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Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Travel Guide

When to Go

The climate throughout the I–5 corridor, from the Skagit Valley down through Tacoma and Olympia, largely matches that of Seattle, with cool and damp winters (with low temperatures in the upper 30s) and largely dry and sunny summers, with temperatures in the 70s and low 80s. The more favorable weather of late spring through mid-October brings the largest crowds to the region, but rainy winter brings lower hotels rates and can be charmingly stormy—ideal for cozying up by the fireplace in a toasty room—on the Kitsap Peninsula or up in Bellingham and the Skagit Valley. In the Snoqualmie area, skiing and other winter sports are popular from December through April, when heavy snows come, although the towns in the foothills receive more rain than snow. In the towns up around Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens, winter snow often brings temporary road closures, and many restaurants, lodges, and attractions are closed or have limited hours from mid-fall through mid-spring; it's definitely wise to check forecasts and call ahead if venturing into the Cascades at this time.

Festivals and Events

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. June brings monthlong celebration of these iconic flowers that bloom in their millions throughout Mt. Vernon and La Conner. 360/428–5959. www.tulipfestival.org.

Washington State Fair. This fair in September brings thousands of visitors daily over two weeks to Puyallup, a suburb just south of Seattle and southeast of Tacoma, and features concerts, a rodeo, art and cultural exhibits, agricultural shows, and amusement rides. 253/845–1771. www.thefair.com.

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Fodor's Washington, D.C. 2015

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