Seattle is a beautiful and captivating place! From the local neighborhoods to the mountains, there is so much beauty to spellbind you in the city. One good thing about visiting Seattle is that you can explore a lot without spending weeks because the city is not so big. The most interesting places in Seattle are just outside the city’s central region.
There are many different Seattle day trips to enjoy, so you can’t run out of options. If you’re the type that will go for an epic island visit, there are islands where you can enjoy ferry rides, but if you prefer the buzz, you could explore the Cascades.
As much as there are different trips to enjoy, you may need a guide to know where exactly to go. This is why we have compiled our ten best day trips from Seattle and vital information that will aid in planning for them. We are sure that you will have a blast on these trips.
Best Day Trips from Seattle
Mount Rainier National Park
This mountain boasts of being the de facto logo of Seattle. You would see it on almost every souvenir you get from Seattle, from license plates to other gifts. Standing at over 14,000 feet, Mount Rainier is the highest in the Pacific Northwest and Washington State.
You could explore the nearby national park and have fun skiing or hiking. If you enjoy rock climbing, there’s no better place to do it. Several points from the high mountain will surely give you amazing views of the area. Panorama Point is one of the most fantastic spots on the mountain.
You would have a beautiful view of other nearby mountains like Mount Adams and surrounding forests from this spot. The view from the mountain explains why hundreds of people visit the mountain every time.
Mount Rainier is only 86 miles from Seattle, so you would spend about 2 hours traveling.
Snoqualmie pass is another break from the buzzing city. It features physical activity and views of aesthetic beauty—what combination could be better? Most importantly, if you’re a foodie, there is amazing food at Snoqualmie, from waffles to incredible Oaxacan food.
When you take a trip to Snoqualmie pass, it’s not just about enjoying the great scenery. You would also have fun skiing. The Summit at Snoqualmie is a really nice spot for skiing. If you’re feeling energetic enough for not-so-easy hikes, you should explore Mailbox Peak or Mount Si. The 268 feet tall Snoqualmie Falls is a beauty you shouldn’t miss.
It would be best if you didn’t miss out on amazing views on the way there. Even if you weren’t paying attention, you can’t miss the beautiful waterfalls, forests, and over a hundred hiking trails. Some of these waterfalls are the best in Washington.
Snoqualmie pass is about 50 miles from Seattle. In an hour, you’d have gotten to Snoqualmie pass.
Vashon is between Tacoma, the Olympic Peninsula, and the Seattle area. If you’d prefer a trip you wouldn’t have to share with many others, Vashon Island is the place to be. It gives you a sort of private time while you have fun around.
For cider lovers, you could have fun tasting some cider at Dragon’s Head or Nashi Orchards. Dragon’s head has an outdoor space that serves as the cider garden. The space is both dog-friendly and kid-friendly. For more activity, you could walk to the Point Robinson Lighthouse. The lighthouse is at the south end of the island on Maury Island. Seals, bald eagles, and whales are also there for you to see.
When it comes down to the food, you’ll surely have a swell time, especially if you love Thai food- well, who doesn’t? Head downtown to May Kitchen to devour Thai food; you’ll be glad you did. You could grab your Thai food and have a picnic at the park on the North side.
From Seattle, Vashon is 50 miles. Although you’d have to access the island by ferry, you would be spending one and a half hours in total.
Bellingham is a city next to Bellingham Bay. The popular Mount Baker serves as its backdrop on the east. It is an active city with over 87,000 residents. The city offers outdoor activities and adventures in a sophisticated, laid-back way.
Our favorite adventure destinations in Bellingham are Whatcom Falls, Galbraith Mountain Bike Park, and Larrabee State Park. You shouldn’t miss Chuckanut Drive, the scenic coastal road that connects Edison and Bow to Bellingham. Whether driving to or from Seattle you will get a beautiful view of the coast through the woods. You could also get some local cheese at Sarmish Bay Cheese on your way.
There are also many places to enjoy food after a long trip. Entertainment is also another perk of visiting Bellingham. While you buy snacks from the local stores on the streets, you can enjoy a waterfront view. You could also treat yourself to great menus at the Fairhaven Historic District.
Bellingham is about 80 miles away from Seattle. It would take you lesser than 2 hours to get there.
Whidbey Island consists of many Washington towns and communities. However, these towns are not so easy to find. Members of the communities practically know one another on a first-name basis. Ironically, Whidbey Island is the largest in Washington and the fourth in the United States. The island remains an underexplored location.
If you’re traveling between late July and early August, you should visit the Lavender Wind Farm. The lavender is usually in full bloom, and the sight is nothing short of beautiful.
You shouldn’t miss the Deception Pass Bridge—connecting the mainland to Whidbey. Walking across the bridge exposes you to a view like no other; there are also sights on either side. While there are beaches like West Beach on the southern side, there are headlands on the northern side of the Deception Pass Bridge.
The wonderful waterfront town of Langley is filled with local shops and restaurants. You might also get to see whales in the strait where the town is perched on.
Whidbey Island is about 1 hour and 20 minutes away from Seattle.
Leavenworth is a town in the eastern area of the Cascades. The town is renowned for its Bavarian theme. This theme manifests in architecture.
The story of the establishment of Leavenworth proves that it is a successful-by-chance kind of town. The town’s founders didn’t think much about how it would turn out. Inspired by Solvang in California, they just decided to put in their money to create a mini Bavaria in the mountains.
You could float on the Icicle River or raft on the Wenatchee River. If you are doing either of these two activities, you might want to grab beverages and snacks along the way.
Although it is usually quite crowded, you would absolutely enjoy hiking up Colchuck Lake. We won’t call it an easy hike—we’re talking 2,300 ft. of elevation. But the turquoise lake at the top is more than a reward for the 8 miles of hiking. Alternatively, you could go for the Icicle Ridge—it’s not as stressful or crowded as Colchuck.
For lunch, you should go to Leavenworth Sausage Garten, located in the eastern part of the town. Many other restaurants offer German-style sauerkraut and sausages.
Leavenworth is about 135 miles from Seattle. It would take 2 hours of driving.
Bainbridge is located across Puget Sound from Downtown Seattle. Around the downtown area, there are tons of things to see and do. You should try taking a ferry ride from the terminal in downside Seattle for an amazing adventure. You would see Mount Rainier, the Olympic Mountains, and the Seattle skyline.
Wine tasting on Bainbridge is another experience you would enjoy. Bainbridge is part of Puget Sound, so although they majorly use grapes from Eastern Washington, they grow grapes there. You could taste wines at Eagle Harbor Wine or Eleven winery—both places are across the street from each other. There are other wineries you can explore if you’re driving.
You can take a walk around the 150-acre Bloedel garden. The garden features a Reflection Pool, landscaped gardens, a Japanese garden, and a Moss garden. The former estate home of the founders is also located in the garden.
Heyday Farm is a perfect location for food lovers. You can either buy food at the farm or go to the market to get fresh farm produce. Downtown, head to Mora, where you can get ice cream.
Bainbridge is 10 miles away from Seattle. Including the ferry ride, you’ll be there in 45 minutes. You don’t need to have a car for a trip to Bainbridge.
North Cascades National Park
The stretch of road from Highway 20 to Washington Pass is a scenic drive you wouldn’t forget in a long time. However, the road is majorly open only during the summer. The North Cascades offer rocky peaks and clear lakes. If these features sum up your ideal type of fun trip, then you’re in for a real treat.
The Maple-Heather Pass Loop is our recommended hike at the park. You would have to finish a large loop around an alpine lake as you climb to a high pass. From there, you would get awesome views of the Cascades from different points. The Blue Lake Trail gives you an easier hiking experience.
Ross Lake Resort, which extends to the Canadian border (you can only go that far if you’re spending more than a day on the trip), is a floating resort for you to get out on the water. It is important for you to pack your lunch along with you because there are no restaurants around The North Cascades.
Also, you should leave Seattle very early (between 5:00 am and 6:00 am) because you will spend about 3 hours on the road. The distance from Seattle to Washington Pass is 150 miles.
You would agree with us that the name of this location sounds relaxing. This 10-acre estate garden in Washington is the true definition of romantic allure. It features bright-colored flowers, ancient trees, and beautiful lawns. As you walk through the pathway, you will feel the calming effect wash over you.
You could simply have a picnic and enjoy the natural view around you. Especially if you’re going with a partner, a trip to Lakewold promises to be soothing and beautifully peaceful.
Can you only afford a few hours to go on a trip? Lakewold Gardens is your best bet. There are not many physical activities to do. All you have to do is bask in the euphoria.
Admission to the gardens is $10 per adult and free for kids under the age of five. Lakewold Gardens is just 45 miles from Seattle. The average travel time is just 45 minutes.
Located on the southern side, Tacoma is a coastal town with several attractions. It is the best location if you’re planning to go with the kids.
Of all these attractions, the Museum of Glass is renowned. If you’re an art lover, you should visit this museum. The works of Dale Chihuly, a famous glass artist, are exhibited at the Glass Museum.
You could visit the Wild Waves Theme and Water Park, the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, or the Point Defiance Park. While you may not find the animals at the zoo so exciting, your kids will surely thank you for the trip.
Tacoma is 40 miles from Seattle; it will take 40 minutes to get there.
Having learned about the best day trips from Seattle, all you have to do is make a choice, plan your trip, and pack your bags. However, it is worth noting that comfortable flats, sunglasses, and water bottles are necessary for any trip you decide to go on. Do have an amazing trip!