Spring in Washington state is such a hopeful time of year – we start to see more sunny days, flowers begin blooming, and warmer days are just ahead. While winter here isn’t horrible, I always count down the days until the first day of spring, as it means it’s easier to get outside and explore.
The tulips blooming in Mount Vernon are always the visual reminder most of us locals need to remember spring is here. Most of us forget it’s coming until we start seeing our Instagrams flooded with tulips as soon as the first weekend of April hits, and then we’re all scrambling to get up there for our own photos.
However, there are plenty of other things I love to do during this time of the year, such as getting outdoors by kayaking or hiking, beer or wine tasting, and much more. It’s actually a busy time of year in Washington in the spring if you know where to look.
Here are some tips for planning activities during spring in Washington.
Tips for Exploring Washington State in the Spring
This year, spring begins on March 20, 2023, and ends on June 21, 2023.
Weather in Washington in Spring
With mild temperatures, sunny days, and colorful blossoms, spring in Washington state is the perfect time for outdoor activities and exploring the state’s natural wonders. The weather is generally mild, with temperatures ranging from 40℉ to mid-60℉, depending on your location in the state.
The western region can sometimes be quite damp and chilly, with average temperatures of between 45℉ and 55℉ in March. The temperature gradually increases to between 55℉ and 65℉ in May.
As you head east, the landscape changes dramatically. In the mountains and central regions, the snow starts to melt, and temperatures begin to rise. The daytime average of 50℉ in April increases to up to 75℉ by June.
The spring also brings with it some rain, and March and April are usually the wettest months of the year. Despite the occasional rain showers, the weather remains mild and pleasant throughout the season.
With the arrival of spring, there’s no better time to explore the great outdoors and discover all that Washington State has to offer. From Washington’s spring hikes and camping to festivals and museum visits, there will be something for everyone to enjoy.
Where to Stay During Spring in Washington
These hotels are particularly fun to stay at during springtime in Washington:
- Salish Lodge is beautiful in spring, as the rain makes the giant Snoqualmie Falls even more powerful (which you’ll be able to see right from your room!) (rates start at $290 per night)
- Skamania Lodge is south by the Columbia River and is such a relaxing place to stay, plus it’s a prime base for nearby hikes. (rates start at $220 per night)
- Suncadia Resort is a few hours east of Seattle and has amazing food on-site, golfing, and indoor and outdoor pools. (rates start at $219 per night)
15 Things to Do in Spring in Washington State
Here are a few ideas to make your spring visit to Washington an unforgettable experience.
1. Stroll Through the Blooming Tulips
Date: April 1st to 30th, 2023
During April, the Skagit Valley region of Washington transforms into a rainbow of color for the annual Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Fields upon fields of vibrant tulips bloom, creating a breathtaking sight that draws visitors from all over the world to the Pacific Northwest.
I go up here every single year because the tulips always amaze me, and it’s one of my favorite things to do in spring in Seattle. If you want stunning photographs, I recommend getting up early and going right at sunrise (trust me – it’s worth it!).
There are many fun things to enjoy at the festival, including going on tractor rides (my kids make me take them over and over) and enjoying live music performances. Vendors sell local dishes, drinks, and handmade crafts, and I always come home with a handful of goods.
Skagit Valley is situated about 70 miles outside of Seattle, and a tour is available if you don’t want to drive. A fun way to enjoy this celebration of spring is by taking a Tulip Festival Tour from the city. This way, you can fully appreciate the beauty and entertainment without worrying about transport, parking, and entry fees during this Washington spring activity.
2. Attend Maifest in Leavenworth
Date: May 13th, 2023
Leavenworth is a fun tourist village nestled in the Cascade Mountains and is undoubtedly one of the most charming small towns in Washington. Here, you can enjoy the natural beauty of the surrounding mountains while immersing yourself in traditional Bavarian culture.
I have been to Leavenworth at least two dozen times over the years and have gone in every season (including the very festive wintertime in Leavenworth), and it’s honestly hard to pick the best time to go. I love being in the outdoor beer garden at Icicle Brewing in the summer, but I also love the Oktoberfest festival in the fall.
Each season offers its own unique activities and events. However, spring in Washington is perfect because it’s before the summer tourists come.
Every year, Leavenworth hosts Maifest, a traditional German festival that celebrates the arrival of spring. You can expect music performances, folk dancing, carnival rides, craft vendors, and traditional German bratwurst and beer. The festival is a fun and unique way to experience German culture while enjoying the great outdoors during spring in Washington state.
3. Explore Nature at Snoqualmie Pass
Snoqualmie Pass in the springtime is a truly magical experience for those who enjoy the great outdoors. The snow-capped peaks of the Cascade Mountains are a stunning sight as the snow begins to melt and the wildflowers start to bloom.
Spring is an exciting time of year for hikers like me because we can finally access some of the trails that have been heavily snow-covered all winter. I get so excited when I read reports of trails being more accessible, and I usually start planning hikes right away.
I have a list of easy hikes in Washington, but some of my favorites around this area include Snow Lake, Gold Creek Pond, and Franklin Falls. Some of these might have a little snow or ice, so microspikes are advised if you have them.
This pass is also home to the 268-foot-tall Snoqualmie Falls, considered one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington State. The falls are one of the most visited tourist attractions in the area and feature a lovely observation deck where you can soak up all its natural beauty.
I actually love coming here on a rainy Washington spring day because the falls look even more dramatic with the added water. Booking an overnight stay at the lodge is one of my favorite Seattle date night ideas. My visit was one of the most relaxing stays I’ve ever had at a hotel before.
4. Discover the State’s Craft Beer Breweries
Hiking and beer go hand in hand, and Washington state is a paradise for craft beer enthusiasts, with over 500 breweries and counting. One thing I love about living here is there is certainly no shortage of breweries, from the bustling breweries in Seattle to charming countryside beer houses such as Bale Breaker Brewery in Yakima Valley.
As the weather starts warming up in April, many breweries open up their outdoor spaces, such as patios and beer gardens. This is my favorite way to spend a spring afternoon, sitting outside in the sun with a cold beer and socializing or watching the Mariner’s game on TV. Some of my favorite breweries and taprooms with outdoor space include Hellbent Brewing Company, Old Stove Brewing, and Two Beers Brewing Co.
Washington in the spring is also the perfect opportunity to sample some seasonal beers, which generally include fruity and refreshing wheat beers or crisp, distinctive ales.
5. Attend the Seattle International Film Festival
Date: May 11th to 21st, 2023
The Seattle International Film Festival (SIFF) is a 10-day cinematic spectacle spanning various venues across the city. This fun festival showcases a diverse array of films from around the globe, including indie gems, documentaries, mainstream blockbusters, and short films. The festival is an ideal activity in Washington state in spring during those rainy days we get.
The festival’s flagship venue is the famous SIFF Cinema Egyptian, located in the heart of Seattle. There are also various special events during this time, including filmmaker Q&A sessions, exclusive screenings, and film-themed cocktail parties. You’ll absolutely love going if you’re into film at all.
SIFF attracts a diverse audience of film enthusiasts, industry professionals, and actors, meaning you could possibly spot your favorite celebrity. You might also have a chance to see the latest films from around the world that may not be widely available in theaters.
6. Learn About Japanese Culture
Date: April 14th to 16th, 2023
One of the top things I love about spring in Washington is the stunning cherry blossoms. I get so excited to see these bloom every year and always go out to photograph them, as they’re one of the best Seattle photo-ops. While the University of Washington tends to be the top spot people go, you may not be aware there’s an entire festival dedicated to them.
The Seattle Cherry Blossom Festival is an annual celebration that brings the beauty and culture of Japan to the city. It features a wide variety of events, including art exhibitions, martial arts demonstrations, tea ceremonies, food vendors, and cultural workshops.
The festival concludes with the Grand Parade, a colorful procession featuring floats, Japanese dancers, and traditional music. It is a fantastic opportunity to experience the rich culture of Japan and learn about its customs and traditions.
7. Visit the Washington State History Museum
A visit to the Washington State History Museum is the perfect activity for a rainy spring day. It is located in the heart of Tacoma and will take you on an engaging journey through the state’s history. I love learning about history when I travel places, and Tacoma is no exception, as most people know more about Seattle in general.
The museum offers a unique look at the people, events, and cultures that have shaped Washington into the vibrant and diverse state it is today. You can view interactive exhibits that include Native American artifacts and relics, pioneer tools and clothing, and vintage documents and photographs.
Whether you are a history buff or just looking for an interesting way to spend an afternoon, visiting the museum is sure to be a fascinating experience. This is one of the best things to do in Tacoma when in the area. After, I recommend stopping at Camp Colvos Brewing + Pizza Co. for dinner.
8. Discover the Capitol Building in Olympia
Another great place to visit on a rainy spring day is the Capitol Building in Olympia. Here, you can step into the heart of Washington state politics and enjoy the beautiful grounds around the building.
I remember going on field trips here when I was in elementary school and being in awe at how majestic the building seemed. As an adult, I now love strolling around Capitol Lake to get in some exercise before exploring Olympia.
As the home of the state government, the building houses the offices and chambers of the Governor, Lieutenant Governor, and the State Legislature. The building is designed in the Renaissance Revival style with a central dome and is adorned with stunning artwork and murals.
After exploring the gorgeous interior, you can stroll around the stunning garden that features monuments and sculptures. The Capitol Building is a definite must-see destination for history buffs and those interested in politics.
If you’re looking to extend your trip during spring in Washington state, you can head south to Oregon to explore the best things to do in Oregon in the spring.
9. Explore the San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are a breathtakingly beautiful treasure of the Pacific Northwest, and I visit at least one of the islands every single year because they offer breathtaking views, diverse wildlife, and endless outdoor activities. There are also plenty of watersports to enjoy, such as kayaking, paddle boarding, and fishing.
One of the most popular activities in the San Juan Islands is whale watching. The islands are home to a variety of whale species, including orcas, humpbacks, and gray whales. The best time to go whale watching is during the spring and summer months when the whales migrate to the area to feed and breed.
Book your San Juan whale-watching tour in advance, as it can book up!
It’s hard to pick which island to visit, but San Juan Island and Orcas Island tend to be the most popular. They’re also the easiest to get to on a daily basis via the ferry.
On San Juan, you can take a relaxed stroll through the historic streets, shop at local stores, and sample delicious cuisine. My favorite restaurants in Friday Harbor are Downriggers for happy hour and waterfront views and The Bait Shop for local seafood.
My Orcas Island favorites are Island Hoppin’ Brewing for drinks and White Horse Pub for views and fish and chips (I come here for lunch every single time I spend a weekend on Orcas.)
The San Juan Islands offer something for everyone during the spring in Washington state, from outdoor enthusiasts to those who simply want to relax and enjoy the tranquil atmosphere.
10. Visit a Washington State Farmers Market
Spring is a great time to explore Washington State’s many farmers’ markets, as the weather starts to warm up and produce begins to flourish. There are plenty of markets to discover the delicious tastes of the state and support local farmers and vendors.
I love visiting smaller markets and tend to stock up on produce every week. A personal favorite, the Edmonds Museum Summer Market is one of the best things to do in Edmonds.
Some other great markets that are worth checking out are the West Seattle Farmers Market, the Downtown Market in Walla Walla, and the Capitol Hill Market.
One of the most iconic and historic markets is Pike Place Market in Seattle, which was established in 1907. It offers a wide array of vendors selling fresh produce, including fruits, vegetables, baked goods, seafood, meats, cheeses, and flowers.
A fun way to learn more about this market is by going on a guided Pike Place Market tour.
11. Have Fun at the Washington State Spring Fair
Date: April 13th to 16th and 20th to 23rd, 2023
Every year at the end of summer, the city of Puyallup hosts the fun and colorful Washington State Fair, but many people don’t know they also host a smaller Spring Fair. This is a lively celebration of the state’s culture, food, and entertainment, with many thrilling events and activities to choose from.
You can get your adrenaline pumping with thrilling rides and carnival games or shop for unique handmade items from a variety of vendors and artisans. Sweettooths can indulge in delicious fair food like fried Oreos, cotton candy, and funnel cakes. The fair also features agriculture and livestock exhibits that showcase the best of Washington’s farmers and ranchers.
With the diverse array of exciting attractions, the Washington State Spring Fair is sure to be a fun-filled, action-packed experience. It is an excellent opportunity to spend quality time with your family and friends, create new memories, and enjoy a lovely day in the sun.
12. Tour the Wineries of Yakima Valley
The Yakima Valley in central Washington is widely known and loved for its picturesque wineries, beautiful vineyards, and fruit tree orchards. Spring is a great time to explore the region, as the weather is mild, and the vineyards are beginning to come back to life after winter.
I visited Yakima last June and loved that it was a warm vacation, yet not scorching hot yet. It was the perfect temperature to sit outside under an umbrella for afternoon wine tasting.
The valley is a wine lover’s paradise, as it is home to more than 90 wineries and tasting rooms. Some of my favorite Yakima wineries include Freehand Cellars, Owen Roe, and Treveri Cellars. You can also enjoy strolling through the vineyards, attending wine tastings, and even participating in grape stomping at select wineries.
However, there are many fun things to do in Yakima, so I recommend spending a few days here to go explore all of them.
13. Hike in Olympic National Park
Spring is the perfect time to hike through the lush forests and take in the crisp mountain air. The park offers a wide variety of activities, including rock climbing, birdwatching, and camping. The park also features several scenic drives, including Hurricane Ridge Road, which offers stunning panoramic views of the mountain and surrounding alpine meadows.
I love hiking at Olympic National Park because there are so many different areas to it – the ocean, a rainforest, the mountains, and more, so you’re sure to find a place that doesn’t have snow when you want to hike in Washington state in the spring. There’s so much to do there, whether you spend one day at Olympic or a whole week.
My favorite hike on the coast is the Ozette Triangle, which is three miles to the ocean from the parking lot either way you take and three miles across the coast (thus forming a triangle).
If you don’t want to go that far, Hurricane Ridge is a popular hike, plus you can then stop at the visitor’s center to learn more about the park. For those who don’t want to do the Olympic Peninsula drive on their own, you can easily jump on a guided tour from Seattle. While I usually drive myself, I did the tour once and really enjoyed learning new facts about the area.
14. Attend a Concert at Gorge Amphitheater
Nestled in the heart of the Columbia River Gorge lies the Gorge Amphitheater, a place where music and nature come together to create magic. This picturesque concert venue is even more beautiful in Washington in spring when wildflowers start to blossom all around the scenic backdrop of the stage.
I first came here when I was in college to see Journey play, and it was absolutely amazing. We camped on-site, walked to the venue for the concert at night, and had fun hanging out at our campsite after. It’s an experience that everyone should put on their Washington bucket list to do at least once!
15. Go Kayaking in Deception Pass State Park
Deception Pass State Park is a must-visit destination for adventure seekers in Washington state. Known for its breathtaking views and thrilling water sports opportunities, this national park is a popular spot for both tourists and locals alike.
Whether you are a seasoned pro or a first-time paddler, kayaking in Deception Pass State Park is sure to get your adrenaline pumping. While you can take out your own kayak, I highly recommend going on a guided tour in this area.
When I did this tour, the waters got a bit rough when some of the big boats passed by going out to sea. You’ll also have to be careful not to go anywhere near the Deception Pass bridge, as there are tons of whirlpools that form in the water. This is not to discourage you – just use caution!
You can take in the stunning views of the rugged cliffs and lush forests as you navigate the water. The park is filled with wildlife, so keep an eye out for bald eagles, deer, otters, and marine life like seals and porpoises.
Which of these activities during spring in Washington state are you looking forward to the most?