Washington Bucket List: 27 Best Things to Do in Washington State

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Are you looking to add to your Washington bucket list? You’re in the right place.

Washington is a beautiful and vibrant state, full of things to do and explore no matter what your interests are. From exploring the natural wonders of the Cascade Mountains and Puget Sound to taking in the grandeur of Seattle’s skyline, there’s something for everyone in this region.

To make sure you don’t miss out on any must-see attractions, here is your Washington bucket list! You’ll find plenty of activities, sights, and adventures that will give you memories to last a lifetime. So get ready for an adventure and start crossing off these unique experiences of the best things to do in Washington state.

Washington Bucket List

Take in the view from Seattle’s Space Needle

City skyline with a mountain in the back.

The stunning view of Seattle from the Space Needle is one of the greatest attractions in Washington State. On a clear day, visitors can take in the beautiful panoramic view of both the city skyline and the natural landscape surrounding it.

For a real treat, head to the rotating restaurant, which allows visitors to get a 360-degree view of Seattle, making it an even more mesmerizing experience. On top of that, the Space Needle also provides fantastic photo opportunities for those looking to capture memories on their trip to Washington!

Taking in the scenery from this iconic landmark is a must-do activity for anyone visiting the city – no matter what time of year you come, there’s something special about getting a birds-eye view from atop the Needle that must be experienced firsthand.

Visit Hoh Rainforest

Visiting the Hoh Rainforest in Washington is one of the most magical experiences you’ll ever have. With its lush vegetation, towering trees, and unique wildlife, it’s like stepping into another dimension straight out of a fairytale.

Along with the amazing sights to see, there are plenty of activities, such as hiking along trails, camping, fishing at nearby lakes or streams, and so much more. So if you’re looking for something special to add to your Washington bucket list, there’s no better place than the Hoh Rainforest.

Spend a day in Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park is one of the best west coast parks. It offers visitors a chance to explore the rugged outdoors and experience stunning views of the Cascade Mountains. With miles of trails, lakes, rivers, and lush forests, it’s the perfect place for trekking or just spending an afternoon in nature.

The park is home to some of the most majestic wildlife in the region. You can spot deer, elk, bears, and more as you make your way through its many trails. There are also plenty of opportunities for bird watching and enjoying a picnic lunch while surrounded by nature.

If you’re looking for a great day trip with lots of outdoor fun, then Mount Rainier National Park should be at the top of your list. Spend a day soaking up its incredible beauty and exploring its wondrous wonders – you won’t regret it!

Visit Panther Creek Falls

Waterfall trickling down a green wall.

Panther Creek Falls is a stunning waterfall in Washington that offers an unforgettable experience. The falls consist of two tiers, each decorated with lush vegetation.

No matter how you explore Panther Creek Falls, it will surely be a highlight of your trip to Washington. Its combination of natural beauty and outdoor activities makes it an ideal spot for those looking for adventure while taking in some truly mesmerizing scenery.

Explore Olympia

Olympia, Washington’s capital, is home to some of the most breathtaking sights and activities. Outdoor lovers will enjoy exploring the lush parks, like Squaxin Park or Percival Landing. Stroll along the waterfront in downtown Olympia and take in the views of Puget Sound.

Art and history buffs should check out the Washington State Capitol Building and its surrounding museums. Visitors can also explore unique shopping districts with artisan boutiques, local eateries, and craft beer taprooms.

There are many reasons why exploring Olympia is one of the top activities to add to your Washington bucket list; visitors will never run out of places to explore and experience!


Where should you travel next?

Hike in North Cascades National Park

Hiking in North Cascades National Park is an experience like no other. This park is home to some of the most diverse and awe-inspiring landscapes in Washington, ranging from majestic mountains and deep valleys to lush forests and vibrant wild meadows.

With many miles of trails, there’s something for everyone – whether you’re looking for a leisurely stroll or a challenging trek through rugged terrain. Plus, you’ll be surrounded by spectacular views of more than 300 glaciers, rivers, lakes, waterfalls, and more!

The most popular trail here is the moderate Cascade Pass Trail which is about 6.7 miles in length. On average, it takes a little over 3.5 hours to fully hike.

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Have coffee at the original Starbucks

Coffee lovers rejoice! Visiting the original Starbucks in Seattle, Washington, is one of the best ways to experience some of the city’s top history and culture. Not only will you get to taste their legendary coffee (which you probably already love), but you’ll be surrounded by the very place where it all began – a classic American success story.

The cozy atmosphere of the café has been preserved since its inception in 1971 and now serves as a reminder of why visiting Seattle is so special. Plus, there’s nothing quite like sipping on an excellent cup of coffee (or two!) while admiring the memorabilia that hangs on the walls.

Whether you’re a first-time visitor or a long-time local, spending time at this iconic location is an absolute must for anyone who loves coffee and appreciates great history.

See Palouse Falls

Pink and purple sky over a giant waterfall leading into a canyon.

Palouse Falls is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington. It’s located on the Palouse River in southeast Washington and is a popular destination for tourists. The breathtaking 200-foot plunge over rocky cliffs into a picturesque canyon is an experience everyone should see at least once.

Seeing Palouse Falls is the perfect way to spend a day or weekend with family or friends, as its natural beauty will captivate anyone who visits. To top it all off, there are plenty of great restaurants nearby and other attractions, such as wineries and art galleries, that make for an enjoyable day trip.

Traverse through Olympic National Park

Visiting Olympic National Park is a great way to explore the natural beauty of Washington State. The park provides a fantastic opportunity to explore nature. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous day hike or a leisurely stroll around the park’s beaches, Olympic National Park has something for everyone.

Exploring Olympic National Park isn’t just fun – it’s educational too! You can learn about native plants and animals from knowledgeable rangers at the park’s visitor center, and take part in interactive activities designed to help visitors understand the importance of conservation in their own lives.

Attend Bite of Seattle Festival

Attending the Bite of Seattle Festival is one of the best activities for anyone visiting Washington. As the name suggests, this is a food festival with more than 200+ food vendors and 70+ musicians performing life. The best part? It’s usually completely free admission.

There’s really nothing quite like attending the Bite of Seattle Festival—if you’re ever in Washington looking for an experience unlike any other, this is definitely one not to miss.

Shop at Pike Place Market

Visiting Pike Place Market should be on everybody’s Washington bucket list. Not only does it offer a variety of fresh produce, seafood, cheeses, flowers, and more—it also offers an authentic Seattle experience.

Visitors can enjoy watching street buskers, browsing through local stores, trying out unique food trucks, and even seeing some of Seattle’s iconic sights. The vibrant sights and sounds make Pike Place Market a great place to visit when you’re in the area.

Marvel at Diablo Lake

Mountains surrounding a blue lake.

Diablo Lake is a stunning sight that should be on everyone’s list of places to see in Washington. What really makes Diablo Lake stand out is its unique color – a bright turquoise shade. This surreal hue is especially beautiful during sunrise and sunset when it reflects off the mountain peaks and creates an otherworldly atmosphere.

One of the best things to do at Diablo Lake is to kayak or canoe, so definitely add this place to your must-do list in Washington.

Relax at Point Defiance Park

Situated in Tacoma, Washington, Point Defiance Park is a 760-acre urban park filled with fun attractions. In fact, throughout the park, you can find a zoo, a botanical garden, and even an aquarium.

Plus there are trails for you to explore and many spots for you to sit and enjoy a picnic throughout the park. What could be better?

Explore Moulton Falls Regional Park

If you love the great outdoors, don’t miss out on a visit to Moulton Falls Regional Park in Yacolt. This park has one of the most picturesque bridges in the entire state and has two different waterfalls. Be sure to take part in the 5.3-mile out-and-back trail for impeccable views.

Visit Rialto Beach

The sun peeking over the ocean as waves crash against rocks.

Rialto Beach is a public beach right along the ocean near Olympic National Park. This unique beach has some of the best coastline views and is incredibly picturesque year-round. You’ve probably seen it in many pictures!

Day trip to the San Juan Islands

Many people don’t know about the San Juan Islands, which is why they should be added to your Washington bucket list. This archipelago is breathtaking.

The best way to get there is to take the four-hour San Juan Clipper ferry from Pier 69 in Seattle. It only runs between April and October.

See Stonehenge Memorial

Yes, Washington has its own Stonehenge! Stonehenge Memorial is actually a replica of the one in England, but this one is located in Maryhill. If you won’t be making it out to the one in England anytime soon, don’t miss out on the one in Washington.

It was built back in the early 20th century and was commissioned by a wealthy man named Sam Hill. He dedicated it to those who died in WWI.

Relax in the Scenic Hot Springs

Scenic Hot Springs in Washington is one of the most unique places to visit, but note that it’s on private land and you do have to request permission to visit. There’s also a maximum of 10 people at a time. The area is breathtaking, surrounded by the National Forest.

Walk through Spokane’s Duncan Garden

A clean bench surrounded by a garden.

Do you like beautiful gardens? One of Washington’s best is Duncan Garden in Spokane. It’s very reminiscent of the gardens you’d see abroad in Europe. Spend time relaxing on the benches or walking on the beautiful walkways.

Read in Seattle Central Library

One of our favorite free things to do in any city is to stop by the library, so why not enjoy Seattle Public Library in Washington? It’s 11 stories and is a unique structure that will take your breath away.

Plus, if you have to do any remote work in Washington, this is a great place to go. You could even grab a coffee at a nearby cafe and pop in to get some work done.

Snap a photo at the gum wall

Now, the gum wall is really one of those attractions that you’ll either love or hate. It’s truly a wall just covered in used chewing gum! It’s located near Pike Place Market and is a top photo spot in the city.

Photograph Cape Flattery

Cape Flattery is a beautiful spot in the northwest part of the USA. The turquoise waters here will easily take your breath away. There’s a short 3/4 mile hike that will bring you to a viewing platform where you can take in the view.

Keep in mind that Cape Flattery is all the way on the coast and is on the border, so it’s about a 4-hour drive from Seattle. However, it’s very worth it!

Stand in awe at Ruby Beach

Yes, there’s another beach to add to your Washington bucket list, and it’s Ruby Beach. It’s right near Olympic National Park, not far from Forks (yes, that Forks). Many say that it’s one of the state’s prettiest beaches, so you’ll have to see it for yourself to see if you agree with them.

Trek across Deception Pass Bridge

A green bridge stretches across a turquoise river.

Deception Pass Bridge is one of the most visited bridges in Washington. It stands at 177 feet tall and was built back in the 1930s. Be sure to stop by and walk all the way across; it’s about a mile out and back and takes around 40 minutes. But the views from the bridge are unbeatable.

Go into the Ape Cave

Ape Cave is one of the spots that not many people know about! It’s a lava tube that’s a few miles long, and you can take a trail beneath the trees to check it out. It’s the 3rd longest lava tube in all of North America and is one of those hidden gems in the state.

Keep in mind that reservations are needed between May and October.

Visit the vineyards in Walla Walla

Yes, there’s really a city called Walla Walla in Washington state! It’s in the county by the same name. This is said to be one of the best wine counties in the entire country, and there are more than 100 different wineries here. So, stop by and try some of the local wine!

Spend a day in Leavenworth

White and red German-style building under a blue sky.

Last but certainly not least is a little town called Leavenworth. It’s blown up a bit on Tiktok, but in case you haven’t heard of it, it’s a town that looks like it belongs in Germany because of its Bavarian-style buildings in the Cascade Mountains.

If you can’t make it to Germany this holiday season, head to Leavenworth!

Final Thoughts: Best Things to do in Washington State

Washington is a great place to explore and experience new things. Whether you’re looking for an adventurous outdoor adventure, a night out with friends, or just want to take in the beauty of nature, Washington has something for everyone.

From hiking trails to bustling city streets, there’s no shortage of fun activities and beautiful sights to see. No matter what you choose to do on your trip, you’ll be sure to have a great time exploring Washington!

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