There are numerous state parks in Washington, and many parks have camping facilities. Among the most popular state parks are Deception Pass, on Puget Sound; Saltwater, between Seattle and Tacoma; Sequim Bay, near Port Angeles; and Sun Lakes, near Dry Falls, in the Grand Coulee. Twin Harbors, on the Pacific Coast, Sun Lakes, and Lake Chelan state parks attract many campers. Gingko has a petrified forest. Many parks in the San Juan Islands can be reached only by boat.
Heritage sites, some with interpretive museums, mark Native American battles, frontier forts, and other scenes of historical importance to Washington.
Long Beach is a popular ocean resort area. The San Juan Islands, which are reached by the ferry running from Anacortes to Vancouver Island, British Columbia, are noted for their resorts and small scenic villages.
The Columbia Plateau has many spectacular geological phenomena, including lava beds and dry barren coulees. Among the dams open to the public are Grand Coulee; Bonneville; Rocky Reach, where visitors can watch salmon swimming upstream to spawn; and Gorge, Diablo, and Ross dams, of the Seattle City Light company, which were built in a spectacular gorge of the Skagit River.
Washington’s frontier setting is host to numerous festivals and events celebrating cultural diversity and nature. In January, the Great Bavarian Ice Fest in Leavenworth features snow-sculpting, dog-sled contests, and sleigh rides; Winthrop hosts the International Snowshoe Softball Tournament where all the regular rules of the sport apply, except for the footwear. Native American programs celebrate a national symbol in February at the Upper Skagit Bald Eagle Festival.
Seattle hosts the Cherry Blossom and Japanese Cultural Festival in April. During March and April the Annual Daffodil Festival, one of the nation’s largest floral festivals, is held in Tacoma; the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival features colorful fields of tulips each April; the Apple Blossom Festival occurs in Wenatchee in early May; and Spokane celebrates with the Lilac Festival and Bloomsday footrace in mid-May.
The yachting and boating season opens on Puget Sound on May 1, with a long procession of decorated sailboats, yachts, and pleasure cruisers passing through the Lake Washington Ship Canal in Seattle. Port Townsend hosts some of the nation’s finest blues musicians at the June Blues Festival and Workshop, while in Seattle music festivals are held around Memorial Day and Labor Day. Seattle’s biggest festival of the year is Seafair, held in July and August, featuring hydroplane races among many other events.
Central Washington hosts the Omak Stampede and Suicide Race. Meanwhile, on the Long Beach peninsula, kite flyers from around the world meet at the International Kite Festival. The state’s largest rodeo is held during Labor Day weekend in Ellensburg. County and regional fairs are held throughout the state in August and September, with the Western Washington Fair in Puyallup being the largest. "Washington" © Emmanuel BUCHOT, Encarta, Wikipedia.
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