United States Puget Sound

58 spots Public

Joe Becker

Nestled between two mountain ranges and filled with saltwater beaches, evergreen forests, and colorful cities and towns, the Puget Sound region of Washington State presents endless opportunities for nature and travel photography. The area includes stunning vistas of the glacier-studded Cascade volcanoes Mount Rainier and Mount Baker, blue lakes and emerald forests, driftwood-strewn beaches with historic lighthouses, sunsets behind the craggy teeth of the Olympic Mountains, and iconic white and green ferry boats plying the waters of Puget Sound. The Puget Sound region presents a variety of opportunities for any photographer; whether you enjoy cityscapes, landscapes, history and modern art, wildlife or formal gardens.

The region generally experiences a temperate marine climate; warm, dry summers and mild, wet winters. Each season brings its own special opportunities. In winter bald eagles gather on the Skagit River and snow geese flock in the Skagit valley. In spring, colorful tulip fields replace the snow geese, rhododendrons blossom in the area’s many gardens, and cherry trees grace the state capital in Olympia. Summer provides long days to explore the waters, beaches and forests. And fall brings scattered color amongst the evergreens and returning migratory birds to the Nisqually delta.

There are few restrictions on photography in the area. Tripod use is allowed in most parks and outdoor areas, though in some of the gardens you may be asked not to block pathways. Photography is also allowed on Washington State ferries, though you would not want to use a tripod on them due to the vibrations of the ship’s motor. Personal photography is allowed most everywhere, though several of the listed attractions have restrictions on commercial photography.

Though there is some debate over what encompasses the Puget Sound region (Puget Sound itself officially extends north from Olympia to Deception Pass at the far tip of Whidbey Island), this guide covers the lowlands west of the Cascade Mountains and east of the Olympic Mountains, and from the Canadian border in the north to Olympia in the south. It purposely excludes the San Juan Islands, which are a destination in their own right, and the City of Seattle, which has its own Snapp Guide.

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