Five Hidden Gem Destinations in Washington State We Think You’ll Love
Living in BC, it’s more than likely you’ve visited Washington State at some point, but have you really explored the destinations and experiences that make the state so unique? Most visitors from BC make a beeline for Seattle to shop, see a concert, or take in a sporting event. And some visitors don’t even make it that far, preferring to shop at the outlet malls and stores close to the border. If this applies to you, you’re missing out because there are fantastic things to see and do in every corner of Washington State. Here are a few off-the-beaten-path places we think you’ll love.
La Conner – Where Romance Blooms
Frequently voted as the most romantic getaway in Washington State, this charming historic village is located on the Swinomish Channel approximately two hours south of Vancouver and one hour north of Seattle. Stroll the marina to admire the boats, explore the quaint shops and art galleries on Morris and First Streets, or enjoy delicious local seafood at one of the outstanding restaurants. La Conner is a fabulous destination all year round, but our favourite time to visit is Spring when the area hosts the La Conner Daffodil Festival in March and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival in April. What better way to celebrate the arrival of spring than with millions of flowers bursting into bloom?
Winthrop – Washington’s Wild West
Located in the magnificent Methow Valley in north-central Washington, Winthrop is an old west town with wooden boardwalks and plenty of western charm. Step back in time as you stroll the picturesque downtown and visit the local shops, restaurants, and the museum. Or visit Three Fingered Jacks, the oldest (legal) saloon in Washington State. Surrounded by natural beauty, there is also a lot to explore outdoors including hiking, skiing, camping, fishing, biking, and the list goes on. If you visit in early March, you might even get to experience the Winthrop Hot Air Balloon Festival, a three-day event that is a photographer’s dream.
San Juan Island – The Perfect Island Getaway
Just a short ferry ride away from Anacortes, WA or Victoria, BC lies another world on San Juan Island, the second-largest and most populous of the 172 San Juan Islands. Art gallery hop, taste expertly prepared fresh seafood, or enjoy locally brewed beer. If you’re looking for more adventure try world-class whale watching, hourly or multi-day kayaking excursions, or hike the South Beach Trail to see the location occupied by U.S. soldiers during the Pig War of the 1860s. With a wealth of luxury accommodations to choose from, you’ll have no trouble finding somewhere to relax and get away from it all.
Yakima Valley – Grape Expectations
It might surprise you to learn that just over the Cascade Mountains from lush and green Seattle, there is a whole other world of rolling hills and desert perfect for growing wine. With over 120 wineries within a 70-mile radius, Yakima is the perfect base to taste your heart out. When sampling the wine in Washington State, look for red blends called “Bordeaux Style” which are a specialty of the region. These blends are typically Cabernet and Merlot blended with Syrah and Malbec. Dry Rieslings are another highlight thanks to the high-altitude vineyards. If you just can’t drink another glass, there are so many other things to occupy yourself, including organic farms, river rafting, fishing, and delicious farm-to-table cuisine. Take me with you!!
Leavenworth – A Taste of the Bavarian Alps
High in the Cascade Mountains in central Washington State lies the enchanting Bavarian-style village of Leavenworth. Regardless of the season, Leavenworth is always putting on a show. In the winter the entire town is lit up in spectacular fashion with more than half a million lights and you can enjoy sleighrides, skiing, and snowshoeing. In the spring is Maifest, a traditional festival that heralds the arrival of spring Bavarian-style. In the summer, travellers flock to the Leavenworth Theatre festival, famous for its annual production of The Sound of Music. And in the fall, an authentic Oktoberfest celebration takes over the town. There is no bad time to visit this gem!
Let Us Take You There
Since these are some of our favourite destinations, we typically visit them on our tours at least once per year. Here are a few of our available tours you don’t want to miss.
Easter Getaway to Sun Mountain Lodge
Experience the magnificent Sun Mountain Lodge, perched atop the 3,000-foot, snow-covered foothills of the North Cascades near Winthrop. Enjoy the views, visit the spa and the pool, take a walk on the trails, or relax with a book. This is the perfect time to visit as spring should bring beautiful wildflowers. As an added bonus, the lodge chef has planned a wonderful Easter Sunday dinner.
Skagit Tulip Festival
Every spring the Skagit Valley explodes in an abundance of colour when the tulips blossom. A local guide takes us through this floral extravaganza.We also spend a morning in La Conner, take a cruise along Swinomish Channel and feast on local seafood delicacies. This tour stays at the luxurious Tulalip Resort and Casino. Come and enjoy the blossoms and colours of the Skagit Valley.
Leavenworth Summer Theatre
Leavenworth celebrates the summer of 2019 with its 25th season of theatre, anchored by its signature production, The Sound of Music. Experience the magic of theatre under the stars as you watch the show outdoors at the Ski Hill. The sun falls behind the ridge, the moon rises over the valley, and Maria actually descends the hillside singing the title song. We also enjoy a performance of the classic musical Hello Dolly!