Vacation For Your Heart, Mind, And Soul In The Pacific Northwest

Whether you’re looking for a new experience or a new twist on the traditional beach vacation, Washington State is the perfect destination spot. From the breathtaking scenery of the Cascade mountains juxtaposed against the beautiful lakes all around the region, to the abundance of glorious dining, shopping, and entertainment there’s something that everyone can enjoy. My family moved to Bellevue, a small-but-big town which has grown up over the last 25 years from a rural horse country to a bustling metropolis that is home to some of the largest and most dynamic companies on the planet including Microsoft, Amazon, and Google. It was hard to pick from all the positive things in this area, but I prioritized the experiences that truly filled my heart, mind, and soul with joy.  Here are my top reasons why you should go ahead and plan your next vacation to the Seattle area and the Pacific Northwest region in general.

Breathtaking scenery and outdoors activities

Netflix’s mind-boggling series “Planet Earth” showcases the immense beauty of nature- similar to that seen walking down the streets of Bellevue, Washington. The state of Washington, aptly nicknamed The Emerald State, is covered in enormous, vibrant green trees that hover over the streets, highways, and homes of the locals. Washington’s natural beauty makes this the perfect location to enjoy outdoor activities such as hiking, visiting beach parks, kayaking, skiing, paddle-boarding- and that’s just to name a few. Only a short ferry ride away from Seattle, the nearby islands are the perfect way to enjoy a beautiful summer day outside. Bainbridge Island, specifically, has beautiful waters to kayak along with many beautiful nature trails to enjoy a bike ride, hike, or walk. In many of the kayaking spots, amidst all the greenery of the vast trees surrounding you, the views of Mt. Rainier and the rest of the Cascade mountain range completes the picture to create a stunning, jaw-dropping effect.  A sense of peace and calm descends over my mind every time I enter these scenes.

Vacation For Your Heart, Mind, And Soul In The Pacific Northwest

The beautiful waterfront district

There’s more to this beautiful city than just the Pike Place Market and Space Needle. While these are both must-see-attractions, if you’ve never visited Seattle before, there are more unique experiences awaiting you. If you’re looking for a bite to eat, Alaskan Way is the street dotted with various waterfront restaurants serving fresh and delicious seafood. My family’s favorite spots to eat here are Anthony’s, Dukes Chowder House, and Ivar’s. You will not want to miss out on the fresh, delicious food at any of those locations. At all of these restaurants, you can enjoy a great meal with a beautiful view from almost any seat. Nearby, you’ll find local thrift stores and the Museum of Pop Culture, which are both recommended stops on your visit. The waterfront district is truly filled with offerings that fill your appetite, your eyes, your mind, and your soul. As home to some of the largest companies in the world, Seattle and the neighboring cities enjoy a strong economy and standard of living. The local governments are well funded and able to provide great services to the residents and visitors alike including some of the largest and well maintained public parks, multiple transportation options, and clean and safe streets. Marymoor Park is one of my favorites in the city of Redmond, home to Microsoft, which is currently the most valuable company on the planet. This park has large open spaces for concerts, a large, well maintained, no-leash dog park and several sports fields where you can enjoy soccer, football, and even cricket.  Your stomach and your heart will feel a sense of fulfillment when you enjoy these experiences in the waterfront district.Vacation For Your Heart, Mind, And Soul In The Pacific Northwest

Seattle beaches are unique

If you are looking for a beach vacation, there are great local spots such as Alki Beach, which is known as the birthplace of modern Seattle. This great stretch of sand is filled with volleyball nets, a historic bathhouse, a replica of the Statue of Liberty, and all the typical beachside establishments for dining, shopping, and entertainment. Don’t believe the rumors you may hear about Alki being a fake beach filled with imported sand. It is absolutely a natural beach enhanced in the recent past with an imported top-layer of sand that is maintained by the parks department. I love the lighthouse in the Kitsap Peninsula which was built in 1879 and sits on a beautiful and quiet stretch of beach called Point No Point. Long Beach, which has a prominent sign claiming the title of “World’s Longest Beach”, which is technically inaccurate, is another favorite as you can enjoy a massive stretch of sand being pounded non-stop by the powerful waves from the Pacific Ocean. Many of my friends enjoy laying out at the local beach-parks and maybe even picking up a game of beach volleyball there. These are just a few examples of the great beach vacation options available in this region alongside the Pacific Ocean as well as several of the large lakes all around.  The beaches of Seattle have the ability to tone your body and expand your soul like no other place I have seen.

Vacation For Your Heart, Mind, And Soul In The Pacific Northwest

The best coast

Another reason to vacation in the Pacific Northwest region is the proximity to other great destinations on the west coast. Nearby are California and Canada, two beautiful vacation spots in themselves. Both of these destinations are only a short road trip away from Seattle and will allow you to make the most out of this trip. Whenever I am home, I’m sure to visit my friends in San Francisco and Pasadena, because they’re only an hour plane ride and less than $100 tickets. Canada is almost an extension of Washington, with beautiful nature paths and scenery to take in. The enormous state of California allows you to maximize your experiences on the West Coast in a short time. If you’re looking to incorporate a beach trip on your vacation, California is the perfect place to experience this. Not to mention, the world-famous city of Las Vegas is also a short plane ride away, and full of endless activities and casinos to visit!  Blueface couldn’t have said it better himself- it’s the best coast. The West Coast is the perfect vacation spot with endless opportunities to explore and expose yourself to new experiences. Having lived most of my life in the State of Florida, I can truly say that I have grown in ways I did not expect by experiencing life and all the joys in the Pacific Northwest Region. I would even go so far – without abandoning my southern roots – as to say, I am a “PNW girl”!

Vacation For Your Heart, Mind, And Soul In The Pacific Northwest

In summary, the Pacific Northwest region, anchored by the beautiful city of Seattle is truly worthy of being a bucket-list destination. Very few places on earth have such diverse offerings that can meet the discerning needs of every kind.  Next time you almost book the vanilla-type Disney World or beach vacation, consider a change of scenery in the beautiful state of Washington and bring a sense of fulfillment for your heart, mind, and soul that is unmatched.

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Margaret Raman

Senior at FSU.