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Washington

In Washington State, nature is at its grandest and most diverse. To represent our landscape—the verdant green of our temperate rainforests, the sparkling gray and white of our gargantuan mountains, the sandy red of our sun-bleached scablands and the deep blue that extends endlessly from our Pacific shores—would require every color on a painter’s palette. Suffice it to say that the Evergreen State is an outdoorsman’s paradise and a nature-lover’s dream.

But for the urbanites among us, Washington is also rich with culture and world-class attractions. From the metropolitan mosaic of Seattle to the quaint corners of Spokane, Washington’s cultural resources are as grand and diverse as its natural ones.

Seattle Area

Birthplace of Starbucks, cradle of grunge music, hub of sustainable industry, headquarters for big-name tech companies—Seattle has many claims to fame. But the true essence of the city eludes easy description. Like any major metropolis, it’s mélange of cultures, traditions and establishments. Your individual perception of the city’s character depends entirely on how and where you experience it.

Wherever you go in Seattle, you’re by surrounded by all things world-class: museums, boutiques, theatres, restaurants, nightclubs, historic sites, professional sports. The list goes on. And just when you think you’ve seen it all, head a few miles out of town in any direction to open up a new world of experiences in one of the many towns and enclaves that surround Seattle on all sides.

Puget Sound

Flanked by the Cascade Mountains to the east and the Olympic Mountains to the west, the Puget Sound region surrounds the many inlets and estuaries that snake into the northwest corner of Washington from the Pacific Ocean. At the center of Puget Sound is Seattle, at its southern end is Olympia and at its northern end is Mount Vernon. In between are dozens of cities, towns and island communities both urban and rural.

Bainbridge Island

Named by CNN as the 2nd best place to live in the US, Bainbridge Island makes as wonderful a vacation destination as it does a place of residence. The island’s idyllic setting in the heart of Puget Sound is that much more appealing given its proximity to Seattle. It offers an island getaway just a 30-minute ferry ride from the city. Amid the island’s rolling hills and picturesque waterfront trails, you’ll find trendy shops, a vibrant performing arts community and number of wineries.

Poulsbo

Known as “Little Norway on the Fjord”, Poulsbo is a charming waterfront town with a unique Scandinavian character, influenced by a long history of settlement by Norwegian and Finnish immigrants. The shops and restaurants of its harbor village reflect this heritage, as does their annual Viking Fest. The town even has its own signature bread, Poulsbo Bread, which is now world-renowned.

Bangor Sub Base

In 2004, Bangor Sub Base merged with Naval Station Bremerton to become Naval Base Kitsap, the third-biggest Navy base in the United States. It serves as the home port for both surface ships and nuclear submarines and is one of only two nuclear weapons facilities in the country. The base is located between Silverdale and Poulsbo on the Western shore of the Kitsap Peninsula.

City of Bremerton

As the largest city in Kitsap County, Bremerton has much to offer visitors. It is home to a naval memorial museum housed in a disused destroyer ship, a hip art deco theatre called the Admiral, and the beautiful Harborside Fountain Park which lights up the night with spectacular aqueous displays. Bremerton also boasts a number of top-notch restaurants and golf courses.

Olympic Peninsula

Wild, mysterious and beautiful, the Olympic Peninsula is the vast arm of land west of Puget Sound at the northwest tip of Washington State. Until the turn of the last century, it was one of the last unexplored regions in the country. Today, the spirit of wonder and discovery is no less palpable when you wander through the region’s towering rainforests or gaze at its snow-capped mountain peaks.

Port Orchard

Just across the Sinclair Inlet from Bremerton, the city of Port Orchard is known its historic downtown, a hotspot for antiquing. It’s also a great place for a picnic amid some spectacular scenery and picturesque views.