A car is by far the best way to see the state of Washington. There is no other way to get to the more remote natural spectacles or to fully appreciate such regions as the Olympic Peninsula.
Gasoline -- Washington is a big state, so keep your gas tank as full as possible when traveling in the mountains or on the sparsely populated east side of the Cascades.
Maps -- Maps are available at most highway tourist information centers, at the tourist information offices listed earlier in this chapter, and at gas stations throughout the region. For a free map of Washington, call the Washington State Tourism Office (tel. 800/544-1800).
Driving Rules -- A right turn on red is permitted after first coming to a complete stop. You may also turn left on a red light if you're in the far left lane of a one-way street and are turning into another one-way street. Seat belts are required, as are car seats for children.
Breakdowns/Assistance -- In the event of a breakdown, stay with your car, lift the hood, turn on your emergency flashers, and wait for a police patrol car.
Washington is a large state, and if you're trying to see every corner of it in a short time, you may want to consider flying. In addition to Sea-Tac, there are airports with regularly scheduled commercial flights in Bellingham, Whidbey Island, Port Angeles, Wenatchee, Yakima, Walla Walla, and Spokane. Fares vary, but at press time, a one-way flight between Bellingham and Spokane (with a stop in Seattle) on Alaska Airlines started at $99, and went as high as $203. Alaska Airlines/Horizon Air (tel. 800/252-7522; www.alaskaair.com) services many of the airports in the state and offers the most short-hop flights.
Kenmore Air (tel. 866/435-9524 or 425/486-1257; www.kenmoreair.com) offers seaplane service between Seattle and the San Juan Islands and Victoria, British Columbia. Its Seattle terminals are at the south end of Lake Union and at the north end of Lake Washington. San Juan Airlines (tel. 800/874-4434; www.sanjuanairlines.com) flies to the San Juans from Bellingham and Anacortes.
There is Amtrak service from Seattle to Spokane and points east, and service between Vancouver, British Columbia, Seattle, Portland, and points south, but otherwise, the train isn't a viable way of getting around Washington state. If you do decide to take the train, booking early will save you money.
Washington State Ferries (tel. 800/843-3779 or 888/808-7977 within Washington, or 206/464-6400; www.wsdot.wa.gov/ferries) is the most extensive ferry system in the United States.
Several smaller ferries operate between Port Angeles and Victoria, British Columbia, including Black Ball Transport (tel. 360/457-4491, or 250/386-2202 in Victoria; www.cohoferry.com) and Victoria Express (tel. 360/452-8088 or 250/361-9144; www.victoriaexpress.com). Victoria Clipper (tel. 800/888-2535, 206/448-5000, or 250/382-8100; www.victoriaclipper.com) has passenger-ferry service between Seattle and Victoria, British Columbia, and between Seattle and the San Juans (summer only).
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.