Seattle is an amazing city that can keep both locals and tourists entertained for months, but it’s also ideally situated for a number of incredible day trips.
Seattle is surrounded by areas of outstanding natural beauty that include mountains and the sea. It also has several state and national parks within easy reach.
Seattle is also only a day trip away from a variety of interesting and thriving cities and towns. Whether you’re looking for art museums and international culture, or local flair and a slower pace, you can find them within only a couple of hours from Seattle.
If you’re looking for something to do during your stay in Seattle, then a day trip might be what you need. In this article, we will list nine amazing day trips from Seattle to enjoy with your loved ones.
Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is more than 14,000 feet tall and is the tallest mountain in the Pacific Northwest. It’s the unofficial logo of Seattle and only a few minutes in any of the many tourist gift shops in Seattle will show you hundreds of items featuring its iconic outline.
This alone makes Mount Rainier National Park worth a day trip from Seattle, but the park is so much more than just one mountain. We recommend visiting Panorama Point as it will give you stunning views of the various mountains, as well as the forests and meadows of the park.
For the adventurous, you can go skiing and rock climbing, or you can simply hike around the park and enjoy the beautiful views.
There are several hiking trails around the park, including the 93-mile Wonderland Trail which will take you around the base of Mount Rainier.
Distance from Seattle: 86 miles
Time to travel: Two hours
Just a short drive and ferry ride away from Seattle is Whidbey Island. If you’re after a quieter day trip that also has plenty of uniqueness, then this might be the one for you.
As it’s an island, it has plenty of beaches for you to walk around and the island is always blessed with hills, cliffs, and farmlands. The island has several wineries that you can visit throughout the year and it’s also a great place to go shopping.
Whidbey Island has many unique boutiques for you to browse through but if you want something a little more cultural, you can opt instead to browse through one of the island’s many galleries.
To get the most out of your day trip to Whidbey Island you can join a guided tour but it’s also fun to explore on your own.
Distance from Seattle: 35 miles
Time to travel: One hour and 10 minutes
If you don’t want to dedicate too much of your day to traveling and would instead prefer to spend those hours at your destination, then Bainbridge Island is a great choice for you. Physically, it’s very close to Seattle but will require a ferry ride to access.
Many people like visiting Bainbridge Island just for the ferry as, if you’re lucky, you might get a glimpse of some seals or whales in the water.
If you want to explore the island properly you can take your car onto the ferry but you can also walk on and off if you prefer.
When you’re on the island, there is plenty to see and do. There are several beautiful hiking routes and the island has a museum that showcases artworks from local artists. There is also a small town where you can eat before returning to the mainland.
Distance from Seattle: 11 miles
Time to travel: One hour
Olympic National Park
This is our second national park on the list. It takes a little longer to get to than Mount Rainier National Park does, but is still worth the trip.
The national park supports a very diverse ecosystem and is home to forests, mountains, and lakes. We recommend heading for Lake Crescent, which is a mountain lake that is an ideal place for hiking trails and camping.
In fact, we would recommend Olympic National Park to anyone that is looking for a hike. It has a large number of trails to choose from and they range from easy hikes to long and difficult ones that will take days to complete.
There are many guided tours that will take you around Olympic National Park but it’s also pretty easy to navigate as long as you research where you want to go first.
Distance from Seattle: 83 miles
Time to travel: Two hours and 25 minutes
This is another of the shorter day trips from Seattle. It may not be the closest, but it has the shortest travel time and is definitely worth the trip if you have a spare day or even just a few hours.
Snoqualmie Falls is a 268-foot tall waterfall on the Snoqualmie River. There is an observation deck so you can see the falls in all of their glory and of course, there is also a gift shop waiting to take your money.
There are some organized tours planned around the waterfall and some of these also add in a wine tasting tour.
Distance from Seattle: 30 miles
Time to travel: 35 minutes
Leavenworth is one of the most popular day trips from Seattle and only a few minutes in this lovely town will explain why. The town center is modeled after a Bavarian village so expect to see many beautiful wooden homes full of German charm.
Although Leavenworth is worth a visit throughout the year, it is especially popular during winter. The town goes all out for Christmas and is one of the most visited towns in the US during the winter months for this reason.
If you do plan to visit around Christmas and want to do a guided tour, you will need to book this far in advance.
While in Leavenworth, you can enjoy the sights and shops. There’s plenty of authentic German food and beer on offer and Leavenworth makes for a very unique experience.
Distance from Seattle: 125 miles
Time to travel: Two hours and 20 minutes
Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
It won’t take long to travel to this museum from Seattle. This is a living museum, which means that instead of looking at displays behind glass and ropes, it is instead much more hands-on and interactive.
There are plenty of authentic 19th-century homes and buildings to walk around so you can get a clear picture of life during that time.
The staff members and volunteers all wear period clothing and are very informative about the era. Many will even demonstrate period-appropriate crafts.
At this museum, the entire family can both learn and have a fun day trip.
Distance from Seattle: 41 miles
Time to travel: 55 minutes
This is a small town that is full of picturesque sights and romance. As the name suggests, it’s built around a harbor so you will have the opportunity to see boats of all shapes and sizes both in the harbor itself and on the water.
You can take an organized boat tour of the harbor or even rent a kayak for a few hours and get out onto the water yourself. As well as all of the boats, there are many boutique shops, coffee shops, and restaurants to spend time and money in as well.
Distance from Seattle: 38 miles
Time to travel: 45 minutes
Lakewold Gardens is a beautiful non-profit estate garden that stretches over ten acres. Those acres are used wisely and the gardens are full of expertly tendered lawns, vividly colored flowers, and tall trees.
If you’re looking for a relaxing day trip that is quiet, peaceful and doesn’t require a lot of hiking, then Lakewold Gardens is a great choice.
The gardens are open all year round and make for a very romantic day trip. We recommend fall as the best time of year to visit as the autumnal colors of the trees are spectacular but the gardens are worth a visit at any time of the year.
Lakewold Gardens is only a short drive away from Seattle as well, so you can easily visit in a day or even combine the trip with something else.
Distance from Seattle: 45 miles
Time to travel: 45 minutes
In this article, we listed nine amazing day trips from Seattle to enjoy with your loved ones. We included a variety of different trips such as national parks, waterfalls, small towns, and harbors.
Some of the trips are less than an hour away from Seattle whereas others will take a little longer to travel, but all of the trips are doable within a day.
We hope that whatever type of day trip you’re looking for, you find it in this article.
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