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Overview

The northwest corner of the United States is well known to the world as the land that spawned Nirvana, Starbucks and Microsoft. But beyond those mixed blessings, Washington state holds an exciting blend of vital cities, vast wilderness areas, majestic mountains and dramatic seascapes. Once the domain of lumberjacks and fishermen, the state has become a haven for fresh-air fiends. Despite the often inclement weather, Washingtonians thrive on outdoor activities, whether it's snowboarding the slopes of Mt Baker, rafting down the Snake River, sea kayaking around the San Juan Islands or hiking through the misty woods of the Olympic Peninsula. ...

The northwest corner of the United States is well known to the world as the land that spawned Nirvana, Starbucks and Microsoft. But beyond those mixed blessings, Washington state holds an exciting blend of vital cities, vast wilderness areas, majestic mountains and dramatic seascapes. Once the domain of lumberjacks and fishermen, the state has become a haven for fresh-air fiends. Despite the often inclement weather, Washingtonians thrive on outdoor activities, whether it's snowboarding the slopes of Mt Baker, rafting down the Snake River, sea kayaking around the San Juan Islands or hiking through the misty woods of the Olympic Peninsula. When it's time to come in from the rain, there are plenty of music clubs, microbreweries and espresso dens. Washington is divided, both climatically and culturally, by the Cascades, a range of glaciated volcanic peaks that provide countless recreational options. To the west is the temperate, rain-soaked coastal region with the major population centers dotted along inland waterways; Seattle, the principal city, is consistently ranked among the most livable places in the U.S. for its stunning setting and alternative cultural offering. To the east unfolds the "Inland Northwest," with more sunshine, colder winters and an outlook more akin to Boise than Seattle.

Daniel C. Schechter
About the Expert

Daniel C. Schechter has contributed chapters to more than a dozen Lonely Planet guidebooks, including the Mexico, Caribbean Islands, Andalucia, Guatemala, and Pacific Northwest guides.

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Daniel C. Schechter for Triporati

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