advertisement

Washington is a big state, so don't expect to see it all in a week. However, for most people who don't live in the Northwest, Washington is that rainy region of towering evergreens, sparkling waters, and free-flowing espresso. This 1-week itinerary will allow you to explore the Washington that you may have conjured up in your mind.

Days 1 & 2: Seattle

Spend your first 2 days exploring Seattle. Start at the bustling Pike Place Market. On the waterfront, visit the Seattle Aquarium and the Olympic Sculpture Park and take a short boat tour. My favorite boat tours are the sailboat excursions offered by Emerald City Charters. Don't miss the fun Underground Tour in the Pioneer Square neighborhood. At Seattle Center, catch the view from atop the Space Needle and, if rock music and science fiction appeal to you, spend time at the Experience Music Project and the Science Fiction Museum. For world-class art, don't miss the Seattle Art Museum, and for the chance to see migrating salmon, visit the Hiram M. Chittenden Locks.

Days 3 & 4: The San Juan Islands

Depending on the time of year, take a passenger ferry or a floatplane to Friday Harbor in the San Juan Islands. Either way, you'll be in for quite an adventure. If it happens to be summer, be sure to do a whale-watching tour. Visit the Whale Museum to learn more about the region's orca whales. To learn about the island's forgotten Pig War, visit the two units of San Juan Island's San Juan Island National Historical Park. If you're a cyclist, rent a bike 1 day and explore San Juan Island or catch a ferry to Lopez Island, the best of the ferry-serviced San Juans, for cycling.

Day 5: Olympic National Park North

From the San Juans, fly back to Seattle, rent a car, and catch a ferry across Puget Sound to begin a journey out to Olympic National Park. This sprawling park preserves not only glacier-carved peaks and alpine meadows, but also wild beaches and rainforests. Spend the night either in or around Port Angeles, such as at Lake Crescent Lodge. If you have time, be sure to visit the Victorian port town of Port Townsend. In July and August, you can see lavender fields near the town of Sequim.

Day 6: Olympic National Park West

Drive out to the wilderness beaches near La Push. After a stroll or hike on Rialto, Second, or Third Beach, head to the mossy rainforest of the Hoh River Valley. Hike the Hall of Mosses Trail, and if you have time and have planned ahead, go for a short raft trip on the Hoh River. Spend the night at a lodge on Lake Quinault.

Day 7: Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

This day requires the most driving of any day in this itinerary, so get an early start. Continue around the Olympic Peninsula and then head southeast to Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, which examines the only active volcano in the contiguous United States. After visiting the monument, head north to Tacoma, which has good lodging options and several excellent museums, including the Museum of Glass and the Tacoma Art Museum.

Note: This information was accurate when it was published, but can change without notice. Please be sure to confirm all rates and details directly with the companies in question before planning your trip.