Welcome to Washington
Washington State, in the north-western extremity of the United
States bordered by Canada and the Pacific Ocean, offers a unique
opportunity for visitors to blend the fun of a vibrant city
vacation with an exciting wilderness experience, all within a
relatively short distance of each other.
In the scenically set young city of Seattle, hugging the shores
of the Puget Sound, high-tech attractions both educate and
entertain at the foot of the city's famous landmark, the soaring
Space Needle. It is just a step from the waterfront of this dynamic
metropolis onto a ferry, which transports you to the wild windswept
Pacific beaches, or the emerald green islands of the Sound.
Travel inland to explore national parks, three within easy reach
of Seattle, most set around the peaks of the volcanic Cascades
Mountains and sporting forests, rivers, lakes and glaciers. In
summer the green western wilderness areas draw thousands of hikers,
climbers and cyclists, while in winter the skiers head for the
The north-eastern part of the state, across the barrier of the
Cascades Mountains, is desert-like with warm, dry air and a
landscape befitting the gateway to the Rocky Mountains. The
southeast is carpeted with wheat fields and dotted with historic
towns while the central Columbia River Plateau is a rugged area,
sculpted by glaciers and ice age flooding, characterised now by
wheat fields, lakes and orchards.
Washington is a diverse and beautiful state that can truly claim
to offer 'something for everyone'.
Information & Facts
The climate in Washington varies across the state from east to
west, and the state is divided both geographically and climatically
by the Cascade Mountain range. The western part of Washington tends
to be mild and humid, and is one of the world's rainiest areas,
while the eastern region is cooler and drier with a more
continental type of climate, experiencing hot summers and cold
winters. Western Washington often experiences heavy cloud cover,
fog and drizzle, and although summers tend to be sunny, they are
milder than in the east. In the western area, average temperatures
in summer can range from 44°F (7°C) on the slope of the Western
Cascade Mountains (which experience some of the heaviest snowfall
in the US) to 80°F (27°C) in the foothills, while winter
temperatures range from 20°F (-7°C) on the western slopes of the
Cascades to 48°F (9°C) along the Pacific coast. The average
temperatures in Eastern Washington are more extreme, with summer
temperatures ranging from a cool 48°F (9°C) on slope of the Eastern
Cascades to 92°F (33°C) in the south-central part of the state and
winter temperatures range from 8°F (-13°C) in the northeastern
Cascades to 40°F (4°C) on the southeastern plateau. Rainfall in
Seattle is usually heaviest from October to March.
English is the most common language but Spanish is often
spoken in south-western states.
The US Dollar (USD) is the unit of currency and is divided into
100 cents. Only major banks exchange foreign currency. ATMs are
widespread and credit cards and travellers cheques are widely
accepted. Travellers cheques should be taken in US Dollars to avoid
hassles. Banking hours are Monday to Friday 9am to 3pm.
GMT ?8 (GMT ?7 from March to November).