Washington State is known as the evergreen state for good reason – it’s home to some of the countries most lush and gorgeous wilderness year-round. In addition to having several notable National Parks, including Olympic National Park and Mt. Rainier National Park, it also has no shortage of beautiful state parks. Here are seven you’ll want to visit in 2022.
Deception Pass is the perfect option for those in the Seattle area who would like a taste of nature. Located about an hour and a half from downtown Seattle, this park is perfect for those looking for a day trip. It is known for offering gorgeous stretches of shoreline overlooking the Puget Sound. You can also look forward to enjoying a variety of hiking trails, swimming at Cranberry Lake, and staying at one of the park’s campsites if you choose to make an overnight trip out of your visit.
2. Lake Easton State Park
This state park features the gorgeous Lake Easton, a lake popular for activities including fishing and kayaking. Located in between the college town of Ellensburg and Seattle, this is a great option for those looking to get out of the city for a little bit. Camp sites are also available.
3. Palouse Falls State Park
Palouse Falls is located on the eastern side of the state. While this side doesn’t feature the evergreen foliage the west side does, that doesn’t mean it has nothing to offer to visitors. Palouse Falls is a great example of that – this stunning waterfall plummets over two hundred feet into the river below. There are campsites available at the park, though they are not the most secluded and can fill up quickly during the summer months. The falls are only an hour away from the Tri-Cities, however, making this a great day trip or stop on a road trip. You can view the falls from a viewing area above year-round. If you visit during the summer, you can also hike down to the base of the falls, or enjoy a dip in the river.
4. Lime Kiln Point State Park
This state park may not be the biggest – it’s only 41 acres – but it has a unique draw that makes it worth a visit. Lime Kiln Point is considered one of the best places in the world for whale watching. Orcas, dolphins, and grey whales – among other sea life – all make frequent appearances off the shores of this park. In addition to whale-watching, the park is also a popular spot for diving (though there can be strong currents in the area), and has some short nature trails to check out.
5. Fort Simcoe Historical State Park
Here’s a hidden gem that offers a ton of historical value. This historic preservation site is one of the few remaining pre-Civil War forts in the United States. You’ll be able to view a variety of old buildings, including barracks, homes, and a jail.
6. Flaming Geyser State Park
Here’s another great option nearby Seattle. Flaming Geyser State Park is a mere 45-minute drive away from the city (depending on traffic it can be a bit shorter or longer). Sitting on the Green River, Flaming Geyser State Park is named after an interesting geological feature. Formerly active pockets of methane once created a unique constantly burning flame, hence the name “flaming geyser”. Nowadays the methane has burnt off, meaning the once endless flame has sadly gone out. Interpretive signs still share information about the history of the park and the flame, however. There are several other activities you can look forward to enjoying at the state park as well as learning about the geological history of the area. It’s a popular spot for picnics nature walks and birdwatching. For those traveling with children, the park also has a small playground.
7. Lake Sammamish State Park
If you’re visiting Washington state in the warmer months you’ll definitely want to check out Lake Sammamish. This beautiful lake is located about 45 minutes outside of Seattle. It is a popular spot for all manner of water activities, including boating, kayaking, paddle boarding, and swimming. The park is also home to a sandy beach, picnic areas, and a playground. Better yet – even if you don’t have the equipment for some of the activities listed above yourself, rentals for activities such as kayaking and paddleboarding or available within the park.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com