Top Tours in Washington State

The journey can be just as exciting as the destination, whether you’re soaring in a hot air balloon, galloping across fields, or rocking whitewater rapids.

Floatplane

For a bird’s-eye view, Seattle’s Kenmore Air offers scenic tours for every flight plan. Operated since 1946, floatplanes depart from Lake Union and fly passengers over the city and even to the San Juan Islands. The recently launched Mount Rainier & Mount St. Helens Volcano Tour over the state’s volcanoes is another fan favorite thanks to breathtaking views of ice glaciers and the volcanic peaks.

Hot Air Balloon

Float over Washington via Morning Glory Balloon Tours out of Winthrop to  traverse the valley with stunning 360-degree views of the Cascade Mountains. Colorful balloons depart from Sequim’s airport and showcase the Olympic Peninsula. Finish with a gourmet picnic after touching down on ground. Over the Rainbow offers aerial tours above the tasting rooms of Woodinville and the farm fields of Snohomish.

Jet Boat

Feel the need for speed? Explore Hells Canyon by jet boat with outfitters like Snake Dancer Excursions out of Clarkston, ready to help expertly navigate the Snake River’s Class IV and V rapids. A full-day, 240-mile tour includes a visit to the Kirkwood Historical Homestead Museum, glimpses of Hells Canyon Dam, wildlife sightings from bears to eagles, and even a taste of homemade cookies.Ferry Take a ferry trip to destinations around the Pacific Northwest, from the Kitsap Peninsula to the San Juan Islands. Walk, drive, or bike aboard a Washington State Ferry for the 35-minute trip between Seattle and Bainbridge Island. Admire the Olympic Mountains and Seattle skyline along the way. Visitors land a five-minute walk from Bainbridge’s main drag, Winslow Way, where boutiques, restaurants, and tasting rooms await.

Horseback

Saddle up and see Washington by horseback, wagon, or sleigh. From Leavenworth and Wenatchee all the way to Washington Wine Country, there is an equine option for every skill level. Find your fit through the Washington Outfitters & Guides Association, whose members are all licensed and insured. In May 2018, WOGA hosts its 20th annual Ride to Rendezvous. For five days, riders travel the Methow Valley, camp at night, and eat wagon train–prepared meals. Snowshoe The US Forest Service hosts tours in Snoqualmieand Stevens Pass, in addition to Darrington and Mount Baker, to showcase the state in its winter glory. The trek through Stevens Pass is a two-hour guided tour along the Pacific Crest Trail, often with wildlife sightings. Open to every ability level and those 9 years and older, it’s the perfect winter adventure. If you feel like hitching a ride instead, tour companies out of Leavenworth and Cle Elum offer guided snowmobile journeys throughout the season.

--Deanna Duff

Photo courtesy of Kenmore Air