Becca’s Best: Top 10 Places to Explore in Washington

Remember how this was supposed to be a Healthy Living Blog and not just a Healthy EATING Blog?  Obviously I have my priorities (and my obsessions), so all my posts tend to be geared toward FOOD!  Since my other main obsession is exploring, I thought I should add some of my experiences with that to the mix.  So Becca’s Best will be a new regular feature.

These “Top Tens” are of course my opinions alone so feel free to disagree with them in the comment section below.  In fact, please do because then I will have more places on my list to explore in the future.  These are also all my personal pictures from past trips that I found on my computer, so don’t judge them for their meritocracy!

1. Mt. Rainier National ParkNovember 2010 399

I am pretty sure this one goes without saying!  I mean, it is practically the icon of the whole state!!  “The Mountain” as we locals call never ceases to amaze me, whether I am up close and personal hiking a trail at Paradise or just walking out of our Wal-mart on a sunny day and taking in the awesome view.  It is so massive that it deserves a Top Ten post all of its own!  The hikes range from all levels and all lengths (94 miles around the whole thing anyone??) and all views, except down into the lava, which really disappointed Adelyn.

2. Mt St. Helens National Park

Early 2009 196


I have always felt a strange connection to St. Helens since it erupted shortly before I was born.  When I was little and still lived in Texas my dad had a business trip up here and brought back some salt and pepper shakers that were made from the ash of St Helens.  I thought they were so beautiful and couldn’t believe how awesome it would be to visit a REAL volcano.  Now that I have I think how crazy it must have been to have lived here during that eruption!  I guess if Rainier ever blows we will find out.

3. Hoh Rain ForestCamping 026

This is another place that I retain a certain degree of childhood wonder for.  When I was in elementary school we had a special unit on rain forests and I was really taken with them.  At the time I pictured them as only in Brazil—I had no idea we had them in America!  So when we moved up here from Texas it became a quick favorite; as you can imagine we had nothing like that in Dallas!  I mean 140 to 170 inches of rain per year?!?!  Yes Erika, they don’t have that in Vegas either, please come visit.  I will take you there and we can search for Vampires and Werewolves as it is very close to Forks.

4. Cape Flattery

Camping 006

Ok so this one is definitely more random; you may not have even heard of it.  This is the northwesternmost point in the contiguous United States, which I know has been on your bucket list!  It is actually really beautiful and has some kind of special feel to it that I can’t explain (play the music from Goonies in your head….that feeling).  Don’t call my crazy.  Maybe that’s because It is also very close to Shi Shi beach which is a great place to hike into and camp on and looks very Goonies-esque.

5. North CascadesAnniversary 2010 008

These are much less traveled to than a lot of other mountain destinations because of the distance and the amount of time of the year that the road stays closed due to snow and avalanche trouble.  Though I have lived up here 17 years now, I actually just went for the first time two years ago.  Aaron and I wanted to explore somewhere new for our anniversary and my mom suggested here.  We were so glad that we took her advice (which I usually do when it comes to exploring since she loves it even more than I do)…everywhere we turned our heads it felt like we were snapping another picture.  When the babes are a little older we will definitely be going back!

6. San Juan IslandsLate Summer 2007 013

This, on the other hand is a very well-known and well-traveled spot, but that doesn’t keep us from going back again and again.  What does keep us going again and again is that we still haven’t managed to spot any of the resident Orcas!  We have seen so many whales here and in Alaska, but never those blasted Killer Whales!!  Guess we need to head up there soon and try again.  Of course that is not the only reason.  Even though it is NOT Hawaii, it still has that laid-back island pace.  It is so relaxing to go there that you really feel you are escaping the cares of everyday life…something you definitely need on your to-do list if you are Living to Last.

7. LeavenworthJuly 2011 022

Leavenworth is a quirky little Bavarian Village up in the middle of  the mountains that has a little bit of everything.  In the summer there is hiking, rafting, horseback riding, fishing, boating, and you can camp if you love that, but if you don’t you can still enjoy the greatness of the real outdoors with a hotel or vacation rental.  Safeway is just down the street and the prices are NOT inflated like most resort towns.  Then in the winter there is snowshoeing, sledding, snowmobiling, sleigh rides, skiing 40 minutes away, not to mention a really special Christmas celebration complete with every kind of Christmas character you can imagine.  And now there is a Cafe Rio only 30 minutes away.  Sounds like I should just move there!

8. Washington State Ferries

Early 2009 162

Ok, this might be the most random one of this post but I love them for their uniqueness, their simplicity, and their cheapness!  No, Washington is not the only state with ferries, but I would wager to say that we have the most per person or square mile.  There are so many islands and peninsulas that all have great little nooks and crannies to explore and just get away from the crowd and bustle of city life.  They are a favorite of Aaron’s family whenever they come to visit…yes definitely something you can’t do in Idaho. Ya gotta love this view of downtown Seattle as we headed to Bainbridge Island!

9. Lake ChelanOctober 2010 018

I figured I’d better include something from Eastern Washington, since that IS the majority of the landmass it ought to be represented somehow!  But let’s be honest, no matter how much they brag about their 300 days of sunshine, it just isn’t as pretty.  But we did have a lot of fun when we went there and I imagine if you have a boat you could have even more fun than we did!  It is just nice to visit someplace somewhat close by that actually has warm water to swim in, and at 50 miles long, it definitely has plenty of it.

10. Westport

August 2011 019

I have always been confused why people seem to go to Ocean Shores more than any other place when they want a quick trip to the ocean.  Westport is way better!  They have surfing, crabbing, fishing, whale watching, a cuter little downtown area, way more sand dollars to collect, a nicer state park that has YURTS.  Ok truth be told they are both pretty ghetto as far as beach towns go and we all really love going to the Oregon Coast more, but for a quick sandy beach, this is the one to hit.  If you have a little more time Kalaloch is really beautiful and Seaside is the best…but I guess we will have to save that for an Oregon list.

On my list of places still to visit: Cape Disappointment, Lake Ozette, Hurricane Ridge, Beacon Rock, Mt. Baker, Stehikin.  Please tell me some of your favorite places so I can add those to my list too.  Or better yet, let’s go there together!  And if you live out of state and haven’t been to any, we have an extra room, please come and stay anytime.  You just have to take care of my baby when she wakes in the middle of the night.

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