Seattle Fly DriveReference WW39064
Start your Washington State visit with a few days in Seattle, a city known for its coffee culture, tech industry, mountains, parks, vineyards and Chihuly glass. Next venture out to explore some of its amazing natural attractions including Mt Rainier and Mount St. Helens. Learn about how it is recovering from the 1980 eruption. Did you know that there are over 200 vineyards in this area? Learn about their Cabernet sauvignon, Riesling, Chardonnay and Syrah. Round out your trip with a visit to the Museum of Glass, it will help you fully appreciate your visit to the Chihuly Garden of Glass. Amazing wine, amazing coffee and amazing scenery – a great visit to Washington State.
Got your own ideas for your holiday? Get in touch and one of our Canada Specialists will be delighted to help you tailor-make your unique trip.
Upon arrival into Seattle International Airport collect your Hire Car and make your way to your Seattle downtown hotel. Remainder of the day is at leisure.
Full day at leisure to explore. Make sure you check out these not to be missed attractions –
The Space Needle – The most famous structure in the city, the Space Needle is one of the top attractions. Travel to the top level observation deck to gaze out over the surrounding waters, downtown and nearby mountains including Mount Rainier in the distance. The SkyCity restaurant is perfect for lunch or dinner, and it rotates for fabulous 360 – degree views.
Chihuly Gardens & Glass – This stunning museum is definitely worth a visit before or after the Space Needle as they are located right next to each other. Designed by the famous glass artist Dale Chihuly, you can admire colourful glass art inside the exhibition hall and the outdoor garden. You will be amazed with colours he uses in his sculptures.
Pike Place Market - This is another must do visit! Take a photo underneath the famous market sign before walking through the hundreds of stalls. Other attractions are the original Starbucks café, street performers, musicians, and the seafood stalls where workers throw fish through the air!
Take the easy drive south from Seattle on Interstate 5 to Toledo and then commence the fifty mile climb towards Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument on State Route 505, then SR 504. At the 33 mile marker, the Forest Learning Center is located inside the blast zone of the May 18, 1980 eruption of Mount St. Helens. Walk through a life-like forest and experience the Eruption Chamber. Learn about forest recovery, reforestation and conservation of forest resources. Mile 37 has Hoffsted Bluffs Visitor Center which houses the Memories of a Lost Landscape exhibit.
This gives the best depiction of the mountain prior to the blast. Mile 52 is the end of the road, the site of the Johnston Ridge Observatory. This is a popular visitor centre, open daily mid-May through October, offering ranger talks, interactive exhibits, and award-winning films. On the way down, follow Route 504 to the Mount St Helen’s Visitor Centre at Silver Lake to recapture what you have seen. Outside, a mile-long trail takes you into marshy plains surrounding Silver Lake where you can spot plenty of waterfowl and a picture-perfect view of the mountain. Back on Interstate 5, drive East to Hood River for the night.
After breakfast, depart for Skamania County and the Columbia Gorge. The Gorge stretches 90 miles east-west cutting through the north-south Cascade Range of volcanoes. The Cascades include Mount Adams, Mount St. Helens and Oregon’s tallest volcano, Mount Hood. Relax with an early lunch at the Skamania Lodge. Craving exhilaration and excitement?
Get ready to fly on the Skamania Zip Line Tour which will send you soaring through tree-tops of an old-growth forest with panoramas of the magnificent Columbia River. For a quieter experience, there are wooded nature trails with glorious views of the surrounding Columbia River Gorge and Cascade Mountains. The next stop is at the Stonehenge Memorial built as a tribute to the soldiers of Klickitat County, Washington, who lost their lives in World War I. Arrive in Walla Walla to unwind. Make sure to experience one or more or the Marcus Whitmans hotel’s seven on-site wine tasting rooms and dine in the Marc Restaurant, a foodie’s dream come true.
Discover the fascinating history of downtown Walla Walla with its Main Street ambience. A walk down tree-lined streets reveals a mix of vintage shops, museums, cafes and bookstores. As the downtown tasting rooms begin to open mid-morning, sample one or two. After a delicious early lunch, set off for Yakima.
The 130 mile direct route from Walla Walla to Yakima has mile after mile of vineyards. The journey passes through, or close to, seven American Viticultural Areas (AVAs). More than two hundred vineyards have some opening hours for tastings – and unlike Europe, every one of them has English speaking staff! Wine trails’ expert Steve Roberts estimates it would take 35 full days of touring to cover the main tasting rooms in this prodigious wine belt. We are going to have to be selective! Roberts’ book and website are excellent reference points. One compromise is to pick a couple of tasting rooms en route, say, one in RedMountain AVA near Benton, and one in Rattlesnake Hills near Zillah. Check opening times in advance. Tasting on the site of a vineyard provides different experiences from in town tasting rooms. Then press on to Yakima. If you have a remaining thirst, there are several excellent tasting rooms in downtown Yakima, after you have checked into your hotel!
From Yakima take Route 410 the Chinook Scenic Byway. Dense forests, towering peaks, rocky ridges and river canyons dominate this journey. Pass by the unique basalt flows of the Columbia Plateau, old-growth forests, and lush sub-alpine meadows. Amazing views of Mount Rainier emerge. Drive round to Crystal Mountain Resort and ride the scenic Mt. Rainier Gondola. At the top you’ll find unparalleled vistas of Mount Rainier, the Cascade Range. Lunch at the Summit House. This is the highest elevation restaurant in Washington State, sitting at 6,872 feet.
Drive to Sunrise Visitor Centre to learn about Mount Rainier National Park. At an elevation of 6,400 feet, Sunrise is the highest point that can be reached by vehicle in the Park. Enjoy the spectacular vistas of Mount Rainier, Emmons Glaciers and a nearly 360-degree view of the surrounding valleys, the mountain and other volcanoes in the Cascade Range. Retrace your route over the Cayuse Pass and approach the southern side of Mount Rainier. Just inside the Ohanapecosh Entrance, stop for a walk on the mile-long Grove of the Patriarchs. Afterwards drive up to either Paradise Inn or Longmire National Park Inn for the night.
Soaring nearly three miles from the coastal plain and capped by 26 glaciers, majestic Mount Rainier beckons outdoor lovers and nature enthusiasts year round. “The Mountain,” as locals call it, is the tallest free-standing volcano in the Lower 48 States of the USA. It is Washington State’s most recognized natural icon. Over one million travellers visit Mount Rainier National Park annually to enjoy its abundant wildflowers, waterfalls, wildlife, hiking and skiing opportunities. Starting from Paradise Inn (or driving up from Longmire Lodge), first visit Henry M. Jackson Visitor Centre for help choosing a hike such as the classic Skyline, or shorter trails from Paradise such as Nisqually Vista. Leave mid-afternoon to Tacoma. You really should find time for Tacoma ArtMuseum.
The collection includes prominent 19th-century artists who shaped our views of Native Americans, mountain men, cowboys, and pristine American landscapes. Nearby the Museum of Glass has a stunning collection from artists, home grown and around the world. It boasts a functioning hot shop, where visitors can watch glass artists ply their trade.
Leave Tacoma mid-afternoon to return to Seattle for your last night. Check in to your overnight hotel and park up your vehicle and take a stroll around town finishing at the waterfront. Seattle is a city surrounded by water, making it a natural destination for some of the best salmon, crab and fresh seafood in the Pacific Northwest, so stop in at one of the many restaurants for a wonderful dinner to finish off this amazing journey.
Today you will check out of your Seattle hotel and drive to the Airport where you will return your hire vehicle before boarding your flight back to the UK.