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Wild Washington is found here! Adventurers and explorers find their homes in the beautiful Cascade Range, where recreation and natural beauty reign supreme. However, vacationers need not worry, the stunning vistas of the mountains and valleys are also widely accessible by road.
If you’re visiting in June, come visit Marysville north of Everett for the Marysville Strawberry Festival.
Or try your luck anytime of the year and come to the Tulalip Casino, named for the Native American reservation established here in 1855. Information: (888) 272-1111.
Turn south on I-5 to U.S. 2 east and you’re located between your choice of fishing and boating or a drive into the beautiful Cascades Mountains, twenty miles north. Chamber of Commerce: (360) 794-5488.
Washington Serpentarium: Proprietor and “Reptile Man”, Scott Peterson is the primary care taker for over 200 different creatures in one of Washington’s most distinct zoos. See turtles, scorpions, pythons, and even rattle snakes in this reptile menagerie. This is a kid-pleaser every time.
Snoqualmie National Forest: At Skykomish you’re deep in the heart of an alpine wilderness. First see the fish hatchery in town where millions of salmon are released to the fresh waters that flow into Puget Sound. About two miles west is Wallace Falls State Park. For the best view of the falls, hike to the second viewpoint, two miles up the trail. Information: (360) 793-0420.
Deception Pass State Park: Another 28 miles west along Highway 2, these thundering falls appear on either side of you as they pass under the road.
Stevens Pass: In the eight miles past Deception Falls, the road climbs from 200 to 4,061 feet above sea level. The Glacier Peak Wilderness lies between the pass and the North Cascades, a magnificent sight.
A beautiful authentic Bavarian Village in a mountain valley. Spectacular scenery, year-round outdoor activities including river rafting, hiking, biking, and all winter sports. German festivals, shopping, unique dining, and summer theater. Chamber of Commerce: (509) 548-5807.
Icicle Junction Family Fun Center: The place to have fun when visiting Leavenworth. Bavarian theme miniature golf, bumper boats, train ride, movie theater, free play area, concessions, rock climbing, and mountain views. Information: (509) 548-2400.
Leavenworth Summer Theater: Host to five major productions each year, including “The Sound of Music.” Three are performed “live, outdoors and under the stars.” Information: (509) 548-2000 after June 1.
Columbia Cascade Wineries: Over 20 wineries located within an hour of Leavenworth. Information: (509) 782-0708.
Leavenworth Outdoors: The European mountain culture doesn’t end in the city. Escape the urban to miles of wild Washington forest. Winding trails and massive rock formations make for world-class mountain biking, hiking and rock climbing.
Only 20 minutes from Leavenworth, Wenatchee is the “apple capital” of the world! Be sure to visit River Front Park: a wonderful combination of paved running trails, picnic areas, and sports fields. Chamber of Commerce: (800) 572-7753.
Apple Commission Visitor Center: Wenatchee is called the Apple Center of the World. The displays here show the history of the crop. You can even sample the final product for yourself. Free: (509) 663-9600.
Mission Ridge: With over 2,000 acres of skiable terrain, Mission Ridge is a premier destination for skiers and snowboarders. The volcanic history of the mountain has blessed visitors with a stunning view of the Cascades on one side and the Columbia River Gorge on the other.
This small town revives the spirit of the Old West. All the flavor of the 1890s is intact and evident in the storefronts, wooden sidewalks, and old-fashioned street lights. Chamber of Commerce: (509) 996-2125. Take a walk back in time at the Shafer Museum. Listed on the Register of National Historic Sites, it includes several pioneer buildings, furnishings and artifacts. Donations: (509) 996-2712.
North Cascades National Park: Just off Highway 20 are more than 300 glaciers which remain active. Sheer canyons and jagged peaks are punctuated by clear rivers and lakes. You may even see mountain goats, deer, and, from a safe distance, grizzly and black bears. Information: (360) 856-5700.
Washington Pass: About 27 miles from Winthrop, the road begins a series of steep switchbacks that take you up Liberty Bell Mountain. At the top of the 5,477-foot pass, be sure to pull off at the scenic lookout.
Diablo Dam: Take the Skagit Tour Center in Diablo. Consider the tour that includes a boat cruise across the lake and a tram ride on an antique incline railway to the top of the dam, followed by dinner. Reservations recommended: (206) 684-3030.
The Omak Chamber of Commerce can be reached at (509) 826-1880.
Fort Okanogan State Park & Interpretive Center: Dedicated to the history of Fort Okanogan, an early 19th-century fur trading post, the interpretive center overlooks the fort’s original site and explains the fur trade through displays of artifacts, dioramas and a video presentation. Information: (509) 689-6665.
St. Mary’s Mission: Father Etienne de Rougé founded this Jesuit mission in 1886 to minister to the 12 bands of the Colville Federation. Information: (509) 826-6401.
Omak Rodeo: The annual Omak Stampede is an old city tradition, dating back over 60 years. In fact, the small city of Omak’s rodeo is one of the most exciting in the state, offering a wild horse race, calf-roping and more at Eastside Park.
Mount Vernon is one of the nation’s largest bulb-growing regions. Daffodils bloom from mid-March to early April and irises show in early May. There’s also a Skagit Valley Tulip Festival held during April. Chamber of Commerce: (360) 428-8547.
Roozengaarde: Tulips, irises, and daffodils fill this 2.5-acre display garden from one of the world’s largest flower growers. Free: (360) 466-3158.
LaConner Fishing Village: Enjoy the charm and rustic flavor of an old-time town. Walk through the Gaches Quilt Museum, a restored Victorian-era home with northwestern artwork. (360) 466-4288.
Bellingham is at the center of Washington’s culture. Located conveniently between Seattle, Mt. Baker, and Vancouver, you will always be within reach of an adventure.
Bellingham Festival of Music: The festival is a celebration of beautiful music. Featuring music composed by some of the world’s best musicians and orchestras.
Squalicum Harbor: One of the largest marinas on Puget Sound. Enjoy the sights from the promenades, shop, dine, and peer through the 2,500 gallon marine life tank. The Marine Life Center along the avenue features sea creatures and natural ocean rocks. Donations: (360) 671-2431.
Sehome Hill Arboretum: This reserve can be reached by foot from the Western Washington University campus or by car. You’ll enjoy sweeping views of the city, bay, the San Juan Islands, Mount Baker, and the southern mountains of British Columbia. Free: (360) 676-6985.
Take the ferry from Anacortes, where signs will direct you to the Washington State Ferry Terminal. San Juan Island Chamber of Commerce: 360-378-5240.
San Juan Safaris: Sea Kayaking, Orca Whale Watching & Birding: Departing From Friday Harbor & Roche Harbor, San Juan Island, the center of whale watching in the Pacific Northwest, Washington. 2 Spring Street Landing, Friday Harbor, WA. Information: (800) 450-6858.
Make your base in this peaceful town to explore the longest island in the continental U.S. True to its name, there are white oak trees abounding in the area, along with windmills and the Holland Gardens commemorating Oak Harbor's Dutch settlers. Visitor Center: (360) 675-3535.
Deception Pass State Park: This is a cliff-lined channel that divides Whidbey and Fidalgo Islands. Spend your days exploring the freshwater lakes, forest, marshland, sand dunes, offshore islands, tidal pools, hidden coves and 15 miles of shoreline. Free: (360) 675-2417.
Fort Casey State Park: Travel another three miles to an original part of the Puget Sound Shore Defense System. Take a self-guided interpretive walk around the fort. The Admiralty Head Lighthouse is an interpretive center. Information: (360) 678-4519.