Rick Steves on Why Northern Washington Is as Alluring as Europe

One of our favorite seasoned travelers, Rick Steves, can usually be found hopping between cafés in Paris or exploring the streets of Lisbon. Most recently, however, he visited somewhere a little closer to home: Whatcom County, the north westernmost region of Washington state and known for its rich natural beauty. In a video collaboration released last week with The Seattle Times, Steves gives viewers an inside look at how he likes to travel and shares that when he's not exploring Europe, he's enjoying the serenity the outdoors has to offer. 

“Whatcom County, just up the road from my hometown, is a wonderful example of how, so often, there are great treasures hiding in your own backyard,” Steves tells Traveler. For the television personality and author, Whatcom County is all about nature, beer, and smiles. “Sure, it ain’t Europe, but Europe ain’t Whatcom County, either.”

There's something special about a destination that feels remote but is also incredibly accessible, Steves argues as he takes viewers along the region's many hiking trails, introduces them to local tourist guides, and explores the county's main city of Bellingham—all of which is about a two and a half-hour drive from Seattle.