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Holidays in Washington State

The ‘Evergreen State’ sits up on the upper west coast of the USA, bordering Canada. It’s the birthplace of grunge and specialty coffee, a producer of world-renowned wine, and home to a volcano. Washington is a state of contrasts. To the south is the hot and dry Wine Country and Walla Walla; to the west, the cosmopolitan ‘Emerald City’ of Seattle sits in the shadow of the snow-tipped mountains.

30-40 °C

Best time to visit: July to August, when the infamously rainy skies are clearer.

7 hours

Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) for Seattle, and Portland International Airport (PDX), which is around 17km from Vancouver.

Book a holiday to Washington State with Thomas Cook, and enjoy its sophisticated vibe and rugged natural beauty.

Recommended Offers in Washington State

Warwick Seattle Hotel

Seattle, Washington State

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Pacific Coast Explorer - Fly Drive

Fly Drive - 11 days

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Fairmont Olympic Hotel

Seattle, Washington State

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If distinctive urban style is what you’re looking for, Seattle is ideal - it’s regarded as one of the coolest cities in the USA. No wonder; it made coffee fashionable, and is the birthplace of the grunge music scene. For a more easy-going vibe, head south to sophisticated Vancouver, with its elegant architecture and tranquil scenery. Those seeking something different will love warm and sunny Yakima Valley, where you can wander around the vineyards and stay in a rustic bed and breakfast.

Start your day with a cup of Seattle coffee, and you’ll be ready to take on the city’s hills. Head to Capitol Hill for trendy music venues and clubs and sample the bubble tea in Chinatown. In summer, the sandy Alki Beach comes alive.

Down in the southern Gorge region, you’ll find this relaxed city with its sophisticated nightlife and shopping. Stop in one of the brewpubs to sample the locally made microbrews, or shop your way through the local boutiques and charming independent shops.

To the east of the Gorge region is the sun-drenched and tranquil Wine Country, with Yakima Valley at the heart of it. Tee off at the Apple Tree Golf Course, or tour the wineries on horseback, casually sipping a local red or white wine.

To the South of Washinton is Oregon - a state blessed with true natural beauty and seven natural wonders of its own, including a sleeping volcano, the deepest lake in the USA, and a dramatic coastline. Portland, one of the USA’s coolest cities is here, perfect for a city break with a friendly, villagey feel. The waters of the Pacific border Oregon on the west and California is to the south. This is a dream destination for those who love to explore; there are hundreds of miles of routes to bike, hike, climb and drive. 

Washington State’s incredibly varied landscape includes three stunning national parks: Mount Rainier, Olympic, and North Cascades. Off the west coast, the beautiful San Juan Island is one of best places to go in Washington State for wildlife attractions - you can go killer whale-watching in the Haro Strait. Back on the mainland, you can take a day trip about 50km south-west of Seattle to Tacoma, where its Museum of Glass greets you with a glass bridge 500 feet long. Stay in Yamika Valley or Walla Walla and see where the beers and wines are made.

If you’re a seafood fan, you’re in luck; Washington State is known for its seafood, especially salmon. Enjoy a fabulous seafood dinner with a white wine from Yakima Valley or Walla Walla, or opt for a local amber ale. Seattle is known for its high-quality coffee, roasted to perfection. Head for one of the many small independent cafes and roasteries, and order the craziest triple-shot-extra-foam creation you can dream up – you won’t know whether to drink or frame the result.

Take the kids to the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site, where they can dig for things in a reconstructed fort. The Columbia Springs Environmental Education Center sprawls out over 100 acres, with space to wander along nature trails. The Yakima Valley Museum is one of the best in the state, with interactive exhibits and Franklin Park nearby to run around (and swim) in. Go above and beyond in Seattle’s Space Needle, which gives you 360-degree views over the entire city, and across to Mount Rainier and the Olympic Mountain Range.

Olympic National Park, set aside from western Washington, boasts 1,400 miles of lush fields and rainforests. It’s difficult to get to by car, but if you’re hiking along the coast or a mountain trail, you’ll be rewarded with amazing views. The rugged Mount Rainier National Park is great for hiking, and has more of an ice-age appeal thanks to its glaciers.  From a safe spot you can behold the majestic and still active Mount St. Helens.

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Sample the best of the Washington brewpubs or tour the Yakima Valley wineries to get the real local flavour.

Enjoy outdoor pursuits in the San Juan Islands, or see the resting Mount St. Helens volcano from a safe distance.

The kids will delight in digging for real treasures, and seeing killer whales frolicking in the sea.


Language: The language spoken in the USA is English.

Currency: The currency used in the USA is the Dollar ($).

Local time: Washington State is 8 hours behind GMT/UK time.

Fly to: Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA) for Seattle, and Portland International Airport (PDX), which is around 17km from Vancouver.

Flight time from UK: 9-10 hours.

Tourist Information: Further tourist information can be found here

Visa & Health: Before you travel, visit for recommendations and advice on visas and health for your holiday to Washington.


Temperature: Winter temperatures range from 11 °C on the warmer Pacific and 4 °C in the northeast, and can soar to mid-30s°C to low 40s°C in the western region. The climate is generally mild – and while it does rain, it’s usually light. Summers are warm with the occasional heat wave.

Best time to visit: July to August, when the infamously rainy skies are clearer.


Walking: Make sure you have a map for Seattle – the streets can be a bit confusing.

By public transport: The Seattle Center Monorail is the perfect way to reach the main attractions in the city. Other rail and bus systems are operated by Sound Transit. The transit services on Vancouver are run by C-TRAN.


The fun of the fair: The Washington State Fair (September) and Spring Fair (April) have a fun party atmosphere, and have the added benefit of being both in the spring and early autumn – so you’ll catch them at the best times of year.

Fly away: Young kids will enjoy the week-long Washington State International Kite Festival (August), where they can fly their own kites, and watch the amazing colourful displays. 

On the hop: Downtown Yakima hosts the Fresh Hop Ale Festival (October), which has been rated one of the top beer festivals in the USA.

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