Olympic National Park
Mountains, isolated stretches of coast, forests and spectacular views are all part and parcel of this vast 1,400 square-mile wilderness. Hike through wildflower meadows to the rugged crags and glaciers of Mount Olympus; go swimming in Lake Crescent; explore the giant ferns of the forests; view the sea stacks and islands that dot the spray-strewn coastline; and leave the crowds far behind.
San Juan Islands
Accessible by ferry from Seattle or by seaplane, the islands in this group have unique personalities. Lopez has rolling fields and pastures, whereas beautiful Orcas Island is dramatically mountainous. San Juan is the largest, home to the bustling port of Friday Harbor. It's the perfect place for sea kayaking trips and for spotting orca and mink whales, harbor seals and bald eagles.
The North-West's highest peak and its 27 glaciers lies just 58 miles east of Seattle. There's fantastic walking and driving throughout the Park, with stunning wildflowers carpeting the land from July to August. The Sunrise viewpoint offers panoramic views over the mountain and Emmons Glacier - the largest in the US outside Alaska.
Even if you don't fancy walking, there's some spectacular sights you can access on four wheels. The Cascades Loop circles through the Cascades mountains, past glacier-fed lakes and along river valleys rich with wildlife. Or follow the Columbia River Scenic Highway for breathtaking views of plunging cliffs and frothing waterfalls.
Mount St. Helens
Visit Washington State and see a live volcano! Mount St Helens blew its top in spectacular style in 1980 and there was a smaller eruption as late as 2004. You can get a good look at the sometimes-smoking crater from the Johnston Ridge Observatory and learn all about the volcano's explosive history at the various visitor centres.