Nestled against the ocean in the Pacific north-west of the US, Washington is known as the ‘Evergreen State’. Whether you’re here on business or sightseeing, we have convenient pick-up locations dotted all over the State, in the heart of major cities and at airports.
Seattle is by far the biggest city in the state, and people flock here to see the Space Needle and Elliot Bay. But car hire in Washington will also make places like Olympia, Spokane, Tacoma and Bellevue easy for you to reach, and opens up the possibility of a great US road trip which you can start off in the east. Nature lovers, meanwhile, will appreciate Mount Rainier National Park’s unique scenery.
Whatever the reason for your visit, we aim to help you get out on the road as quickly and as smoothly as possible to make the most of your visit to this great state.
Driving around Washington state is a pleasurable experience, with many great places to visit and an extensive, well-maintained road network linking the major cities. It pays to make yourself aware of the rules of the road for the particular state you’re visiting and always maintain common driving courtesy.
Freeways in Washington generally have a speed limit of 70mph in rural areas and 60mph in urban areas, although a recent revision does allow limits of 75mph in some signed areas. Be aware of the signs in most areas, as some roads have variable speed limits (such as the I-90). Lower speed limits are common in residential areas, and drop to 20mph in school zones.
The main highway system in Washington is made up of seven roads, three of them primary. Interstate 90 (I-90) is the longest, linking Spokane and Seattle.
The I-5 leads all the way from the northern border with Canada down to the southern border with Oregon. But for scenery, the byways are the better bet.
The Cascade Loop Scenic Highway (so famous it has its own website) covers 400 miles through the mountains. Much of it is closed in the winter due to snow, but in Spring, Summer and Autumn it’s a delight, starting on Highway 20 and continuing on the I-5.
The Coulee Corridor incorporates five national parks and unique wildlife while its lakes offer boating and birding opportunities.
Whichever way you set off in your hire car in Washington State, there are fascinating drives that show off the state’s history and varied landscape, from grand dams to Native American reservations and rugged mountains.
With a wide range of travellers passing through our locations every day, we've got a wide range of vehicles on offer to suit your needs - from smart executive saloons to compact family hatchbacks. ***
***Specific cars may not be available when booking
The mountains and valleys of Washington State hide sophisticated cities such as Seattle, and quieter towns and villages that show a different side of America.
At 605ft tall, Seattle’s Space Needle might be dwarfed by other iconic buildings around the globe, but few of them have the cosmic charm of this gem. Designed for the World’s Fair, it opened in December 1961 and is built to withstand wind speeds of up to 200mph.
It’s well worth booking a ticket for the Observation Deck for an incredible view of the city from 520 feet up, or you can dine in the SkyCity Restaurant as it slowly revolves at 500 feet.
The state’s tallest building is also in Seattle, the Columbia Center on 5th Avenue. It has a Sky View Observatory on the 73rd floor, some 902 feet in the sky.
Back down on earth, try wandering around Pike Place Market. This Seattle institution at Elliot Bay, which opened in 1907, is home to a farmers' market, craft market, speciality food shops and restaurant, packed with fresh produce.
Whether you’re in the mood for seafood, street food or even Szechuan flatbreads, there’s a world of food on offer.
Two great national parks are a study in contrasts. Mount Rainier is an active volcano and the source of six rivers. Its lower slopes are dressed in atmospheric forests, while the unique ecosystem means that flora and fauna abound.
Check road conditions before you go, as weather can affect access. Weather – and luck – permitting, you’ll see deer, elk, black bears, Douglas squirrels and more. Rangers lead guided walks that take in some of the park’s 235,000 acres, and you can lodge in the park.
Olympic National Park is vast at almost a million acres and incorporates coastline, rainforest and snow-topped mountains. You can ramble from hillsides dotted with wildflowers to more rugged mountainous terrain.
Boating and tidepooling are popular here, while Marmots, whales and mountain goats can be spotted. Stargazers will love it here thanks to its clear skies and lack of light pollution.
The Puget Sound is both a body of water and an area that cuts through much of the most populous areas of Washington State. Communities have sprung up on either side of this inlet which sees ocean water reach 50 miles inland.
Whale watching trips are set out to see the local Orca colonies, while more than 170 islands, known as the San Juan Islands, dot the Sound.
The four largest – San Juan, Shaw, Lopez and Orcas - are served by ferries and are popular with locals. Park up on the mainland, catch a ferry out and enjoy these unspoiled islands by bicycle.
There’s much more to Washington State than this, including the compact capital Olympia, the modern museums of Tacoma and the scented ornamental gardens of Spokane. It’s a place that demands you get in your hire car and explore.
Please note that from 15 Nov to 15 Apr many cities are required by law to restrict the circulation to only vehicles equipped with snow chains or winter tyres. For a summary of the orders, please visit www.poliziadistato.it. To comply with the regulations, in specific locations subject to this requirement, vehicles are equipped with snow chains - the price is included in the rental charges through the cost of "Winterization Fee". At pick-up if you decide to bring your own snow chains or do not intend on driving on the roads subject to this requirement, you may decline the equipment by signing the appropriate release form. This change will be reflected in the rental charges. For more information on the fees, please click here. In all other regions, we recommend that you check before renting if your journey includes one of the roads subject to this requirement and therefore request the snow chains, if necessary.