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The I-90 Road Trip Guide to Unique Washington Destinations

Washington has tons of unique destinations throughout the state, especially along Interstate 90.

Are you ready to explore some fun, funky, and sometimes scary spots as you head east?

We’ve got you covered with some of Washington’s most unusual attractions.

Let’s get going!

People walk and dine at the downtown Seattle waterfront with the landmark Great Wheel in the background, at sunset time. Our Washington road trip begins in Seattle.

This Route Will Take You on a Unique Washington Road Trip

It’s approximately 280 miles from Seattle to Spokane, Washington. Luckily, you can cover the entire distance in around four hours by hopping onto Interstate 90. But we suggest extending your trip by making a few pit stops along the way.

During the drive, you’ll swap the skyscrapers and chaos of city life with the evergreen forests leading into the Cascades.

After passing over the mountain range, the landscape drastically changes. Rolling hills and high desert terrain replace the thick forests. You’ll find sagebrush and tumbleweed moving through the landscape. For both native Washingtonians and visitors, this can be a priceless memory.

However, if you’re unaware, Washington has a weird side. This route combines beauty with oddity for an unforgettable journey. Here are nine of the area’s most notable destinations.

#1 Seattle Underground Tour

We’re starting this Washington road trip in Seattle, where I-90 begins. 

Signing up for an underground tour lets you see and learn about the city’s remarkable past from a different perspective. Over a million people visit Pike Place Fish Market and the Space Needle while in town. Unfortunately, many don’t know about the underground passageways beneath Pioneer Square dating back to the 1890s.

During these experiences, your guide shares history and humorous stories. The 75 minutes pass quickly as you discover facts about the city. It’s your chance to learn about the town’s founding and how it recovered from the Great Fire of 1889.

It’s important to remember that this is a walking tour. As a result, it may not be best for those with mobility issues or young children. 

Additionally, you’ll want to make reservations. If not, you risk showing up to find there’s no availability. Prices are typically between $10 and $22, but they offer various discounts, and kids six and under are free.

Before you head east: 5 Unique Tourist Spots in Seattle.

#2 Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls, about 30 miles east of Seattle, is next on our Washington road trip. Like most waterfalls, its intensity can vary significantly depending on the season. It’s beautiful any time of year, but it’s unbeatable when surrounded by fall foliage.

Trekking from the upper viewing platform to the lower falls is a 1.5-mile roundtrip hike. It’s relatively easy and an excellent opportunity for all skills and ages to explore together. Keep an eye out for the interpretive plaques along the way to learn about the history, wildlife, and vegetation.

Once you reach the bottom, follow the boardwalk along the river. You’ll eventually come to an overlook where you can watch the water plunge 268 feet to the river below. Take the time to snap pictures and appreciate the sights before taking off.

Some great things about this site are that parking and access to the viewing areas are completely free. This is a trendy spot and averages 1.5 million visitors annually. Snagging a parking place can be tricky, so pack your patience. 

#3 Dick and Jane’s Spot

Continue east for roughly 80 miles, and you’ll drive right into Ellensburg. If you enjoy eclectic art, you’ll love this unique road trip destination in Washington.

Dick and Jane’s Spot sits on the corner of 1st and Pearl Street, directly across from the fire station. The two artists purchased the property in 1978. They immediately got to work and spent several decades transforming the house and property into a massive exhibit.

Today, you’ll find over 10,000 bottle caps and several thousand bicycle reflectors. Sadly, Dick passed away in 2008, but Jane continues updating the pieces in the yard as they decay. They typically have works from more than 40 artists located throughout the Northwest. Since you never know what you’ll find, this is a must-see when passing Ellensburg.

What you can see from outside the fence is the display. Please respect Jane’s privacy and property by staying outside the gate if you visit. 

We wondered: Is Seattle Safe for Tourists?

#4 Ginkgo Petrified Forest

The next attraction on our weird Washington road trip is the Ginkgo Petrified Forest. It’s just under 30 miles from Dick and Jane’s Spot. George F. Beck, a geologist, discovered this unique natural creation in 1932.

Its claim to fame is that it’s one of North America’s most diverse fossil forests. With 7,124 acres of woodland and 27,000 feet of shoreline, it’s an outdoor enthusiasts paradise. To maximize your time here, book one of the 50 campsites. Be aware that high winds are common at night, and the park regularly fills up on weekends.

Besides camping, other popular activities are boating, hiking, and visiting the interpretive center. You’ll learn more than you ever thought possible by visiting the Trailside Museum and Trees of Stone Interpretive Trail. Bring a picnic lunch and find a spot to get comfortable. You can enjoy your food and a majestic view.

#5 Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies

Just across the Columbia River from Ginkgo Petrified Forest is a unique piece of artwork. While Google Maps and the signs may say “Wild Horses Monument,” the official name is “Grandfather Cuts Loose the Ponies.”

David Govedare started the project in 1989 but has yet to finish it. The dream was a giant 36-foot woven basket made of steel. The plan was for the basket to be on its side, allowing the 18 horses to spill out and run free. Funding for the project fell short, and Govedare never created the basket and installed 15 of the 18 horses.

Despite being incomplete, estimates are that 100 million travelers have seen the sculpture while passing through. Although best viewed from a distance, getting an up-close look at them is possible. It’s only a one-mile hike from the parking lot at Exit 139 of I-90.

#6 The George Washington Bust

Another unique spot on this road trip is in the town of George, Washington. Yes, you read that right. If you’re feeling patriotic, you can make this stop in honor of our very first president.

Each year, the city hosts a Fourth of July celebration and bakes the largest cherry pie in the world. Additionally, they throw a birthday party to celebrate President’s Day.

To see the bust of George Washington, travel to Shree’s Truck Stop & Gas Station. Sitting in the corner of the property under their sign, it’s identical to the bronze bust Avard Fairbanks created in 1976 for the bicentennial celebration. 

George is a bustling town during the summer concert season. The Gorge Amphitheater is only six miles away and overlooks the Columbia River. Each summer, it hosts concerts that draw more than 250,000 attendees. Many visit Shree’s to snap a picture with George while they’re in town.

#7 Lasting Legacy Wildlife Museum

Our next location is the Lasting Legacy Wildlife Museum. This isn’t just a unique gallery in Washington. It might be the strangest of all. This 25,000-square-foot showroom in Ritzville features more than 100 taxidermied animals from around the world.

It has elephants, a giraffe, baboons, a crocodile, a pride of lions, and many other specimens. They’re all the property of Donald Sebesta and his wife, avid big-game hunters, who opened the spot in 2018.

During tours, an expert guide will lead you through the museum. They’ll share educational tidbits and interesting facts about wildlife. In addition, you can ask any questions you might have.

Visiting can be challenging, as their hours are somewhat restrictive, and they only open on weekends. But if it sounds like a place you’d enjoy, it can be worth building it into your travels.

#8 Greenwood Cemetery

After perusing the taxidermied animals, return to I-90 and drive one hour to Spokane. It’ll take you to a weird, slightly spooky spot in Washington, Greenwood Cemetery. This haunted graveyard has a reputation so creepy that it may give you nightmares.

Some claim that walking up a certain set of stairs causes you to see the disembodied faces of men, women, and children. Others take it further and state they’ve heard screams from the dead.

Many believe the staircase has become a site for satanic rituals. Its old and decrepit look is primarily due to renovations that have rendered it useless. Instead of paying to remove them, the owners have left them for years.

You get treated to an incredible view if you are brave enough to reach the top. The beautiful landscape is a fitting tribute to the hundred-year-old tombstones that line the area. While cemeteries can be chilling, there’s also something peaceful about their quietness.

Unfortunately, Greenwood Cemetery is on private property. Local authorities routinely patrol, looking for violators. If you want to stay on the right side of the law, we recommend getting permission before visiting. 

#9 Big Red Wagon

Finally, the Big Red Wagon is the last spot on our unique Washington road trip. It’s less than three miles from Greenwood Cemetery, so you could walk if you want to get some exercise. However, a car ride takes less than 10 minutes.

This roadside attraction sits in Spokane’s Riverfront Park. As its name implies, it’s a big red wagon. Unlike the Radio Flyer you likely used as a kid, this one stands 12 feet tall and weighs over 26 tons. The bed is large enough to fit about 300 people.

What’s even better is that its handle is also a slide. You and 299 others can quickly and safely slide down to the ground. It can take you back in time and allow you to relive the glory days of your childhood.

It’s been here since the Junior League of Spokane commissioned Ken Spiering to construct it in 1989. He completed the project after a year of working 17-hour days. It’s the perfect pit stop to stretch your legs and have a little fun.

Looking for more unique stops in the Evergreen State? Check out Weird Washington.

Is a Unique Washington Road Trip Worth It?

A road trip across Washington can be an exciting adventure. To create a memorable experience, you need to pick the right stops. After all, your precious vacation time is limited.

We’ve shared some fascinating and slightly odd places in Washington that you should consider. Whether you choose to do all nine or only a few is entirely up to you, but get out and enjoy the open road!

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