Chuckanut Drive: This road winds south from Bellingham through the Chuckanut Mountains that rise straight up from the waters of Chuckanut and Samish bays. Across the water lie the San Juan Islands, and sunsets are spectacular. Larrabee State Park provides a chance to get out of your car and walk down to a pretty little beach.
Hood Canal: Despite the name, this is not a canal but, rather, a long narrow bay up the west side of which runs U.S. 101. The highway hugs the water for much of the route and the views are exquisitely tranquil, especially in the early morning and late afternoon.
North Cascades Scenic Highway: Passing through the most rugged and spectacular mountains in the Northwest, this highway did not open until 1972 due to the difficulty of building any road through Washington's glacier-carved North Cascades. Heavy snows and avalanches keep the highway closed for half the year.
Columbia River Scenic Highway: Wash. 14 parallels the Columbia River from Vancouver, Wash., eastward through the Columbia Gorge, and it has some of the most awe-inspiring vistas in the Northwest. Visible across the river in Oregon are not only the waterfalls and basalt cliffs of the gorge but also the snow-clad summit of Mount Hood.
Yakima River Canyon: Wash. 821, which connects Ellensburg with Yakima, is a little-known gem of a road. This route follows the Yakima River through a deep canyon bounded by rolling sagebrush hills and is a scenic alternative to high-speed but bland I-82.
The Palouse: This wheat-farming region in southeastern Washington is a convoluted landscape of steep hills and narrow valleys. A meandering drive through the region is a trip back in time. Small towns and boldly striped hillsides make it the most fascinating farm country in the state.
Soap Lake to the Grand Coulee Dam: The landscape of central Washington is today dominated by high desert sagebrush scrublands, but at the end of the last ice age, vast floodwaters once poured across this region. A drive through this water-carved landscape provides a glimpse into one of the most fascinating events in Northwest geologic history. In addition to today's cliff-ringed reservoirs, there are rugged canyons, mineral lakes, caves, and a dry waterfall.
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.