Washington is the only state named after a president. Covering an area of 184,827 km², there are three major landscape types that characterize the scenic diversity of this great state. The coastal landscapes of the Olympic Peninsula are dominated by lush forests. Most major cities are located in the green and wet Puget Sound region. And in the north, the peaks of the Cascade Mountains dominate – a region of the state with significantly less precipitation.
In summer the sun shines more than 17 hours a day. This not only delights visitors to this state, but also allows grapes to thrive. With more than 500 wineries, Washington is now one of the leading wine producers in the USA. There are excellent wines in the Yakima Valley or in Walla Walla. But not only wine lovers get their money’s worth in Washington: The state is also a leader in the cultivation of hops. Therefore, almost every small town has one of the many “microbreweries”. Washington also has a lot to offer in culinary terms: In addition to first-class fish and numerous seafood, you will find a large variety of local products that you can discover and try at the numerous farmers’ markets.
According to collegetoppicks, Washington’s sensations, however, lie above all in the varied nature: the 4,800 km long coast impresses with its diversity and offers holidaymakers almost all kinds of water sports. The mountain ranges attract hikers, mountain bikers and campers in summer and skiers and snowboarders in winter. Three national parks and more than 139 state parks protect the most valuable natural beauties and invite to outdoor activities. The Hoh Rainforest on the Olympic Peninsula, for example, is particularly impressive and is one of the last intact primeval forests in the temperate zones.
A special attraction is the Mount Rainier National Park with its 26 glaciers and the highest peak of the still active volcano, which towers 4,392 m high. North Cascades National Park is also very popular, with its waterfalls, forests and wildflower meadows, ideal for hiking and mountaineering. The crater of the still active Mount St. Helens, which still shows the traces of the last major eruption in 1980, is impressive.
The 700-island archipelago of the San Juan Islands, which has been a national monument since 2013, is still an insider tip. Only 172 of the islands have a name. Ferries depart from Nancorts to the four major islands of Lopez, Shaw, Orcas and San Juan. The relatively flat islands are a paradise for cyclists. The horseshoe-shaped Orcas is the hilliest island – the 734 m high Mount Constitution offers a magnificent view of the surrounding area. Killer whales (orcas) can also be observed in the waters around the islands. Especially in summer, when the animals forage for food very close to San Juan, you can watch them without binoculars directly from the Lime Kiln State Park lookout (also called Whale Watch Park).
Location and size
Washington is located in the northwest of the USA and has an area of 184,827 km². In comparison, Germany is almost twice as big. Washington is bordered by Canadian British Columbia to the north, Idaho to the east, Oregon to the south, and the Pacific Ocean to the west. 4,000 km² of the state is covered with water.
Around 7.1 million people live in Washington. Seattle accounts for around 684,000 and the capital Olympia for 48,300. The average population density per square kilometer is only 39 people (compared to Germany’s 229 people per km²). Almost 90% of the residents are of European origin. There are also 20 reservations for descendants of the indigenous people.
is the only state named after an American President and became the 42nd state to join the Union on November 11, 1889.
In Washington, the time difference to Central Europe is -9 hours. The state belongs to the Pacific Time Zone.
Arriving by plane
Washington can be reached by plane via Seattle Airport, Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA-TAC). The airport is 14 miles south of Seattle.
Portland International Airport in Portland, Oregon is an alternative for vacationers heading to southern Washington. If you want to combine your stay in Washington State with a holiday in the Canadian province of British Columbia, you can also choose Vancouver as your destination airport.
Washington’s climate is divided into two zones by the Cascade Range mountains. West of the elevation one experiences mild winters (January average: 0 to 4°C) and cool summers. Due to the Pacific it is rainy, but the precipitation is not very heavy. East of the Cascade Ranges have cooler winters (January average: -7 to +1°C) and drier, warmer summers.
|Average temperatures in Olympia, Washington in °C|