Top 10 Most Famous Washington State Landmarks Travelers Talk About

Washington holds the unique distinction of being the only US state named after a president and was the 42nd state to join the Union. In 1805, Lewis and Clark embarked on an expedition across the state, and Tumwater, formerly known as New Market, became its first settlement in 1846. The state’s west coast location has blessed it with stunning natural landscapes, earning it the nickname “The Evergreen State.” Washington boasts more glaciers than any other contiguous state, and its terrain features an array of mountains and volcanoes. The highest peak, Mount Rainier, was named after a British soldier who fought against the Americans during the Revolutionary War. The state insect, the Green Darner Dragonfly, thrives in its numerous state parks and natural environments.

In addition to its natural beauty, Washington has deep connections to history, manufacturing, and music. The world’s largest building, the Boeing final assembly plant, is located in Everett, where massive aircraft are constructed and shipped worldwide. The state is also the birthplace of renowned musicians Jimi Hendrix and Bing Crosby, whose legacies continue to be celebrated in local bars and clubs. To immerse yourself in the city’s music scene, visit one of Seattle’s many clubs and music bars.

Washington is a powerhouse in the technology sector, hosting the headquarters of both Amazon and Microsoft in its second-largest city, Seattle. The state is brimming with historical sites, spectacular landscapes, and an abundance of coffee, as the first Starbucks opened here in the 1970s.

Here are 10 of our top picks.

Grand Coulee River Bed

grand coulee dam

The Grand Coulee River Bed, located in Washington State, is an awe-inspiring geological feature that showcases the immense power of nature. Formed during the last Ice Age, this ancient riverbed was carved out by the massive floods known as the Missoula Floods. These cataclysmic events, which occurred between 15,000 and 13,000 years ago, were responsible for shaping the region’s unique landscape.

Visitors to the Grand Coulee River Bed can marvel at the sheer scale of the basalt cliffs and deep channels, which reveal the erosive force of the water that once flowed through this area. Hiking trails and viewpoints offer panoramic vistas of the surrounding terrain, making it a popular destination for nature enthusiasts and photographers alike. The Grand Coulee River Bed is a testament to the dramatic geological history of Washington State and a must-visit site for those seeking a glimpse into the region’s fascinating past.

Point of Arches

point of arches

Point of Arches is a breathtaking natural landmark located in the Olympic National Park in Washington. This unique natural feature is located on the Olympic Peninsula and offers some of the most stunning views in the Pacific Northwest. Visitors can explore the beach and surrounding area, taking in the unique rock formations and arches that have been carved out by the ocean over time. Point of Arches is a popular spot for hiking and camping, with a variety of trails that wind through the lush forests and along the rugged coastline.

It is located near the historic Ozette Indian Village, and visitors can learn more about the region’s rich history and cultural heritage at the nearby Makah Cultural and Research Center. The center features exhibits on Makah history, including traditional whaling practices and artifacts from the region’s early inhabitants. Whether you’re interested in history, nature, or simply soaking up the stunning views, Point of Arches is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Washington State.

Mount Rainier

mount rainer

Mount Rainier, the highest peak in Washington state, stands tall at 14,411 feet and is an active stratovolcano. It’s located in Mount Rainier National Park and is a popular destination for hikers and outdoor enthusiasts, offering stunning views of its glacier-capped summit and alpine landscapes. The mountain was named after British Rear Admiral Peter Rainier, who had fought against the Americans during the Revolutionary War. Mount Rainier is also home to several hiking trails, including the Wonderland Trail, which encircles the entire mountain and spans over 90 miles. With its natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities, Mount Rainier is a must-visit destination for anyone traveling to Washington state.

The mountain is a prominent feature in the state’s culture and history, with many myths and legends surrounding it. In the 19th century, Native American tribes believed that the mountain was the home of the Great Spirit, and its eruption would signal the end of the world. Mount Rainier has erupted several times in the past, with the most recent eruption occurring around 1,000 years ago. Today, the mountain is closely monitored by geologists to predict and prepare for any potential volcanic activity. Whether you’re a nature enthusiast, a history buff, or simply looking for a breathtaking view, Mount Rainier is a must-see attraction in the state of Washington.

Fort Nisqually Granary

fort nisqually

The Fort Nisqually Granary is a historical landmark located in Point Defiance Park, Tacoma. Built-in 1857, it was used to store grain and other supplies for the Hudson’s Bay Company’s trading post. Today, it is one of the few remaining granaries from the 1800s and has been restored to its original condition. Visitors can tour the inside of the granary and learn about its history and the role it played in the early settlement of the Pacific Northwest. The Fort Nisqually Granary is a must-visit for history buffs and those interested in the region’s early economic and trade practices.

Fort Worden

fort warden

Fort Worden is a former military base located in Port Townsend, Washington. The fort was established in 1897 and was an active Army base until 1953, when it was decommissioned and turned over to the state of Washington. Today, the fort is a state park and a National Historic Landmark, offering visitors the opportunity to explore its many historic buildings, bunkers, and gun emplacements.

Fort Worden’s history is tied to the defense of Puget Sound and the strategic positioning of coastal artillery. During World War II, the fort was used as a training facility for the Coast Artillery Corps and as a mobilization center for troops headed to the Pacific theater. Today, visitors can tour the fort’s many historic buildings and learn about its role in American military history, as well as enjoy the park’s recreational opportunities, including hiking, biking, and camping.

Old Capitol Building

old capitol buidling

The Old Capitol Building in Olympia, Washington, served as the home of the state government until 1928. The building’s cornerstone was laid in 1890 and was completed in 1892, making it one of the oldest buildings in Olympia. The structure, designed by architects Walter Wilder and Harry White, was built in a neoclassical style with Corinthian columns and a grand dome.

After the government moved to a new location, the Old Capitol Building was repurposed as the state historical museum in 1962. Today, visitors can explore the museum’s exhibits, which cover Washington’s history from Native American cultures to the present day. The building is also listed on the National Register of Historic Places and is a popular tourist destination in Olympia.

Space Needle

space needle

The Space Needle is a landmark of Seattle, Washington, built for the 1962 World’s Fair. Standing at 605 feet tall, it offers stunning views of the city and the surrounding mountains and waterways. Visitors can enjoy a meal at the revolving SkyCity Restaurant or take a ride on the observation deck’s glass-bottomed floor, known as “The Loupe.” The Space Needle has become an iconic symbol of Seattle and a must-see attraction for visitors to the city.

Dry Falls

dry falls

Dry Falls is a geological wonder located in eastern Washington and is known as one of the largest known waterfalls in the world. The falls were formed during the last Ice Age, when the ice dam that once held back glacial Lake Missoula suddenly broke, causing an immense flood that carved out the deep channels of the Columbia River Gorge and the dry falls. Today, visitors can witness the massive rock formations and sheer drop-offs that once were home to cascading water.

Dry Falls is part of the Dry Falls State Park and offers a range of outdoor activities, such as hiking, camping, and fishing. Visitors can take in the breathtaking views from several viewpoints and hiking trails, including the 3.5-mile-long Umatilla Rock Trail. The site is also home to the Dry Falls Visitor Center, where visitors can learn about the area’s geological history, Ice Age floods, and local flora and fauna

The Enchantments

the enchantments

The Enchantments is a group of alpine lakes and mountains located in the eastern part of the Cascade Range in Washington State. This popular destination for hikers and backpackers features stunning scenery, including crystal-clear lakes, jagged peaks, and vibrant fall foliage. The Enchantments is known for its challenging hiking trails, with some of the most difficult terrain in the state, including steep ascents and narrow switchbacks. However, the breathtaking views make the trek well worth it.

Visitors to The Enchantments can choose from a variety of trails, ranging from easy day hikes to multi-day backpacking trips. Permits are required for overnight stays, and reservations can be made in advance. Hikers should come prepared with appropriate gear and provisions, as the high elevation and unpredictable weather can make for challenging conditions. But for those who are up for the challenge, The Enchantments offers a once-in-a-lifetime hiking experience.

Hoh Rainforest

hoh rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest is a lush, temperate rainforest located on the Olympic Peninsula in Washington state. It is one of the largest remaining tracts of old-growth forest in the United States and is home to a diverse array of plant and animal species. The Hoh River, which runs through the forest, provides crucial habitat for salmon and steelhead trout.

Visitors to the Hoh Rainforest can enjoy hiking trails that wind through towering trees and along the banks of the Hoh River. The Hall of Mosses Trail is a popular destination, offering a short and easy hike through a dense forest of moss-covered trees. The Hoh Rainforest also features a visitor center with exhibits and information about the ecology and history of the area.


Can I hike in any of the state landmarks in Washington?

Yes, many of the landmarks such as Mount Rainier, The Enchantments, and Hoh Rainforest offer hiking trails for visitors to explore.

Is there an entrance fee to visit these state landmarks?

Some landmarks may require an entrance fee, such as Mount Rainier National Park or Fort Worden State Park. However, many of the landmarks are open to the public for free.

Can I camp at any of the state landmarks in Washington?

Yes, many of the state landmarks have campgrounds for visitors to stay overnight. However, reservations may be required and fees may apply.

Are there guided tours available for the state landmarks?

guided tours

Yes, some of the state landmarks offer guided tours, such as the Arthur Foss Tugboat or Fort Nisqually Living History Museum. Check with each landmark for more information.

Can I bring my dog to the state landmarks?

Some of the landmarks may allow dogs on a leash, but others may not. It’s best to check with each landmark before bringing your pet.

Can I drive to the top of Mount Rainier?

No, there is no road to the summit of Mount Rainier. However, visitors can drive to Paradise or Sunrise and hike to the summit.

Are there any restrictions on photography at the state landmarks?

Some landmarks may have restrictions on photography, such as no flash photography inside buildings or no drones allowed. Check with each landmark for more information.

Can I fish in any of the state landmarks in Washington?

Yes, some of the landmarks such as Dry Falls State Park or Point of Arches offer fishing opportunities. However, a fishing license may be required.

Are there any special events or festivals held at the state landmarks?

tullip festival

Yes, many of the landmarks host special events or festivals throughout the year, such as the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival at Roozengaarde Gardens or the Washington State Fair at the Washington State Fairgrounds.

Can I visit all of the state landmarks in one trip?

It is possible to visit many of the state landmarks in one trip, but it may require a significant amount of time and planning. It’s best to prioritize which landmarks you want to see and plan accordingly.


In conclusion, Washington state is a remarkable destination that offers travelers a wide range of attractions and landmarks to explore. From natural wonders like Mount Rainier and Dry Falls to historic sites like Fort Worden and the Old Capitol Building, there is something for everyone to enjoy. Visitors can also experience the state’s rich musical history, technological innovation, and diverse cultural offerings.

Whether you’re an outdoor enthusiast, a history buff, a music lover, or a foodie, Washington state has it all. With its breathtaking scenery, fascinating landmarks, and vibrant cities, this state is truly a gem of the Pacific Northwest. So pack your bags, plan your itinerary, and get ready to discover all the wonders that Washington has to offer.

While Mount Rushmore is not located in Washington State, it is still an iconic American landmark and a fascinating example of how important figures are chosen to be memorialized in public art.