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Pacific States

Washington: Surprising Facts

• Washington State operates the largest ferry fleet in the United States. Twenty five ferries carry more than 26 million passengers to 20 different ports each year.

• Mt. Rainier is an active volcano encased in more than 35 square miles of snow and ice. It is visited by almost 1.5 million tourists each year.

• Kennewick Man, found in 1996 along the shores of Columbia Park in Kennewick, is one of the oldest and most complete skeletons ever found in the Americas. He is estimated to be nearly 9,000 years old!

• North Cascades National Park has more glaciers than any of the 48 contiguous state in the US These glaciers can easily be viewed from your car or boat.

• Short and stout it may be, but one of oldest functioning gas stations in the US is Zillah's Teapot Dome gas station. Shaped just like a teapot, this tourist favorite sits 15 miles south of Yakima along highway 82.


It is said Washington has more boats per capita than any place else in the nation. It's not hard to see why. WASHINGTON HOTELS

Everywhere you turn, Washington has water. Playing on, in or by the water is one of the fun pastimes indulged year-round.

The largest community festival in the Pacific Northwest, SeaFair, takes place on the water in Seattle. Not surprising as Seattle itself is surrounded by water. Elliot Bay, the Puget Sound, Lake Union and Lake Washington each offer cruising, sailing, windsurfing, kayaking, swimming, water-skiing, paragliding, ferry riding and float plane rides. SEATTLE HOTELS

Washington’s coast includes the spectacular Olympic Peninsula, with 57 miles of glorious beaches in Olympic National Park, including the longest stretch of wild coastline outside Alaska. This is a haven for hikers, beachcombers, backpackers, surf-fishers, sea kayakers, wildlife watchers, surfboarders, and families with children fascinated with tide pools and the crashing surf.

Farther south along the coast is Grays Harbor, where traditional salmon fishing ports like Westport still offer charters to catch salmon or bottom-fish. Gray whales migrating along the coast are another attraction, and whale-watching cruises are scheduled.

Pounding surf and edible riches are hidden in the beaches of the Pacific shores. Here, there's sweet satisfaction smelling the salt sea air, combing secluded coves, taking to the ocean on skippered fishing charters and tasting the local fruit of the sea.

Way south on the Long Beach Peninsula you may gather your own oysters any time at the state-owned bed in Nahcotta. Also try for Dungeness crab off the public dock and check out the outdoor interpretive center.

Into action adventure? The famous Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is ace. The gorge forms a massive wind funnel where warm desert air hits cool coastal breezes. Here windsurfers perform amazing feats and flips, like multi-colored butterflies flying off the water. Kayaking, rafting, fishing, swimming and boating are all available, mostly on the Columbia's calmer companion rivers, Wind, White Salmon and Klickitat.

Further downstream, the Columbia flows through the spectacular 80-mile-long Columbia River Gorge. You'll find cruise options with Cascade Sternwheelers, world-class sailboarding from parks like Doug's Beach near Lyle (lessons and rentals available), and excellent salmon fishing in September at the mouths of tributary streams.

For historical background on the river and its impact on Native American and pioneer communities, stop at the Columbia Gorge Interpretive Center near Stevenson.

At the other end of the Columbia River, in the far northeast corner of the state, lies a region locals called Panorama Land. You could also dub it the Colville Corner, after the big national forest that protects much of northeast Washington's timberlands.

Here are rolling highlands cloaked in forest, dotted with lakes, and carved by rivers like the Kettle, Sanpoil, and Pend Oreille. Thirty-five resorts on 17 lakes and two rivers tempt travelers with diverse recreation sailing, canoeing, river-running, water-skiing, wind surfing, swimming, paddle-boating, snorkeling, and scuba diving. Fishing is a prime attraction, especially fly-fishing.

Glacial lakes are found high in the wilderness reaches of the Cascade Mountains. In the open stretches of eastern Washington, dozens of lakes abound, with recreation from water skiing and swimming to fishing and boating.

Lake Chelan runs so deep its one of the most pristine lakes in the country. At 55 miles long, there's lots of variety to explore along these popular vacationers shores.

Cities and small towns dot the shorelines and estuaries of Puget Sound, offering numerous opportunities to get on the water. Try a sea kayak adventure from historic Port Townsend. Go whale watching from Anacortes. Join salmon fishing charters from Tacoma, Edmonds, Port Angeles and Westport. Winter wildlife watching is superb (eagles, hawks, snow geese, trumpeter swans, shorebirds) in estuaries around the mouths of major rivers such as the Skagit, Nisqually, Nooksack, and Snohomish. TACOMA HOTELS

La Conner on Swinomish Channel north of Seattle is a departure point for lunch and dinner cruises to spectacular Deception Pass or for extended cruises through the San Juan Islands.

In the Scandinavian heritage town of Poulsbo, on Liberty Bay in Kitsap County, Olympic Outdoor Center invites you to rent a kayak or a canoe and explore the placid bay and see wildlife (otters, eagles, heron). There are overnight tours to nearby Blake Island State Marine Park.

Gig Harbor, just west of Tacoma via Highway 16, presents a glorious view of Mount Rainier rising above the bay. Here you can stroll the shoreline past fishing boats, tugs, historic hulks listing at their moorings, and a host of recreational craft.

Bellingham, in Whatcom County on I-5 near the Canadian border, is an enthusiastic outdoor adventure center. The Fairhaven districts waterfront features the Alaska Ferry Terminal with cruises up the Inside Passage. An Amtrak depot on the waterfront means you can reach all this by train.


PHOTO: Summer Nights on the Pier concert near Elliot Bay in Seattle – Photo courtesy WST/Port of Seattle. Photographer Don Wilson


Alabama Gulf Coast

Cruising Southeast Alaska

The Lure of The Grand Canyon

Arkansas: The Natural State

Alcatraz "The Rock": Just Visiting
A Sip of the California Delta
Fisherman's Wharf
Into the Blue of Lake Tahoe
Movie Magic in California
America's Food & Wine Capital
California Offers Cool Shopping
Sonoma Country
Have a Whale of a Good Time

As Colorado As It Gets!

Mystic Country

DC Washington
Washington DC's Monuments

Delaware: The First State

Florida's Dynamic Downtowns
Florida: Vacations for All Ages
Greater Ft. Lauderdale
Florida’s Gulf Island Coast
Miami Luxury Hotels for Kids Too
Orlando’ for Adults Too

A Treasure on Georgia's Coast
Columbus: A Genteel Rivertown
Savannah: A Southern Belle

Hawaii's Big Island of Adventure
Kauai: Adventures in Paradise
The Many Faces of Maui
Oahu's 112 Miles of Beaches

Boise - Worth a Trip

Chicago: Your Kind a' Town
Get Your Kicks on Route 66

Indiana’s National Treasures

Iowa’s Rich Landscape

The Kansas Cowboy Experience

Folk Arts and Crafts Capital

New Orleans Carnival
Baton Rouge

Outdoor Adventure in Maine
Maine "Must-See"

Historic Annapolis
The Road Less Traveled

A Massachusetts Getaway by the Sea

Guide to Lansing's River Trail

Waterfalls Everywhere

Mississippi: Easy to Travel

Route 66 Starts at St. Louis

Montana: Big Sky Country

Family and Frontier Fun

Casino Getaways near Vegas
Nevada's Intriguing State Parks
Reno-Tahoe: Adventure Place

New Hampshire
Outdoor Adventure
Summertime in New Hampshire

New Jersey
The Beach at Atlantic City
New Jersey: Outdoor Adventures

New Mexico
Santa Fe: Chile Hot Art

New York
NYS Historical Amusement Parks
New York's Cultural Treasures
Nature’s Beauty at NYS Parks
Niagara Falls and Beyond

North Carolina
Heart of Motorsports

North Dakota
Legendary Adventure

Ohio: A World of Discovery

A Walk on the Wild Side

More Trails than Roads

Quirky Pennsylvania
Scenic Pennsylvania Route 6

Rhode Island
A Tiny Gem

South Carolina
Myrtle Beach

South Dakota
The Great Faces of South Dakota

Each Region so Different
Tennessee For All Seasons

Texas: Arts and Culture
Beaches of Texas
On the Texas Forts Trail
Texas Ranch Round-up
Family Fun in Texas

Utah's Enduring Favorites

Seasonal Vermont

Virginia’s Historic Triangle

On the Water in Washington

West Virginia
Mountain State Heritage

Explore Two Great Lakes

Better Than Your Dreams

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