I’ve lived in Washington state for many years and while I’ve traveled extensively too, I’m always coming home to a place made for photographers and those who appreciate beautiful views. Here are a few of my favorites for the best places for photography in Washington state.

Top 10 Sight-Seeing Spots in WA State
📸Mount Rainier National Park
📸Olympic National Park
📸Palouse Falls
📸Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park
📸Diablo Lake
📸Hoh Rainforest
📸North Cascades National Park
📸Snoqualmie Falls
📸Spokane River
📸Ruby Beach

Best Places for Photography in Washington State

There are a huge number of photo spots in Washington, many of which have a lovely variety of other activities as well.

Washington State Urban Photography

Urban photography, also known as city or street photography, is a genre that focuses on capturing images within urban environments.

This style of photography often aims to depict the character, rhythm, and soul of a city through its architecture, street scenes, people, and urban landscapes.

It can range from architectural photographs showcasing the grandeur of city buildings to candid snapshots of daily life on the streets.

Seattle

1. Pike Place Market

Pike Place Market is a photography delight with its bustling atmosphere, colorful stalls, and iconic signage.

It offers diverse subjects, from vibrant produce to lively street scenes and historic architecture, all set against the backdrop of Elliott Bay, making it a visually rich and dynamic location.

2. Space Needle

The Space Needle is a striking subject due to its unique and futuristic architecture.

An iconic symbol of the city, it offers panoramic cityscape views from its observation deck and creates a distinctive skyline silhouette, making it ideal for both day and night photography.

3. Pioneer Square

Pioneer Square in Seattle is a photogenic spot known for its rich history, Romanesque Revival architecture, and charming cobblestone streets.

This historic district offers a blend of old-world charm and contemporary art, with elegant buildings, vibrant murals, and the famous totem pole, providing diverse and intriguing photographic opportunities.

4. Gas Works Park

This famous park is known for its intriguing blend of industrial structures and scenic parkland. The park’s rusted gasification plant, set against the backdrop of the Seattle skyline and Lake Union, offers a striking contrast, perfect for capturing distinctive urban landscapes.

5. Discovery Park

Seattle’s largest park offers forests, beaches, and cliffs! It’s a photographer’s dream for its natural beauty and diverse landscapes.

The historic West Point Lighthouse adds a picturesque touch, especially at sunset, making it perfect for capturing both nature shots and stunning vistas of Puget Sound.

6. Cherry Blossoms

cherry blossoms
Cherry Blossoms, Seattle

One of the very best places to take pictures in Seattle and well-known throughout the Pacific Northwest. Bring a picnic basket and patience to the Quad at the University of Washington. It’s crowded here, but worth your effort.

While there are over 100 Japanese cherry trees on campus, 29 of them are placed symmetrically in the Quad. The Quad is my personal favorite, despite the crowds.

7. Kerry Park

Famed for its spectacular view of the city skyline, including the iconic Space Needle and Mount Rainier in the backdrop.

This small park, situated on a hill, offers a quintessential and often-photographed vista of Seattle, making it ideal for capturing postcard-worthy cityscapes, especially stunning during sunset or at night.

8. Alki Beach

Another stunning location to photograph the Seattle skyline, especially at sunset. Alki Beach is a long strip of beach across the water from downtown Seattle, allowing for more parking and less crowding, but it is still an extremely popular place at sunset.

9. Chihuly Garden and Glass

Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle is a mesmerizing exhibit highlighting the studio glass art of Dale Chihuly. This unique attraction always dazzles me with its play of light and color, offering a truly immersive and visually spectacular experience.

Greater Seattle Area

10. Edmonds Marine Walkway

Edmonds Park
Edmonds Fishing Pier

This is a mostly paved walkway connecting Edmonds most popular beaches. You can spend the entire day here exploring the many beaches, watching the boats or shopping at the pier. Bring a picnic lunch and water, although there are restaurants along the way as well.

11. Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie

best places for photography in Washington state
Snoqualmie Falls, WA

One of the easiest and best Washington pictures you can take. Especially beautiful in the spring but a treasure all year round. It’s possible to view the falls from the top without significant walking involved.

Alternatively, you can park at the bottom lot for a walk to the lower falls of less than a mile. This is one of the most beautiful waterfalls in Washington and a must-see when visiting.

12. Snoqualmie Point Park

best places for photography in Washington state
Snoqualmie Point Park

The view is beautiful from the covered area, with a short scenic walk that extends from it. Beautiful for sunsets and star-gazing. It can be extremely crowded on certain days, such as red moons, expected meteor showers or anticipated Northern Lights viewing.

13. Franklin Falls (Snoqualmie Pass)

A charming waterfall that cascades gracefully in three tiers, culminating in a 70-foot drop. It’s a popular photography spot, particularly due to its easy accessibility and scenic surrounding forest.

In winter, the falls partially freeze, creating a stunning icy spectacle. In spring and summer, the lush greenery and flowing water can easily block out the freeway seen from just above.

14. Lora Lee’s A-Maze-ing Sunflower Fields, Duvall

Lora Lees Sunflower Field
Sunflowers at Lora Lee’s

Is there anything happier than a field of sunflowers? A family operated business and a family friendly atmosphere. Some walking involved.

This is a common photo shoot location for senior and family portraits. The farm does have a special fee for professional photographers and their guests.

15. Roslyn

This small town in Washington State is known for its well-preserved historical character and rustic charm. It’s famous for its vintage storefronts, historic coal mines, and as the filming location for the TV show “Northern Exposure.”

The town’s authentic old-world feel, with its wooden buildings and quaint streets, makes it an excellent spot for photography, offering a glimpse into the past and capturing the essence of a classic American small town.

Tacoma

16. Tacoma Glass Museum and Chihuly Bridge of Glass

The Tacoma Glass Museum and the nearby Chihuly Bridge of Glass offer a visually stunning experience, perfect for photography.

The museum showcases contemporary glass art, with dynamic indoor and outdoor installations.

The Chihuly Bridge, a 500-foot pedestrian overpass, features striking glass artworks by Dale Chihuly, including the Venetian Wall, Seaform Pavilion, and Crystal Towers.

17. Ruston Way Waterfront

This scenic promenade is ideal for photos, featuring a long, winding path along the shoreline with views of the bay, distant islands, and the Olympic Mountains.

It’s dotted with parks, piers, and historical markers, providing a variety of interesting backdrops. The area is especially beautiful during sunrise and sunset, with the water reflecting the sky’s colors and the city lights starting to twinkle.

Spokane

18. Riverfront Park

Located in the heart of Spokane, this is a scenic and vibrant urban park that offers a wealth of photo opportunities such as Spokane Falls, a historic carousel, and the iconic Spokane Pavilion with its intricate structure, and various sculptures and art installations.

19. Downtown Spokane

Downtown Spokane’s combination of nature, history, and modernity makes it a versatile and engaging location for travel photos. It’s especially lovely around Monroe Street Bridge and the historic Steam Plant Square.

Olympia

20. Washington State Capitol Campus

The Capitol Campus combines natural beauty and beautiful gardens with architectural elegance, making it a popular spot for both professional and amateur photographers.

21. Percival Landing

This area offers waterfront scenes and views of the marina and Olympic Mountains. Percival Landing’s blend of urban and natural elements, along with its vibrant atmosphere, makes it a delightful location if you’re wanting to capture the essence of Olympia’s waterfront.

Bellingham

22. Fairhaven Historic District

I have always loved the Fairhaven district, especially in Fall evenings. But you can capture the essence of old-town charm with historic buildings any time of the year.

23. Chuckanut Drive

Known for its scenic coastal views and access to quaint bays like Larrabee State Park. This drive has plenty of views and also plenty of places to stop for a break or a walk along the beach or in the forest.

24. Bellingham Boardwalk at Boulevard Park

If you’re looking for where to shoot the urban outdoors in Washington state, this one is hard to beat. My absolute favorite place when I was going to college at Western Washington University.

A quietly busy and beautiful park and walk. Most of Bellingham has a great vibe and this one is no exception. Locals walk their dogs, go for a run and absorb the peaceful scenery.

Leavenworth

A Bavarian-styled village offering unique European architecture and mountain backdrops, great for a different urban aesthetic.

25. Winterfest

This Bavarian-themed town is especially photogenic during winter when it’s lit up with Christmas lights or in autumn with fall colors.

26. Enchantment Park Loop

This is a popular park for all ages, but slightly less crowded on weekdays. Walk the 0.7 mile loop or find a spot for picnic and to watch the sunset.

There are many benches and information posts along the way. Some areas of the paved trail are slightly steeper than flat.

27. Port Townsend

Known for its Victorian architecture and maritime history, this lovely town has a quaint and picturesque urban setting that is difficult to leave.

28. Walla Walla

Famous for its wineries and historic downtown, which has beautifully preserved buildings and a charming small-town feel.

29. Columbia River Gorge

Sharing the river with our southern Oregon neighbors, this area offers stunning landscapes, particularly around Maryhill Museum and the surrounding vineyards.

There is beautiful scenery every in every direction along the Columbia River, with opportunities to photograph both natural landscapes and man-made structures like Beacon Rock.

Washington State Coastal Views

There are several areas where you can capture the unique beauty and character of the Pacific Northwest coast.

30. Ruby Beach (Olympic National Park)

Known for its dramatic sea stacks, driftwood, and often moody weather, Ruby Beach offers a quintessential Pacific Northwest coastal experience. It’s ideal for capturing the rugged beauty of the coastline, especially during sunset or stormy weather.

31. Cape Flattery (Neah Bay)

The most northwestern point of the contiguous United States, Cape Flattery features stunning cliffside views of the Pacific Ocean, sea caves, and sometimes wildlife like whales and sea birds.

The area’s unique geographical features make it a compelling subject for coastal photography.

32. Rialto Beach (Olympic National Park)

Rialto Beach is famous for its sea stacks, tide pools, and the “Hole-in-the-Wall” rock formation. The beach offers dynamic landscapes, especially during low tide when the tide pools are exposed.

It’s also a fantastic place for tide-pooling!

33. La Push Beaches (First, Second, and Third Beach)

These beaches, particularly Second Beach with its accessible trail, are known for their dramatic sea stacks, wide sandy shores, and the chance to photograph both the forest and the ocean in one frame.

34. Deception Pass State Park

Although not a traditional beach, Deception Pass offers stunning coastal views with its iconic bridge, rugged cliffs, and turbulent waters where the Skagit Bay meets the Strait of Juan de Fuca.

The Sand Dunes Interpretive Trail is a 1.2 mile paved loop with scenic views that take you right to the beach.

35. Long Beach Peninsula

This area provides a different coastal experience with its long stretches of sandy beach, historic lighthouses (like North Head Lighthouse), and dune landscapes.

It’s great for capturing more serene, expansive coastal scenes.

36. Point No Point, Hansville

Known for its historic lighthouse and driftwood-strewn beaches, Point No Point offers a peaceful setting and is a good spot for birdwatching and marine life photography.

37. Shi Shi Beach

This beach requires a bit of a hike to access, but it’s worth it for the secluded and unspoiled coastline, dramatic sea stacks, and tide pools.

This is my favorite summer beach for sunsets.

38. Cape Disappointment State Park

Notable for its lighthouses, rugged coastal cliffs, and the Lewis and Clark Interpretive Center, this is a fantastic area for photography of King Tides especially.

Washington Natural Landscapes

Olympic National Park

Known for its diverse landscapes, including Rialto Beach, Sol Duc Falls, and Hurricane Ridge. The park offers a mix of coastal views, rainforests, and mountain scenery.

39. Spruce Railroad Trail at Lake Crescent

The Spruce Railroad Trail around Lake Crescent is the longest wheelchair friendly trail in Olympic National Park. This trail runs along the north shore of one of the most visited lakes in Washington State.

40. Hurricane Hill

The views of the mountain ranges from the main visitor center are simply stunning. You can go up as far you want before turning around and still not be disappointed in the views on a clear day.

41. Hoh Rainforest

The Hoh Rainforest with its lush greenery and unique ecosystem offers a mystical and moody atmosphere. Even in the rain!

Mount Rainier National Park

A photographer’s paradise, featuring breathtaking views of the mountain, wildflower meadows, and lush forests. Key spots include Paradise Area and Nisqually Vista Loop.

The iconic Mount Rainier itself is a majestic subject for photography, especially when framed with wildflower meadows in the foreground during the summer. Reservations are required for timed entry during the summer season.

41. Reflection Lake

Reflection Lake, just off the road, is renowned for its stunning reflections of Mount Rainier on a clear day.

42. Little Tipsoo Lake, Mount Rainier National Park

Mount Rainier reflecting
Little Tipsoo

This lake is across the highway from Tipsoo lake and the trail is less maintained but more of a natural surface than a trail. The view of Mt Rainier in this photo is from the far side of the lake.

My favorite time to go is when there’s still a little ice on the lake but it’s melted enough to get the mountain reflection in the water on a clear day. It’s also especially stunning in the summer season, when the wildflowers are blooming.

43. Paradise Visitor Center

Known for its wildflower meadows in July and August, photo-worthy Myrtle Falls and panoramic mountain views. You can’t miss by spending the day here with your camera.

44. San Juan Islands

Reached by ferry, the islands are ideal for capturing scenic landscapes, marine wildlife (like orcas), and charming harbor scenes.

Lime Kiln Point State Park on San Juan Island is a prime spot for lighthouse and sunset photography.

North Cascades National Park

The North Cascades are known for rugged mountain peaks, pristine alpine lakes (like Diablo Lake), and gorgeous cascading waterfalls.

45. Washington Pass Overlook

The Washington Pass Overlook offers a breathtaking view of Liberty Bell Mountain.

46. Artist Point

One of the most impressive views in Washington state, this area offers amazing views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan. It’s an extremely popular place, particularly for wedding or engagement photos, at sunrise or sunset.

47. Picture Lake

Possibly one of the most photographed places in Washington for its’ mountain reflection. Incredible views at the lake, on the way to and beyond to Artist Point if you’re willing and able to walk further.

Gifford Pinchot National Forest

A diverse landscape with mountains, river valleys, waterfalls, and volcanoes. Major points of interest are Mount Adams and Mount St. Helens.

48. Johnston Ridge Observatory, Mt St Helens

You can see the volcano and crater from the observatory, offering some of the best pictures to take in Washington. There is a 0.5 interpretive walk on the Eruption Trail with even more views. And there are a variety of more challenging hikes available as well.

49. Ape Caves

A unique opportunity to photograph inside one of the longest lava tubes in North America. Don’t miss it!

Unique Washington Attractions and Events

What local attractions in Washington state make for great photo opportunities?

50. Lavender Fields in Sequim

lavender fields
Lavender Field

While the festival is absolutely worth attending, it’s also extremely crowded. The lavender bloom extends before and after the peak season, however, and many farms are open all summer.

I try to visit the week before the festival, before the onslaught of people and vehicles and make an effort to experience the many other fantastic things to do in Sequim as well.

51. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Tulip fields
Tulip Field

One of the best places for photography in Washington state, there is no place like Skagit Valley come tulip season. Fields and fields of beautiful, fragrant flowers, food and activities. RoozenGaarde and Tulip Town are by far the most popular, and crowded, but there are many others.

52. Diablo Lake

Diablo Lake
Diablo Lake

One of the best photography spots in Washington state, with quite the long and impressive drive to get there.

The colors are unreal. People will assume you’ve edited your photos. Bring a tripod and a picnic dinner, as sunsets are stunning. I’ve found it’s usually windy too, so a windbreaker might be helpful for you.

53. Skagit Valley Padilla Bay Trail

A shallow tidal bay estuary with excellent views the entire way. The views change subject to the tidal fluctuations. There are phenomenal sunsets here if the weather cooperates. Bring binoculars for bird watching, sunscreen and sunshade as a large part of it is in the open.

Instagrammable Spots in Washington State

  • Picture Lake
  • Bellingham Boardwalk at Boulevard Park
  • Deception Pass State Park
  • Palouse Falls
  • Ape Caves
  • Gorge Amphitheatre
  • Seattle Skyline from Kerry Park
  • Bainbridge Island
  • Little red house along the Franklin Falls Trail, Snoqualmie Pass
  • Pike Place Market
  • The Gum Wall at Pike Place Market
  • Space Needle
  • Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP)
  • Mt Rainier
  • Diablo Lake
  • Snoqualmie Falls
  • Ruby Beach
  • Deception Pass Bridge
  • Chihuly Garden and Glass in Seattle
  • Skagit Valley Tulip Fields
  • Sea stacks at Rialto Beach
  • Artist Point at Mt Baker Ski Resort
  • Fremont Troll in Seattle
  • Northwest Trolls Art Installation

Wrap-up: Photography in Washington State

All of these are within a few hours drive from Seattle, and they’re all worth your time. Happy photo shooting!