Given the well-documented occurrence of drizzly days in the city of Seattle, Washington, it might seem like winter would be the last season to plan Washington travel. But as anyone who has spent some time in this lovely Northwestern state can tell you, push up and into the Cascade Range and you’ll find mountains resplendent in snow and sunshine, small-town festivals to warm your spirit and plenty of places to pursue invigorating outdoor activity. Go farther east and even otherwise arid landscapes get a sugar coating of snow, In other words, don’t dismiss Washington travel out of hand because of the season; just dress in layers, and pack that warm coat.
Given the proximity of big, snowy mountain peaks to major urban centers along the coast it should come as no surprise to find that there are a number of ski areas which offer downhill skiing and snowboarding. Though the powder on peaks like Mount Baker or Crystal Mountain is nothing to sniff at, a better way to appreciate the quiet beauty of the state’s wild side is by tackling a cross-country skiing trail. Base your self in some small atmospheric town like Leavenworth or Winthrop, and you’ll be rewarded with not only a peaceful winter setting but also an agreeable infusion of arts and culture to enjoy apres ski.
Between forays in to the great outdoors, leave space in your Washington travel itinerary to enjoy some of the state’s winter festivities. Pencil in Wintergrass (a bluegrass festival that kicks off every February in the Seattle area), the Ellensburg Spirit of the West Cowboy Gathering (think Dutch Oven cook-offs, concerts and whiskey making) or even the Argosy Christmas Ship Festival. Too hooked on Seattle’s charms to leave city limits? Plan instead to spend a few of those chilly winter days exploring the well-rounded list of museums on offer in the “Emerald City”, with evenings free to frequent a downtown wine bar or two. Winter? Pshaw. Don’t mind it. You’ve got your gloves to keep your warm.