While it is famous for the Space Needle and expansive mountain ranges, the real treasures of Washington are the quirky sites, locally proud restaurants, and the natural beauty that is nearly everywhere. From intriguing cities to pure, beautiful, natural scenery, the Evergreen State is full of opportunity.
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1. See a whale with Maya's Legacy Whale Watching
San Juan Islands, WA
Maya's Legacy Whale Watching tours offer close encounters with majestic whales in the wild. Departing from the San Juan Islands north of Seattle, the tours take you primarily to the habitats of orca whales, although if you're lucky you may also see humpback, gray, and minke whales.
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2. Have a coffee at the world's first Starbucks in Pike Place Market
Although Starbucks are now everywhere, the original store that started it all it is located right in the heart of the wonderfully hectic Pike Place Market, which is renowned as one of the country's oldest public farmers markets. Grab a coffee watch the market workers stock the day's catch by throwing fish back and forth.
3. Take the Mt. St. Helens National Monument Tour
Hear stories of the 1980 Mt. St. Helens eruption, view the blast zones, and explore the beautiful northwest scenery on the Mt. St. Helens National Monument Tour. Experts will guide visitors through the park on the all-day trip, which includes transportation and a meal.
Photo courtesy of Lani Smith / Kitsap Forest Theater cropped
4. See a unique performance at the Kitsap Forest Theater
Surrounded by enormous fir trees, the Kitsap Forest Theater stage features a beautiful, natural backdrop and plenty of entertainment during the warmer months. Located in the heart of the 460-acre Rhododendron Preserve, visitors can see a number of plays and performances put by the local troupe.
5. Rent a boat at The Center For Wooden Boats
Experience history firsthand at the Center for Wooden Boats, where you can paddle or sail your way through the water on historic boats. Here, you can learn the maritime ways of old while you enjoy the sun and waterways of Washington.
6. Indulge your sweet tooth at the Cupcake Royale
Known as the first cupcakery in Seattle, Cupcake Royale offers some of the best sweets in the state. Delicious cupcakes are made daily with fresh, local ingredients. There are a variety of classic cake flavors in addition to special flavors like blackberry brown butter, salted caramel, peppermint, and tiramisu.
7. Pick up some pirate swag at Pirates Plunder
Pirates Plunder, located on the Seattle waterfront, offers a wild mix of pirate souvenirs for the whole family. You can pick up the perfect pirate attire, pirate themed party supplies, and other unusual and fun booty, including Washington state souvenirs.
8. Celebrate Seattle and its culture at the Seattle Seafair
June 15 - Aug. 21, 2016
For more than 60 years, the Seattle Seafair has been a tradition of the Seattle summer. Celebrate the season and the community with boat racing, parades, paddleboard races, a pirate themed party, and other shenanigans in the city and harbor.
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Fall City, WA
Learn to make your own cheese from the experts at River Valley Cheese. All the cheese sold here is handmade, and during one of the many artisan cheese making classes available, you can create an entire wheel of cheese with your own hands.
10. Learn about logging at the Forks Timber Museum
The Forks Timber Museum explores the history of the area once named the "Logging Capital of the World." Traipse the old logging grounds and buildings, view a slew of different historical tools and equipment, and get to know the local history.
11. Try a delicious Fiamma Burger
Fiamma Burger brings local ingredients and charm to the table to create a burger you won't forget. The beef comes from local butchers and is ground right in the restaurant for an incomparably fresh experience. Even the buns are delivered by bike from the bakery up the road!
12. See a performance at Mount Baker Theatre
Since 1927, the breathtaking Mount Baker Theatre has been presenting various performing arts to the community. Catch a concert, lecture, or theatrical performance and expand your imagination at this historical theatre.
13. Explore the odd collection at Ye Olde Curiosity Shop
From animal skulls to astronaut ice cream, the Ye Olde Curiosity Shop will surprise and entertain you with its eclectic mix of items. Since 1899, the shop has been offering a visitors a one-of-a-kind experience that has earned it a place on the list of the Seven Wonders of Seattle.
14. Eat at Mount Rainier Railroad Dining Company
Located in the picturesque countryside, Mount Rainier Railroad Dining Company offers visitors the unique chance to sit on a real train and enjoy some delicious home-cooked food. This unusual diner features stellar lunch and dinner choices like fried calamari, prime rib, Louisiana prawns, homemade lasagna, and more. It also has an expansive breakfast menu and hotel lodgings on site.
15. Be inspired at the Whatcom Museum
Appreciate the beauty and wonder of the pacific northwest through the art and historical objects of the Whatcom Museum. Originally constructed in 1892, the beautiful late Victorian building is home to more than 200,000 pieces of art, many of which are related to the local area.
16. Pick up some locally-grown food at the Bellingham Farmers Market
Wander around one of the largest farmers markets in Washington at the Bellingham Farmers Market. Started by two university students who saw the need to bring fresh produce to the urban area, the market has blossomed into an entertaining and impressive fresh market with a variety of fruit, vegetable, bread, and other options.
17. Take a photo in front of the Teapot Dome Service Station
Built as a reminder of a government scandal, the Teapot Dome Service Station was constructed in 1922 and features some incredibly unique architecture. Listed on the national register of historic places, the station is unique and defintely worth a small detour for a snapshot!
18. Explore the classic, strange, and unique toys at Archie McPhee
Archie McPhee offers a shopping experience that can't be found anywhere else. Take a gander at classic, vintage, and just plain weird toys and trinkets that are sure to make you smile! This eclectic store is perfect for collectors, anyone looking for a strange souvenir or gift, and anyone with a good sense of humor.
19. Take some great shots with Whidbey Photo Adventures
Explore the islands and progress your photography knowledge with Whidbey Photo Adventures. Through tours on water or land, learn about exposure, composition, and technique from a professional photographer and guide as you capture the beautiful scenery of Langley, Washington.
20. Escape modern life with a Tillicum Village Cruise Tour
The Tillicum Village Cruise Tour takes you on a short boat ride to explore the Tillicum Village on Blake Island, where you can experience the culture of the tribe that lives there. Learn about the lifestyles of the Native Americans who have called the island home by witnessing tribal arts and dances and enjoying traditional Native American cuisine and storytelling.
21. Try Molly Moon's homemade seasonal ice cream
Created with local ingredients, creativity, and true heart for the community, Molly Moon's homemade ice cream is a special treat. Although many flavors are available year-round, there are several rotating seasonal flavors, like Cannelle Vanille's Rhubarb Crumble, which continue to draw people in for new experiences of delectable artistry.
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22. Dine at the Local 360
Local 360 is cafe and bar that serves delectable dishes made from food found within a 360 mile radius of Seattle. Because of this impressive feat of local sourcing, this food has the freshest flavor possible and offers incredible takes on typical cuisine as well as new creations that will leave you in awe.
23. Make fun of the weird art at Seattle's Official Bad Art Museum of Art
Located in the lower portion of Cafe Racer, Seattle's Official Bad Art Museum of Art invites all to view and openly laugh at the weird and ugly works of art. Come gawk at the oddities and then stay for a beer, sandwich, and some live music in the cafe upstairs.
24. See the Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls attracts more than 1.5 million visitors a year and is one of the most visited scenic locations in Washington. The most famous waterfall there thunders from a 270 foot cliff and offers a beautiful, foamy spectacle to those hiking the surrounding area.
25. Take a guided tour of Wolf Haven International
View wolves up close at Wolf Haven International on a 50 minute guided tour of the nationally-recognized wolf sanctuary. During the tour, you can learn about wolf biology, their place in the ecosystem, and the population recovery within the sanctuary.
26. Take in the view from the top of the Seattle Great Wheel
Soaring 175 feet into the air and reaching out over the bay, the Seattle Great Wheel offers a stunning vantage point. Enjoy a bird's eye view of the bustling city, distant mountains, and beautiful water of Elliott Bay as you ride in the comfortable carriages.
27. See the stunning kites flying at the International Kite Festival
Long Beach, WA
August 15-21, 2016
Take to the sky with a colorful kite at the International Kite Festival, hosted on Long Beach. The festival attracts hundreds of kite fliers from around the globe for a week-long celebration that fills the sky with color.
28. Take part in wine tasting at Cave B Estate Winery
Cave B Estate Winery offers not only a variety of wines but also some of the finest cliffside views, and everything you would need for a perfect weekend getaway. Enjoy a few nights in a desert yurt or in one of the Cavern Rooms, catch a concert at the Gorge Amphitheater, and sample a few of the finest wines of the Washington State Wine Country .
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29. Explore the serenity of Sehome Hill Arboretum
With recreation at its heart, the Sehome Hill Arboretum seeks to create a relaxing and enjoyable environment for all visitors. Hike the grounds and take in the natural beauty of the arboretum while you learn about Washington wildlife and meet fellow nature enthusiasts along the paths.
30. See the aircraft at The Museum of Flight
Explore the history of Boeing and learn about advancements in flight technology throughout the years at the Museum of Flight. A variety of exhibits feature planes, interactive displays, and even a space shuttle crew compartment that allows you to experience firsthand how astronauts travel through space.
31. Watch glassmakers at work at the Museum of Glass
Watch artists mold molten glass into incredible sculpture and functional dishes at the Museum of Glass. After you watch how the amazing works are forged, take a stroll through the exhibits displaying the colorful, wild creations of the 20th and 21st century.
32. See the stunning night sky at Goldendale Observatory
Bask in the vastness of the starry night sky at the Goldendale Observatory. Depending on the season, visitors can get a closer view of the Moon, Jupiter, Mars, Saturn, and a number of star clusters. Using a specialized daytime telescope, you can even examine the intense, blazing sun.
33. Climb to the top of the Mukilteo Light Station
Constructed in 1906, the Mukilteo Light Station is an operational lighthouse that still guides ships around the coast to this day. Take a tour of this picturesque, historic lighthouse and then relax outside in the wonderfully landscaped grounds to gaze at the distant mountains and beautiful shoreline.
34. Explore pop culture at the EMP Museum
At the EMP Museum, you can view items from famous sci-fi shows and movies, see a collection of Nirvana memorabilia, explore the set and props of Star Trek, or make your own music in the Sound Lab where instruments and equipment are provided for maximum fun.
35. See the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
At the Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, you are transported back in time to the 19th century Pacific Northwest to learn about the crafts, games, and lifestyles of the first European settlers on Puget Sound. Explore the national historic landmark buildings and watch staff and volunteers dressed in period attire demonstrate pioneer crafts.
36. Walk the underground sidewalks with Bill Speidel's Underground Tour
After a fire in 1889 destroyed 25 blocks of the mostly wooden and muddy city, Seattle decided to rebuild the streets a story above the mess, leaving an underground level of the city to explore. Bill Speidel's Underground Tour allows you to view what once was the original city of Seattle and learn about the city's origins through entertaining tales and fascinating sights.
37. See the history of electricity at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention
Be amazed at the progression electricity throughout history at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention. The museum features a multitude of electronic inventions and historical documents about the science behind electricity. Make sure to see the "MegaZapper", a giant Tesla Coil that produces 10-foot lightning bolts!
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38. Have a drink at the Unicorn
As unique as the mystical animal it is named after, Unicorn is a fun carnival-themed bar that will take you for a ride. Enjoy old pinball and arcade games while you sip on a specialty drink like a Banana Hammock or My Little Pony!
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39. Check out the Japanese Maple Walk at Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens
Covering 3.5 acres, the Evergreen Arboretum and Gardens features ten themed gardens with beautiful plants and amazing views. The Arboretum is particularly renowned for its Japanese Maple Grove which boasts a wide number of the Japanese maple trees that display a beautiful array of colorful leaves in both spring and fall.
40. Pay your respects at the Jimi Hendrix Memorial
Born in Seattle, Washington, the great guitarist and singer of the sixties was honored by his family with a stunning memorial outside of the city. Labeled as one of the greatest rock guitarists of all time, Hendrix's music has continued to make an impact on each generation. The Jimi Hendrix Memorial is a great place for any fan to pay respects to this renowned and influential artist.
41. Attend a festival at Camlann Medieval Village
The Camlann Medieval Village is a living history village where you can experience 14th century life firsthand. It hosts a number of festivals throughout the year where you can enjoy live music, theater, archery, crafts, and delicious medieval feasts as you walk among the local villagers.
42. Stay at Thornewood Castle
Built in England more than 400 years ago, Thornewood Castle was transported piece by piece to the United States in 1907. Visitors can live like English royalty in one of the luxurious, authentically designed suites at this private castle. Unfortunately, the castle is not open to tours or walk-in visitors at this time, so be sure to reserve a room if you want to see the interior and grounds.
43. Try some delicious food at Pig Out in the Park
Aug. 31 - Sept. 5, 2016
Enjoy cheap, tasty food, sunshine, and music at Pig Out in the Park. Around 45 different food booths are set up to offer 200 different menu items for the festival, guaranteeing there is something delicious for everyone. The rushing waterfalls and lush landscape of the park offer a perfect backdrop for the excellent food and music.
44. See the gorgeous treehouses at TreeHouse Point
Located on the Raging River in the beautiful forests outside of Seattle, the treehouses of TreeHouse Point will leave you amazed. Schedule a tour of the beautifully constructed treehouses, which seem to be floating amidst the trees, then come back to stay for the night!
45. Take a Boeing factory tour at the Future of Flight Aviation Center
The Boeing factory tour inside the Future of Flight Aviation Center allows you to see some of the largest commercial jets being constructed right in front of you. The center also offers interactive exhibits and displays within a 28,000 square foot aviation gallery.
46. Enjoy the healing mineral waters at Soap Lake
Soap Lake, WA
Holding more than 17 different minerals, Soap Lake has been used for centuries as a place for healing and recuperation. The water has a slick, soapy feel, and the foam that is produced near the shore of the lake has attributed to the name. The lake is an enjoyable place to come to relax and heal the mind if not the body.
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47. Sing your heart out at the Rock Box
Centered around the popular Japanese pastime, Rock Box is a Japanese-style karaoke club which features eleven private rooms and a full bar with snacks. Visitors can choose to hang out in the public room out front or rent a private room to sing the night away with friends or coworkers!
48. Learn how to cook crab at the Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival
Port Angeles, WA
October 7-9, 2016
The Dungeness Crab & Seafood Festival lasts three days and is hosted right on the Port Angeles waterfront. Enjoy delicious food, great music, fabulous art, and learn how to cook crab like the experts! There is also a 5K run, several cook-offs, a farmer's market, and fun crab-themed merchandise for sale.
49. Go fossil hunting at Stonerose Interpretive Center
Due to volcanic activity in the area and many years of sediment build-up on the lake bed that once occupied the area, the Stonerose Interpretive Center ground features thousands of fossils encapsulated inside the shale. Visitors can spend the afternoon searching for fossils and even take home some findings!
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50. Get a great view from the Space Needle
Towering a stunning 520 feet above the earth's surface, the observation deck of the Space Needle offers the best view of Seattle and the surrounding area. Enjoy the colorful cityscape below and marvel at the peaks of distant mountain ranges as you take in the pure beauty of Washington from Seattle's most iconic structure.
So, did your favorite Washington attraction make our list? Know some awesome can't-miss thing that wasn't included? Tell us in the comments below! Be sure to Like and Share with your friends!