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Southeastern Washington

Until the 1990s, this parched and remote corner of Washington had little to offer tourists beyond proximity to Idaho. Its arid landscape is characterized by the volcanic plateaus and denuded lava flows of the inhospitable 'Scablands' region, exposed by the Missoula floods at the end of the last ice age. It's not traditionally what you'd call scenic – although the gently rounded, wheat-covered hills of the Palouse region have masses of pastoral charm. Still, tourism wasn't really a thing here until a handful of pioneering winegrowers in and around Walla Walla began to recognize the area's potential, and before long the valley was producing wines that demanded to be taken seriously. Walla Walla wine tourism is now a major industry, and it's only a slight exaggeration to call the region a miniature, off-brand Napa.

Top attractions

These are our favorite local haunts, touristy spots, and hidden gems throughout Southeastern Washington.