Travel Planning
Travel Planning

Washington at a Glance

Washington State includes wet coastal rain forests, miles of sandy beaches, rugged mountains, deep forests and dry agricultural plains. The largest city, Seattle, is located in cool, wet coastal region. Approximately 60 percent of the state's population lives in the Seattle metro area. Seattle is an ethnically diverse city with a considerable population of residents from Asian descent. Diverse art, music and food are some of the things visitors can enjoy when they aren't strolling Seattle's urban parks or riding to the top of the iconic Space Needle. 

Many people visit Washington to enjoy the opportunities for outdoor recreation. The Cascades and the Olympic Mountain ranges divide the western, urban part of the state from the more rural eastern part. Visitors to the mountains enjoy skiing and snowboarding, hiking, motorcycling, wildflower viewing and more. The lovely Columbia River flows through Washington and offers opportunities for scenic drives, swimming, boating, fishing and kite-sailing.

In the eastern part of the state, visitors can head to Spokane for an urban visit. The surrounding fields and orchards of Eastern Washington are filled with cherries, peaches, apples, apricots and wheat all of which can be found in grocery stores throughout the nation.   

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Popular Places
  • Seattle Seattle
  • Spokane Spokane
  • San Juan Islands San Juan Islands
  • Leavenworth Leavenworth
  • Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument Mount Saint Helens National Volcanic Monument
  • Ellensburg Ellensburg
  • Olympia Olympia
  • Mt. Rainier National Park Mt. Rainier National Park
  • Olympic National Park Olympic National Park
Getting There
Major Airports
  • Major Airport Seattle-Tacoma International Airport
  • Major Airport Spokane International Airport

Passport / Visa Requirements

All travelers to the United States are required to hold a valid passport; the passport should be valid for six months beyond your departure from the U.S. The Visa Waiver Program (VWP) allows citizens of 37 participating countries to travel within the United States without a visa for 90 days; travelers must have valid Electronic System for Travel Authorization (ESTA) approval prior to travel, return travel tickets and a passport with a photo and an electronic chip. Visitors not eligible for VWP must apply for a non-immigrant visa. For more information, visit the U.S. State Department's travel website.

Need to Know

Severe Weather Washington's coast is mild and rainy during the winter and drier, but still cool during the summer. Further to the east, the climate is semi-arid and hot. Visitors should be aware of winter weather and reduced visibility when driving over many of Washington's mountain passes. 

Safety Concerns Crime rates in Washington vary by location. Inner city portions of Seattle see more violent crime and drug related crime than rural areas or smaller towns. Research the areas you plan to visit and always institute practical precautions to protect yourself and your belongings. 

Health Concerns Washington is a safe state with good water quality and limited opportunities to catch serious illnesses. Stay healthy by washing hands and using good hygiene. 

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