In Washington, the traveler can find some of America’s most diverse and fascinating country. The lush verdant forests are remarkable, but they are not nearly the only noteworthy attraction here. There is the sophisticated city of Seattle ; the dramatic Cascade Mountains with glacier-clad summits and active volcanoes; the arid plains, giant dams, and rolling wheat fields of eastern Washington; the long sandy beaches and rugged rocky coastline bordering the Pacific; the justly famous gorge of the mighty Columbia River; hundreds of islands of all sizes and shapes in Puget Sound; and, of course, the lush rainforests of the Olympic Peninsula  for which the state is so famous.
Washington’s acclaimed “livability” has made it a favored destination for American, European, and Asian visitors. Increased tourism has been a boon to some of the smaller towns in the Cascades and along the Olympic Peninsula, where the drastic reduction in timber harvesting has cost thousands of jobs. Tourism hasn’t completely replaced logging and sawmill work, but it has provided some new economic vistas.
Washington may be tucked away in the northwest corner of America, but it stands at the front door of the Pacific. The state’s access to Asian markets has made it a major player in Pacific Rim trade. Boeing and Microsoft have huge stakes here: Boeing airplanes are one of the nation’s most important exports, and Microsoft’s software sells to a global market—and has made Bill Gates the richest human on the planet.