(This content originally appeared in the June 2020 issue of Military Officer, a magazine available to all MOAA Premium and Life members. Learn more about the magazine here; learn more about joining MOAA here.)
By Todd Gilchrist
As the Cascade Mountain range bisects the state into east and west sides, Washington offers a wide variety of geographic and climatic options, from mountains to deserts, heavy rains to arid landscapes, with plenty of indigenous flora and fauna to populate all of it.
The state’s parks include Alta Lake State Park, San Juan Islands National Wildlife Refuge, and Olympic National Park, some of which have been designated as wilderness. Even if you don’t want to get too close to the top of Mount Rainier, an active volcano, there are many wonderful attractions in the surrounding park, such as the visitor center and campgrounds in Longmire, and the aptly-named Paradise on the south slope.
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Wine drinkers will discover special varietals in the state’s wineries, which produce wine in quantities second only to California. The annual rainfall, extended hours of sunlight, and consistent temperatures create optimal circumstances to grow and harvest grapes.
If you’re in search of spectacular views, the North Cascades Scenic Byway offers astonishing geography, as well as hiking challenges that range from beginner to expert level. The San Juan Islands offer kayaking and whale-watching opportunities, as well as one of the top-rated campgrounds in the state.
Live and Play 2020
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