The state of Washington is one of the most beautiful and stunning places to explore. It doesn’t matter if you want to camp it, hike it, or drive it; you’ll find beauty all over. These 5 scenic drives gives you a chance to do all of that and more.
Spokane River Loop to Riverside State Park
Start this scenic drive at exit 280 off of I-90. You’ll start in Spokane and have to drive through some city until you find some sweet country side views. The country life is fresh and inviting. After a few miles you’ll find the Riverside State Park. Here you can do some camping, hiking, and exploring. There’s a beautiful swinging bridge over the Spokane River where you’ll find some great photography opportunities.
You can continue on this 69 mile trip, or you can spend some time at the Riverside State Park. At Riverside you’ll find 32 different campsites; some standard campsites, some with utility hook ups. There is a dump station and a few showers, too. This gives you chance to camp sans amenities and go all natural or you can add a few extras to take it a little easy. Either way, you’ll really enjoy the beautiful sights and great hiking at Riverside, and a great drive to boot.
Olympic Peninsula Loop to Potlatch State Park and Campground
If you can only visit one place in Washington, you should go for gold and hit the Olympic Peninsula Loop. This 329 mile drive will give you a taste of everything; alpine forests, lakes, rivers, the glacier peaks of the Olympic Mountains, and the pristine Pacific Ocean. You even get to check out the wonder of Ruby Beach, which is one of the most amazing beaches in the world.
While there are a few campgrounds and state parks you can visit, the Potlatch State Park and Campground is unique and beautiful without being terribly populated. At Potlatch you have your choice of 38 tent spaces and 35 utility spaces. This is a great place, as it is the biggest fjord in the United States, for clamming and harvesting oysters (you’ll need a license though). A big clam bake over a fire would be absolutely unforgettable here.
Mount Rainier to Mount Rainier National Park
The Mount Rainier drive is 100 miles of pure relaxation and beauty. There are 5 developed areas of Mount Rainier National Park and this drive goes through 3 of them. You can find off roads that can take you to the other 2 areas, but we want to stick at the National Park.
You’ll drive through the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, which is breathtaking, before you get to the Mount Rainier National Park. At Mount Rainier you’ll find numerous campsites all with different amenities and elevations. Anything you could want to do at a Campsite, you can do here, all set in the beautiful shadow of Mount Rainier. This is a great place to bring a family, perfect for couples, and a nice challenge for solo campers, too.
Lewis and Clark Memorial Highway to Beacon Rock State Park
Historically, this and Route 66 are two of the most important drives you can experience. You can follow the path that Lewis Clark had forged in the hard and unexplored open. Sure, you’re on a road and they were not; but you still get to see the landscapes they opened up for this country.
While there is actually two routes that kind of mirror each other, you can get to Beacon Rock State Park from this one. Beacon Rock boasts a simple and quiet landscape. It is in the middle of the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area and in the center of the park you’ll find the core of an ancient volcano. This is a great place to hike, rock climb, and simply explore; hopefully with your camera and friends by your side.
Columbia River Mouth and Long Beach Peninsula to Fort Canby State Park
This beautiful 99 mile trip gives you a great feel of what Washington has to offer. Taking WA-4 from Kelso begins our little trip. As you drive along you will be able to see Mount Solo and parts of the Columbia River coast. There is a great place for picnics and just relaxing at County Line Park.
As continue your trip you’ll see old bridges, rich history, museums, and even a National Wildlife Refuge for White-tailed Deer. After a while you will find yourself at the Fort Canby State Park, also known as Cape Disappointment State Park. No, don’t let the name fool you; this is an amazing sight to see. Not only are there some great paths to hike and explore, but there is also the two oldest lighthouses on the Pacific. This gives a unique amalgamation of nature and history; exploration and fortitude.
These 5 scenic drives to campsites show exactly what Washington has to offer, which is a lot. From foot, car, horse, or bike you can see glaciers and grasslands; mountains and museums; the past and the future. The gem that is Washington is not hidden, it’s merely waiting.