Smothered with dense forests of fir, cedar and cypress, WASHINGTON really is the “Evergreen State”, rich in natural beauty, national parks and – inconveniently – heavy rain that sweeps in from the Pacific, at least west of the Cascades. Likeable and vibrant, Seattle contains some of the state’s most popular attractions, though its greatest asset may be its proximity to glorious Puget Sound, the deep-water inlet around which much of the population of Washington lives. To the west is the Olympic Peninsula, whose mountains are home to elk and lush vegetation that merges into rainforest, and whose rustic beaches have remained pristine and protected. A few hours south lies the awe-inspiring peak of Mount Rainier and the eye-opening volcanic scenery of Mount St Helens.

Dry and desolate, the sprawling prairie-plateau that makes up most of eastern Washington is a great, bleak expanse enlivened by the pleasant city of Spokane and the colossal Grand Coulee Dam. Otherwise you’re only likely to come out here if you’re travelling the Cascade loop, a spectacular four-hundred-mile round-trip drive through the snow-capped Cascade Mountains.

Book through Rough Guides’ trusted travel partners

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

King of the road: on the Civil Rights Trail through America’s south

Next year marks 50 years since the assassination of Martin Luther King Jr and also the launch of a new Civil Rights Trail through the USA's south. On a road …

16 Nov 2017 • Ella Buchan local_activity Special feature
Video: a brief history of the American road trip

Video: a brief history of the American road trip

We dug into the visual archives of yore to bring you a brief history of the American road trip. From the first coast-to-coast car voyage in the USA to today…

10 Nov 2017 • Colt St. George videocam Video
7 seriously spooky places in America

7 seriously spooky places in America

From urban legends passed down for centuries to real-life harrowing tales, America’s closet is filled with skeletons. These cities will put a chill down your …

24 Oct 2017 • Jess Chun insert_drive_file Article
View more featureschevron_right

Weekly newsletter

Sign up now for travel inspiration, discounts and competitions

Sign up now and get 20% off any ebook