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We’re living in scary times. There’s no denying it. Right now a lot of us are feeling a tremendous amount of anxiety and fear. The coronavirus is in Washington and it’s wreaking havoc. However, for our own physical health, we need moments where we have peace-of-mind. Let’s take some time to reflect on the beautiful nature of Washington, and make a list of places we’ll visit first when this coronavirus is a thing of the past.
1. Pacific Crest Trail
The Pacific Crest Trail literally crosses the entire United States of America, from Mexico to Canada. Hikers walking the trail in Washington will find that it travels through some of the most beautiful places to see in Washington.
It begins in the Columbia River Gorge, sitting at sea level, then passes north through the Goat Rocks Wilderness. It continues on to the Snoqualmie Pass, then the Stehekin Town. Finally, it hits the Canadian border in a trek that will take several days. It offers hikers a chance for a close encounter with some of Washington’s greatest natural landmarks in a unique experience.
Bellingham is a city north of Seattle. It offers many beautiful attractions for visitors passing through on their way to Mount Baker and Mout Shuksan. Its Fairhaven Historic District offers visitors a chance to encounter Washington history and culture up close.
In addition, it is full of art galleries and scenic, sun-filled restaurants. The Western Washington University in Bellingham has an Outdoor Sculpture Collection. It fills the campus with works from students, faculty, and alumni, inviting visitors to explore its grounds.
Furthermore, Bellingham is also home to Whatcom Falls Park. It has four waterfalls and several walking trails for visitors who wish to stretch their legs and explore nature. They can also take scenic drives through the Skagit Valley, with its fields of tulips that are beautiful enough to rival those of Amsterdam.
3. Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park is easily one of the most beautiful places to see in Washington. It gets its name from the strait of Deception Pass that connects Skagit Bay and the Strait of Juan de Fuca.
The state park was officially established in 1923 after the military transferred 1600 acres of their reserve to the Washington State Parks. It offers campgrounds, hiking trails, beaches, and tidepools.
It is also home to the iconic Deception Pass Bridge, which is part of the National Register of Historic Places. The Deception Pass Bridge is actually made up of two bridges, connecting Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island on Puget Sound. Many historians credit the building of the bridges to the flourishing of Oak Harbor and the building of the Naval Air Station on Whidbey Island. The view from the bridges is spectacular, but more adventurous travelers may also pass under on a boat for a gorgeous view.
4. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Mount St. Helens is known for its explosive eruption on May 18, 1980. The volcanic eruption was highly destructive. It destroyed most of the surrounding area, and the peak of the volcano itself was reduced by 1,300 feet. Almost 150 square miles of forest were destroyed, landslides completely covered the surrounding houses, and many people died.
Even now, forty years later, the landscape is still struggling to recover. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument seeks to educate visitors about this historic natural event, and hiking trails at the center provide information and close-up looks of the destruction that happened. Visitor centers are also present to provide more insight into the eruption. Johnston Ridge Observatory, one of the centers, even offers visitors a look into the crater.
Despite the tragedy, Mount St. Helens remains one of the most beautiful places to see in Washington. Experience history as it comes alive and pay tribute to this intimate look into the past.
5. Puget Sound
Puget Sound is a region on the western border of Washington, separating the Olympic Peninsula and Seattle. It is full of inlets, islands, wildlife, and new discoveries to explore.
Moreover, Puget Sound is known for its vibrant communities that draw visitors and bring the region to life. These communities offer visitors a number of things to do, including sea kayaking and whale watching.
A ferry system services the many destination places in Puget Sound, allowing visitors to go for quick day trips and island hopping. Whidbey Island, mentioned earlier, is the largest island in the Sound and is home to the iconic towns of Oak Harbor and Coupeville.
Love exploring trails? The area is also home to one of the best hiking trails near Seattle, called the Bluff Trail, located at Ebey’s Landing. For history buffs, Tillicum Village on the Blake Island Marine State Park offers a look into the Native American cultures that lived in the Puget Sound long ago and even hosts authentic cultural celebrations like salmon feasts.
6. North Cascades National Park
With the amount of industrial development in the US, North Cascades National Park is notable for having some of the most unspoiled, undeveloped land in the country.
Some of the many spectacular sights in the park include the Washington Pass Overlook. You can also visit Ross Lake with its fresh, clear blue waters. Don’t forget to drop by the town of Winthrop in the Methow Valley, all accessible on the North Cascades Scenic Byway.
North Cascades National Park offers nature lovers a unique chance to interact with nature up close. It has many hiking trails with stunning mountain views. While some trails are steep, many of the best trails are family-friendly and offer parents a chance to introduce their children to nature.
Furthermore, the Lake Chelan National Recreation Area has one of the deepest lakes found in the country. For those who wish to learn more about the park, the North Cascades Institute offers educational tours and overnight visits. It is also home to the mountain town of Stehekin, which is only accessible by foot, boat, or seaplane.
7. San Juan Islands
North of the Puget Sound, the San Juan Islands are a famous group of islands. These islands boast unique galleries, seafood restaurants, and parks. They are also home to the San Juan Island National Historic Park, which is where the Pig War border dispute between American and British troops occurred. Visitors to the island frequent the Friday Harbour, East sound, and the Moran State Park. The San Juan Islands are some of the most beautiful places in Washington state, bar none.
It may be hard to see the light in these dark and gloomy times. The coronavirus scares us all and life may be different for a while in Washington. But we can think about all the beautiful places in our magnificent state and remember how lucky we are to live here. The coronavirus won’t be in Washington forever. Let’s look forward to the days of light and wonderment still ahead of us. If you need more inspiration, enjoy more of When in Your State’s coverage of the beauty of Washington.
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