23 Famous Washington State Landmarks You Must Visit


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Shadows of trees on a cyan lake with mountains and a blue sky in the background
Washington was coined the Evergreen State because of its lush and vast green forests

Washington was named the 42nd state of the United States in 1889. It was named after the first US president, George Washington.

Although the most popular area in the state is Seattle, Washington has a lot more to offer than just the world-famous Space Needle and the historic Arthur Fuss tug.

Many famous Washington state landmarks have a long history, like Fort Nisqually Granary and San Juan Island National Historical Park.

In addition, beautiful, diverse nature can be found in different parts of the state that will make you admire the planet even more.

Keep reading to learn more about some of the famous landmarks of Washington state. To get a better overview, see the Washington state landmarks map below.

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23 Famous Landmarks in Washington State

Washington Landmarks Map

Using the map of Washington landmarks, you can explore all the landmarks.

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High angle view of a river with green mountains on both sides
The Columbia River spans 1,200 miles

Columbia River

The Columbia River is a huge waterway, flowing from Columbia Lake at nearly 2,700 feet above sea level into the Pacific Ocean in Oregon. It is one of the important places in Washington State, as it's the fourth-biggest river by volume in the whole of North America.

And because of its high volume, the 1,200-mile-long river is famous for being one of the best hydroelectric power sources in the world.

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Sailboat afloat a blue fjord with snow-covered mountains in the background
Puget Sound was named after Peter Puget, a Royal Navy lieutenant

Puget Sound

Puget Sound is a fjord located along the coast of Washington state. It is part of the Sea of Salish.

The name of Puget Sound comes from George Vancouver, a British officer in the Royal Navy. He decided to call it after Peter Puget, a lieutenant in the Royal Navy as well.

Puget Sound is home to many harbors, such as Seattle, Everett, Port Townsend, and Tacoma. It is also a popular place for salmon-catching and whale-watching.

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Rocky coastline with a view of a mountain at dusk
Chinook Point is a historic location, located near the Columbia River

Chinook Point

Chinook Point is a historically important spot located near the mouth of the Colombia River. It is the place where the Columbia River was seen by a European for the first time.

Robert Gray was the first foreigner to enter the water stream, and the first time he viewed it was from Chinook Point in 1792. Today, Chinook Point is part of the 618-acre Fort Columbia Historical State Park.

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Flowers in a meadow at the foot of a snow-covered volcano peak
Mount Rainier, an active volcano, is the highest peak in Washington state

Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier National Park dates back to 1899, when it was established as the fifth national park in the U.S. It is one of the best national parks on the West Coast to visit. The star of the park, Mount Rainier, is an active volcano with a peak of 14,410 feet above sea level.

Mount Rainier is the highest mountain in Washington state, and it is considered one of the most dangerous volcanoes in the world due to its possible eruption. Waterfalls, meadows, and valleys surround Mount Rainier, creating a stunning yet possibly fatal scene.

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Water in front of a skyscraper with buildings and a mountain range behind
The Space Needle in Seattle is one of the famous Washington State landmarks

Space Needle, Seattle

The Space Needle is one of the most famous landmarks in Seattle. It is an observation tower, which was constructed in 1962 for the Century 21 Exposition.

The observation platform is 520 feet above the ground and offers a stunning panoramic view of the surroundings. The elevators to the top floor move at a speed of 10mph. Luckily, the monument is built to survive up to 9.0 magnitude earthquakes.

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Arthur Foss Tugboat, Seattle

The tug Arthur Foss is believed to be the oldest wooden-hulled tugboat still afloat. The boat was built in 1889 in Portland, Oregon. Arthur Foss had a long service in the Pacific Northwest and even played a role in the Klondike Gold Rush.

The old tug was declared a National Historic Landmark in 1989. Arthur Foss is currently located at the Historic Ships Wharf in Seattle and serves as a museum ship.

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View of a lake and cityscape from behind a grassy hill on a clear day
Lake Union Park is home to the historic Arthur Foss tugboat

Lake Union Park, Seattle

Lake Union Park, located near the center of Seattle, is the perfect place to take time off inside a busy city. The 12-acre green space includes a fountain of water jets, a model boat pond, and a beach for launching boats.

The Park is home to the Historic Ships Warf and the historic tugboat Arthur Foss. It brings together people from different neighborhoods and is a common spot where cultural events are held.

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An arched bridge connecting two rocky islands from below
The Deception Pass Bridge was completed in 1935 by the Civilian Conservation Corps

Deception Pass Bridge, Oak Harbor

Deception Pass Bridge is a name for two bridges connecting Whidbey Island to Fidalgo Island. The structure lies around 180 feet above the water and has two lanes and two sidewalks, one in each direction.

The roadway was built in less than one year, from August 1934 to July 1935. Back then, it was used by around 700 cars a day. Today, about 20,000 vehicles cross the bridge daily above the turbulent water.

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Pond and trees on the right of a landscaped green lawn on a clear day
Point Defiance Park now houses the Fort Nisqually Granary

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum, Tacoma

Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a reconstruction of the Hudson's Bay Company. It used to be an important farming and fur trading outpost and is located in Point Defiance Park. Visitors to the living museum can experience what life was like in Washington more than 150 years ago.

Guests can explore 9 buildings, including two original buildings from the 1850s - the Fort Nisqually Granary and the Factor's House. The museum is one of the important historical places in Washington state.

The Fort Nisqually Granary, built in 1843, moved from the original site to Point Defiance Park, together with the Factor's House. It is now a National Historic Landmark of the U.S. The granary is the oldest building in the state of Washington.

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Top view of Snoqualmie Falls, one of the famous Washington State landmarks
Snoqualmie Falls is visited by over a million people every year

Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie

Snoqualmie Falls is one of the famous places in Washington state. Located east of Seattle, this breathtaking attraction invites more than 1.5 million nature-lovers to view the 270-foot high natural scene every year.

The Snoqualmie Falls is surrounded by a two-acre park and an observation platform. The landmark is significant in the culture and beliefs of the Snoqualmie People, who use the area as a traditional burial site.

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Deer roaming around a tree-laden ridge with a view of mountains in the back
Olympic National Park is home to many species of animals

Olympic National Park, Port Angeles

Olympic National Park contains 4 regions and 3 different ecosystems. The park is therefore incredibly diverse, being nearly a million acres in size.

The national park has a coastline more than 70 miles long, as well as numerous snowy mountains and even two temperate rainforests.

Many species of animals only live in this area of the Pacific Northwest coast. For example, the Roosevelt elk can be seen in the stunning wilderness of the park.

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Fallen tree trunk covered with moss in a lush rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is a well-known destination in Olympic National Park

Hoh Rainforest, Olympic National Park

Hoh Rainforest is one of the biggest temperate rainforests in the U.S that sees heavy rains during the winter months. Thanks to the severe humidity, the forest is luscious and blooming.

As it's one of the greatest state of Washington landmarks, it is among the most popular attractions in Olympic National Park.

The forest used to be greater in size, reaching all the way up to Alaska, but it has been reduced as new cities are constantly being built.

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Sea stacks on a sandy beach with a cloudy sky above
Point of Arches is famous for the scenic views it offers

Point of Arches, Olympic National Park

The Point of Arches is located along Shi Shi Beach, in an isolated corner of Olympic National Park. It is one of the most impressive and famous Washington landmarks.

Amazing sunsets and jaw-dropping views make it one of the most photographable places in Washington. The Point of Arches offers coastal camping and hiking opportunities, and it is considered a possible eagle and whale-watching spot.

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Rugged coastline beside pristine blue water with a view of the mountains from afar
The San Juan Islands are an archipelago situated between Washington and Vancouver

San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands are an island group located between Washington state and Vancouver Island in Canada. The islands are reachable by ferry and seaplane from the city of Seattle.

The archipelago consists of 172 islands, some visible only when the water levels are low. There are 3 major islands - Lopez, the most rural and the flattest of them; San Juan Island, perhaps the most touristic; and Orcas, the biggest of them, an island full of mountains and lakes.

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San Juan Island National Historical Park, San Juan Islands

San Juan Island National Historical Park consists of the U.S and British Army camps during a fight over the ownership of the island in 1859. The camps were added to the list of National Historic Landmarks in 1961.

The park lies on over 2000 acres of land and is divided into the English camp and the American camp. The entry to both sides is free of charge and includes numerous hiking trails.

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Lighthouse on a rocky beach against a sky filled with clouds
Point Wilson Lighthouse, located in Fort Worden, is an active navigational aid

Fort Worden Historical State Park, Port Townsend

Fort Worden Historical State Park, located on the Olympic Peninsula, is a popular tourist destination. The 434-acre national fortress, constructed to protect Puget Sound from invasions, was named a National Historic Landmark in 1976.

Today, many of the original military shelters and officer houses remain. It is now possible to rent them out as event venues. Furthermore, two museums describe the period and the lives of the people who served in Fort Worden.

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Top view of an emerald lake surrounded by tree-laden mountains
Enjoy hiking, biking, skiing, or camping in North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park's 500,000 acres are located less than 3 hours from Seattle. Over 300 glaciers decorate the park, accompanied by waterfalls and forested valleys.

The list of activities that the park offers is endless. Visitors can climb and hike in the mountains of the North Cascades, as well as ski and bike.

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Panoramic view of clouds looming over a volcano covered with snow
Mount St. Helens, an active volcano, is a 110,000-acre national monument

Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument, Castle Rock

Mount St. Helens is an active volcano found in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States. The Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is one of the national monuments in Washington state and includes the mountain itself and its surroundings.

The 110,000-acre monument includes a visitor center that tells the story of the area's culture and history. An observatory is located near Castle Rock, where it's possible to learn more about Mount St. Helens.

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View of moss-covered walls and an entrance from inside a cave
One of the world's longest lava tube is the Ape Caves in Mount St. Helens

The Ape Caves, Longview

The Ape Caves in Mount St. Helens formed nearly 200 years ago due to a volcanic eruption. They're considered one of the longest lava tubes in the world, extending to 12,810 feet in length.

The lava tube is divided into two - the Upper and the Lower cave. The Upper cave reaches 1.5 miles in one direction and might be a challenging climb for some.

The struggle is worth it, though, as it is an interesting hike. The size, shape, and geology of the tunnel are constantly changing.

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Trees and mountains reflected on a lake in the morning
The beautiful Enchantments contains over 700 alpine lakes and ponds

The Enchantments, Leavenworth

The Enchantments is an area full of diverse nature. Over 700 alpine lakes and ponds are located in the natural landscape at an altitude of 4,500 feet.

Visiting the Enchantments is not for the weak. The easiest way to see them is to climb seven miles up, gaining about 4,400 feet in elevation. That will take you to only one of the lakes, though.

That being said, the scene is worth sweating for, so put your boots on and prepare for a view of a lifetime!

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Aerial of barren rocky cliffs surrounded by a lake
Dry Falls used to be the one of the world's largest waterfalls

Dry Falls, Coulee City

Dry Falls is a natural wonder that used to be one of the biggest waterfalls in the world. The natural attraction was created when a lake was formed from melting glaciers. The lake flooded the area, creating falls.

While the area may have dried out, the path through which water once flowed is still clearly noticeable. The history of Dry Falls reaches back 13,000 years, and you can learn more about it at the Dry Falls Visitor Center.

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Old Capitol Building, Olympia

The Old Capitol Building in Olympia was originally built as a courthouse. The construction of the place began more than 200 years ago.

The building now serves as an office of the Superintendent of Public Instruction. It has survived numerous disasters, with 10 out of 12 towers collapsing in 1949 due to an earthquake.

As the Old Capitol Building is one of the most famous buildings in Washington state, it was added to the Register of National Historic Places in 1975.

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A warning sign hanging in front of the process tubes of a nuclear reactor
The B Reactor converts uranium into plutonium

B Reactor, Richland

The B Reactor, located near Richland at the Hanford Site, was the first large-scale nuclear reactor in the world.

The creation of the B Reactor was an important part of the Manhattan Project. Natural uranium was used in the reactor instead of isotopically enriched uranium.

The B Reactor was named a U.S National Historic Landmark in 2008. Tours to the famous spot can be arranged by prior reservation.

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Summary

Washington state not only has an interesting history that can be learned from various angles in multiple visitor centers and museums, but it is also home to impressive sights, like the Point of Arches.

Hundreds of lakes, many volcanoes, and numerous deep valleys can be found all over the state. There are more than enough reasons to add Washington to the top of your must-go list right now!

This article was edited by Loredana Elena.

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Written by Kirke Männik

kirkemannik WRITER As a full-time traveler, I've visited 47 countries and 4 continents. I'm collecting adventures wherever I go, exploring the world through cultures and the people I meet.