General Question

lilikoi's avatar

Western Washington state. 15 days, starting tomorrow. Must-see's and do's?

Asked by lilikoi (10028 points ) July 19th, 2010

We are not going to Eastern Washington at all.

There are a number of things I want to do that can be done in many places, and I’m wondering what the best places for each are. Even better if 2+ things can be combined.

(1) Whale watching (San Juan? Thinking better by lg boat than yak for photo ops)
(2) Kayak, rowing, and/or canoeing
(3) Hot air ballooning (there are 2 places I’ve heard of…)
(4) Clamming
(5) Touring a hatchery, shellfish farm, cranberry bog, fruit farms, other farms
(6) Hiking (so many options! Day hikes to overnight max since time is limited; suggestions very welcome)
(7) Wildlife watching (I’d like to see mammals and large birds, especially)
(8) Fishing

I’m also interested in Native American culture and crafts. Where’s a good place to learn about this? Also, any workshops for things like weaving, woodworking, glassblowing, cooking, etc that are at most 2 days long I would be interested in.

I’d like to see a small portion of Olympic National Park, Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary, Hoh Rainforest, Ozette Lake area, Rialto Beach area, North Cascades National Park, NW Trek Wildlife Park, Mt Rainier, and Mt St Helen. Probably it’s not possible to get to all…In any case, which parts of some or all do you consider must-see?

Here are the most interesting to-do’s I found in a guidebook (likely not have time for all). Any advice, suggestions, recommendations, etc much appreciated!

SEATTLE
1. Pike Place Market
2. Space Needle
3. Experience Music Project
4. Underground tour
5. Center for Wooden Boats
6. Chittenden Locks
7. REI and Starbucks
8. Houseboat tour
9. Old Thyme Aviation biplane ride

EASTSIDE
1. Bellevue Art Museum
2. Floating bridges
3. Microsoft Museum
4. Candy factory and salmon hatchery tours

NORTH PUGET SOUND
1. Boeing factory tour
2. Pilchuck glass school
3. Upper Case Books
4. The Otto Farm
5. Pioneer Park

SOUTH PUGET SOUND
1. Wolf refuge
2. International Glass Museum
3. Lighter than air hot air balloon festival in Yelm (can’t find any info about it)
4. Llama farms
5. Jimi Hendrix’s grave

SAN JUAN ISLANDS
1. Alpaca ranch
2. Lime Kiln Pt State Park
3. Crow Valley School Museum
4. Rare Print Shop

OLYMPIC COAST
1. Olympic National Park
2. Cedarbrook Herb Farm
3. Olympic or Sol Duc Hot Springs
4. Ozette Lake area
5. Olympic Coast National Marine Sanctuary
6. Hoh Rainforest
7. Rialto Beach area

OLYMPIC PENINSULA
1. Cranberry Museum
2. Tour a cranberry bog???
3. Search for glass floats
4. Leadbetter Pt State Park (birdwatching)

COLUMBIA RIVER GORGE
1. Wool mill tour
2. America Hop Museum
3. Central Washington Agricultural Museum
4. Thorp Grist Mill
5. Hunt for Blue Agate
6. Apple orchard tour

NORTH CASCADES
1. North Cascades National Park
2. Apple warehouse tours
3. Hang-gliding

SOUTH CASCADES
1. NW Trek Wildlife Park
2. Pioneer Farm Museum
3. Mt Rainier
4. Cedar Creek Grist Mill
5. Mt St Helen
6. Gular Ice Cave

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8 Answers

DeanV's avatar

Whale watching out of Seattle isn’t that bad. You do have to cross the sound, though, which can get pretty choppy in the late afternoon, so that choice may not be for the seasick or non-seafaring types. If you’re going to go from Seattle I’d recommend going in the morning.

If you can, I’d recommend trying to get up into Canada and going over to Victoria island, even if it is just for a day and seeing the Buchart Gardens. The car ferry over there is actually good and quick.

Cruiser's avatar

My brother moved up there because of how beautiful the Cascades are and that I see is on your list. He always brags about how fun it is to go crabbing there too! Have a great time.

marinelife's avatar

One of the best of the whale watching tours leaves out of Bellingham. It is very whale-friendly and responsible and they have two naturalists aboard at all times. Here is their Web site.

A great place to stay is Tatoosh Meadows in Packwood, WA. It is a great jumping off place for Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. helen’s both of which are must sees on your visit. Located on glacier-fed rivers, I woke up one morning to a herd of elk in the meadow outside the cabin. Plus, it has old-fashioned cedar hot tubs that are wonderful.

On your Seattle list, only 1, 2 and maybe 3 are really all that great. You should also plan to see the troll under the Aurora Bridge in Fremont. The Seattle Art Museum has a collection of Northwest Indian Art, although better is found in Vancouver, B.C., which is only a three-hour drive away.

Another great place to stay is the Ocean Crest in Moclips, WA. It has the best restaurant on the Pacific coast. It puts your right at the Hoh Rain Forest. You are very close to Lake Quinault. You are also very close to the Quinault Reservation, where you can sometimes get smoked or canned salmon from the cannery.

Have a great time. It is a perfect time of year to go.

MaryW's avatar

I would choose about 5 must do’s make a map of the route and then decide the other choices.
Your list makes me want to spend the summer traveling there but here are 5:
Pilchuck glass school
Rare Print Shop
Wool mill tour
North Cascades National Park
Gular Ice Cave

gasman's avatar

Keep in mind that North Cascades Ntl. Park is a walk-in park only. There are no roads for any kind of driving tour, so bring hiking gear.

Take a ride on any of the extensive ferry boat system. Ones in & out of Elliot Bay afford a nice view of the Seattle skyline.

If you get to Tacoma, visit the Museum of Glass.

jfos's avatar

Visit the white house.

jfos's avatar

Not to be confused with the White House.

Aster's avatar

Take a ferry to Canada and see Butchart Gardens. Go up to Victoria and have hot tea in a tea house. I’m jealous.

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