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David Greer Mount Rainier

Why You Should Consider a Spring Trip to Washington State

When talking about the Pacific Northwest in general, folks often limit themselves to summertime travel. There's no problem with that, but limiting yourself to only visiting Washington State during the summer will ensure that you miss out on what spring (and fall) have to offer, all while paying a pretty premium to travel during peak season.

I visited Washington State this spring to see for myself, so keep reading for tips and tricks that should prepare you for that trip you've always dreamed of.

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First off, it's important to note that Washington State has a ton of climate zones. During my visit in April, I went part of the way up Mountain Rainier and found ten feet of snow. Then I went out to the Pacific Coast, by way of a rainforest, and found balmy 75-degree-and-sunny weather. It's not always raining everywhere, but in some places it's always raining year round. In short; spring offers a bit of everything in Washington State.

Getting the Best Deals

Getting to Washington State & Where to Stay

For my trip, I used 7,000 Delta SkyMiles and $5.60 to book an economy class flight in. We often see great sales f or using easy-to-earn Delta Skymiles. If you're paying cash, spring travel should be available from most cities in the mainland US for under $200 round-trip. Use our flight search tool to find the best fares.

As for where to stay, Seattle has some good deals at times, but usually parking and fees add up there. If you're driving around Olympic National Park, towns like Sequim and Ocean Shores are great stopping points that have great deals.

Ocean Shores has a ton of nice vacation homes that are close to the beaches and start around $60 a night. I also paid about $55 a night for a solid motel in Sequim, though you can find classier options still around the $100 mark. Don't miss a breakfast at The Oak Table there! (pictured to the right)

Getting Around

There is limited public transport in the state, but you'd be so limited by schedules and routes that this option sadly just isn't viable. Since you're almost sure to need a rental car if you venture out of Seattle (and you should!), it's good to know that they are affordable when booked ahead. I rented from Hertz and paid about $25 a day all in for a one-week rental. You can find the best prices for your dates using our search tool.

Unlike other National Parks out west, you also are unlikely to need tire chains to visit Mount Rainier National Park or Olympic National Park in spring. SeaTac is also the most convenient airport to deal with, since it's the biggest airport in the state and gives you easy access to great cities Seattle and Tacoma, as well as lots of nature. That's also where we see the most deals to and from.

Which Part of the State to Visit

Seattle is the most known place in Washington State, and for good reason. You'll find all kinds of cultural activities, great food, and walkable streets there. But to really see the natural beauty of Washington State, it's worth a multi-day trip outside of the city.

I mean, if you're really limited on time, you could do a day trip to Mount Rainier and drive around the park. But if you can spare a few days, start your trip out of Seattle there, and then head West to Olympic National Park. The National Park itself is huge, but it's the huge drive around it that will give you the chance to see a bunch of different nature.

I started my own drive with a stop in a small town called Poulsbo and grabbed some Scandinavian-style baked goods after a quick walk around. Nearby is the Suquamish Museum, which is really a must-see — the peninsula has been and continues to be inhabited by number of Native American groups like the Suquamish.

Further into my drive I tried to visit Hurricane Ridge, a well known stopping point in the park. Since it was quite foggy the day I tried to visit, I skipped out on that and headed to a nearby rainforest. The Hoh Rainforest gets the most recognition, but in reality there a many rainforests you can stop on the Olympic Peninsula — this one was next to Lake Crescent.

All along the way, gargantuan evergreen trees are just about everywhere. That is, until you get to the Pacific Coast. There you'll find massive beaches that are great for a long stroll, though the water was quite cold in April. There's also a very special tree that is suspended in midair known as the Tree of Life on the way — check out our Instagram feed to see more on this one.

And then, as far my opinion goes, everyone should book a few nights in Ocean Shores. With some of the lowest rates I've seen anywhere in the US, and awesome nature and food, this spot is worth the drive, and a great ending point for your drive around Olympic National Park. You can book all your accommodations using our hotel search engine.

So, in my experience, spring is a great time to visit Washington state, and of all the places you could visit within the state, a drive around Olympic National Park will show you the most. Truth be told, fall weather is pretty similar to spring, too. Rates also tend to be lower come the end of summer, so if you don't want to wait till next spring, fall could be a good idea.

Don't be fooled into expecting perfectly-clear, sunny days, since that's just never the case in Western Washington State. Nevertheless, it's most likely not going to rain everywhere all the time if you're driving around the park for a few days. Also cool is that both spring and fall have a high chance of lots of snow at higher altitudes — meaning you can add some winter activities to your vacation without being stuck with winter all the time. It's all just a short drive away!

*All photos by David Greer

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