From the rugged coastline stretches of the Pacific seaboard, to the high desert plateaus of Grant Country, the state of Washington is home to a kaleidoscope of natural wonders and stunning state parks. Within their borders visitors can enjoy a range of activities, both relaxing and hair-raising, while the backcountry has been hailed as a haven for hikers in the American northwest; excruciatingly beautiful and void of the crowds peppered through Oregon or California.
Here are four of Washington’s highest rated parks, with some short introductions that will hopefully help direct the eager adventurer in the right direction.
Peninsulas jut out from every direction into the salty waters of the Puget Sound, while sheer cliffs, topped with mist-covered primeval forestry, rise dramatically from the azure of the water. It’s a backdrop that’s long been touted as one of the most magnificent and rugged in all of Washington State, and today a whole host of outdoors enthusiasts come here for the walking routes, marine water sports and unrivalled sea fishing opportunities. On-site, visitors enjoy access to no fewer than 167 campsites, while there are a number of hiker’s cabins dotted throughout the trails network.
Contrary to its name this state park rarely disappoints. Not only is it home to some of Washington’s most beautiful Victorian coastline architecture (some of which is now open as accommodation), but it oozes with military history points of interest, which owe their existence to the Cape’s tactical position at the mouth of the Columbia River; a spot the Union army fortified in light of skirmishes with the British and Confederate fleets in the early 1860s. These curious stories are chronicled at the on-site Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, where there’s also parking and cliff views on offer for guests.
Originally a turn-of-the-century fortification post, this sprawling park is now a fully-fledged recreation centre; offering hiking trails and historical buildings to boot. Visitors come to explore the myriad of seafront walks and thick woodland, while the ever-present views of the Puget Sound and Washington’s Cascade Mountains to the east make for some seriously chart-topping panoramas. For guests looking to stay on-site, there are a number of boutique cabin accommodations, along with a large campground facility.
Chiselled and chipped from the surface of Washington State by the formidable pressures of Ice Age floes no less than 15,000 years ago, this dramatic desert basin now represents one of the best-loved recreation parks and wildlife centres in Grant County. Visitors enjoy all of the ubiquitous outdoorsy pursuits, from hiking to freshwater fishing, while the unique location of the Sun Lakes makes it a great place to saddle up for some horseback riding or even tee-up for a spot of golf in the midst of the desert.