Up in the far northwest of America, on the border with Canada, the State of Washington is a land of contrasts with mountains, deserts, steppe landscapes and active volcanoes. Its Pacific edge boasts a fantasy of fjords and glacial bays, with dense conifer forests including the Hoh Rainforest, a perfect setting for Stephanie Meyer's supernatural teen romance.
"No vampires beyond this point," declares a sign at the entrance to the small town of Forks, on the edge of the Olympic National Park, around 225 kilometres from Seattle. But despite the warning, the streets of this lovely town are lined with shops selling Twilight souvenirs - vampire fangs, t-shirts emblazoned with the faces of Bella and Edward, bags, mugs and, of course, both the DVDs of the movies and the original books.
Since the best-selling books that tell the story of the romance between a human and a vampire were set in this town, fans have come seeking the locations where the story unfolds. There's the school attended by the young lovers, the police station where Bella's father works, the hospital where Edward's father is a doctor, and the houses of both families.
Parked outside the Visitor Centre you'll even find a replica of the red Chevy truck that Bella drives. And inside they'll provide you with detailed information about tours for Twilight fans around the city and its surroundings. It's not just the settings from the books that are worth seeing: in this remote corner of America, the magnificent forests and rivers, the wild beaches and spectacular cliffs brim with legends kept alive by the real-life Quileute Indians, whose mythology claims they are descended from wolves.
La Push, home to the Quileute tribe, is located around 20 kilometres north of Forks. In the waters off its spectacular beaches, such as First Beach – where Jacob first tells Bella the truth about Edward – you can go whale watching, and it is a favourite with surfers and nature lovers. Inland lies the Olympic National Park and the Gothic ambience of the Hoh Rainforest, with enigmatic maples, firs and cedars, that provides a setting for the fictional lovers during their romantic trysts.
North of the Park and opposite the strait separating Washington from Canada is Port Angeles, one of the places frequented by the gang of teenage vampires and werewolves. You can cross to the Canadian city of Victoria by ferry in a little under an hour. Twilight tourists can continue their travels in Seattle, a modern city that witnessed a rebirth of rock music from the mid-Eighties onwards, and became the birthplace of Grunge. Here there's no need to be a vampire to enjoy the endless nightlife.
British Airways fly direct from London to Seattle with prices starting around ￡500. In Seattle you can rent a car for the 200 kilometre drive along Highway 110 – including a ferry trip – skirting the northern edge of the Olympic National Park to Forks.
Where to stay
The Miller Tree Inn, a beautiful house dating from the early twentieth century, corresponds closely to Meyer's description of Edward's family house in the books and has been nicknamed 'The Cullen House'. Another option is to stay at the Quileute Oceanside Resort on the reservation, where the ocean-view accommodation ranges from luxurious to rustic. In Seattle itself, the boutique Alexis Hotel offers luxury in the heart of downtown.
Where to eat
The Three Rivers Resort, on the road to La Push, serves up a Twilight-themed menu including the monster Werewolf Hamburger. In Forks, many of the restaurant menus have also adopted names associated with the series. In Seattle, the Canlis restaurant offers elegant fish and seafood cuisine.
The Twilight trail
The bus tours offered by the Twilight Tours in Forks company give fans a chance to discover the series locations and areas around Forks and La Push.
In Seattle, don't miss the evocative Pike Place Market and the historic Pioneer Square; get the best view in town from the observation deck of the Space Needle, take a boat ride on Puget Sound and enjoy the nightlife of Belltown on the waterfront and Capitol Hill.
Tourism in Forks