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State Spotlight: Washington

Seattle Skyline and Mount Rainier at Sunset

Washington is a wonderland for Travel Nurses!

It’s apple-picking season, so this month’s State Spotlight takes us to wonderful Washington. The Evergreen State is a great choice for Travel Nurses year-round, but it’s especially magical in the fall. Just imagine yourself drinking fresh cider in the nation’s most prolific apple-growing state and ordering your pumpkin spice latte at the original Starbucks location in Seattle!

Travel Nursing in WashingtonWashington State

Washington is chock-full of the kind of stunning natural attractions that Travel Nurses tend to flock to. Even better, The Evergreen State consistently has TONS of great job opportunities for Travelers. Washington offers everything from urban excitement to quaint communities to serene scenery, pair that with an abundance of job opportunities and it’s no wonder Washington is favorite for so many Travel Nurses!

Washington is home to 110+ hospitals. That includes Seattle’s University of Washington Medical Center, which U.S. News & World Report ranked as the #1 hospital in Washington, and which is nationally ranked in 10 adult specialties. Rounding out the top five hospitals in Washington are: Spokane’s Providence Sacred Heart Medical Center and Children’s Hospital, Seattle’s Virginia Mason Medical Center, Olympia’s Providence St. Peter Hospital, and Everett’s Providence Regional Medical Center.

Additionally, Seattle Children’s Hospital is nationally ranked in 10 children’s specialties.

In 2017, U.S. News & World Report ranked Washington #5 overall on their first-ever “Best States” list, based on criteria including economy, education, government, health care, crime & corrections, infrastructure, and opportunity. The report also ranked Washington #9 among the top states for healthcare, #2 for infrastructure, and #11 for economy.

As for licensing, Washington is not a walk-through state, nor is it a compact state, but it is a NURSYS state! Click here for more info on licensing in Washington.

To Do & See in Washington

U.S. News & World Report has called The Evergreen State “an outdoor enthusiast’s dream with its geological diversity, ranging from mountains to deserts, rainforests, and a Pacific coastline.”

Bridge of the Gods

The Colombia River Gorge is totally gorgeous!

First, let talk mountains. Washington is home to two major ranges — the Cascades and Olympic Mountains. Mount Rainier is famously visible from the state’s largest city, Seattle, so it’s great eye candy even from afar. But if you’re the type who wants to do more than just look, you’ll be filled with glee considering all of the options for climbing, hiking, mountain biking, picnicking, and more. They don’t call it The Evergreen State for nothing, and the state’s old-growth forests are stunning places to find yourself a memorable and peaceful moment. (PS, all these mountains mean great skiing for all levels, if you’re into that kind of thing!)

Another major player in Washington’s natural beauty is water — from the Puget Sound to the Colombia River to an abundance of glaciers and beyond, it’s a force to be reckoned with in Washington in many forms.

Some major hotspots for outdoors majesty you won’t want to miss out on include Mount Rainier National Park, Olympic National Park, Colombia River Gorge, North Cascades National Park, Hoh Rainforest, Deception Pass, Mount Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest, Lake Chelan, the San Juan Islands, and so much more.

Chihuly Sculptures and Seattle's Space Needle

Chihuly Garden and Glass plus a visit to The Space Needle make up a great day of sightseeing in Seattle!

Outdoors activities here are boundless, including biking, hiking, skiing, whale watching, kayaking, boating, ziplining, river rafting, golfing, climbing, horseback riding, parasailing, and so much more!

On the urban side of things, Washington largest cities include Seattle, Spokane, Tacoma, Vancouver, Bellevue, Kent, Everett, and Renton.

Seattle, known as The Emerald City for its 6,000+ acres of parks, is the state’s most well-known city, and for good reason. Seattle is hip and smart with boundless natural beauty and urban activities. The city has amazing opportunities to shop, dine, see art & theater, and so much more.

Check out the Space Needle, Experience Music Project, Pike Place Market, Chihuly Garden and Glass, Olympic Sculpture Park, Gas Works Park, the Seattle Great Wheel, Seattle Art Museum, Seattle Aquarium, Washington Park Arboretum, Fremont Troll, Volunteer Park, Lake Union, and so many other wonderful spots!

You can get out of the city for a bit by catching a ferry over to some of the nearby gorgeous spots like Bainbridge Island or Whidbey Island.

Waterfront of Seattle on a sunny day

Ride the Great Wheel and check out the waterfront!

Sports fans will enjoy access to the Seattle Mariners, Seattle Seahawks, and Seattle Sounders, among many other professional and college teams. Seattle’s also a city that loves its intramural and recreational sports, so while you’re on assignment you can always take that route to join in the athletic fun.

Is all that activity making ya hungry? Well, you’re really in luck, because when it comes to food and drink, Washington knows what’s up! The food here is divine and there’s something for everybody.

In addition to being the country’s greatest producer of apples, Washington is also famous for its Rainier cherries, artisan chocolate, berries (blueberries, raspberries, huckleberries, blackberries), Walla Walla sweet onions, and seafood.

Beecher's Cheese

The mac & cheese at Beecher’s is a Seattle MUST!

Wild salmon, geoduck, oysters, mussels, clams, Dungeness crab and just about any other seafood you can imagine is fresh and absolutely delicious in Washington — from sushi to fish & chips to chowder and beyond!

In Washington’s largest city of Seattle, you can experience true foodie nirvana. Here you will find tons of fresh, farm-to-table options, artisanal breads and cheeses, great bakeries, microbreweries, vegan/vegetarian fare, and cuisine from all around the world! The city’s famous Pike Place Market is a great place to see, smell, taste, and pick up all kinds of regional goodness, including fruits & veggies, pastries, jams, tea, spices, and so much more. Some hometown faves here include Pike Place Chowder, Biscuit Bitch, Ezell’s El Gaucho, Dick’s, Il Corvo, Maneki, Matt’s, Pagliacci Pizza, Thai Tom, Dahlia Bakery, and, of course, Beecher’s Handmade Cheese.

Leavenworth, WA

A day trip to Leavenworth, Washington will transport you to Bavaria!

And, while you can find food from every corner of the world in Seattle, the pan-Asian cuisine scene here is tops! Thus, you’ll find some of the nation’s best Thai, Vietnamese, Chinese, Japanese, Korean, and Indian food there.

When you get thirsty there’s plenty of amazing coffee and craft beer to go around, depending on the time of day! Wash all those delicious eats down with an ice-cold Rachel’s Ginger beer, bubble tea, or coffee (choose Seattle legend Starbucks or any number of independent, local coffeehouses) and you’ll be living like a true Washingtonian.

Leavenworth, Washington is a fun trip for when you to feel like you’ve just been transported to Europe. This charming little alpine Bavarian Village is nestled in the Cascade Mountain Range foothills. In addition to quaint, Bavarian architecture, a 96-foot traditional Maipole, European-style murals, and great German restaurants, they put on one heck of an Oktoberfest!

Washington Fast Facts
State Nickname: The Evergreen State

Capital: Olympia

Largest City: Seattle

National Parks: 15

State Parks, Recreation Areas, and Forests: 215

Woman hiking outdoors

The humble backpack was invented in Washington. Also pictured, the gorgeous Olympic National Park!

National Historic and Natural Landmarks: 42

State Motto: “Alki” — meaning, “bye and bye.”

State Flower: Coast Rhododenron

State Animal: Steelhead Trout

State Vegetable: Walla Walla Sweet onion

Washington was the 42nd state.

Backpacks, Pictionary, Father’s Day, the electric bass guitar, bread bag clips, the modern shopping mall, the whammy bar, grunge, Almond Roca, wireless telephone, water skis, down-filled parkas, the portable heart defibrillator, the Kindle, Microsoft’s operating systems, and whole bunch of software were all invented in Washington.

Washington is the only state named for a United States president.

The oldest, currently operating gas station in the U.S. is located in Zillah, Washington.

Washington is one of just a handful of states that does not levy a personal income tax.

The first soft-serve ice cream machine in the world was in an Olympia, Washington Dairy Queen.

Washington state produces more apples than any other state in the country.

The Starbucks store at 1912 Pike Place, Seattle, Washington, US

The original Starbucks in its second location at 1912 Pike Place in Seattle.

Starbucks, the world’s largest coffee chain, was founded in Seattle.

The largest fleet of ferries in the country serves the Puget Sound area.

The highest elevation in Washington is Mount Rainier at 14,410 feet above sea level.

The most rain to ever fall in Washington in one day was 14.26 inches at Mt. Mitchell in 1986.

As part of the Cascade Range, Washington has five major volcanoes: Glacier Peak, Mount Rainier, Mount Baker, Mount Adams, and Mount St. Helens.

In its May 1980 eruption, Mount St. Helens lost 1,131 feet of elevation.

Seattle’s Space Needle is 605 feet tall.

Photo of Jimi HENDRIX

Jimi Hendrix is just one famous Washingtonian.

Famous Washingtonians include Jimi Hendrix, Chris Pratt, Bob Barker, Rainn Wilson, Sir Mix-a-lot, Chrissy Teigen, Hope Solo, Tom Robbins, Neko Case, Macklemore, Kurt Cobain, Craig T. Nelson, Bing Crosby, John Elway, Bill Gates, Quincy Jones, Gary Larson, Gypsy Rose Lee, Dave Matthews, Blair Underwood, Adam West, Eddie Vedder, Kenny Loggins, Kenny G, and so many others!

Washington has more glaciers than any other state on the U.S. mainland, with about 80% of all glacial ice in the nation located within its borders.

Everett, Washington is home to the world’s largest building — the final assembly plant for Boeing.

Seattle was the first city in the United States to play a Beatles song on the radio.

In 1974, Spokane became the smallest city to host a World’s Fair.

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About the Author

Hi, I’m Sarah Wengert, a creative content writer for the amazing Medical Solutions based in Omaha, Nebraska. While I’m not a Travel Nurse, I love to travel and I truly appreciate the hard, important work that nurses do. I’m very happy to represent a company that cares so much about its people. Thanks for reading!