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Ten years ago, you’d plan your next vacation by browsing through tour books. You’d purchase a map at a gas station or follow highway signs for a spontaneous road trip. If you don’t know which places to visit in Washington State, your answer might come in the form of Instagram. 

Now, the atlas serves little purpose for wandering. Tour books and maps? That’s pre-Google.

Today, mobile apps  and social media are the root of our travel inspiration and planning.

Easily, it’s a travelgasmic instagram account or listicle that nudges us for a border-cross. Can a “pin,” a post, or a hand-held social “share” influence where we book our next trip?

I’m convinced.

I recently took to learning more about Instagram apps to boost my own travel photos and stumbled upon so many outdoor things to do in Washington State that I was intrigued to learn more.

Named after the U.S. President, the Evergreen State is home to some of my closest friends. PHD student Nathan D. Iverson describes it as follows:

Fiercely clothed with rainforests, mountain ranges, volcanoes, and rugged coastline, Washington State’s beauty has long been a draw for creative personalities. Importing talent from around the world, the region has often been known for its influential ideas and innovative products. The residents of this state continue to shape the perspectives of our nation through photography, specifically in the 1 x 1 ratio. Whether it is their proximity to natural beauty or the unique attitude found in those who choose to call it home, WA photographers are producing some of the most anticipated and celebrated images on social media today.

If you’re looking for the best places to visit in Washington State, consider these locations based on the experts who know the terrain best!

1. Washington: A Blank Slate and Passion, Photo by Cory Staudacher @withhearts

Cory’s Other Favorite Spot: La Push, Washington - Places to Visit in Washington State

2. Washington: An Elevation and Revelation, Photo by Jonathan Sweet @jontaylorsweet

Jonathan’s Favorite Spot: Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington - Places to Visit in Washington State

3. Washington: A Terrain Kissed By Natural Gifts, Photo by Christina Hicks @xt_marie

Christine’s Favorite Spot: The Olympic Peninsula, Washington

My favorite place to travel to is the northwest coast of the state, on the Olympic Peninsula. The entire Olympic National Park is huge, and I love venturing out there for weekend getaways. The diversity of environments all in one area is incredible — with rain forests, glaciers, mountains, and the rugged Pacific coastline, there’s a bit of everything. There’s something about its remoteness and untouched, rugged beauty that makes it so unique. - Places to Visit in Washington State

4. Washington: Bridging The Goodness of Creation, Photo by Trevor Olson @treasuretrev

Trevor’s Other Favorite Spot: Liberty Bell Peak, Washington

Liberty bell peak is my favorite place in Washington state just because of the sheer beauty and look of the highway combined with the mountains. - Places to Visit in Washington State

5.  Washington: Textured by Vibrant Colors, Organic in Disposition, Photo by Janea Allen, @janealeigh

Janea’s Favorite Spot: Mt. Rainer National Park, Washington

It’s so difficult to pick a favorite place in Washington because the whole State is amazing and full of diversity, but if I had to pick just one, I would say Mt. Rainier National Park. I can see it from my front porch, and it’s my favorite place to explore. I have been hiking and exploring there since I was a child, and I always experience something new whenever I visit. - Places to Visit in Washington State

6. Washington: Re-discovering Local Mysteries, Photo by Benj Haisch @benjhaisch

Benj’s Other Favorite Spot: The Cascade Mountains, Washington

My favorite place in Washington is anywhere in the Cascade Mountains. There is so much of it that I’ve never explored and I can’t wait to. - Places to Visit in Washington State


7. Washington: Go Forth for Greatness, Photos by Stephen Alkire @Stephenalkire

Stephen’s Other Favorite Spot: The Washington Coast.

The forest, the ocean, the sea stacks, the starfish, and the rainy weather. The Washington Coastline is my absolute favorite. - Places to Visit in Washington State

8. Washington: The Sprout of Hope, Photo by Daniel Volland @DrVolland 

Daniel’s Favorite Spot: Puget Sound, Washington

I love being on the water and exploring the Puget Sound. I especially love taking the ferry to Bainbridge Island–so much to see and do. - Places to Visit in Washington State


9. Washington: Serene and Uninterrupted, Photo by Brenna Nickels @brenna_marriie

Brenna’s Favorite Spot: Blanca Lake, Washington

My favorite place in Washington right now is Blanca Lake, which I hiked for the first time two weekends ago. Located in the Cascade Mountains, the lake is a brilliant turquoise in color and sits in a basin surrounded by glacier peaks. It is beyond breathtaking! - Places to Visit in Washington State

10. Nathan Iverson, @nathan_iverson

Nathan’s Favorite Spot: Upper Base Camp on Easton glacier

One of the most surprising parts of Washington is that my favorite place keeps on changing after each adventure! Mount Rainier, Mountain Loop Highway, and Mount Baker have all been on the list. A recent favorite memory for me was Upper Base Camp on Easton glacier as smoke rose up from the volcano behind me, the sun went down, and pieces of ice crashed into the waterfall thousands of feet beneath us in the valley below. - Places to Visit in Washington State

Which are your favorite places to visit in Washington State?

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