United States of America



Kurt Cobain, the birthplace of grunge, the Space Needle. We get it—we know you know all that.

But we’re pretty sure you had no idea that the state of Washington on the U.S. West Coast is one of the country’s ultimate outdoor destinations, home to a unique set of topography with options for every kind of outdoor person.

We’re also certain you didn’t know how nice it is to be outdoors in Seattle, in beautiful beer gardens or at an unlikely waterfall incredibly close to the city centre, or at one of America’s best ballparks. If you like adventure and being outside, Seattle and Washington need to be on your list. Here are ten of the most epic outdoor experiences in the city and state that prove it.

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1. KAYAK with orcas in the San Juan Islands

The San Juan Islands is the United States’ final bastion in the northwest, around 400 rugged islands that separate the country from Canada. These dramatic landscapes are one of the world’s best places to spot orca whales, year-round. And the best place to see these incredible beasts? In the water, obviously.

Crystal Seas Kayaking offer different kinds of kayak tours through these stunning waters, where you might just encounter an orca along the way.

They also offer a Women’s Weekend, a three-day, two-night kayak adventure for the girls only. YTG. And then there's Discovery Sea Kayaks, who offer bioluminescent night kayaking, where the darkest nights are lit up by streaks of marine bioluminescence.


2. WANDER through the Hoh Rain Forest

Wandering through the thick sheets of green that blanket the Hoh Rain Forest, you’d be forgiven for thinking you’ve been pulled from Planet Earth and planted straight into a Dr. Seuss book. 

As a result of the 355 centimetres of rain the area gets each year, the forest is spectacularly covered in green moss. Herds of elk wander the forest, and there are some epic trees that have been here long before grunge or the Space Needle. We’re not sure the Lorax ever made the four-hour drive from Seattle to Hoh, in Olympic National Park, but you definitely should.


3. EASILY HIKE the Easy Pass

Never has there been a less accurate name than the ‘Easy Pass’. This breathtaking, brute of a trail winds through mountains, greenery and rocky sections. It packs in heavy timber, meadows, and avalanche chutes and takes trekkers as high as 1,981 metres, which is a really long way up.

This is tricky trekking, a proper calf-burner, but the 11.2km are doable in a day. Go in March or autumn, and the larch trees will turn captivatingly golden-yellow for you.


4. CRACK OPEN A FROTHY in a beautiful brew garden

The Seattle Times recently ran a piece that showed that Washington is among the country’s most discerning states when it comes to beer (beer snobs, in their own words). As well as epic craft beer, the breweries and pubs around the state share a key element of Australian beer drinking: the beer garden.

The Fremont Brewing Urban Beer Garden is one of Seattle’s best spots for an ale, with an epic beer list. About a half hour away is South Fork North Bend, who serve pints in a beautiful beer garden that taste even better after bike ride through some gnarly trails nearby. 


5. GET FISHY at Pike Place Market

The large, red, neon-lit sign that adorns the entrance to the 117-year-old Pike Place Market is gorgeous, and it might just stop the Instagram crowd in their tracks. While they’re taking selfies, venture deeper into the market to find more time-honoured Seattle things—like fish throwing.  Fishmongers and fishermen yelling, chanting, shovelling ice and hurling fish at customers and each other. It’s genuine chaos, and we love it.  

The market is full of fresh food and classic Seattle dishes—like fresh oysters at Emmett Watson's Oyster Bar


6. GET TUBED in the surf at Westport

This is the West Coast, after all. 

While further south grabs all the attention, Westport, Washington, has quietly made a name for itself as a place to get pitted, with spots suiting both the kooks and the Kellys. Westport has three main spots: The Jetty, a consistent beach break, The Groins—a left-handed point break subject to monster tides; and The Cove, a feared shore break that bears the full brunt of the roaring North Pacific Ocean. All three are easily accessed. 

If you’re not a surfer, no matter; Washington State is full of epic beaches for all kinds of beachgoers—click here for more info.


7. DROP A LINE* at the Edgewater Hotel

The Edgewater Hotel in downtown Seattle is where the epic meets historic. It’s described as waterfront, and that’s putting it mildly—the Edgewater is so waterfront The Beatles fished out of their hotel room window when they stayed here. The lobby and restaurants are something to behold, situated right on the water, and with a blazing fire and epic bar to keep you warm in Seattle’s fresh winters. 

*We’re not sure if you’re allowed to fish out of your window—it’s probably more of a Beatles thing. If you’re reading, Paul or Ringo, go right ahead lads. 


8. KICK BACK at a Mariners game

The SoDo district of Seattle plays host to a number of pro sports teams. The Seattle Mariners are one of those, playing their home games at T-Mobile Park, a modern stadium with a retractable roof that also stages the occasional concert. 

Get a hot dog and a beer, and sing Take Me Out to the Ball Game while taking in 'America's pastime'. 


9. SHRED GNAR at Methow Trails

Methow Trails in the North Cascade Mountains is North America's largest cross-country ski area, with over 200km of perfectly groomed, skiable terrain. Within this 200km, there are long-distance town-to-town and lodge-to-lodge ski options and heart-pumping climbs and descents that will challenge the most seasoned mountain men and women. 

All this space is good news—more room for you, more area to explore, more extraordinary landscapes to drink in. It also means you’ve got A LOT of skiing ahead of you.


10. HAVE ZERO QUALMS at Snoqualmie Falls

It is borderline ridiculous that a place like Snoqualmie Falls can exist within a half-hour’s drive from downtown Seattle. From the city’s famous Space Needle, take the Homer M. Hadley Memorial Bridge and drive east for hardly any time at all before reaching the exquisite 82-metre waterfall, which the local Snoqualmie people have designated as the place where First Woman and First Man were created by Moon the Transformer.

This is one of the best city day trips you’ll ever find and it's not the only one you can do in Seattle—Bainbridge Island and Leavenworth are a couple of other epic adventures you can squeeze into a day from Seattle. 


Get Informed

For all the information you need regarding a trip to Seattle head to Visit Seattle. 

Tour There

State of Washington Tourism is your go-to for all things state-wide.

Words Tim McGlone

Tags: adventure, outdoors, Seattle, Washington

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