things to do in washington state

RightTurn’s Road Trip Destinations Series: Washington

From the shores of the ocean to the tops of mountains, things to do in Washington State are aplenty. It might be well known for coffee shops and grunge music, but Washington has it all. You can watch fishmongers throw salmon at Pike Place Market, get a taste of Bavarian charm in the German town of Leavenworth, or take in a soccer match with the incredible fans of the Seattle Sounders.


If those don’t tickle your fancy, there are more things to do. Just take a look:

Jimi Hendrix Gravesite

One of the most influential rock musicians of all time, James Marshall “Jimi” Hendrix captivated audiences worldwide with unmatched guitar playing skills and an experimental sound unheard of previously. Hendrix passed away far too soon in1970 from drug-related complications but he left a searing mark on the genre of rock music that remains to this very day, influencing young artists all over the globe. He received his first guitar at 16 that he had to flip in order to play left-handed. Along the way, Hendrix played with acts such as Sam Cooke, B.B. King, and the Isley brothers, skyrocketing into stardom. In Renton, Washington, you’ll find the gravestone of one of rock’s greatest guitar players. His memorial is one attraction on many Seattle tours, which also includes his bronze statue on Capitol Hill near the city’s downtown. Pay your respects to one of rock’s true gods.

Seattle Pinball Museum

Another cool thing to do in Seattle is revisit the games of yesteryear. Part of the Storefront Seattle project designed to revitalize the international district, owners decided to set up their pinball collection in Chinatown. With the oldest game dating back to 1963, along with those spanning all the years since, and even unique artist-created games, you won’t run out of flippers to flip. The Seattle Pinball Museum costs $13 to entire, but most of the machines are free of charge with the exception of a few collector games like the limited edition Emerald City—Land of Oz. Oh, and beer, drinks, and snacks are also available for purchase!

Goldendale Observatory State Park

After you get your coffee fix in Seattle, hit the road and head south about 230 miles to Goldendale, Washington. Why? So you can see the cosmos at the Goldendale Observatory. There, you’ll find a 5-acre educational facility with access to a 2,100-foot elevation to view the stars through sophisticated telescopes. The primary telescope is a customized Cassegrain-pattern reflector. With a schedule that includes programs to actually view the sun through safe-filtered telescopes, you can see what gives you that great summer tan! There is no charge to enter, but make sure you plan your visit wisely and pick a clear night so you can see what’s up.

Beacon Rock

First documented by Lewis and Clark on their expedition from the American interior to the Pacific Northwest from 1804 to 1806. The Beacon Rock is a gigantic landmark that formed the core of an ancient volcano. In 1904 it was purchased by Charles Ladd and sold in 1915 for one dollar! Charles Ladd admired the formation so much he sold it for so little to a man whom he knew would preserve it. Henry Biddle was that man and he devised a safe system of ramps and stairs to explore it all the way to the top overlooking the Columbia River below. Test your stamina and climb to the top!

Mystery Soda Machine

There is obviously no shortage of Seattle attractions. Capitol Hill’s mysterious Coke machine is close to the rail station and has shops and restaurants nearby, making it an awesome stop on your Washington road trip. This vintage-looking soda machine has gained popularity since no one knows who stocks the machine. Set outside a locksmith, no workers know how the machine gets restocked or who collects the money. Yes, each can still cost 75 cents; a small price to pay to get in touch with another dimension. Ok, I made that part up, but you never know! With some of the buttons being “mystery” sodas, you never know if you’ll end up with a discontinued flavor from 20 years ago! The nostalgic feeling of going to an old soda machine combined with the intrigue of possible supernatural occurrences should make for a great road trip stop. Plus, you get a cheap drink out of it!

Check back to see which state we’re covering next. You can always search “Road Trip Destinations Series” in the search bar at the top of the blog to see where we’ve been. If you head through Washington, let us know what mystery soda you got!