Volcano country has it all. Large cities to quaint country towns, arts, culture, great restaurants, farm fresh produce, mountains, volcanoes, the beaches of south Puget Sound, lakes, rivers, nature, history, and beautiful vistas. Whether you want to experience city life or get away from it all, we have you covered.
The region gets its name from the most beautiful mountains in the country. Awesome Mt. St. Helens, Majestic Mt. Rainier and Romantic Mt Adams are three of the volcanoes located in the "Ring of Fire".
Volcano Country is anchored by two major cities, Tacoma and Olympia. The city of Tacoma lies in the shadow of Mt. Rainier. Tacoma has redeveloped the downtown area with a free light rail system that connects the Museum District with the Theater District. This area includes the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum and the Washington State History Museum, LeMay- America’s Car Museum, Broadway Center for the Performing Arts and the Tacoma Convention Center. Historic Union Station and the spectacular Chihuly Bridge of Glass are free to the public.
Olympia is located at the southern most tip of the Puget Sound about 60 miles south of Seattle and 110 miles north of Portland, Oregon. There is an endless amount of things to do an see, from fine performances; music, live theater or film from the WA Center for the Performing Arts, Harlequin Productions, and the Olympia Film Society, to two historically designated neighborhoods and numerous historical homes, as well as some of the finest dining anywhere. Olympia is the home of the oldest seafood restaurant in Washington, The Oyster House, which started out as the processing plant for the famed Olympia oyster. There is plenty to do for the nature lover too! Nisqually Delta Wildlife Refuge, as well as Wolf Haven, a wolf sanctuary, not to mention numerous parks, miles of bike trails, and ample access to the Puget Sound. Of course this is the capitol of Washington and the capitol building and campus are definitely worth a visit. Our capitol building is the 4th tallest domed structure of its kind in the world and full of Tiffany chandeliers! We also have numerous museums on Washington and Olympia's history and the abundant Art Galleries and a vibrant downtown with great shopping with unique items. Our Farmers Market is open year round and packed with gift ideas, plants for your garden and some of the best and freshest ingredients anywhere. End the day with a walk down Percival Landing and the boardwalk to watch the sun set from the observation tower with views of the Olympics, Cascades, Mt Rainier, and the boats on Puget Sound.
As we head south you come to Hwy 12 (a major east west corridor) also known as White Pass Hwy, a State designated scenic byway and gives travelers easy access to all 3 volcanic mountains.
Mt Rainier is a Washington icon. It is easily identified on the new Washington State quarter. The native name for it is Tahoma, "the mountain that was God". At the heart of the Volcano Country is Mt. Rainier National Park. This park is a four-season destination with hiking, mountain climbing, snowshoeing, snowboarding and skiing. In 1972, the park set a world record for the most snow at 93 feet. Crystal Mountain and White Pass are world-class ski areas that benefit from the snow.
The most famous volcano in the region is Mt. St. Helens who blew her top in 1980. Since then the earth surrounding the mountain has been reborn with new life. Visitors flock to the Visitors centers opened in the area to view the rebirth and learn about this active volcano which on rare occasion rewards them with a puff of steam.
The southern part of the Volcano Region encompasses the Columbia River Gorge and some of the most spectacular terrain in the country. Windsurfers and kite-boarders flock to the Gorge to perform their aerobatics on the broad river. There are many other recreational opportunities for hikers, bikers, white water rafters, golfers and fisherman who enjoy this year round playground. The Columbia River is the natural border between Oregon and Washington.
Inns in this region
Upscale lodging in quiet historic Proctor District by the University of Puget Sound. Walk to campus, shops, eateries, movie theatre & waterfront. Short drive to museums/downtown Tacoma. Luxury queen beds, private baths, TV/DVD, free WiFi, Business Center, savory NW breakfast with Starbucks!
Come and learn about the AWESOME eruption of Mt. St. Helens. Both Richard and Ellen lived on location when Mt St Helen's Errupted at 8:30 am on May 18th 1980. They have their own story to tell of this life changing experience. Their custom designed inn is set on 60 tranquil acres at the end of a 1/2 mile private drive. Ideally located between Mt. St Helens & Mt. Rainier, on the WhitePass Scenic Byway. Hwy 12 where you can easily explore two of Washington's most amazing mountains. You will experience Warm Country Hospitality and will hopefully agree with quest who hav e described The Shepherd's Inn as "one of Washingtons Hidden Treasures. "
Visit our English country waterfront B&B located among tall trees, where wildlife outnumbers the humans by a wide margin! Inside the inn or outside, you will find peace, elegance, great sleeping conditions and delicious breakfasts.
An 1887 Queen Anne Eastlake Victorian Mansion in Olympia listed on both the city and state historic registers. Centrally located in the quiet downtown Eastside neighborhood, the Inn can be your headquarters to exploring the Puget Sound region, or your refuge to escape from it all. On site day spa. Specials available for WBBG guests!
Relax in the tranquility of your own private luxury cabin with front porch, log swings and spectacular views in the heart of the gorgeous Columbia River Gorge. Start the day with delicious breakfast and end it with in-cabin spa services.