Plan Your Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Vacation

The San Juan Islands, the Olympic Peninsula, and the great swaths of midstate wilderness provide Washington’s favorite photo ops, but there are plenty of adventures that don't require traveling on ferries or bumping along Forest Service roads.

Up and down Interstate 5 you'll find most of the state's major cities: the ports of Tacoma, Olympia, and Bellingham each have enough cultural and outdoorsy attractions to warrant an overnight or two.

Slightly farther afield you'll find smaller towns with some very specific draws: Poulsbo's proud Norwegian heritage, Port Gamble's painstakingly preserved mill-town vibe, Everett's enthusiasm for all things flight related, whether crafted by Boeing or not, and North Bend and Snoqualmie’s breathtaking alpine scenery and friendly feel. And south of Mt. Rainier, towns like Packwood and Ashford in the Cascades offer rugged scenery and jumping-off points for visiting both Rainier and Mt. St. Helens.

Exploring this part of the state, encompassing so many distinct geographical areas like the Kitsap Peninsula and the western fringe of the Skagit Valley, can bring you from industrial areas to tulip fields in one day. From naval warships to thundering falls, there's a lot to see within two hours of Seattle.

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Top Reasons To Go

  1. Take flight See a Boeing in mid-construction or a World War II chopper up close at Everett's Paine Field.
  2. Tiptoe through the tulips Bike past undulating fields of tulips and other spring blooms in La Conner and Mount Vernon.
  3. Hang in glass houses Check out Dale Chihuly's biomorphic sculptures at Tacoma's Museum of Glass.
  4. View a volcano Visit Johnston Ridge Observatory, for an eerily close view of Mt. St. Helens.
  5. Paddle around Puget Sound Rent a kayak to explore the charming seaside communities of Poulsbo or Gig Harbor.

When To Go

When to Go

The climate throughout the Interstate 5 corridor, from the Skagit Valley down through Tacoma and Olympia, largely matches that of Seattle, with...

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Travel Tips

Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Travel Tips

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