Found on the very left hand corner of the mainland United States sits the great evergreen state of Washington. Kitty corner to Idaho and Oregon, Washington State is widely known for its rainy metropolis Seattle and the city's two icons: the NFL Seattle Seahawks, and its impressive Space Needle tower. Adventurous types may refer to Washington for its beautiful Northern Cascade Mountains, including Mt. Rainier. Many noteworthy colleges, such as the University of Washington, Seattle University, and Cornish College of the Arts can also be found in the state's largest city.
However, not much else is known about Washington in the minds of many besides what resides within the west coast of the state. In fact, Washingtonians are typically assumed to live in Seattle when asked where they are from...that is, after the initial confusion between Washington
state and Washington D.C. With only about 28% of Washington residents within the borders of King County, it would make sense to think that the rest of the state holds other amazing attractions, manufactured and natural.
May I present, the Inland Northwest.
Located on the eastern side of Washington, the Inland Northwest is made up of the city of Spokane, Spokane county itself, and some of Northern Idaho. The area is about 300 miles from Seattle, interpreted into either an easy thirty-minute flight across the state or an intermediate four-hour drive. Unlike its western sibling, the Spokane area is much drier and offers distinct -- sometimes too distinct -- four seasons. Temperate deciduous and evergreen forests, as well as desert and Palouse landscapes, take over the Inland Northwest rather than rain forests. Additionally, even more high-level education colleges scatter themselves among the mountain ranges, hills, and highways of the "INW."
Whether athletic, adventurous, artistic, or simply itching to travel, the Inland Northwest While there are hundreds of reasons to take a trip to the Inland Northwest, here are 5 highlights of the beauty and magnificence of the area, showing how much the world has been missing out on.
1. The Grand Coulee Dam
The Grand Coulee Dam is the nation's largest dam. Located Grand Coulee, WA, the area offers rich history and background towards the Great Depression and President Franklin Roosevelt's position in the building of the dam. Mid-eastern Washington offers unique landscapes mixing desert and forest, and can make for a nice relaxation spot next to the Columbia River. A little less than two hours from Spokane, the Grand Coulee Dam provides a historical yet never before seen experience.
Spokane, WA hosts a number of unique events and festivals; Hoopfest is just one of them. Hoopfest is the largest 3-on-3 basketball tournament in the world, hosting around 7,000 basketball teams of four each year to play in even more games. Lasting for the last weekend in June, players from neighboring states to neighboring countries come down to test their skills and try to beat the heat. In addition to the games, many vendors, businesses, and activity booths offer things to do for players, coaches, and fans alike. For more information and applications, click here.
3. Walla Walla, Washington
Southeast Washington hides the wine capitol of the state, Walla Walla, Washington. Despite small, the town provides modern and rural culture and communities. Home to three different colleges, Whitman College in particular is a nationally acclaimed private liberal arts college. Walla Walla is the perfect spot for a getaway from life, and is especially rewarding to those old enough to drink, as the town has boomed in the wine industry and continues to grow in world-class level wine and dining.
The Inland Northwest is surrounded by many top notch colleges, each offering their own strengths, cultures, and environments. Pullman, a town two hours south of Spokane, houses Washington State University, the rival to Seattle's University of Washington. The college excels in health sciences, veterinary schooling, and agriculture. Furthermore, Spokane houses the basketball icon of the state: Gonzaga University. Not only does the college have a renowned school of law, but the basketball team, led by Coach Mark Few, is one of the most successful college basketball teams in the nation. Other colleges such as Eastern Washington University, Whitman, University of Idaho, Whitworth, and University of Montana also offer top ranking programs in fields such as journalism, wildlife biology, environmental science, business, and creative writing.
5. Skiing and mountains
Scattered all around the Inland Northwest are multitudes of mountain resorts. Within an hour and a half time, anyone in Eastern Washington can reach around 7 different ski resorts. Last winter the mountains all had record snow fall, some reporting over 300 inches of snow by late February. Mt. Spokane Ski Resort makes efforts to work with community by allowing high schools and other corporations to fund raise by offering discounted tickets, which is especially helpful to those who may desire to ski but cannot afford the costs of the hobby. Lookout Pass, Silver Mountain Resort, 49 Degrees North, and Schweitzer Mountain Resort all offer family friendly and ski bum welcoming activities and events for bother winter and summer seasons, including beer festivals, outdoor events, family resort attractions, and more.
The examples give only give a taste of what the Inland Northwest has to offer. So next time you feel like you're burned out by all the rain and salt water, consider taking a trip over to Washington's hidden beauties.