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Washington possesses some of the most incredible and contrasting natural wonders one can find within the US. Within the Cascade Mountains, which run from North to South and roughly divide the state in half, are five active volcanoes, each offering abundant unique opportunities for campers, hikers, skiers, and anyone else who loves nature. The Western half, which has 4/5 of the state's population, is the lush and green side that has abundant rainfall usually in the form of a fine mist which falls usually from October to June. While this means there are frequent gray and damp days in Western Washington, the benefit is that a verdance in the vegetation that rivals the United Kingdom. Immediately on the other side of the Cascades is Eastern Washington, and the topography could not be more dramatically different from its Western counterpart. Instead of looking like the Middle Earth from the “Lord of the Rings” trilogy, Eastern Washington appears more like the setting for Clint Eastwood's “The Good, the Bad and The Ugly”. The rainfall that soaks the Western side rarely makes its over the Cascade mountains, thus many parts of Eastern Washington get no more than 4 or 5 inches of rain a year. Consequently, the Eastern side is technically a desert. But what a desert! Eastern Washington rivals the San Joaquin Valley of California as some of the most productive and fertile farmland in the world, thanks to nutrient rich soil, irrigation, and smart agriculture. Wineries abound on this side of the state, as the climate is similar to Bordeaux and other wine producing regions of France. You don’t see landmarks in Eastern Washington as much in magazine covers or post cards. The desert side has areas of jaw-dropping beauty, particularly around the Columbia River Gorge and the Grand Coulee Dam. Within a few hours drive in Washington, you can go from a temperate rain forest, to an arid high desert. You can see glacier capped volcanoes while standing in a rolling field of wheat. In short, if you come to Washington, be sure to have a car and as much time as possible, as it will be well worth your time.
Hotels and lodgingEdit
- Seattle Oasis Vacation Rentals - Located in downtown Seattle within walking distance of most major Seattle attractions.
- Clearstay.com has vacation rentals in Washington. From Ocean Shores to Mt. Baker, you're sure to find the right vacation for your location year round.
- Three Bears Lodge Mount Rainier Cabins - Cabins located in Ashford, WA, at the entrance to Mt. Rainier.
Redmond Marriott Town Center - Located in Redmond, WA is just minutes from Microsoft and Nitendo. Excellent shopping in the area and features excellent cycling trails.
Several ideas for things to see while in Washington:
- Mount Rainier - A 14,411 foot active volcano that is the highest in the Cascade range, and the main landmark for Washington.
- Seattle - the largest city in the Northwest, Seattle is arguably the most beautiful city in the US, particularly on a cloudless day.
- Olympic National Park - A national park with rugged coastline, glacier covered mountains and a temperate rainforest.
- North Cascades National Park - One of the more remote and pristine of US national parks, North Cascades is another treasure of the mountains in Washington.
- Spokane - The largest city in Inland Northwest, and the second largest in Washington.
- Snoqualmie Falls - A beautiful waterfall which is Washington's second most visited natural attraction.
- Mount St. Helens - Active within the last year, Mt. Saint Helens is the most recent to erupt, losing over 1,000 feet of its altitude in a 1980 eruption. If you have the time, it must be seen.
Maps and transportationEdit
Getting to WashingtonEdit
The majority of flights servicing Washington arrive in and depart from the Seattle/Tacoma (or Sea-Tac as it's known). IATA airport code is SEA. A link for Sea-Tac International airport is here.
The largest major airport servicing the eastern part of Washington and the inland Northwest is Spokane International Airport. Its IATA airport code is GEG. A link for Spokane International airport is here.
The Pasco/Tri-Cities airport is the third largest in Washington. Its IATA airport code is PSC and a link for the airport is here.
Practical information and resourcesEdit
Area Codes for Washington
509 - Washington east of the Cascade Mountains, including Spokane, and the Tri-Cities.
360 - Western Washington outside of the Seattle area, including Olympia.
564 - A new additional area code covering all of Western Washington.
425 - Northern and Eastern suburbs of Seattle including Everett, Redmond, Kirkland, and Bellevue.
253 - Souther suburbs of Seattle including Kent, Renton, and Federal Way.
Average temperatures and rainfall for Seattle
|Avg high °F (°C)||46 (8)||50 (10)||53 (12)||59 (15)||67 (19)||72 (22)||77 (25)||76 (24)||70 (21)||62 (17)||53 (12)||48 (9)||62 (17)|
|Avg low temperature °F (°C)||37 (3)||38 (3)||41 (5)||45 (7)||50 (10)||53 (11)||56 (13)||57 (14)||52 (11)||47 (8)||40 (4)||39 (4)||47 (8)|
|Rainfall inches (Millimeters)||5.13 (130.3)||4.18 (106.2)||3.75 (95.2)||2.59 (65.8)||1.78 (45.2)||1.49 (37.8)||0.79 (20.1)||1.02 (25.9)||1.63 (41.4)||3.19 (81.0)||5.90 (149.9)||5.62 (142.7)||37.07 (941.5)|
Average temperatures and rainfall for Spokane
|Avg high °F (°C)||33 (1)||39 (4)||49 (9)||58 (14)||66 (19)||74 (23)||82 (28)||83 (28)||73 (23)||59 (15)||41 (5)||33 (1)||57 (16)|
|Avg low temperature °F (°C)||22 (-5)||26 (-3)||30 (-1)||36 (2)||43 (6)||49 (9)||55 (13)||55 (13)||46 (8)||36 (2)||29 (-2)||22 (-6)||47 (5)|
|Precipitation inches (Millimeters)||1.82 (46.23)||1.51 (38.35)||1.53 (38.86)||1.28 (32.51)||1.60 (40.64)||1.18 (29.97)||0.75 (19.05)||0.68 (17.27)||0.76 (19.30)||1.06 (26.92)||2.24 (56.90)||2.25 (57.15)||16.38 (416.05)|
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