Experience Washington’s Wild Five!
Washington’s Five Must-See Natural Wonders
Undeniably the crown jewel of Washington, Mt. Rainier rises above the rest, dominating the skyline and the imagination. But there’s more to the National Park than just its snowy peaks. Glaciers, waterfalls, wildflowers, black bears, and foxes are all found among the land’s alpine meadows, old-growth forests, and scenic valleys. Wind up the road to Paradise on a naturalist-guided day tour from Seattle or spend more time on the trails of Mt. Rainier National Park on a longer trip.
Dream: Wellspring Spa & Resort
A unique blend of mossy forests, rugged coastline, and misty mountains, the Olympic Peninsula is a nature lover’s dream. Hike through lush, temperate rain forests or explore the otherworldly sea stacks of the coast’s windswept beaches. Get an Olympic overview on a naturalist-guided day tour of the northern end of the peninsula, with stops to places such as Hurricane Ridge, the Dungeness Spit, Marymere Falls, and/or Lake Crescent. However, a few extra days are needed to truly delve into the wonders of the Olympic Peninsula, with visits to the Hoh Rainforest or Pacific Coast.
Dream: Alderbrook Resort & Spa
The San Juan archipelago harbors near-mythical beauty amid its undeveloped islands and seascapes. While the calming atmosphere encourages relaxation, world-class cycling, kayaking, and whale watching lure most active travelers from their paperbacks. Less taxing pursuits are found among the beaches, wineries, galleries, and farm-to-table restaurants that dot the four islands reachable by ferry: San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Lopez Island, and Shaw Island. Take a seaplane from Seattle to maximize a day or overnight tour to San Juan Island or ferry-hop over the course of several days to experience each island’s distinct character.
Dream: Friday Harbor House
Nicknamed the “American Alps” for a reason, North Cascades National Park is one of the most remote and rugged in the U.S. A hike into its solitude and grandeur is unforgettable and often rewarded with views of an endless sea of jagged peaks. Get a taste of what might be Washington’s wildest National Park on a private day tour from Seattle or backpack among black bears, mountain goats and bald eagles on an isolated trail.
Dream: River Rock Inn
The haunting and beautiful Mt. St. Helens National Monument is truly a site to behold. Few places in the world offer a better example of how a devastated ecosystem can recover and thrive once again. Take a day tour from Seattle to hear stories of the fateful 1980 eruption and journey up to Johnston Ridge Observatory for views of the still smoking crater, just miles away. Adventure seekers can venture further on the Park’s many trails or strap on a head-lamp and go spelunking in lava tubes!
Dream: Eco Park Resort