Five Reasons to Visit Washington State in Summer
When people think of the State of Washington, the first thing that often comes to mind is rain. It’s true, it does rain a lot here. However, all that rain also feeds the beautiful forests, rivers, and wildlife that add to the pristine scenery of the Evergreen State. During the dry season from July through September, the weather drastically improves, and offers plenty of opportunities to explore this amazing part of the world! At Axis, we’re proud to call Washington home, and summer is the best time to visit our neck of the woods. Here are five reasons why you should visit Washington in the summer!
1. The Beaches
Washington’s beaches might not get as much attention as California’s and Oregon’s do, but that doesn’t mean they’re any less scenic! Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park is on everyone’s Top 10 list of places to visit in Washington, and is easily accessible by foot. The heavily trafficked beach trail provides spectacular views and some great photo opportunities at spots like Hole-in-the-Wall.
Many of Washington’s beaches are rocky, but there are some nice sandy beaches as well. Westport is a charming fishing town with a reputation for fresh seafood, and fantastic surfing! Pacific Beach is quieter, but still offers miles of unspoiled shoreline to walk on. Within Olympic National Park, Kalaloch Beach is the place to go if you want to feel the sand between your toes. Summer is the best chance to get a warm sunny day along Washington’s coast, and if you’re lucky, there’s no better place to watch a sunset.
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2. The Mountains
There’s few places in the U.S. where you have access to the ocean and the mountains like you do in Washington. The Cascade Mountains are just an hour away from the major hub of Seattle, and there’s plenty of terrain to explore. Mt. Rainier is Washington’s most iconic peak, standing prominently at 14,411 ft. The mountain has hundreds of hiking trails to choose from, and some popular summer hikes include The Summerland Trail, Skyline Trail Loop, and Tolmie Peak. Other mountains worth visiting include Mt. Baker, Mt. Adams, and Mt. St. Helens National Volcanic Monument. You can still see the remnants of the famous 1980 eruption at Mt. St. Helens.
3. The National Parks
I can’t brag about our national parks enough, and we are privileged to have three national parks here in Washington: Olympic, North Cascades, and Mt. Rainier. Olympic National Park is known for it’s iconic seashore, but it’s also home to the Olympic Mountains. Hurricane Ridge is the perfect spot to see the mountains up close, and maybe a mountain goat as well! Olympic is also home to the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the largest temperate rain forests in the United States.
North Cascades National Park is probably the least well-known of the three parks, but it’s home to some of the most beautiful and secluded wilderness. Ross Lake National Recreation Area is a popular destination within the park, and offers excellent opportunities for hiking, swimming, and boating. Also, it’s worth driving to the east side of the park to hike and camp in the Methow Valley
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Within Mt. Rainier National Park, you can’t go wrong with camping at Ohanapecosh, and be sure to take a walk through the Grove of the Patriarchs nearby. Furthermore, Tipsoo Lake and Paradise are beloved by tourists, and easily accessible by car. Both have short trails that still give you fantastic views.
4. The Lakes and Rivers
Are you sensing a theme yet? Washington is world-renowned for it’s natural features, and that includes lakes and rivers. The mighty Columbia River divides Washington from Oregon, and is the fourth-largest river in the U.S. The Columbia River Gorge is fun to drive, and there’s lots of pullouts and state parks to see views of the river. Moreover, there are several prestigious wineries along the river ready to offer you tastings. For a nice place to stay in the Gorge, check out renting a room at the Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, WA!
Lake Chelan is always busy in the summer with locals and tourists alike. It’s loads of fun to rent a jet ski and ride around the lake (speaking from experience), and the town of Chelan comes alive in the summer with great bars and restaurants. For a more tranquil setting, Lake Quinault Lodge in the southern part of the Olympics is the perfect place for a weekend getaway!
5. The Cuisine
Summer means berry season here in Washington, and we get spoiled with fresh strawberries, raspberries, blueberries, and blackberries. Spooner Berry Farms based in Olympia, WA has been harvesting berries for over 30 years, and they also have a location in Seattle! Plus, there’s nothing quite like enjoying fresh seafood on an outdoor patio. Elliott’s Oyster House in Seattle has a grand patio right on the Seattle Waterfront! Ivar’s is another Seattle staple that has great seafood to go!
For beer lovers, it’s hard to beat Washington’s fresh hop season from August-September. There’s just something about fresh hops that makes the beer taste that much better! Washington is also a west coast mecca for craft breweries. The Seattle-Tacoma metro area has over 170 craft breweries to enjoy. On the east side, Spokane has 17 craft breweries to choose from, and several more in the surrounding suburbs.
For wine lovers, Washington has numerous world class vineyards, on par or better than the wine scene in Napa Valley. Chateau Ste. Michelle is a staple in the Seattle area, located in the eastern suburb of Woodinville. Along the Columbia River, L’Ecole No. 41 is located in an early 1900’s school house in Walla Walla, and has been named a Top 100 winery fifteen times by Wine & Spirits Magazine. Whatever drink you fancy, Washington has quality places to enjoy a cold one!
Ready to visit Washington State in summer?