up mountain biking. The state of Washington offers countless trails suitable for beginners to experts.

Here's a list of the best mountain bike trails in Washington state.

And if you're looking for a little introduction to this sport (think a lesson and some rental gear), head to Stevens Pass Bike Park. Once the snow melts, this ski resort transforms into a bike park, with the chairlifts being used to carry your bike to the top. It's a perfect spot for beginners (like us!) to learn, or for advanced level bikers to tackle the technical trails. 


Best Scenic Drives in Washington State

Washington state has some incredibly scenic drives through mountain passes and past rushing streams. This is the perfect part of the United States to set off on a road trip with a great playlist and a car full of snacks.

You will need to plan ahead a bit however, because many of the scenic roads in Washington are not open until snow has been cleared off. The dates vary each year, so you'll have to do a little bit of research before setting off on your road trip! 

26. Drive along the Scenic Mountain Loop Highway

This scenic highway loops through the western section of the Cascade Mountains, from Granite Falls up and around to Darrington. You'll be rewarded with stunning mountain views, rushing rivers and ponderosa pines along the way, so be sure to pull off every so often and enjoy the view. A drive along this 52-mile (84 km) scenic highway makes a perfect summer road trip.

Whether you simply drive through the loop, which should take 2 - 3 hours, or you spend a few days exploring all this area has to offer, this stunning place is a good escape from the city. A road trip on the Mountain Loop highway will allow you to enjoy amazing views without the crowds of more popular areas in the state.

Beware: There is an 14-mile section of the highway that is unpaved over Barlow Pass (after Silverton to just before Darrington). When we arrived in mid-May, this section of the highway was not open, so we had to turn around.

Things to do on the Mountain Loop Highway

  • Ice Caves: One of the more popular stops along the highway are ice caves, though they are sometimes closed depending on the time of year.

  • Go Hiking: There are many hiking trails along this highway, so just pull over when you get the urge to get your heart pumping. Here are a handful of the most popular hikes in the area:

    • Old Sauk River Trail: Easy mossy river walk past the remains of old mines on parts of a pioneer trail. 6 miles roundtrip, 150 foot elevation gain

    • Lake 22: Mountain rainforests, old-growth and wetlands. 5.4 miles roundtrip, 1,350 foot elevation gain

    • Goat Lake Trail: Waterfalls and a beautiful lake at the end. 10.4 miles roundtrip; 1,400 foot elevation gain

    • Mount Pilchuck: Difficult climb is rewarded with 360-degree views of Mount Baker, Mount Rainier and the Olympics from a shelter lookout. 5.4 miles roundtrip; 2,500 foot elevation gain

Tips for your trip to the Mountain Loop Highway

  • Stop at the Verlot Public Service Center to get information about the trail conditions, pick up maps and talk to the friendly owners about the history of this area. It's quite interesting!

  • Stock up on food and ice. There aren't many shops or restaurants along this highway (aside from Granite Falls and Darrington). If you plan to camp, bring your own food and snacks. And be prepared with a full tank of gas.

Camping along the Mountain Loop highway  

There are a smattering of campgrounds along the highway, but we were advised to skip those and simply pull over on the side of the road where there are frequent pull out areas. It is legal and safe to camp here, and we loved pulling our campervan over whenever we felt like it. (Though if you're tent camping it may be more comfortable in an actual campsite, and you won't have trouble finding one.)

"Glamping" on an Alpaca Farm

If you prefer something a little bit more luxurious, why not spend the night at an alpaca farm?! Yes, we're serious! Paca Pride makes a perfect place to base yourself while exploring all the Mountain Loop Highway has to offer. This guest ranch is just outside of Granite Falls (only 55 miles from downtown Seattle!), and the onsite yurt is beautiful. And if you prefer to "rough it", you can bring your own tent and set it up on their covered platforms.

27. North Cascades Highway (Highway 20)

One of the most beautiful drives in the USA is the 127 miles from Sedro-Woolley to Winthrop across Highway 20, otherwise known as the North Casacades Highway. You'll pass by Lake Diablo, mountain passes and countless hiking trails.

Hot Tip: I'm going to let you in on a secret along Highway 20, and if you take my advice and pull over, you will not be disappointed!

Headed east on Highway 20, just 3 miles past the tiny town of Rockport, you'll see the Cascadian Farm Roadside Stand on your left. Don't pass it by! Park your car, head into the small shop and order a raspberry milkshake, which is made with their homegrown raspberries and homemade ice cream.

At $7 for a large milkshake, it ain't cheap, but you will not be disappointed. Enjoy it under the sunshine in their outdoor seating area.

Washington Pass Overlook (hiking, lake, backcountry skiing)

Okay, so you're cruisin' along the North Cascades Highway and all the views are gorgeous, but then BAM, you see it: The Liberty Bell. This spire rock formation is enough to make you slam your brakes and reverse to the nearest parking lot.

Whether you're just stopping for a photo from the overlook (just a quarter mile from the parking lot), you want to get a short hike in, or you want to backcountry skiing and climbing all in one stop (we saw people doing it!), Washington Pass is not to be missed.

At 5,500 feet, this pass is the highest part of the North Cascades highway, and well worth a visit.


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Have you traveled to Washington state?

What is your favorite spot? Would you add anything to this list? Let us know in the comments below.