Summer is Washington’s high season, with July and August the busiest months with large numbers of tourists taking flights to Washington. Seattle hosts outdoor festivals mid-May to September (Labour Day), the San Juan Islands are mobbed, and the parks are filled. Tourism peaks again in winter with snow-sport enthusiasts.
October to April, is the rainy season. Hotel rates are cheaper and so are flights to Washington. Seattle’s performing arts are in full season.
September weekdays are great times to visit: the weather is still pleasant and crowds are smaller. In autumn and winter, the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula tends to be dry.
Spring is the favourite time for whitewater rafters grabbing a cheap flight to Washington before the winter runoff.
Take a flight to Washington and discover that your everyday must-have’s originated in Washington. Microsoft probably had a hand in the computer you’re using and it’s likely you tested your “Starbucks language” (half-cafe triple venti, no foam caramel machiatto) once today. But there’s more to the Northwest state of Washington than computers and coffee beans.
Washington is a leading lumber producer and many of its native trees grace homes every December: the Douglas fir, white pine, spruce, larch, and cedar. Grab some award-winning apples, pears and cherries before the Washington flight home, and pack away some of Washington’s finest wines for a special evening.
During the Washington holiday, visit one of the 1,000 dams in the area and explore the state’s source of water storage, flood control and power. Major Washington must-sees include Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks and Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980. Don’t forget a visit to the focal point of Seattle’s skyline. Many visitors booking flights to Washington inevitably find themselves waiting in line with a latte to get to the top of Seattle’s Space Needle.
Washington has two main climates: west and east of the Cascades. The west is typically mild and wet, the east cool and dry. Seattle temperatures generally range from the very low single digits in January to about 20 degrees (Celsius) in July; Spokane from about minus six in January to about 20 in July.Most rain falls October through March. The western side of the Olympic Peninsula receives up to 406cm (160 inches) of rain annually, and the western slopes of the Cascades over 500cm (200 inches) of snow. Eastern Washington has only about 15cm (six inches) of precipitation, with more closer to the Rocky Mountains.
With several regional airports, flying within Washington is easy and discount fares are available. There is train service north and south of Seattle and bus service to Spokane and beyond. Washington has the most extensive ferry service in the country, and it includes transport to the San Juan Islands, Bainbridge Island, Whidbey Island, Vashon Island, and Kitsap Peninsula. A car or RV is a great way to see the state and the only way to get to some of the more remote locations. Make sure to fill the gas tank first — Washington is a large state, and gas stations are few and far between in some areas.
Seattle is fun to explore on foot and is well served by the Metro system. The Downtown Ride Free Area has free bus service from 6am to 7pm. To travel across the sound, choose from ferries, speedboats, water taxis, and jet catamarans. Seattle is a difficult city for driving, with bad traffic congestion, one-way streets, and scarce and expensive parking.
Hiking is the best mode of transport in Olympic National Park. A great state for hiking, Washington’s popular trails include the Pacific Crest Trail, Hoh River Trail, and Wonderland Trail.
The main airport for flights to Washington State is Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA)
(prices quoted are from London)