My Favorite places in Washington (State) Part One – The Puget Sound

Washington Tourist Map Scenic

If your view of Washington State begins with Sleepless in Seattle and ends with Grey’s Anatomy you’ve seen some beautiful scenery but happily my home state has a lot more to offer.  As the population center, Seattle receives most of the publicity but did you know there are six distinct geographic regions within the state borders? Through my next several posts I want to take you on a road trip across the Evergreen State to see the Puget Sound, the Pacific Coast, the Hoh Rainforest, Olympic, Cascade and Rocky Mountains and the Columbia Basin.

Located in the Puget Sound region, Seattle is a beautiful city with a thriving waterfront and just a few short hours from mountains, the Pacific Coast and The San Juan Islands.  This is the home of Microsoft, Starbucks, Amazon and Costco and iconic landmarks include The Space Needle, a legacy from the 1962 Worlds Fair and the Pike Place Market which has been open since 1907 and is the longest continuously operating farmers market in the US.

A few Seattle fun facts:

  • Seattle is ranked the most Literate City in the US by Central Connecticut State University and the Seattle Public Library System has the highest percentage of library card holders per capita in the country.
  • Seattleites buy more sunglasses per capita than any other city in the nation.
  • While the city has more than its fair share of cloudy days Chicago, Dallas and Miami all get more rain per year.
  • The worlds first gas station opened in Seattle in 1907 on East Marginal Way.

A short trip North brings you to one of my all time favorite vacation destinations, The San Juan Islands. The San Juan archipelago includes 172 islands, 4 of which are accessible by the Washington State Ferry System.  Most others can by reached by plane, charter and private boats or if you are feeling adventurous, by Kayak.

Island fun facts:

  • There are no traffic lights on the Islands.
  • San Juan County has more miles of shoreline (375) than any other County in the US.
  • The Islands receive half the annual rainfall of Seattle or Portland.
  • Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island holds the only Whale watching park in the world.

If you make an early spring trip to the Islands you could be one of the one million annual visitors to the tulip fields in the Skagit Valley or travel a little farther and see Mt. Baker which holds the record for the most snowfall ever measured in the US in a single season; 1,140 inches during the 1998-1999 snowfall season.

A few hours south of Seattle is the beautiful Mt. Rainier  National Park.  With an elevation rise of 14,411 feet above sea level Mt. Rainier is the highest mountain in the lower 48 states and the 21st most prominent mountain in the world.   President William McKinley established Mt. Rainier National Park in 1899 and every year between 8,000 – 13,000 people attempt to climb Rainier. About one half successfully reach the top.

I would love to hear your stories of travels in Washington .  Let me know if you like what you see, I’m looking forward to sharing more pictures soon!

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39 thoughts on “My Favorite places in Washington (State) Part One – The Puget Sound

  1. I’ve visited Oregon but not Washington State yet. I want to take my kids there one day, it’s beautiful. You forgot to mention Twilight alongside Sleepless in Seattle and Grey’s Anatomy. 😉

    1. Thanks for visiting my pages today, I hope you get a chance to bring your family to Washington one day. I thought about mentioning Twilight since the books are set in Forks, WA but surprisingly most of the movie locations were in Oregon!

      1. Do the wooded areas look similar in both states? I live in Southern California and it looks a lot different than Northern CA, but it’s a lot more spread out.

  2. They are similar but I think the Olympic Penninsula area of Washington is more densly forested than Oregon. I will look for some pictures of the Forks area when I talk about that part of the state in a future post. The farther south you go in Oregon the drier it is and looks more like Northern, CA.

  3. Thank you for interesting facts and for the pictures. I have just moved here and am still exploring the area, so your post inspired me to new travel destinations and activities.

  4. Thanks for that! We visited in August 2011 and had such a good time that we want to go back and have another look. I think we just got a taste the first time, and now know what else we want to see. Your posts will definitely help with that!

      1. We’d never even heard of Mt Baker before we went to Port Angeles ( although I did hear Americans wondering if it was Mt Ranier or Mt Shasta….) There are no mountains like that in Australia – just a joy to see them (apparently) hovering above the horizon!

  5. For some reason, I have had a ‘block’ about exploring Seattle. I’ve driven through on the freeways numerous times. The only time I’ve visited the city was briefly in the late 70’s for a Paul McCartney concert at the old now defunct, king dome. I’m sure Seattle has change alot since then, and I’ll have to give it a visit some time. Certainly Mt. Rainier is on or wish list – we have love National Parks. Great photos – and all and all, a diverse and informative post.Thanks.

    1. I’m glad you liked the post,once you get off of the freeway there are a lot of fun places to explore around Seattle! Mt. Rainier NP is always wonderful but if you want a shorter drive try exploring around Mt Baker too. There are beautiful trails and hikes in each park.

    1. Thanks, this has been one of my most popular posts! It used to have a lot more pictures of Pikes Place Market and Seattle but I accidentally deleted them while cleaning up my media library… 😦 I’m glad what is left still tells my story and gives you a feel for the area!
      Lisa

  6. I love love love Washington. I have been to Seattle, the San Juans, and Port Townsend on the Olympic Peninsula and Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park. The San Juans are the perfect destination for me.

  7. Wow, these pics take me home. Whilst I make my home in the Cary North Carolina now (and love it) I grew up near Tacoma and attended PLU. Great pics; thanks for the brief flight home.

  8. Its good to see these beautiful pictures. I am currently residing in Seattle and have been to all these places and would agree that this is a pretty city with wonderful views. Nice to meet you too!

  9. Travel Blogs have their place but they cannot compare to a local talking about what they love. Thank you! I have albums of prints from a 2000 visit. Washington is awesome.

    Aaand here in West Michigan we get 3 more cloudy days per year than Seattle…or is it Seattle has 3 more sunshine days than we do?

    1. It’s so nice to hear you enjoyed this post and I’m happy to hear you enjoyed your 2000 visit! It’s funny how many people think it always rains in Seattle when really there are plenty of cities across the country that have more cloudy days than we do. 🙂

  10. My friend who lives in Denver keeps telling me if I visit there that I will like it better than the Pacific Northwest. I don’t see how. Denver has the mountains, but not the sound and the Pacific. Living in Indiana (BORING), each time I visit the Northwest, I feel like that is where I belong.

  11. Hi Lisa, if you go to Mt. Baker in summer (August) there is an access road at the ski area that takes you up in elevation to an overlook that is magnificent. You can look down at the tops of many of the peaks of the Cascades. Just need to go on a non cloudy day.

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