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Are you looking for the best road trips and day trips from downtown Seattle, Washington? This beautiful swath of the country is filled with outdoor activities and amazing shopping experiences. Try out one of these top five Seattle, Washington day trips to experience the Seattle area as it was meant to be. The list of awesome road trips from Seattle really is endless, but we will talk about just a few of them here!
Are you ready to hit the road and explore the beautiful Pacific Northwest?! I know I am! Check out this list of great road trips from Seattle and have the time of your life exploring this beautiful area.
Road Trips From Seattle
Check out this list of road trips from Seattle below and let us know if we have missed any great ones that should be added!
Mount Rainier Is One Of The Best Places For A Weekend Trip
In a car, drive south along I-5 and turn off at Exit 127. Travelers will have to drive east on State Route 512 and turn south on State Route 7. From that point, follow State Route 706 to the Nisqually entrance.
During the winter, Mount Rainier national park is the perfect spot to go sledding or practice cross-country sledding. The peak season for this area is from the middle of December through March. For a unique trip, take one of the 1.2-mile snowshoe trips offered by park rangers at Mount Rainier. The rangers will show you the natural beauty, the different wildlife in the area and teach about how the animals have managed to adapt to the high levels of snowfall. From this spot, tourists can also head over to the Crystal Mountain ski resort. During the summer months, try climbing some of the difficult glacier routes and enjoy the view from the top.
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park, located on the Olympic peninsula may be the very best of the national parks because of the tremendous variety it offers. In one fairly compressed area, visitors find such variety it might cause them some slight disorientation. From Hurricane Ridge you can look across Alpine meadows and stroll through old growth forest, then pause to gaze out to the Pacific Ocean.
Leave the mountain top and travel a short distance to sea level and the wild shores of the Pacific. Explore the beaches, climb on the giant logs, take some marvelous pictures, then head for the Hoh Rain Forest. Be prepared for an intensity of greenness you had never imagined possible. All this could be done in one very busy day, though that would be a real shame.
Start At The Top!
Hurricane Ridge is open – with restrictions – year round. Hiking trails vary from easy to extreme, covering a short loop or extending to remote valleys and lakes. The park operates 16 campgrounds with 910 sites. Some accommodate RVs and trailers. All are first-come, first-served. Facilities vary by campsite. Winter activities include snowshoeing, cross-country and downhill skiing. The park road opens Friday through Sunday, weather permitting.
Hit The Beach!
If you have never visited a Pacific Northwest Beach before, the warning signs may surprise you: beach logs kill! Take them seriously. The old timbers that pile up along the beach are thrown there by storms. Once you get an idea of their immense size, you can understand the danger.
Otherwise, the beaches are fine, with tide pools, soaring bald eagles and islands just offshore! The fog rolls in and out, teasing you with glimpses of sea stacks. Whether you stop at Mora Beach or Rialto Beach, the 73 miles of coastline will offer plenty of opportunities for exploring, picnicking and camping, and of course, photography.
If you are feeling like a little bit more of an adventure, the Oregon Coast is amazing as well!
Leavenworth Is The Perfect Place To Visit During Christmas
Visit Leavenworth during Christmas for a unique Seattle, Washington day trip. During the holiday season, Leavenworth is home to dogsledding, lighting ceremonies, and sleigh rides (see more about this here). This amazing area is a replica of a Bavarian village and offers a museum with over 5,000 nutcrackers. In warm weather, Leavenworth is the perfect spot for hikes or white water rafting trips. Leavenworth is also popular for its yearly Oktoberfest held each fall.
To get here, visitors can either take an Amtrak train or drive. By car, drive along State Highway 520 toward the mountains and turn off on I-405 North. Afterward, take exit 23 toward Wenatchee.
Bainbridge Island Is Great For A Long Weekend
Unlike Mount Rainier and Leavenworth, Bainbridge Island is a quick scenic drive. Take a ferry from Pier 52 along Seattle’s waterfront area. During the ferry ride, travelers can catch a glimpse of the phenomenal Seattle skyline and spend some time enjoying the Pacific ocean. Once tourists reach Bainbridge Island, they can stroll for hours around the numerous boutiques, galleries, and cafes in the area. Before leaving, make sure to stop in at historic Winslow. Winslow features quaint island shops and Pacific Northwest-themed gifts.
San Juan Islands Are A Popular Destination Any Time Of Year
No list of Seattle, Washington day trips is complete without the San Juan Islands. This area is a cultural nexus for the Pacific Northwest. From sustainable campgrounds to island-themed hotels, this area features naturalist-guided tours, whale watching, and sea kayaking.
For the best-of-day trips from Seattle, Washington, visit the San Juan Islands. After one trip here, we could not stop ourselves from booking a weeklong vacation the next month. This phenomenally beautiful area is the perfect spot for nature lovers and individuals seeking a romantic getaway.
To get here, go to the Washington State Ferry terminal in Anacortes. From that spot, you can choose to take a ferry to San Juan Island, Orcas Island, Shaw Island, or Lopez Island.
Boeing Everett Factory Is A Must For Road Trippers
The Boeing Everett Factory in the United States is only a short drive of 40-minute drive outside of Seattle in the small town of Everett Washington. The Boeing Plant is the largest building in the world since they need lots of rooms to make some of the biggest planes in the world. The tour lasts 90 minutes and there is no stopping and no restrooms. No personal photography is allowed but it would be hard to do since they also do not allow any personal belongings either.
Even cell phones are prohibited on the tour so make sure to leave everything in the car or bring change for lockers. The tour also involves lots of walking and children under 4 feet tall are not allowed it is also a bit pricey, unlike other free factory tours that give you stuff the Boeing tour cost about $30 and you don’t get anything.
Enchanted Forest Is One Of The Best Weekend Getaways
The Enchanted Forest is a small family-owned theme park a little over 3 hours from Seattle in Oregon that is definitely worth visiting. The park is a mix between a simple fairy tale town and a small family theme park. The destination is seasonal and not open in the winter and while it might be a small park that mostly is for kids they do have some good rides. The best rides are the Haunted House and the Adventures of Mordor which is a state-of-the-art dark ride where you shoot dragons for points. The other must-see is the water show that is inside a cave and shows every half hour. Even if you have no kids but are a kid at heart you will enjoy the Enchanted Forest.
Washington State Capital
The Washington State Capital is located a little over an hour away from Seattle in Olympia. It is open Monday through Friday, any day that is not a state holiday. There are tours and you may be able to see what is going on depending on when you go. It is a good place to bring lunch and have a picnic in front of the capital and is a great place to take kids to learn about government.
Riverfront Park For The Best Time
Riverfront Park is about 4 hours away in the quaint town of Spokane. The park is like an old theme park that every city used to have but it is much newer. Riverfront Park features an ice skating rink in the winter, a carousel, Imax, and kids’ rides. Riverfront Park is also just a good place to go for a picnic along the river. I prefer the Enchanted Forest to Riverfront Park.
Wild Waves Theme Park If You Want To Have A Great Time
Wild Waves Theme Park is located in Federal Way which is about 40 minutes away from Seattle. While it may be on the small side compared to other large theme parks it is at least in the same league and it is so much fun! Wild Waves used to have the charm of the small park with rides of a big park but it has lost much but not all of that old small park charm.
Victoria, B.C. For A Couple Of Days Of Fun
The last stop on our list of day trips from Seattle is Victoria, B.C. Before heading out, grab your passport and prepare for a border crossing. Visitors just have to head north on I-5 to Anacortes and take a ferry to Victoria, B.C.
Once you arrive in Victoria, B.C., spend some time unwinding in the waterfront area and the spectacular views. Located next to the world-famed Empress Hotel, the waterfront is home to many artists and musicians plying their trade. After a few minutes at the waterfront, walk across the street to the ivy-covered Empress Hotel for high tea. Visitors can also check out the designer clothes stores along Trounce Alley or visit the 55-acre Butchart Gardens.
There is a ton of stuff to do and see in Seattle. However, if you are feeling a little bit adventurous or if you have already seen and done everything you can always enjoy a day trip outside of Seattle. As you can see there are many great day trip options from Seattle. These are just some travel tips and the best things you can do on your road trips from Seattle.