There are a ton of fun facts about Washington state. The state is located in the Pacific Northwest region of the United States, and it is known for its diverse and varied geography. The state is home to a range of geological features, including mountains, volcanoes, and coastlines. It is also know for its high tech industries and outdoor recreation.
Washington State is divided into several regions and sections for administrative and geographic purposes. The state is divided into 39 counties, which are further divided into cities and towns. This state is also divided into several regions, such as the Puget Sound region, the Eastern Washington region, and the Olympic Peninsula region. These regions are generally defined by geographic features and cultural traits.
The Cascade Mountain Range runs through the western part of the state. The Olympic Mountains, located on the Olympic Peninsula, are also a notable feature of the state’s geography.
In addition to its mountains, Washington State also has a number of rivers and lakes, including the Columbia River, which forms much of the state’s eastern border. The Puget Sound region, located in the northwestern part of the state, is known for its intricate network of waterways, including the Puget Sound itself, which is an inlet of the Pacific Ocean.
Overall, the geology of Washington state is characterized by its rugged and varied landscape, which is the result of millions of years of geological processes.
Here are 48 more fun facts about Washington State:
1. It is bordered by the state of Oregon to the south, the state of Idaho to the east, and the Canadian province of British Columbia to the north. The Pacific Ocean is directly west of the state.
2. The state capital of Washington is Olympia. It is located in Thurston County, on the southern end of Puget Sound. The city has a population of around 52,000 people, and is known for its mild climate, beautiful natural surroundings, and diverse cultural and recreational opportunities. Olympia is home to many state government agencies and institutions, as well as several colleges and universities. It is also a popular destination for outdoor enthusiasts, with access to forests, mountains, beaches, and other natural areas.
3. The state’s largest city is Seattle. The city has a population of around 730,000 people, and is known for its mild climate, beautiful natural surroundings, and vibrant cultural and economic scenes. Seattle is a major port city, and is home to many major companies, including Amazon and Starbucks. It is also a popular destination for tourists, with attractions such as the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle Art Museum. The city is surrounded by water, mountains, and forests, and offers many opportunities for outdoor activities.
4. The 11th of November in 1889 was the day when Washington became the 42nd state to join the Union. It was the only state that joined the Union in the same year that the Dakota Territory did, and it did so in 1889. The western portion of the Washington Territory, which had been established in 1853, served as the basis for its formation.
5. The state is named after George Washington, the first president of the United States. Washington oversaw the Continental Army as its commander-in-chief throughout the American Revolutionary War, and he subsequently contributed significantly to the creation and approval of the US Constitution. He participated in the Constitutional Convention as a delegate and won the first two presidential elections in the Electoral College.
6. Because of its lush, green woods, Washington is referred to as the “Evergreen State.” Conifers like Douglas firs, hemlocks, and pines, which are evergreen, are among the many types of trees that may be found in the state. These trees are crucial to the state’s economy since they are used to make timber, paper, and other goods. The moniker “Evergreen State” also alludes to the state’s dedication to preserving its natural resources and the environment.
7. Washington is actually the only state named after a U.S. president. There are quite a few cities named after presidents, but only one state.
8. The highest point in Washington is Mount Rainier. The mountain stands at an elevation of 14,411 feet (4,392 meters), and is covered in glaciers and snowfields. It is an active volcano, and has the potential to erupt again in the future. Mount Rainier is a popular destination for climbers, hikers, and other outdoor enthusiasts, who come to admire its natural beauty and challenge themselves on its steep slopes. The mountain is also an important source of drinking water for the surrounding region.
9. Another part of the Cascade Range of volcanoes is Mt. St. Helens. The mountain gained international notoriety in 1980, when it erupted in a powerful explosion that killed 57 people and caused widespread destruction. Since then, the mountain has been undergoing a process of recovery and reforestation. Today, Mount St. Helens is a popular destination for hikers and climbers, who come to see the results of the eruption and the recovery of the area.
10. A mountain range in western North America known as the Cascade Range may be seen stretching from southern British Columbia through the state of Washington and into Oregon. The Pacific Ring of Fire, which is a ring of volcanoes and accompanying mountains that encircles the Pacific Ocean, includes this region as a component.
11. In addition, the state of Washington is home to a number of fault lines, the most notable of which is the Cascadia subduction zone, which is located along the coast of the state and has the potential to generate significant earthquakes.
12. The varied geography of Washington state, along with its position in the Pacific Northwest, results in a climate that is just as diversified. The western area of the state is characterized by a marine climate, while the eastern section of the state has a climate that is more continental in nature. The state may be roughly split into two primary climatic regions: the western region and the eastern region.
13. Washington is home to over 7.7 million people. The majority of Washington state’s people live in the western part of the state, especially in the Puget Sound area, where Seattle, Tacoma, and Bellevue are located. About 60% of the state’s population live in this area, which is known for its strong economy and wide range of cultures. The population is much less concentrated in the eastern part of the state, except in the Spokane metropolitan area, which is in the northeastern part of the state and is the second-largest urban area in the state.
14. The state’s economy is driven by industries such as technology, agriculture, and aerospace.
15. Washington is the leading producer of apples in the United States. The state of Washington grows a lot of apples for a number of reasons. One of the main reasons is that the climate is good for growing apples there. In the eastern part of the state, the summers are dry and hot, and the winters are cool and wet. This is just what apple trees need to grow and do well. Along with a good climate, the soil in the state is also good for growing apples. The nutrient-rich and well-drained volcanic soils in the eastern part of the state are a great place for apples to grow.
16. Washington is home to several major technology companies, including Microsoft, Boeing and Amazon.
17. The state is also home to several military bases and facilities, including Joint Post Lewis-McChord which houses The I Corps and 62nd Airlift Wing in Pierce County. Naval Facility Kitsap is the biggest naval base on the West Coast, it houses ships, submarines, and planes on the Kitsap Peninsula. Fairchild Air Force Base is in Spokane County, and the 92nd Air Refueling Wing supports military aircraft with air-to-air refueling. The Whidbey Island Naval Air Station has many aircraft, notably the electronic warfare EA-18G Growler.
18. There are many Native American tribes that have historical and contemporary connections to the state of Washington. Some of the major tribes include the Suquamish, the Nisqually, the Muckleshoot, the Tulalip, the Yakama, the Colville, the Swinomish, the Lummi, the Quinault, and the Haida. These tribes have lived in the area for thousands of years, and have developed rich cultures and traditions based on their relationships with the land and its resources. Many of these tribes continue to play an important role in the state’s political, economic, and cultural life today.
19. The Lewis and Clark Expedition passed through what is now Washington in 1805-1806. The expedition set out from St. Louis, Missouri in May 1804, and traveled up the Missouri River, over the Rocky Mountains, and down the Columbia River, which forms part of the border between Washington and Oregon. They reached the Pacific Ocean in November 1805, and spent the winter at Fort Clatsop, near the mouth of the Columbia River.
20. The area of Washington state was originally part of Oregon Territory, but was split off to form its own territory in 1853 before becoming a full fledged state later.
21. Washington was the first state to have a female governor, Dixy Lee Ray, who served from 1977 to 1981. Ray was a scientist and professor before she got into politics. She had a background in biology and marine science. She was in charge of the Atomic Energy Commission when President Nixon was in office, and she later ran the University of Washington.
22. The state flag of Washington features the state’s seal on a field of dark green.
23. The state seal features a portrait of George Washington, surrounded by the words “The Seal of the State of Washington” and the date “1889”, the year Washington became a state.
24. The state flower of Washington is the coast rhododendron. The coast rhododendron is a large shrub, growing to heights of 10-15 feet (3-4.5 meters) and spreads of 6-12 feet (1.8-3.6 meters). It has leathery leaves and large, showy flowers that range in color from white to pink to deep purple. The coast rhododendron is commonly found in coastal forests, woodlands, and meadows, and is a popular ornamental plant in gardens. It is also an important food source for birds and other wildlife.
25. The state bird of Washington is the willow goldfinch, which is a small bird, measuring about 4-5 inches (10-13 cm) in length and weighing about 0.3-0.5 ounces (8-14 grams). It has a distinctive appearance, with a yellow body, black wings and tail, and a white rump. The willow goldfinch is a common bird, found in a variety of habitats, including gardens, meadows, and woodlands. It feeds on seeds and insects, and is known for its cheerful, melodic songs.
26. The state tree of Washington is the western hemlock. The western hemlock is a large tree, reaching heights of up to 200 feet (60 meters) and trunk diameters of up to 6 feet (1.8 meters). It has a conical shape, with a straight trunk and a narrow, pointed crown. The tree’s bark is light brown and deeply grooved, and its needles are dark green and curved. The western hemlock is an important tree in the Pacific Northwest, where it is found in moist, cool forests. It is also an important source of lumber and other forest products.
27. The state gem of Washington is petrified wood. Petrified wood is a type of fossil that forms when wood is buried in sediment and is gradually replaced by minerals over millions of years. This process, called permineralization, results in the wood becoming hard and rock-like, while still retaining its original structure and the patterns of its growth rings.
28. Washington is home to several national parks and forests, including:
- Olympic National Park: Mountainous, forested, and beachy, Olympic National Park sits on the Olympic Peninsula. Olympic marmots and Roosevelt elk live in the park. The park also holds the famous Hoh Rainforest.
- Mount Rainier National Park which holds Washington’s tallest peak, Mount Rainier. Hiking and climbing are popular in the park’s woods, meadows, and glaciers.
- North Cascades National Park: This mountainous park in the Cascade Range is recognized for its varied plant and animal life. Hiking and rock climbing are popular in the park, which has glaciers, lakes, and rivers.
- San Juan Island National Historical Park: The Pig War, a territorial dispute between the US and Britain in the mid-19th century, took place on San Juan Island.
29. The world renown coffee company Starbucks was founded in Seattle, Washington, in the year 1971. It is also the world’s largest coffeehouse chain. There are now over 33,832 Starbucks locations in 80 different countries. The United States is home to over 15,444 of these establishments.
30. Washington has over 3,000 miles of coastline, with the Pacific Ocean to the west and the Strait of Juan de Fuca to the north, plus Puget Sound. 700 miles of this coastline is along the Pacific Ocean.
31. The first American settlement in what is now Washington State was Fort Nisqually. The fort was established by the Hudson’s Bay Company in 1833, and served as a hub for the company’s fur-trading operations in the area. It was located near the mouth of the Nisqually River, on the shores of Puget Sound, and was surrounded by farmlands and forests. The fort was an important center of trade and commerce, and was a melting pot of cultures, with people of European, Native American, and other backgrounds coming together to trade, work, and live. The fort was in operation until the 1860s, when it was closed and the land was sold to settlers. Today, the site of the fort is preserved as a historical park, where visitors can learn about the area’s history and explore the remnants of the fort.
32. The state’s economy is the 8th largest in the United States, with a gross domestic product of over $600 billion.
33. Washington has over 1000 wineries, making it a significant player in the American wine industry. Some of the main wine regions of Washington include the Columbia Valley, the Walla Walla Valley, the Yakima Valley, the Red Mountain AVA, the Horse Heaven Hills AVA, the Snipes Mountain AVA, the Wahluke Slope AVA, and the Lake Chelan AVA. These regions are located in different parts of the state, and have different climates, soils, and topographies, which influence the flavors and characteristics of the wines produced there.
34. The state is home to several major universities, including the University of Washington and Washington State University.
35. The University of Washington is one of the top public research universities in the entire country. It is the largest university in the state, with a student body of around 54,000 undergraduate and graduate students. The university was founded in 1861, and is one of the oldest universities on the west coast. UW is a highly-ranked institution, and is known for its strong programs in areas such as business, engineering, computer science, medicine, and law. The university is also a major center of research, and has a strong emphasis on interdisciplinary and collaborative work.
36. Washington is home to several major professional sports teams, including the Seattle Seahawks (NFL), the Seattle Mariners (MLB), the Kraken (NHL) and the Seattle Sounders (MLS).
- Seattle’s Seahawks play American football. The NFL team has won one Super Bowl (Super Bowl XLVIII). The squad plays at CenturyLink Field in SoDo.
- The Seattle Mariners play baseball. T-Mobile Park in downtown Seattle hosts their MLB games.
- Seattle’s Kraken play professional ice hockey. They joined the NHL in 2021–2022. Climate Pledge Arena in Uptown hosts the team’s games.
- Seattle’s Sounders play professional soccer. They have won four MLS Cups and are MLS members (2009, 2010, 2016, 2019). CenturyLink Field is home to the Seattle Seahawks and the team.
37. Washington is home to several major museums and cultural institutions, including the Seattle Art Museum and the Museum of Pop Culture. Seattle’s art museum is SAM. The 1933-founded museum features ancient, modern, contemporary, African, and Oceanic art in its collection. The museum’s collection includes Picasso, Monet, and Rothko. The Museum of Pop Culture preserves and exhibits popular music, cinema, and culture. The popular culture museum, built by Microsoft co-founder Paul Allen in 2000, has instruments, costumes, and other memorabilia.
38. The state is also home to several music festivals, including the Sasquatch! Music Festival, Watershed at the Gorge Amphitheater, and the Capitol Hill Block Party in Seattle. The Gorge Amphitheatre is an outdoor concert venue near the Columbia River Gorge. It is in Quincy, Washington. It is one of the most beautiful places to see a concert in the United States, and it is known for having great sound.
39. Washington State birthed grunge. Its distorted guitar sound and dismal, contemplative lyrics defined it. Grunge bands were noted for their stripped-down style and scruffy look. The genre influenced the music business in the early 1990s. Washington’s bands are renowned. Nirvana, Pearl Jam, Soundgarden, Alice in Chains, and The Postal Service.
40. There have been numerous people who were either born or raised in the state of Washington. Just a few of these folks are Quincy Jones, Chris Pratt, Bing Crosby, Bill Gates, Jeff Bezos and Jimi Hendrix. Although not born in Washington, Bruce Lee and his son Brandon are both buried in Washington State.
41. The state’s largest city, Seattle’s 1962 Century 21 Exposition was the Seattle World’s Fair. Over 10 million people attended the 1962 expo. The fair’s theme was “The Age of Space,” and it included futuristic exhibits and attractions like the Space Needle, which became Seattle’s emblem. The Monorail, US Science Pavilion, and International Fountain were among fair highlights. Elvis Presley and the Beach Boys also performed at the expo. Seattle’s history and progress were greatly influenced by the Seattle World’s Fair.
42. The Hanford Site in Benton County, Washington, was a nuclear producing facility. As part of the Manhattan Project, it was founded in 1943. Hanford was selected for the project because it was remote and had inexpensive energy and water. Hanford generated most of the US nuclear weapons program’s plutonium in the 1940s and 1950s, including the bomb detonated on Nagasaki, Japan, at the conclusion of World War II.
43. On June 6, 1889, Seattle, Washington, experienced the Great Seattle Fire. The city’s worst fire destroyed most of the core business center. A basement fire on 1st Avenue and Madison Street spread across the city. Unattended glue pots in the basement may have started the incident. Due to the city’s wooden structures and small streets, the fire spread quickly despite firefighters’ efforts. The fire took many hours to contain, destroying 31 city blocks. The fire damaged $20 million, a large amount at the time. The city rebuilt swiftly and became stronger after the calamity.
44. Washington is one of only 8 states in the US that collects no personal state income tax. One reason is that the state has a diverse economy and is able to generate sufficient revenue from other sources.
45. Cape Flattery is located in Clallam County, Washington. Cape Flattery on the Olympic Peninsula is the northwestern most point of the contiguous US. The closest town, Neah Bay, is 25 miles northwest. Cape Flattery’s rough beauty draws tourists. The Makah Cultural and Research Center, a museum and research institution, is situated on the cape in the Makah Reservation. It preserves and promotes Makah culture and history.
46. Politically, Washington was originally Republican leaning. Washington is now a liberal stronghold after becoming more Democratic. The state has adopted progressive environmental, educational, and social justice measures in recent years. It has a long history of grass-roots politics and citizen engagement. The state’s initiative and referendum systems let residents propose and vote on laws.
47. Washington is also home to a popular tourist destination called Leavenworth. It is about two hours east of Seattle and in the mountains of central Washington. The city is known for its architecture that looks like it was built in Bavaria and its annual festivals, which give it a unique and charming feel. In the area around the town, you can go hiking, fishing, glamping and skiing, among other things. Leavenworth is a popular place for tourists to visit, especially during the holidays when it hosts a number of events with a Christmas theme.
48. The state of Washington has a significant ferry system that services municipalities around Puget Sound, Hood Canal, and the San Juan Islands. By passenger volume, the ferry system is the biggest in the United States, and it is a popular method of travel for both visitors and residents. The ferries are a vital transportation connection for many towns and provide a picturesque and easy option to travel across the area.
Content creator and writer for multiple websites including All About Glamping, Fit Living Lifestyle, and Live Dream Discover. A full-time traveler who has spoken at various travel conferences around the world.