The world is bigger than we could possibly imagine, and it’s scary to think we will never even scratch the surface in this lifetime. Even if we do travel to the same places, we see the world through different eyes, creating a unique experience. I am inspired by each of your stories, just waiting to be told.Hi everyone! I’m Beth, a coffee lover, Instagram addict, and part-time adventurer with a soft spot for Paris. I grew up just outside the Seattle area, in a city called Redmond, the home of Microsoft. My summers growing up were spent camping and hiking, sometimes traveling to Canada, Oregon or even Idaho. It all depended on what kind of campsite we could find, and what day trips could be made once we’d set up camp. Despite the glorious days spent bickering with siblings and singing along to Billy Joel en route to our latest campsite, coming home to damp, boring old Redmond never ceased to put me in a bad mood.That is, until I graduated high school and promptly moved to Orlando. Goodbye rain, goodbye barnacle-encrusted tide pools, and goodbye to the only life I’d ever known. Of course, they say hindsight is 20/20. It turns out, I just wasn’t making enough of that life to really appreciate it. I didn’t venture out to Seattle. I didn’t seek out new restaurants, and I didn’t spend my weekends exploring the gorgeous world just outside the front door. School, church, and a part time job kept me pretty busy, to be fair, but now that I’m older and have more free time on my hands, I find myself visiting Washington at least once a year. Ten years after that life-altering move, I sometimes forget what made me want to leave in the first place. Life is funny that way.As I prepare for my next visit home, I wanted to share with you a few of my favorite things about visiting the Seattle area. In fact, let’s go ahead and include all of Western Washington, the region sandwiched between the Pacific Ocean and the Cascade Mountain range. It would be a shame to visit Seattle and leave without visiting the coast, or hiking one of the area’s stunning mountain trails. This of course leads me to point number one…
With the exception of Iceland, I don’t think any other place on Earth boasts such an impressive range of natural wonders. From the pebble-strewn shore of the Pacific Ocean to the changing of the seasons at Mount Rainier, Washington is a feast for the senses.
I got a little sidetracked trying to choose my favorite photos for this post, because there are just too many beautiful places to share in such a brief amount of time. Washington boasts three National Parks, over 100 state parks, and one of the toughest sections of the Pacific Crest Trail. For those not into camping or hiking, take in the natural beauty of the state from coastal Highway 101, considered to be an extension of the Pacific Coast Highway.
Yep, this natural wonder gets its own section. More than anything else in Washington (okay, except my family) I miss the mountains. Those summers spent camping and hiking took us past waterfalls and over rivers, through dense forests and up rocky terrain. All that time spent outside sparked my adventurous spirit and undying love for the great outdoors, and it’s something I am quick to rekindle with every visit. The mountains have this incredible ability to clear my mind and strengthen my resolution. My favorite hike thus far has to be Mount Si, which I climbed with my sister a few years back.
But perhaps better than any hike is the knowledge that there will always be more to explore. With so many gorgeous trails and mountain ranges in the area, Washington will always represent the wild, boundless possibility that exists within every human being.
Food & Drink
Let’s head back to the city now. Seattle’s food scene is the delicious result of a cultural melting pot. Careers at major companies like Microsoft, Amazon and Boeing attract employees from around the world, while the coastal location attracts transplants from Asian countries across the Pacific Ocean. Washington is known for its Pacific seafood, inspired perhaps by the city’s Native American hunter-gatherer roots. The result is an explosion of flavors, cooking styles and trendy new restaurants. Sure, there’s salmon, clams and Alaskan King crab, but you’ll also find pad thai, Vietnamese phở, sushi bars, shawarma, Russian piroshkies, and of course, teriyaki restaurants.There is something to satisfy everyone here, and I encourage you to branch out and try a new dish the next time you’re in town. Add in tons of local breweries, wineries and coffee shops, and the Seattle area officially becomes a little slice of heaven.
Farmer’s Markets nationwide have risen in popularity over the last decade or so, but I like to think it was Washington that got the ball rolling. There’s the famous Pike Place Market, where you can buy everything from chocolate-flavored pasta to psychedelic prints of cats bigger than the Space Needle.This is the home of the famous flying fish, freshly caught and thrown between fish mongers, to the delight of the visiting public. Pike Place in general is an interesting place to visit, with international and regional food options to please everyone, and a killer view over the Puget Sound. Locals do frequent Pike Place for fresh spices, food and flowers, but I personally prefer the Saturday farmer’s market in my hometown of Redmond. This is the place to score gorgeous bouquets of fresh flowers, tart Rainier cherries, and hand-packed jars of small batch honey, dipping sauces and jams. The wares are wonderful, the sunny days sublime, and as a bonus, I get to feel good about supporting local businesses.
Washington is simply gorgeous, and Seattle is the perfect starting point from which to explore it all. Take a drive to the coast, go orca watching in the San Juan Islands, or pay a visit to Mount Saint Helens. My recent travels included day trips to the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in Mount Vernon, a windy stroll across the 1,487 foot bridge at Deception Pass, and a kitschy afternoon in the Bavarian themed town of Leavenworth.
If you fancy a longer getaway, simply catch a ferry from Seattle into the Canadian cities of Victoria and Vancouver, or snag a low-cost seat on flights to California and Hawaii. Not only is Seattle a great place to visit; it’s a great place to branch out and see more of this gorgeous corner of the globe.Of course, I’ve barely scratched the surface of what Washington has to offer. It’s easy to say that I love the food, the mountains, and the overall vibe of the area, but nothing compares to really seeing it for yourself. If you’ve ever considered a trip to the Seattle area, now is the time to go! Have a piroshky along the Seattle waterfront, visit Pike Place, and have a bite in one of the city’s fantastic restaurants. But promise me you’ll also take some time to get out of the city and explore the surrounding area. Visit the smaller towns, take a hike, and dip your toes in the chilly Pacific Ocean. Whatever your jam is, I guarantee you will find something you like if you embrace the adventurous spirit of Western Washington.
Beth is a travel writer and adventurer living in the state of Florida. When she’s not writing, Beth can be found researching her next destination, seeking out new restaurants, and indulging in a little Disney magic. A natural writer since grade school, Beth pulls inspiration from being in nature and from exploring her favorite cities. Number one on that list? Paris. Follow along on Adventuring the Great Wide Somewhere, Facebook and Instagram!
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