As full-time RV’ers, we travel and see a lot. This is part of our Opting Out of Normal series where we explore the “Off the Beaten Path” of every state. We love the big popular stuff like everyone else, but there is just something incredible about discovering something unique, and different. Taking that road less traveled has been our favorite way to travel. We certainly can’t explore them all, but we’d love you to include your favorites below too. Each blog post will include a link to the free camping areas we loved so much. complete with pictures and GPS coordinates. You definitely have to visit popular places like Olympic National Park and Mount Rainier National Park while in Washington. But we have some unique, off-the-beaten-path experiences you might want to check out too.
We really love State Parks. Most are just completely overlooked, unpopulated, and amazing. Deception Pass State Park is beautiful! Highly recommend checking it out. If beaches are your thing, you’ve hit the jackpot! You can also take a whale watching tour. Absolutely incredible.
Maryhill Museum and Stonehenge
An odd museum and Stonehenge replica in rural Washington State. Sam Hill was a Quaker and used his money to organize and fund a Quaker utopian community on the banks of the Columbia River in the early 1900s. Unfortunately, no Quakers besides Hill ever moved there and his utopian vision failed after a few short years. Nonetheless, Hill continued with the construction of a French Mansion on a cliff overlooking the Columbia River. From Portland, Oregon, take I-84 east through the Columbia River Gorge for about 70 miles. Cross the river at The Dalles (the pink bridge) and continue east on state route 14 for another 20 miles
Located in Lacrosse. Unless you know what they’re looking for, hikers are unlikely to simply stumble upon the nearly hidden Palouse Falls. This is a 1.2-mile loop trail hike, pretty easy. You can actually see the falls from the parking area if you don’t want to do the hike.
The state park offers three distinct views of the falls. The lower viewpoint provides a direct view; it is reached by a set of steps from the main day-use area adjacent to the parking lot. The second, at the end of a paved interpretive path, tells the story of the secluded canyon. Both the interpretive path and gravel secondary parking area lead to the third and highest viewpoint, the Fryxell Overlook, offering panoramic views of the falls and Palouse River Canyon. Don’t miss this! It’s awesome!
Located in Stevenson – A truly unique experience to do. The location is on State Route 14 about 35 miles East of Vancouver.
Today, visitors of Beacon Rock State Park use the unique trail system to easily traverse the rock’s steep ledges to its peak overlooking the Columbia River Gorge. The rock is also open for climbing year-round.
Have you seen or experienced these across America? While traveling we’ve realized there are several places in the US that have a gravity hill phenomenon. This gravity-defying road is not easy to find. Located on a stretch of North Crosby Road about 10-15 miles north of Prosser, the road’s just down the street from an old (said to be haunted) grain elevator. Luckily, there’s a start line painted on the pavement so you’ll know where it is.
Snoqualmie is a city next to Snoqualmie Falls in King County, Washington. It is twenty-five miles east of Seattle. Who knew you could be so close to a city and see this?
If you’re in Seattle, definitely check out the Center of the Universe Sign. No one has been able to determine if this is actually the center of the universe, so the sign stays. Just a fun thing to see.
Speaking of Seattle! Did you see our blog about our visit to Seattle? We were lucky enough to be able to hang out in a friend’s yard with full hook-ups in our RV! I know you’re here to see the quiet hidden gems in Washington, but if you wanted to venture to the more popular things, check out our Seattle blog post here!
The Nutty Narrows Bridge
Do you like squirrels? Yes, I said Squirrels! The Nutty Narrows Bridge in Longview was constructed in 1963 by a local builder, the late Amos Peters, to give squirrels a way to cross Olympia Way, a busy Longview, Washington, thoroughfare, without getting flattened by passing cars.
Here are some other blogs we think you’ll love!
- Cape Flattery, Washington
- The Top Places to See in Newport, Oregon
- Off the Beaten Path in Oregon – Our Top Hidden Gems!
- Off the Beaten Path in Montana – Our Top Hidden Gems in Montana!
Click the button below to see our best places for RV camping in Washington.
Thank you for checking out our little corner of the internet. There is so much beauty in Washington. Please share your hidden gems with us! We’d love to hear from you!
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18 thoughts on “Off the Beaten Path in Washington. Our Top Hidden Gems!”
Washington State is our home state and I was amazed to see something I never heard of before, Nutty Narrow Bridge!
Another “Off the Beaten Path” site in Washington is the restored ghost town of Molson. Tucked away in North Central Washington right on the Canadian Border.
Thank you so much for the suggestion! Will certainly check it out when we get up that way again!
Ohhh I’ll definitely put Molson on my list for next time. We were actually in the Northern Central WA area, close to the Canadian boarder. I know we’ll do this visit again in the future so I’ll add it to my book I keep. Thank you!
Love this! We’re definitely going to try and boondock more in 2019! Thanks for the suggestions!
You’re so welcome! Let us know if you need anything! 🙂
We were excited to see Deception Pass, but it was completely fogged in the day we were ther
We’ve put things “back on our bucket list” when things like that happen. Gives us something else to look forward to next time we are in that area. 🙂 Safe travels!
Our “Home State”. Have to add to your list for future visits: Ice Caves at Big Four, Snohomish County. Artist Point view of Mt. Shuksan near end of Mt. Baker Hwy, SR 542, Whatcom County. Fort Casey & Lighthouse on Whidbey Island. Driving across Diablo Dam, above Newhalem WA (passenger vehicle only), Skagit County?. Listening to/viewing early summer avalanches across the valley at Cascade Pass trailhead, Skagit County.
Thanks a million! That sounds incredible!!! Definitely put it on my list. LOVE when people who are locals to the state give us such great things to see! 🙂 Thanks again!
OH! and the Snoqualmie Rail Trail Tunnel (pitch black, 2 miles long) up at Hyak near Snoqualmie Summit. If you’re scared of spooky dark, visit it during the Geocaching Ape Event in August with the crowd.
That sounds SUPER fun!!!!! 🙂 Thank you!
I enjoyed your OTBP article and flagged a few places to visit. Thank you
I want to go back to Washington!! We were just passing through and didn’t get a chance to explore very much at all. You post has me wanting to head that way NOW! Alas, we are back in FL getting ready to sell Christmas trees again.
These are some of the most touristy spots in Washington. I’ve lived here my entire life. I should know.
Nice try, blogger.
I think sometimes when you have “lived there all your life” you don’t realize how off the beaten path they really are, but it’s ok. We also have some friends who have lived there all their lives and some of these places they’d never heard of. So to each their own … but many people have found some great ideas. Either way … thank you for checking it out.