Washington, known for its iconic landmarks, diverse landscapes, and vibrant cities, offers a wealth of opportunities for exploration. Renting a car in Washington allows you to discover the state’s stunning national parks, drive along picturesque coastlines, and immerse yourself in the cultural offerings of cities like Seattle and Spokane. In this article, we will guide you through the process of renting a car in Washington, provide insights into popular car rental companies, discuss the types of rental cars available, outline the rental requirements, highlight must-visit destinations, suggest scenic drives, and offer useful tips for a seamless rental experience. Get ready to hit the road and discover the wonders of Washington!

  1. Car Rental in Washington

1.1. Overview

Washington offers a convenient and efficient car rental experience, with numerous rental agencies operating throughout the state. Whether you arrive at one of the major airports or plan to rent from a city location, you’ll find a variety of options to suit your needs. Renting a car provides the flexibility to explore Washington’s diverse regions, from the Pacific coastline to the rugged mountain ranges.

1.2. Major Airports

Major airports in Washington, such as Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), Spokane International Airport (GEG), and Portland International Airport (PDX) in neighboring Oregon, have well-established car rental facilities. These airports serve as convenient starting points for your Washington adventure, allowing you to easily access popular destinations and embark on scenic drives.

  1. Popular Car Rental Companies

Several reputable car rental companies operate in Washington, ensuring a wide selection of vehicles and quality service. National Car Rental, Enterprise, Hertz, Avis, and Budget are among the popular choices, offering a range of rental options to meet various preferences and budgets. These companies provide reliable vehicles, convenient pick-up and drop-off locations, and competitive pricing.

  1. Types of Rental Cars

3.1. Economy Cars and Sedans

Economy cars and sedans are popular choices for individuals or couples seeking fuel efficiency and affordability. These vehicles are ideal for city exploration, offering ease of parking and good mileage. They provide comfortable seating and sufficient storage space for your belongings.

3.2. SUVs and Crossovers

For those planning outdoor adventures or traveling with a larger group, SUVs and crossovers are excellent options. These vehicles offer ample space for both passengers and luggage, along with enhanced versatility and capability. Whether you’re exploring the Olympic National Park or venturing into the Cascade Mountains, an SUV or crossover provides comfort and reliability.

3.3. Luxury and Specialty Vehicles

If you desire a touch of luxury or want to make a statement during your Washington journey, consider renting a luxury or specialty vehicle. Washington’s scenic roads, such as the North Cascades Highway, are perfect for enjoying the finer things in life. Luxury cars and specialty vehicles provide style, performance, and an unforgettable driving experience.

  1. Rental Requirements

4.1. Age Restrictions

The minimum age to rent a car in Washington is typically 21 years old. However, some rental companies may have additional fees or restrictions for drivers under 25. It’s important to check the specific policies of the rental company you choose.

4.2. Driver’s License and Insurance

To rent a car in Washington, you’ll need a valid driver’s license. If you’re an international visitor, it’s recommended to carry an International Driving Permit (IDP) along with your home country license. Additionally, ensure that you have appropriate car insurance coverage, either through your personal policy or by purchasing insurance offered by the rental company.

  1. Must-Visit Destinations

Washington is filled with captivating destinations. Seattle, known for its vibrant music scene, iconic Space Needle, and Pike Place Market, is a must-visit city. Explore the stunning Olympic National Park, experience the charm of Leavenworth’s Bavarian-inspired village, or visit Mount Rainier National Park for breathtaking mountain views. Other notable destinations include Spokane, Tacoma, and the San Juan Islands.

  1. Scenic Drives

Washington boasts scenic drives that showcase its natural beauty. Drive along the Pacific Coast Highway and enjoy breathtaking ocean views. Take the Cascade Loop, which encompasses the North Cascades Highway, for stunning mountain vistas. The Columbia River Gorge offers a scenic drive with numerous waterfalls and hiking opportunities. Each drive presents unique landscapes and photo-worthy moments.

  1. Tips for Renting a Car

Before renting a car in Washington, keep the following tips in mind:

  • Make a reservation in advance, especially during peak travel seasons, to secure the vehicle you prefer.
  • Familiarize yourself with the rental company’s policies, including fuel options, mileage restrictions, and additional fees.
  • Inspect the car for any existing damages before driving off and report them to the rental company to avoid any disputes later.
  • Plan your itinerary and account for travel times between destinations and potential traffic.
  • Observe Washington’s traffic laws and speed limits for a safe and enjoyable journey.


Renting a car in Washington unlocks a world of exploration, allowing you to experience the state’s diverse landscapes, vibrant cities, and cultural offerings at your own pace. By understanding the rental process, choosing the right vehicle, and fulfilling the necessary requirements, you can embark on an unforgettable adventure through Washington’s captivating destinations and scenic drives. So get ready to hit the road, create lifelong memories, and discover the wonders of the Evergreen State!