Ready to visit Washington, the home state of the late, great Bing Crosby? You'll probably end up at one of three main airports, Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA), on the west coast, Bellingham International (BLI) near the Canadian Border and Vancouver, or Spokane International (GEG) on the eastern end of the state near Idaho. Skyscanner can help you figure out the best air route and cheapest airfare for your trip. Need a rental car or hotel? Skyscanner can help with that too. Get ready for your Pacific Northwest adventure.
Best Time to Book a Flight to Washington State
Western Washington tends to have cool summers and wet winters, thanks to the maritime influence of the Pacific Ocean. January is the wettest month, while July and August tend to be the driest. Most precipitation comes in the form of rain, with little snow. Head to the eastern end of the state, in the Spokane area, and you have more of a continental climate where that rain often changes to snow in winter. People tend to visit Washington State during the summer months, over the holidays and for ski season in places like Mt Baker. Airfares tend to be more expensive but you can save money. Try using the Skyscanner Whole Month Search program so you can find the least expensive days to fly. The key is to be flexible with your dates and book as early as possible.
What to Expect When Arriving at Washington State Airports
- Often called the gateway to the Pacific Northwest, Seattle-Tacoma International (SEA), often referred to as Sea-Tac, is one of the largest airports on the west coast. Alaska Airlines, Horizon Air and Delta all use Sea-Tac as an important hub, the latter specifically for it's flights to Asia and Europe. Air Canada provides service from Toronto, Aeromexico from Mexico City and Air France from Paris. That's just a sampling of the many carriers touching down at Sea-Tac. One main terminal and two satellite terminals are connected by an automated, underground "people mover." International arrivals use the South Satellite Terminal, where Customs and Border Protection services are located. Rental cars are in a separate building, with free shuttles to that location from the main terminal. Taxis are on the third floor in the parking garage. Fares are metered. The Link Light Rail, with a station on the parking garage's fourth floor, is another option for the 21 kilometre trip into downtown Seattle. Fares run between $3.00 and $4.00 CAD depending on your final destination. Ticket machines are available on the platform. You'll need US cash or a credit card to get your ticket.
- Bellingham International Airport (BLI) is only three kilometres from the city of Bellingham and only 37 kilometres from the Canadian border leading into Vancouver, British Columbia. Allegiant Air, one of the airport's regular carriers, often refers to the facility as Bellingham/Vancouver. Other carriers include Alaska, America, Linear Air and Air France. Many flights are air shuttles or connecting flights between Bellingham and Sea-Tac. Bellingham is easy to navigate, with one terminal and five gates. It's small size does limit the amenities, but it does have a coffee shop, restaurant, pub and a gift shop. Rental car desks are near baggage claim, while taxis and shuttles are just outside the arrival doors. Ground shuttle service is offered between Bellingham Airport and Vancouver Airport, as well as to Sea-Tac.
- Located on the eastern end of the state near the Idaho border, Spokane International Airport (GEG) is roughly eight kilometres from downtown Spokane. It is the go to airport for Eastern Washington and the Coeur d'Alene area in northern Idaho. The airport has a single terminal, with three concourses welcoming carriers such as Alaska Airlines, American, Delta, Frontier, Southwest and United. Car rental counters are just outside of baggage claim in the Ground Transportation Center. Taxis, private and hotel shuttles all have stops outside the center. Taxi fare to downtown Spokane averages $30.00 CAD, depending on your final destination.
What to See and Do in Washington State
- Seattle's space needle is one of the most recognizable landmarks of any city. This futuristic remnant of the 1962 World's Fair invites you to take a speedy elevator to the observation deck and the SkyCity restaurant. Dine in that restaurant and you'll discover that part of the needle moves, giving you an ever-changing, panoramic view of the city. Head over to the Pike Place Market, opened in 1907 and offering local foods and handcrafted goods. Wander through the Chihuly Garden and marvel at the floral displays created with blown glass. Take a whale watching tour or hop on a fishing charter for some fun in Puget Sound. Rent a kayak and get even closer to nature. Seattle is also rich with museums, including unusual ones like the Center for Wooden Boats, the Living Computers Museum and the Science Fiction Museum and Hall of Fame.
- Bellingham embraces the outdoor lifestyle. Take to the hiking trails at Whatcom Falls Park, or stroll the four-kilometre pathway around Lake Padden. Enjoy the sunset over Puget Sound at Boulevard Park, taking in the murals as you walk about. Go beachcombing on Clayton Beach, or rent a bicycle and take the Interurban trail that follows the old rail line along Bellingham Bay. For a bit of shopping, head for the Bellingham Farmers Market or one of the vintage bookstores in the downtown core. Chocolate Necessities and Forte Chocolates both offer homemade sweet treats. Visit the Fairhaven Historic District for a meal and some live entertainment.
- Bing Crosby grew up here. It's the smallest city to ever host a World's Fair, Expo 1974. This is Spokane, Washington's second largest city. Crosby's home is now a museum at Gonzaga University. Riverfront Park, a sprawling, manicured bit of land along both shores of the Spokane River, is a welcome reminder of Expo 1974. Take the SkyRide, a gondola that gives you a bird's-eye-view of Spokane Falls. Head for the Pavilion. In summer it's home to an amusement park, in winter it's turned into a public ice rink. Sample wines at the Barrister Winery, Lath Creek Wine Cellar or the Riblet Mansion and Arbor Crest Winery. Or, catch them all, and more, on one of the Spokane Food and Wine Tours.