Ocean Shores, Washington
The southeast region of Washington State stretches from the Washington-Idaho border to the outskirts of Wenatchee-Snoqualmie National Forest in the center of the state. Dominated by some of the Northwest's driest countryside, it is rich in geological landmarks.
The Columbia Basin, one of the highest lava plateaus in the world, blankets much of the region, rising in some places to more than 1,500 feet in elevation. Pockmarked by dry river canyons that were scored into the earth thousands of years ago, the Columbia Basin stands as a testament to Nature's incredible strength and power.
At the region's southern border, the Columbia River weaves a circuitous route toward the Pacific Ocean, framing the fertile lush valleys and windswept fields that serve as the breadbasket for much of Washington State.
Populated by dozens of small and mid-size towns that were founded by pioneer families, the Southeast region is known both for its remote rural communities and its burgeoning tri-city area. Kennewick, Richland and Pasco make up the region's metropolitan center, while smaller towns, like Moses Lake and Ritzville support several critical agricultural markets. Walla Walla, at the southern edge of the region, is known both for its juicy crops of sweet onions and for its exceptional Cabernet Sauvignon.
The Southeast region is crisscrossed by numerous highways, providing easy access to state parks and wildlife areas. The region is home to four different wildlife refuges and the Umatilla National Forest, which is tucked into the southeastern tip of the region. Historical landmarks such as the Whitman Mission National Historical Site and Steptoe Battlefield stand as reminders of eastern Washington's often complex and controversial history.
The Columbia Basin, the state's warmest, driest region is the place to go birding. When the Columbia River was dammed, holes long ago chiseled by glaciers into the lava plain, were flooded. The many lakes and marshes thus created, turned out to be ideal habitats for birds. You can see pelicans and cormorants at the Potholes Reservoir , or birds of prey in the red cliffs above Crab Creek Coulee, near Beverly.
If wine tasting is more to your liking, you will find nearly 100 wineries in eastern Washington with 22 of them located in the Tri-Cities area and the Walla Walla valley.
Tri-Cities Visitors and Convention Bureau . P.O. Box 2241, Tri-Cities, WA 99302, 6951 W. Grandridge Boulevard, Kennewick, WA 99336. Phone: 509-735-8486; Toll-free: 1-800-666-1929.
In Southeast Washington, all good things come in threes! A visitor information site for the "Tri-Cities" of Richland, Pasco, and Kennewick, located at the confluence of the Columbia, Snake, and Yakima rivers.
For more on Southeast Washington State, see the cities and towns listed below: