Washington state is filled with so many cool and fun places to explore. Of course, part 2 will not be all of the places that I have been to. There will continue to be more posts dedicated to Washington and sharing the best places to visit. I lived there for 22 year and didn’t even get to see it all! Here are some more of the places you have to visit!
Point Defiance – Tacoma
Yes, there is a zoo & aquarium located here, which is fun, but that is not the main reason to go. When you first drive in, there is a huge grassy park with a pond in the center. The pond has a waterfall, trees, koi and turtles. There are many festivals and events held here throughout the year. A little farther down is the visitor center and a Japanese garden with a memorial to the railroad that was once there. On the other side is a large lovely rose garden that is taken care of by the university students. Further down is a tunnel that will take you to a pier where you can fish, watch the sea lions and get ice cream from the fishing shop. It is also next to Anthony’s and the ferry to go to Vashon Island. If you passed the tunnel, it becomes the woods. This little forest area has tons of hiking trails and floral gardens hidden throughout it. Eventually you will get to a point where you can turn and go down to Owen’s Beach. You can play down on the water and have a picnic. It also has a 5 mile drive that gives you an amazing view of the water and the Narrows Bridge. At the end of it is even Fort Nisqually, where you can learn about history on the ocean front from back in the day. On your way out, make sure you stop and visit the hidden garden that is gated by the exit. It has a waterfall and a secret nook gazebo.
Long Beach Kite Festival
Now this festival is a perfect even in the summer. The whole beach is covered in kites and vendors. They have events throughout the day and fireworks at night. Town is not too far, so if you wanted to grab some homemade ice cream or shop some funky knick knacks, they have it!
Now, I find this place to be a hit or miss, it just depends when you go. This is a little bavarian village in the middle of nowhere. There are tons of shops and some fun little places to eat. During Oktoberfest there is a HUGE festival and the hotels book up a year in advance. If you go in the winter when it is covered in snow, just keep in mind that there are a ton of people there. They do a Christmas tree lighting and winter festivities. Not too far down the road from here is the real beauty though. There is a lake and off road snow bowl, but make sure you can make it through it.
These two places are pretty much the same. They are over in eastern washington and the middle of nowhere. It is the perfect destination for shooting and riding dirt bikes. The Wenatchee National Forest is also a prime location for off-road activity. (Just go with people that know what they are doing). There are gorgeous landscapes and wilderness out here, giving it more of the old western vibe.
Little Mashell Falls – Eatonville
Most locals will know this place as Eatonville falls, as that is the small town it is right outside of. There are a couple ways to get here, but you need to befriend a local to find the best way. It is a secret that still hasn’t gotten out! However, Even from the public park, if is still a fantastic adventure! There are 3 waterfalls in this area, but little mashell is the big one. You have to go in the summer and the winter, because it will be completely different! In the summer it is warm enough that you can go to a cave behind little mashell and in the winter it overflows like crazy! There are trail that can take you to the top also. My reccomendation is to follow the river though. Ylou will get to see tons of hidden gems that everyone else misses. The second waterfall is my favorite. This one has a bunch of water around it and is more private and not as well known. The last one is super tall and you can swim in the pools of water at the top of it. It is also by railroad tracks and a bridge, making another adventures.
Do keep in mind that the Beaches in Washington are not like they are in California. They are made up of mainly rocks and are cold. BUT, don’t pass it up! Right now is clamming season, which is a huge deal down here! You can also drive on the beach and sometimes, even have camp-outs. Town is right next to the beach and has fun shops, bowling, go karts, bumper cars and more. Plus, Dugan’s Pizza is one of the best places to grab a bite.
Tumwater Falls – Tumwater
This little place is smack dab hidden in a city. At first, you will see man-made falls and salmon skipping up the ladders. The best part is going on a long walk down bridges that take you into a barely touched hideaway. The river turns into rapids and eventually goes down into a small part of the Puget Sound. It is more of a pretty river walk than a waterfall, but it is still a fun little trip.
The top of a mountain is always an adventure. The Franklin Falls is actually hidden out on this pass. The main attraction, is of course skiing and snowboarding. There are lifts and rentals all throughout the winter, along with a couple of lodges and outdoor fire pits. There is even big tubing chutes that they will run when the snow stacks up. The best part of visiting here is going exploring in the snow. You will come across tons of homemade jumps and frozen creeks. Plus, there is a quaint little pancake house off the main road nearby.
Fairfax Bridge – Carbonado
Carbonado, is a even tinier that Wilkeson. Both of these towns are mainly pass throughs to get to wheeling and offroad area. The cool thing about Carbonado though, is the Fairfax Bridge. This bridge only goes one way, and is up super super high. It is sort of sketchy, but a cool drive and a great stop to hike down. From here, you can go down to the Melmont ghost town that is hidden deep in the woods. I have yet to do that adventure.
American Lake – Lakewood
Now this lake is very well known, but if you own a boat, tubes or jet skies, this is the place to be. There are events where everyone will even raft together and have drinking games and fun in the sun. If you can, the country club makes the best chocolate shakes and has a pretty view of the lake. The rest of it is surrounded by million dollar homes. It is a perfect place for a day in the sun.
Surprise Lake – Evan’s Creek
Another great offroad adventure is on the trails of Evan’s Creek. This place is specifically meant for wheelers and all terrain vehicles. You will get to drive over overflow rivers, rocks and up steep hill grades. If you feel adventurous enough, you can make it to a hidden lake called Surprise. (My photos are from the summer, if you can believe it). Some locals are known to camp out here, but a day trip is my recommendation. There are rocks next to it that you can hike up and have a fantastic view.
Evan’s Creek – Off the beaten path
If you decide that you do not want to go all the way to the lake, you can follow logging roads and find lots of places to pull off and explore. The Carbonado River is alongside you for a good chunk of the drive and it is really cool to hike along and explore. There is lots of untouched beauty and small creeks. If you continue to follow the roads you will eventually be able to see Mt. Rainier. The longer you drive, the closer you can get. It is simply stunning.
Dorky’s Arcade – Tacoma
Here is a total gem that is hidden deep in Tacoma as well. It is located in downtown, by all the hipster bars. The bars are eh,but this place is awesome! It is a full on old school arcade with teenage mutant turtle pizza and alcohol! After 9PM, minors have to leave. That means it is an adult’s video game dream. The cool thing is that most of the games are only a quarter.
Narada Falls – Mt. Rainier
This waterfall is truly stunning. It is on your way up into Mt. Rainier. This is very close to Paradise, where most people go to the lodge, look outs and etc. There are a few other cool waterfalls by here and some super neat hiking! In the winter you can sled and tube and you can still watch the falls in action.
Washington State Fair – Puyallup
It is Puyallup Fair to the locals, as they changed the name a few years ago. This is an event that you do not want to miss. The fair goes on for an entire month, every day. There is everything from rodeos, big name concerts, mutton busting, monster trucks and every judging competition you can think of. The fair is a HUGE deal here. Most people go once a week, if not more, when it is going on. There are tons of animals and gardening competitions, a lot of rides, vendors, food and a rooftop bar that lets you watch over everyone playing games. I would go back for the whole month of September to be there if I could!
Dougan Falls – Washougal
Clear down by Washougal, is probably the coolest river ever. It is attached to a place called Dougan Falls. Here you can walk down the whole river and find tons of places to swim and enjoy the sunshine. The falls themselves, have deep holes around them, so lots of people jump off of them, into the water. The rocks around it provide the perfect place to tan and the river makes a fabulous swimming spot.
LeMay Family Collection at Marymount – Parkland/Tacoma
Now, there is a LeMay’s car collection in Tacoma, but in Marymount, you will find a collection at his home and an old school house. It is pretty cool! There are all sorts of things from hot rods, to old steam engines, antiques, his wife’s doll collection and more. Every year they hold an auction here too. They have some LeMay cars, and other ones up for auction. They usually hold a car show around this time too.
Banks Lake – Coulee City/Electric City
This place is insanely cool! It is a beautiful lake in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by nothing but sandstone. Now, this lake would be the one to have a party boat on. You can pull off to alcoves and beaches on the rocks and do mini hikes. It is right by electric city as well, so you can swing by and see the Grand Coulee Dam. The best part is that there are resorts where you can rent mini cabins on the lake! Such a blast!