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.

Travel offers; book through Rough Guides

USA features

The latest articles, galleries, quizzes and videos.

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

Buffalo thrill: the ultimate way to see America's Great Plains

South Dakota, one of the USA’s Great Plains states, holds an annual buffalo roundup in Custer State Park. Last week was the 51st event and we were lucky enoug…

21 Feb 2017 • Neil McQuillian insert_drive_file Article
Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Dive in: 7 unforgettable experiences in the Florida Keys

Life in the Florida Keys is dominated by the ocean. The simplest trips become postcard-worthy adventures on the Overseas Highway, the link between its countless…

17 Feb 2017 • Georgia Stephens insert_drive_file Article
The best places to go in spring

The best places to go in spring

Springtime is beautiful, with its big blue skies and flowers in bloom, so there may be no better time to travel. If you're thinking about getting away, here are…

14 Feb 2017 • Rough Guides Editors camera_alt Gallery
View more featureschevron_right

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month

Join over 60,000 subscribers and get travel tips, competitions and more every month