|Long Beach||C$ 219|
|Gig Harbor||C$ 219|
Getting a flight to Washington should be very easy – it’s likely your everyday must-haves originated in Washington. Microsoft probably had a hand in the computer you’re using and it’s likely you tested your “Starbucks language” (half-caf triple venti, no foam caramel machiatto) once today. But when your flight to Washington lands, you’ll experience more than computers and coffee beans.
Washington is a leading lumber producer and many of its native trees grace our homes every December: the Douglas fir, white pine, spruce, larch and cedar. Grab some award-winning apples, pears and cherries for the Washington flight home, and pack away some of Washington’s finest wines for a special evening.
Visit one of the 1,000 dams and explore the state’s source of water storage, flood control and power before boarding your Washington flight home. Major Washington must-sees include Olympic and Mt. Rainier National Parks and Mount St. Helens, which erupted in 1980.
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 just above zero degrees (Celsius) in January to the high-teens in July; Spokane from just below zero in January to the low 20s in July.Most precipitation falls October through March. The western side of the Olympic Peninsula receives up to 400 centimetres of precipitation annually, and the western slopes of the Cascades over 500 centimetres of snow. Eastern Washington averages about 15 centimetres of precipitation, with more closer to the Rocky Mountains.
Summer is Washington’s high season, with July and August the busiest months. Seattle hosts outdoor festivals mid-May to Labour Day, the San Juan Islands are mobbed, and the parks are filled. Tourism peaks again in winter with snow-sport enthusiasts so book Washington flights and accommodations ahead of time.
October to April is the rainy season. Hotel rates are lower and cheap flights to Washington are commonly found, but 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 fall and winter, the eastern side of the Olympic Peninsula tends to be dry.
Spring is the favourite time for whitewater rafters catching the winter runoff. Savvy travellers will book Washington flights and accommodations in advance for springtime travel.
With several regional airports, Washington flights are 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.
(prices quotes are from London)