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Overview

You'll never fall into the tourist traps when you travel with Frommer's. It's like having a friend show you around, taking you to the places locals like best. Our expert authors have already gone everywhere you might go--they've done the legwork for you, and they're not afraid to tell it like it is, saving you time and money. No other series offers candid reviews of so many hotels and restaurants in all price ranges. Every Frommer's Travel Guide is up-to-date, with exact prices for everything, dozens of color maps, and exciting coverage of sports, shopping, and nightlife. You'd be lost without us!

Meticulously researched, with every recommendation based on personal experience, Frommer's Washington State is the only guide you'll need to experience all the adventure and natural wonders of this amazing corner of the Pacific Northwest. In this detailed and completely up-to-date guide, you'll find great places to stay in every price range: sleek Seattle business hotels, romantic coastal inns, historic B&Bs, family-friendly motels, rustic cabins, and more.

We'll make sure that you don't miss any of Washington's top experiences: checking out Seattle's galleries and coffee bars, sampling the vintages at up-and-coming wineries, whale watching in the San Juan Islands, biking on bucolic Whidbey Island, hiking Mount Rainier, marveling at Mount St. Helens, and exploring the wondrous temperate rain forest in Olympic National Park. Whether you're looking for family fun or daredevil thrills, Frommer's Washington State will help you design the adventure that's right for you.

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Editorial Reviews

From Barnes & Noble
Frommer's guidebooks are packed with the essentials: maps, expert advice, and recommendations for the top places to eat, sleep, shop, and simply relax. Frommer's guides offer more hotel listings than most other series and also include an excellent opening chapter that highlights the best of each destination -- those absolute don't-miss experiences that will make your trip something special. Art, music, fine dining, and much more are covered in detail, with all costs, directions, and other vital information included.
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Product Details

  • ISBN-13: 9780764544712
  • Publisher: Wiley, John & Sons, Incorporated
  • Publication date: 4/5/2004
  • Series: Frommer's Complete Series , #4
  • Edition number: 4
  • Pages: 384
  • Product dimensions: 5.14 (w) x 8.48 (h) x 0.88 (d)

Meet the Author

Karl Samson lives in Oregon, where he spends his time juggling his obsessions with traveling, gardening, outdoor sports, and wine. Each winter, to dry out his webbed feet, he flees the soggy Northwest to update the Frommer’s Arizona guide. However, he always looks forward to his return to the land of good espresso. Karl is also the author of Frommer’s Seattle.
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Table of Contents

List of Maps.

What’s New in Washington.

1. The Best of Washington.

2. Planning Your Trip to Washington.

3. For International Visitors.

4. Seattle.

5. The San Juan Islands, Whidbey Island & the Emerald Coast.

6. South Puget Sound & West Sound.

7. The Olympic Peninsula.

8. Southwest Washington.

9. The Cascades.

10. Eastern Washington.

Index.

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First Chapter

Frommer's Washington State


By Karl Samson

John Wiley & Sons

ISBN: 0-7645-4471-3


Chapter One

The Best of Washington

Despite what you may have heard to the contrary, there is more to Washington state than lattes, rain, and Microsoft. Washington is actually such a diverse state that it could have served as a model for the song "America the Beautiful." Out in the eastern high desert country, there are beautiful spacious skies as big as Montana's (part of the Rocky Mountains even reaches into Washington). In the Cascades, there are mountains that turn majestically purple at sunset. In the Palouse country of the southeastern corner of the state, amber waves of grain stripe the steep hillsides. In the Yakima, Wenatchee, and Chelan valleys, the fruited plains produce the world's most familiar apples (and some pretty good wine, too). Out on the Pacific Coast, there are beaches white with foam, and with an inland sea across the Olympic Peninsula from the Pacific, the sun in Washington shines from sea to shining sea. From its mountains to its valleys, Washington is indeed beautiful country.

But the diversity of this state goes far beyond mere song lyrics. There's an island archipelago as beautiful as the coast of Maine (though without the harsh winters). There are beaches as long and sandy as those of North Carolina's Outer Banks (though the waters are too cold for swimming). There are granite mountains as rugged as the Sierra Nevada (though not as crowded with hikers). There are desert canyons like those of the Southwest (though not nearly as hot). There are vineyard-covered hillsides like those of the Napa Valley (though without the crowds). There's even a bayfront city with dauntingly steep streets (no cable cars, though).

With such a complex and diverse landscape to be explored, planning a trip can become a daunting task. Where should we go? Where should we stay? Where should we eat? Planning a trip to Washington involves making a lot of these sorts of decisions, and, especially if you only have a week for your entire trip, you probably want to be sure you get the most from your trip. To help you get a better a grip on the state's highlights, its not-to-be-missed attractions and activities, we've put together this list of some of the best the state has to offer. Keep in mind that most are written up in more detail elsewhere in this book, but this chapter will give you an overview and get you started.

1 The Best Natural Attractions

The San Juan Islands: Forested mountains rise up from the cold waters north of Puget Sound to form the archipelago known as the San Juan Islands. Here, bald eagles wheel overhead while orca whales dive for salmon below. All this natural beauty is a powerful magnet and, despite the hordes of tourists in the summer, the San Juans remain the state's best summer vacation spot. See "The San Juan Islands" in chapter 5.

Olympic National Park: This park contains the only rainforests in the contiguous United States, and they comprise a fascinating ecosystem-living plants stake out almost every square inch of space, from towering Sitka spruce trees to mosses and lush ferns. The park also preserves miles of pristine, fog-shrouded beaches and beautiful alpine and subalpine scenery dotted with lush meadows. See chapter 7.

The North Cascades National Park Complex: Actually comprised of one national park and two national recreation areas, this remote and rugged region is among the least explored in the state. Most visitors view the park from the North Cascades Scenic Highway, from which there are stupendous views on clear days, but which is closed by snow for nearly half the year. See "Mount Baker & the North Cascades Scenic Highway" in chapter 9. Mount Rainier National Park: With its glaciers and easily accessible alpine meadows, Mount Rainier is Washington's favorite mountain. Sunrise and Paradise are the two best vantage points for viewing the massive bulk of Mount Rainier, and in these two areas of the park, you'll also find some of the best hiking trails. See "Mount Rainier National Park & Environs" in chapter 9.

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument: Mount St. Helens is slowly recovering from the 1980 volcanic blast that turned one of the Cascades' most beautiful peaks into a scarred landscape of fallen trees and fields of ash. Several visitor centers relate the events of the eruption and what has been happening on the mountain since. See "Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument" in chapter 9.

Columbia Gorge National Scenic Area: Carved by ice-age floods that were as much as 1,200 feet deep, the Columbia Gorge is a unique feature of the Northwest landscape. Waterfalls by the dozen cascade from the basalt cliffs on the Oregon side of the Gorge, but the best wide-angle views are from the Washington side, where you'll also find one of the largest monoliths in the world. See "The Columbia Gorge & the Mount Adams Area" in chapter 9.

2 The Best Outdoor Activities

Sea Kayaking in the San Juan Islands: Emerald islands, clear water, orca whales, bald eagles, and remote campsites that can only be reached by boat lure sea kayakers to the San Juan Islands. You can paddle the islands on your own (if you're experienced) or go out with a guide for a few hours or a few days. See "The San Juan Islands" in chapter 5.

Hiking the Olympic Coast: Within the contiguous United States, there are very few miles of wilderness coastline left. Among the longest, and most spectacular, are those of Olympic National Park along the west side of the Olympic Peninsula. Whether you just want to do a good daylong hike, or spend several days backpacking along the beach, you've got several options along this coast. See chapter 7.

Cross-Country Skiing in the Methow Valley: This valley on the east side of Washington's North Cascades has more than 100 miles of immaculately groomed trails, making it one of the premier cross-country ski destinations in the country. Skiers can ski from one lodge to the next down the valley, or use one of the luxurious lodges as a base for doing day skis. See "Winthrop & the Methow Valley" in chapter 9.

Hiking on Mount Rainier: Fed by huge amounts of melting snow each summer, the meadows of wildflowers on the flanks of Mount Rainier burst into bloom each year in July. Through these colorful hillsides meander miles of hiking trails that are among the most memorable in the state. Sure you'll encounter crowds, but the wildflower displays, with Mount Rainier for a backdrop, far outweigh the inconvenience of dealing with hordes of other hikers. See "Mount Rainier National Park & Environs" in chapter 9. Climbing Mount St. Helens: Though it isn't the highest peak in the Washington Cascades, Mount St. Helens is certainly the most interesting mountain to climb (you'll need a permit, and numbers of climbers are limited). You don't need any technical climbing skills for this one, just plenty of stamina and a tolerance for hiking in dusty conditions (if the snow has melted off, you'll be hiking in volcanic ash). See "Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument" in chapter 9.

Windsurfing at Hood River: Winds that blow through the Columbia Gorge whip up white-capped standing waves and have turned this area into the windsurfing capital of the United States, attracting boardsailors from around the world. See "The Columbia Gorge & the Mount Adams Area" in chapter 9.

3 The Best Beaches

Alki Beach (Seattle): Located in West Seattle, this is the closest Washington comes to a Southern California-style beach scene. There's a sandy beach and a paved path crowded with in-line skaters, walkers, and cyclists. Across the street from the sand, you'll find lots of cheap restaurants and places to buy sunglasses. See chapter 4. Obstruction Pass State Park (Orcas Island): Set at the end of a half-mile-long trail through the woods, this tiny cove is barely big enough for a dozen sea kayakers to beach their boats, but therein lies this beach's charm. This is the quintessential little San Juan Islands cove beach, and you don't have to have a boat to get to it. See "The San Juan Islands" in chapter 5. Deception Pass State Park Beaches (Whidbey Island): There's a reason this is the most popular state park in Washington-the many miles of beach, spread out on two sides of Deception Pass, are among the prettiest in the Puget Sound area. See "Whidbey Island" in chapter 5.

Dungeness Spit (Dungeness): With 6 miles of windswept sand stretching out to a lighthouse in the Strait of Juan de Fuca, Dungeness is a hikers' beach, and the reward for hiking several miles out this narrow strip of sand is the chance to see some of the area's resident harbor seals. See "Sequim & Dungeness Valley" in chapter 7. Rialto Beach (Olympic National Park outside Forks): Located on the north side of the Quillayute River, this beach is the southern terminus of a 29-mile-long stretch of wilderness beach. However, most visitors simply walk a mile up the beach to Hole in the Wall, a huge monolith through which the ocean's waves have bored a tunnel. See "Olympic National Park West" in chapter 7.

Second Beach & Third Beach (Olympic National Park outside Forks): It's difficult to pick the best beach in the national park, since they are almost all ruggedly beautiful, but these two beaches just outside the community of La Push are our personal favorites. Here you can listen to the calls of the eagles and gulls and contemplate the sheer vastness of the Pacific. See "Olympic National Park West" in chapter 7.

4 The Best Hikes

Trails Out of Hurricane Ridge: Hurricane Ridge is the most easily accessible alpine region of Olympic National Park, and from here, and nearby Obstruction Peak, there are several possible hikes that will give you a glimpse of a superb part of the Olympic wilderness. See "Olympic National Park North & the Northern Olympic Peninsula" in chapter 7.

Hall of Mosses Trail/Hoh River Trail (Hoh River Valley): Whether you're only up for a short walk in the woods or want to do a multi-day backpacking trip, this is the best place to experience the Olympic Peninsula's famed rainforest. Just don't forget your rain gear. See "Olympic National Park West" in chapter 7.

The Maple Pass Loop Trail: Along the North Cascades Scenic Highway, you simply won't find a more rewarding hike than this one. The trail climbs nearly 2,000 feet from Rainy Pass to a ridge with an astounding view of seemingly all the mountains in Washington. See "Mount Baker & the North Cascades Scenic Highway" in chapter 9.

Trails Out of Sunrise: The Sunrise area, on the northeast flanks of Washington's Mount Rainier, offers fabulous unobstructed views of both the mountain and Emmons Glacier, the largest glacier in the contiguous 48 states. From Sunrise more than a dozen trails of different lengths head off to viewpoints and lakes. Take your pick. See "Mount Rainier National Park & Environs" in chapter 9. The Beacon Rock Trail (Columbia Gorge West of Stevenson): Although this hike is less than 2 miles long, it makes up for its short length with its steep pitch. In fact, much of the trail is on metal stairs bolted to the sheer cliff face of Beacon Rock, a massive monolith that rivals the Rock of Gibraltar in size. The view from the top is superb. See "The Columbia Gorge & the Mount Adams Area" in chapter 9.

5 The Best Scenic Drives

Chuckanut Drive: This road winds south from Bellingham through the Chuckanut Mountains, which rise straight up from the waters of Chuckanut and Samish bays. Across the water lie the San Juan Islands, and the sunsets are spectacular. Larrabee State Park provides an opportunity to get out of your car and walk down to a pretty little beach. See "Bellingham & Environs" in chapter 5.

The North Cascades Scenic Highway: Passing through the most rugged and spectacular mountains in the Northwest, this highway was not opened until 1972 because of the difficulty of building any sort of road through Washington's glacier-carved North Cascades. Even now it is closed for half of every year due to heavy snows and avalanches. See "Mount Baker & the North Cascades Scenic Highway" in chapter 9. The Columbia River Scenic Highway: Wash. 14 parallels the Columbia River from Vancouver, Washington, eastward through the Columbia Gorge, and along its length provides some of the most awe-inspiring vistas in the Northwest. Visible across the river in Oregon are not only the basalt cliffs of the Gorge but also the snow-clad summit of Mount Hood. See "The Columbia Gorge & the Mount Adams Area" in chapter 9.

The Yakima River Canyon: Wash. 821, which connects Ellensburg with Yakima, is a little-known gem of a road. This route follows the Yakima River through a deep canyon bounded by rolling sagebrush hills and is a memorable alternative to I-82, which also connects Ellensburg and Yakima. See chapter 10.

Continues...


Excerpted from Frommer's Washington State by Karl Samson Excerpted by permission.
All rights reserved. No part of this excerpt may be reproduced or reprinted without permission in writing from the publisher.
Excerpts are provided by Dial-A-Book Inc. solely for the personal use of visitors to this web site.

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