Best Things a Visitor Should Know About Washington State

Plan on visiting Washington, the Evergreen State? We asked locals for some tips for visiting Washington and their answers were quite enlightening.

Making the trek to Washington state can be fun. You might be visiting Washington from another part of the United States or you may be visiting from another country or continent. Just know that every part of the state typically gets all four seasons, except for Seattle and the Western Peninsula part of Washington. The western part of the state usually gets the seasons of winter, spring, summer, and RAIN.

Take the following seven tips to heart but no matter which one of these tips you choose to adhere to, remember that there is something for everyone to enjoy when visiting the great state of Washington.

What are some tips for visiting Washington state?

TIP #1: There’s the East side and the West Side.

We can be a little like the Hatfields and McCoys depending on which part of the state you're visiting. The West side is more laidback, liberal, and metropolitan with Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia being in short distance from each other. The East side is more rural and the general attitudes of the people living in this part of Washington are rather woodsy, conservative, and feisty. Of course, you will find all sorts of political and general life ideologies wherever you go, but these two combinations of folks mean there is never a dull moment in Washington.

TIP #2: Seattle is overrated.

When the locals say that Seattle is "overrated", they just mean that there is more to Washington than just Seattle. "Seattle is overrated, come to Yakima", says Yakima resident, Brandon D.

TIP #3: Taxes are a bit high.

If you buy gas in Washington, expect to pay an arm, leg, and fork over your firstborn child. Just kidding, but seriously, gas here is expensive. Another related tip: You can get tax-free gas and cigarettes if you stop by a gas station located "on the rez".

TIP #4: We have VOLCANOES!

Mt. St. Helens* exploded back in the 80s (and some say they can see her steaming on a clear day). We're just holding our breath until one of the other dormant Washington state volcanoes decides to make a little noise. Our five volcanoes are Mount Baker, Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount St. Helens, and Mount Adams.

TIP #5: We have wild horses running rampant.

YES, believe it or not, packs of wild horses are running rampant in Washington state. These feral beauties can especially be seen in parts of Silver Lake and sections of the Lower Valley of Yakima and Yakama Nation.

TIP #6: We have a nuclear plant and 8 military bases. 

Our military bases include the Army, Air Force, Air National Guard, Navy, and Coast Guard. We also have border patrol agents along the Canadian border.

This brings us to our last tip for visiting Washington state.

TIP #7: We are a gateway to Canada!

Washington has border patrol and U.S. Customs agents in several cities, including Blaine and Spokane**. You can take a car, ferry, train, bus, or flight from Washington to Canada. Americans can cross the border by land or sea by using an enhanced ID, passport card, or passport. If you want to fly to Canada from America you will need a passport book.

RELATED ARTICLE:  How To Get a Passport Card or Passport Book in WA for the First Time

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  • *This article inadvertently listed Mt. Rainier as erupting in the 80s. We meant Mount St. Helens, of course, which erupted in 1980!
  • **This article has been updated to provide this link to the Washington cities where U.S. Customs and Border Protection ports of entry are located.

More great tips from local residents about the good, the bad, and the ugly about Washington state:

"[The] wildlife." Tracy C.


"High taxes." Chris M.


"You [should] get a map and then get a specific byway hence the N. Cascade Loop , Chinook pass by way, White Pass byway and the Coulee corridor byway." RJ’s Tires and Pros


" [Come to] Toppenish and enjoy our Murals and the wonderful food." Elpidia S.


"[There are] two sides of the Cascade Mountain Range. Eastern is more dry; Western is more wet." Ardelle R.

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