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10 Best Day Trips From Seattle

Whether you’re a Seattle, WA local, or just in town for the weekend, you may be looking for something to do to get out of the city. Fortunately, there are many day trips from Seattle ranging from half-day visits to full-day excursions that are worth the drive. To help you pick your next adventure, we compiled a list of the 10 best day trips you can check out in and around the Seattle area. From national parks to a bavarian-themed town, keep reading to see what day trips made the list.

1. Mount Rainier National Park

Approximate distance: 100 Miles
Estimated travel time: 2 hours

Located southeast of Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park is one of three national parks in Washington and is known as the most glaciated peak in the contiguous United States. With five different areas to explore – Paradise, Longmire, Ohanapecosh, Sunrise, and Carbon River & Mowich – there are many ways to spend the day at Mount Rainier, such as hiking Fremont Lookout, exploring the Grove of Patriarchs Trail, or having brunch at Paradise Inn. If you’re planning to go to Mount Rainier, head out as early as possible to beat the traffic heading into the park.

2. Olympic National Park

Olympic National Park

Approximate distance: 110 Miles
Estimated travel time: 3 hours

Olympic National Park is the ninth most visited National Park in the US and is located on the Olympic Peninsula of Washington, around 110 miles west of Seattle. There are several ways to arrive at Olympic National Park from Seattle, either by car or by ferry via Edmonds, WA, both of which take around 3 hours. This national park is known for its ecosystem diversity and picturesque scenery, making it a must-see when planning a day trip from Seattle. Some of the best things to do at the park include visiting one of the many beaches such as 1st Beach, 2nd Beach, Rialto Beach, or Shi Shi Beach, taking in the mountain views at Hurricane Ridge, or visiting the nearby Hoh Rainforest. 

3. North Cascades National Park

North Cascades National Park

Approximate distance: 105 miles
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours

Known for its pristine backcountry and rugged beauty, North Cascades National Park provides adventure seekers with plenty to do, such as driving along the scenic North Cascade Highway, hiking Cascade Pass and Maple Pass, or taking in the views at Diablo Lake Vista Point. It takes approximately 2 and half hours to get to North Cascades National Park and is around 105 miles from Seattle, so make sure to leave early if you plan on hitting the trails. With access to many outdoor attractions and an abundance of nature, it’s no wonder North Cascades National Park is considered one of the best day trips from Seattle.

4. San Juan Island, WA

An Orca in the Puget Sound

Approximate distance: 90 miles
Estimated travel time: 3 hours

If you want to step away from city life for the day, take a day trip to San Juan Island, WA. Located around 3 hours northwest of Seattle, San Juan Island is best known for its Orca whale watching, but there are many things you can do like paying a visit to Lime Kiln Lighthouse, biking, and taking a kayaking tour. San Juan Island is only accessible by ferry or plane, so locals recommend securing tickets ahead of time, especially during peak seasons like the summer as ferries can get booked quickly. After a day of exploring, you’ll surely want to come back to the island again.

5. Leavenworth, WA 

Leavenworth with mountains in the background

Approximate distance: 120 miles
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours

About 2 hours and 30 minutes, and roughly 120 miles northeast of Seattle, Leavenworth, WA, is a bavarian-style village in the Cascade range. While many people go to Leavenworth for the breweries, to hike the Enchantments, or to celebrate Oktoberfest, the town’s charm in itself is sure to make you want to visit and stay a while. During the holiday season, Leavenworth is decorated with lights and transforms into a winter wonderland filled with entertainment, caroling, and a large Christmas tree.

6. Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Approximate distance: 30 miles
Estimated travel time: 30 minutes

Snoqualmie Falls is a popular tourist destination seeing over 1 million visitors each year. It’s approximately 30 minutes and 30 miles east from the city, making this a quick day trip from Seattle for those who want to get a quick walk in, be by the water, or take in views of the falls. When visiting Snoqualmie Falls, make sure to picnic, hike, or have a meal at Salish Lodge & Spa. During busy days, parking can be a challenge so make sure to arrive early. 

7. Bellingham, WA

Boats docked in Bellingham

Approximate distance: 90 miles
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours

Located nearly 1 hour and 30 minutes from Seattle, the northern Washington city of Bellingham is known as the City of Subdued Excitement, so there’s certainly something to do around every corner. When in Bellingham, WA, make sure to pick up some fresh produce at the Bellingham Farmers Market, swim at Whatcom Falls State Park, or take a scenic drive along Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway. Bellingham also has a fantastic beer scene featuring many breweries like Aslan Brewing Company, Wander Brewing, and Boundary Bay Brewery. All in all, there are many different sites to see on this day trip from Seattle.

8. Boeing Factory Tour

A Boeing airplane

Approximate distance: 30 miles
Estimated travel time: 30 minutes

Around 30 minutes and 30 miles north of Seattle in Everett, WA, lies the Boeing Factory Tour. Hosted by Boeing, the world’s largest aerospace company, the Boeing Factory Tour gives participants a look into the company’s history and how airplanes are assembled. While you’re there you can check out the variety of planes manufactured by Boeing, the Destiny Module – the primary operating facility for US payloads, and you’ll even tour the world’s largest building by volume. If you have time, there are also many other sites you can visit in Everett, including Funko HQ, Jetty Island, or the Port of Everett Marina to make this an even longer day trip from Seattle. 

9. Bainbridge Island, WA

A ferry boat on the Puget Sound heading to Bainbridge Island

Approximate distance: 60 miles
Estimated travel time: 1 hour

If the idea of visiting Hall’s Hill Lookout, Fort Ward Park, or grabbing a pastry at Blackbird Bakery sounds appealing to you, then take a day trip to Bainbridge Island. Located about 1 hour and 60 miles west of Seattle, Bainbridge Island, WA, has a ton of natural beauty and quaint character that you’ll never get bored of exploring. An easy way to get to Bainbridge is by taking the Washington State Ferry across the Seattle waterfront.

10. Portland, Oregon

Downtown Portland

Approximate distance: 175 miles
Estimated travel time: 3 hours

Known as the City of Roses, Portland, OR is approximately 175 miles south of Seattle and is the second-largest Pacific Northwest city by population. While both cities are regarded as having similarities, there are many unique activities to do in Portland, making it one of the best day trips from Seattle. If you’re in town for the day, popular activities include going to Powell’s Books, dubbed the world’s largest independent bookstore, grabbing a bite to eat at one of the many food carts, or exploring Waterfall Alley at the Gorge. If you are planning to head to Portland, make sure to leave early to hit all the attractions, as it takes around 3 hours to get there.

Source
10 Best Day Trips From Seattle is written by Ryan Castillo for www.redfin.com

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