Washington State’s Best Outdoor Recreation Sites, By Sport

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Whatever your favorite activity, Washington State has a spectacular destination you’ll love.

Few places on the planet offer prime opportunities for virtually every outdoor activity imaginable. With volcanoes, glaciers, mountain ranges, rainforests, a high desert and over 3,000 miles of coastline, the washington state is undeniably one of those rare all-purpose spots.

Barrel surfing, skiing a tough, untouched line, and squeezing holds on a scenic rock climbing route are all within reach. Even on the same day, if you choose the right time and wake up with the sun, you can tear land, sea and air apart. Whatever your current obsession, there’s a Washington State destination practically designed to pursue it.

Here’s how to get the most out of your Washington State adventures.

Mountaineering and Rock Climbing: The Volcanic Peaks of Mount Rainier and Mount Adams

(Photo/Washington State Tourism)

Complete mountaineering experiences, with multi-day trips, are offered in Washington State. volcano region. Climbing the 14,111-foot summit of Mount Rainier takes 2-4 days, with the route beginning just under 3 hours from Seattle. Come fix with the complete high mountain kit, including glacier essentials like crampons, ice axes, harnesses, ropes and a capable bag. Dressing for the notoriously changeable weather conditions is a must, so always opt for waterproof outers and breathable layers.

Although it is not necessary to hire a guide, climbing with a guide is always a good idea to get the most out of your visit. Check with the parks department if reservations are required for the period of your visit and to obtain a Climbing permit (required for glacier travel and climbing over 10,000 feet).

For a less technical one-day summit with the same mountaineering kit, head further south to Mount Adams.

The essentials of mountaineering

Mammut Nordwand helmet with MIPS

Any climbing mission requires taking safety seriously. Go ultralight Mammut Nordwand helmet with MIPS.

Gravel Touring: Traverse the wine region around Naches and Zillah

Washington State Wineries
(Photo/Washington State Tourism)

Located on the east side of the Cascade Range, Washington’s wine country is home to a sunnier and drier climate than the western side of the state.

Rolling hills, scenic canyons and quiet, winding roads make this the perfect place to rack up miles on your gravel bike. Pack lots of layers (you’ll want to be ready for a cool breeze).

Yakima is the perfect base for exploring the stunning vineyards around Naches to the northwest and Zillah to the southeast.

Gravel-Touring Essential

Stay warm and dry when temperatures drop with Rapha’s ultra-packable (and stylish) clothing Patent insulating jacket.

rapha patent insulated jacket

Cold Water Surfing: Wave Chasing at Cape Disappointment and Westhaven State Park

When it comes to surfing in Washington State, braving the elements and chasing the waves is part of the fun – and makes the payoff even more incredible.

The steep shores of Cape Disappointment (the views are quite the opposite of what the name suggests) in the southwest corner are a magnet for the pacific swell. For seemingly endless stretches of sand, head north to Westhaven State Park in Westport, Washington.

The beach breaks here offer a very open spot for beginners, with more distant peaks for more experienced surfers. Pack a thick, hooded suit (something in the 5/4 neck of the woods) and throw on booties and gloves regardless of the season.

Necessity of cold water surfing

Norrøna, Norway’s beloved outdoor brand, designed their wetsuits for the Arctic Ocean, so they’re sure to withstand the cold waters of Washington State. Go with the hood Unstad 5/4 Wetsuit for year-round warmth.

norrona unstad 5.554 hooded jumpsuit

Skiing and Snowboarding: Exploring Ponderosa’s Highest Peak

Nestled in the northeast corner of the state, the Ponderosa Region is home to millions of acres of protected forest land and one of its most beloved winter sports destinations: Mount Spokane.

With 52 trails and seven lifts, the mountain offers terrain for all abilities and is the region’s only non-profit ski area. This means that ticket sales contribute directly to increasing access, getting more people to ski and snowboard through education and awareness programs. Pack skis, snowboards and of course clothing suitable for Northwest winters.

The essentials of skiing and snowboarding

The Season Epqt brand based in the Pacific Northwest. makes their skis and snowboards last. For performance in all conditions – from deep powder days to groomed trails – pack the Nexus model, available in both ski and snowboard form.

Nexus skiing and snowboarding

Sea Kayaking Tour: Paddling and Camping in the Islands Area

Washington State's Best Outdoor Recreation Spots - Sea Kayaking
(Photo/Washington State Tourism)

The San Juan Islands form an archipelago of more than 172 islands and reefs off Washington State. With views of distant mountain peaks on the mainland on one side and the open horizon on the other, exploring the area by kayak is a must-do adventure.

Fill your dry bags with camping gear and distribute them evenly in your sea kayak. Take the ferry from Anacortes to Orcas Island (you can take your kayak and gear on the boat). Then, enjoy visiting this lush horseshoe-shaped island, where you can see everything from bald eagles and otters to, of course, whales.

Unmissable sea kayaking

Keep all your essentials dry and safely stored with three sizes of lightweight dry bags from From the sea to the summit.

Sea to Summit Lightweight Dry Bags

Hiking: The Many Trails of the Salish Sea Region and the North Cascades

Washington State's Best Outdoor Recreation Spots - Hiking
(Photo/Washington State Tourism)

Pack your backpack, lace up your boots and get ready to hit the trail. the Salish Sea The Washington area is the state’s top multi-day hiking destination.

The varied landscape ranges from dense coastal forests to glaciers and alpine highlands. The fourth Loop trips in the North Cascades last 3-6 days and provide a user-friendly starting point for creating custom itineraries.

Hiking Fundamentals

Designed for hikes with climate and altitude changes, the lightweight yet extremely durable 2400 Junction from Hyperlite is the ideal backpack for trails across Washington State.

Hyperlite 2400 Junction

Running: Race for miles on otherworldly terrain in the Peninsulas region

Olympic National Park Hoh River Trail
(Photo/Washington State Tourism)

From the minimalism of the gear to the zen flow that comes with speed over a challenging course, trail running evokes a unique sense of freedom.

Washington Peninsulas Region gives runners the opportunity to experience exciting and varied terrain on a single run, including temperate rainforest and rugged shorelines. Delve into the rainforest on the Olympic National Park Hoh River Trail. Go for high-performance yet comfortable trail shoes that can handle wet conditions.

Trail Running Essential

For ambitious runs on new trails, a running vest is a good idea. Stash water, snacks, a diaper and a shell along with your usual long-distance essentials. of Solomon Advanced Skin 12 Set Hydration Vest offers plenty of room for everything you’ll need and features a precision fit system so you can focus on the trail and the epic views.

Salomon Advanced Skin 12 Set Hydration Vest


This article is sponsored by the washington state.

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