Washington State, also known as the evergreen state, is a gorgeous area of the United States. Home to iconic landmarks such as the Space Needle, as well as seemingly endless expanses of beautiful wilderness. While summer is a popular time for many outdoor activities in this, winter isn’t without its perks either – here are six off-the-beaten-path things to do this winter!
1. Visit Leavenworth, Washington
If you haven’t been to Leavenworth already, this unique, German-themed town is worth a visit any time of year! With European-inspired shops, restaurants, and bars, you’ll feel like you are stepping into a fairytale. Winter is an especially great time to visit, though, thanks to the annual Christmas Lighting Festival.
During the month of December, the entire main portion of the town is decorated in elaborate and festive light displays, including massive Christmas trees. There are also a number of holiday-themed shops, such as Kris Kringl, that are perfect for finding a unique gift, as well as one-of-a-kind activities like sleigh rides!
2. Go On A Christmas Cruise
Did you know Seattle has an official Christmas Ship? Argosy Cruises runs a variety of cruises year-round for passengers, including a Christmas cruise on the Spirit of Seattle. This cruise includes onboard choirs, plenty of Christmas lights, and equally as many options for customization. This includes the option of booking a private charter to follow behind the Christmas Ship and enjoy the show! This is definitely a pretty unique way to get into the Christmas spirit.
3. Explore A Rainforest
One aspect of Washington winters that can be both difficult and desirable is the heavy snowfall that comes with the colder months. This can limit options for outdoor activities without additional gear, such as snowshoes, while also allowing for countless skiing and snowmobiling opportunities.
Olympic National Park, located partially on the coast, offers a great mix of the best of both worlds. While temperatures do still get chilly – and you can likely expect some rain – it isn’t nearly as harsh as conditions in areas such as Snoqualmie pass. Beaches such as Kalaloch and Ruby beach, for example, remain relatively snow-free year-round. For those looking for snow, the nearby Hurricane Ridge will also have plenty!
4. Make A Custom Candle
Nothing is quite as peaceful as settling down with a warm drink on a cold day, with a candle flickering softly nearby. Elm Candle Bar in Seattle lets you easily add a personalized twist to the experience by allowing visitors to craft their own candles.
This could be a great date idea, an outing with friends, or even a way to simply kill time in the afternoon. You’ll be able to choose the candle size, and scent, and create a customized label. Reservations aren’t necessary but may be a good idea if you want to ensure availability at a certain time.
5. Check Out Lake Chelan’s Winterfest
Head over to the beautiful Lake Chelan in January to experience their annual WinterFest. This lively festival offers a wide variety of activities. The exact schedule of events hasn’t been released yet. However, the lineup typically includes ice sculptures, an ice bar, and fireworks, among other things.
6. Explore Garden d’Lights
If you’re looking for a truly magical feeling light display this Holiday season, look no further than the Bellevue Botanical Garden. This is a great option for a wide variety of visitors, from couples to families. Featuring nearly a mile of lights throughout the garden, the light display opens near the end of November and runs through the end of December. Tickets are available online.
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This article originally appeared on TravelOffPath.com