Looking for nature in Washington state? In this travel guide, we’re featuring some of the best Washington nature attractions!
With 120 state parks, 3 national parks, 2 national monuments among others, nature attractions are definitely abundant in the state of Washington, USA, rightfully nicknamed the “Evergreen State” for its evergreen forests.
During a trip to Seattle, my family and I also went on a road trip for four days to explore more of the Evergreen State.
With so many things to do in the state, we focused our trip more on the beautiful Washington nature.
And if you were following along on Instagram @JourneyTraveler, they were breathtakingly beautiful even with limited hiking involved!
Best Washington Nature Attractions
There is an abundance of nature in Washington!
From rain forests to high plains, Washington is one of the most nature-endowed states in the United States.
You’ll get to see different natural wonders like alpine lakes, glacial mountains, hot springs, volcanoes, and lots of wildlife
So when you plan your visit to the Evergreen State, be sure to slow down, go outdoors and be one with nature!
Here are some of the best things to do in Washington for nature and outdoors.
Mount Rainier National Park
A trip to the Evergreen State is not complete without visiting the Mount Rainier National Park, one of the best and most popular Washington nature attractions.
At 14,410-feet, the majestic Mount Rainier is one of the tallest peaks in the USA and the most glaciated in contiguous USA.
It’s crowned as one of the world’s largest volcanoes and is a national park with 97-percent reserved as wilderness under the National Wilderness Preservation System.
Mount Rainier National Park has been titled a “National Historic Landmark” with over 2 million visitors a year, encouraging the growing flora and fauna of the reserve.
The beauty of the park is not only in the scenery but also in the opportunities for exploration and activities it offers year-round.
Ranging from scenic drives and treks to admire the nature and greenery of the park to camping with the stars, Mount Rainier National park offers you the escape you need to find your zen.
For those who are intrigued by adventure, hikes and mountain climbing are not far behind on the to-do list when visiting this popular Washington nature attraction.
Travelling Foodie Tip: The Henry M. Jackson Visitor Center is a good place to start. It already has amazing views of Mount Rainier, and has trails that start from there.
Fishing, skiing, wildflower viewing and snowboarding are exciting seasonal activities that are too fun to miss out on.
This national park is also good for non-hikers because there are a lot of overlooks.
Aside from mountains and trees, there are waterfalls as well.
The Narada Falls is a popular stop because of its two tier waterfall drops.
Did you know? The name of the falls, Narada, is the Hindi word for “pure”.
Travelling Foodie Tip: One spot that will give you the best views without much effort is at Reflection Lakes.
There is a small trail joining two separate parking lots for Reflection Lakes, which will showcase different reflections and sceneries.
With many attractions to visit while relaxing and taking a trip to de-stress, Mount Rainier National Park is the place to visit when you want release your worries and enjoy mother nature in Washington.
A picture serenely painted on the face of the earth, Cape Flattery in Washington is a display of the glorious beauty of nature.
The northwestern most tip of contiguous USA, Cape Flattery is in the northern tip of the Olympic Peninsula.
This must-visit Washington nature attraction only requires little effort but offers big rewards.
Located at the bay of the Pacific Ocean, the space is paradise for nature enthusiasts and a sanctuary for wildlife.
The perfect location for a getaway or to lose yourself in the picturesque setting with your camera, it is full of deep coves to explore and majestic sea stacks to visit.
With lush rainforests to trek through and enjoy, there is a trail you can hike along in Cape Flattery.
The trail is nice and short, and takes around 30 minutes.
After an approximate 3/4-mile hike amidst moss covered trees and broken branches, there will be faint sounds of the sea whispering in your ears.
The first viewing platform gives you a nice view of the south side of the point, giving a glimpse of the beauty that’s yet to come.
At the end of the nature walk after going uphill and down, trotting the narrow turns and broad walkways, you will find before you, the beautiful views of Cape Flattery.
Here, you’ll see two levels.
Stay on the ground level to see the sea caves up close.
Climb the step ladder to the second level, and you’ll be in awe of the panoramic view.
With different views from different locations and angles, they all make the most tranquil sceneries for your trips and photographs.
So when in Northern Washington, this nature attraction is a must-see!
Situated amongst nature and surrounded by flora, the Hurricane Ridge in Washington is a mountainous slice out of the Olympic National Park.
For all those visiting the park, the Hurricane Ridge is must-see!
Located near Port Angeles and Sequim, this popular nature attraction in Washington offers some of the best scenic drives in the Evergreen State.
The terrain is tailored for a hike for all nature-lovers and adventure-enthusiasts as well.
With a beautiful sunset point painting your imagination every night, the ridge has a lot to offer.
Apart from the green hike, there is an availability of snowboarding in the winters.
The Hurricane Ridge can be enjoyed throughout the year in different forms and is one of the peaking destinations in Washington for nature.
Trekking through the dwindling paths, the mountains offer an effortless hike without having to exhaust yourself for the end view of the entire national park.
At the end of the road is the visitor centre, where you can get brochures, maps and snacks, take a washroom break, or ask tips from the park ranger.
With the visitor centre located 5,242-feet high, you can already see the panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains, the mountain range made of basalts and sedimentary rocks.
Unfortunately, it was very foggy to see anything when we went.
But even then, the foggy overlooks were still beautiful.
Taking a trip to get away from your busy schedule can take a lot of planning, but when you have options such as the Ruby Beach in Washington, things seem to iron themselves out easy.
One of the most popular beaches in Washington, Ruby Beach in the Olympic National Park is known for its ruby-like sand and large sea stacks (rock islands).
Though its sea stacks aren’t as big as the Haystack Rock at Cannon Beach, Ruby Beach is a photographer’s dream with a picturesque view to mesmerize all year round.
With a sandy bay for a peaceful walk and the cool waves crashing onto the shore, this popular beach is one of the best things to do in Washington especially for beach lovers.
Surfers, swimmers, tourists and locals alike cherish the beach for its beauty and calmness.
Natural elements such as driftwoods, sea stacks, rock formations and tide pools adorn the beach, increasing its beauty and making it more adventurous and photogenic for its visitors.
The fascinating wildlife and marine-life creatures in the tide-pools excite nature lovers.
Being set in the serene Olympic National Park adds to the aesthetic appeal of the ocean view the beach has to offer.
To get to the beach, you need to do a short hike from the parking lot.
Travelling Foodie Tip: Flip flops or shoes are recommended. Though it’s a short hike, it becomes tough due to big rocks and large drift woods surrounding the beach.
This Washington nature attraction is a must-see whenever in town!
Located entirely within the Olympic National Park, Lake Crescent is a treasured wonder of nature in Washington.
This glacially carved deep lake was isolated from Lake Sutherland due to a massive landslide 7,000 years ago.
Did you know? Lake Crescent is Washington’s second deepest lake.
Watching the sunset and sunrise by the clear water, enjoying the wind and the sound of nature creating music, Lake Crescent is a popular spot for a retreat away from the hustle and bustle of the city.
And if you enjoy water activities, you can canoe on the lake too!
It’s a great in-between stop from Hurricane Ridge and Ruby Beach, which is what we did.
One of the best nature things to do in Washington, Lake Crescent is a tranquil place surrounded by trees and greenery, creating a serene medley for everyone to enjoy.
MAP: Best Nature Attractions in Washington State
Here’s a map with all the best Washington nature attractions covered in this travel guide.
Washington State has some of the best nature attractions in the USA! I hope this travel guide gives you an idea on best things to do and places to see in the Evergreen State for nature.
Let me know which ones I should visit next!
NOTE: This post was first published on December 17, 2017.