best day trips from Seattle
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34 Best Day Trips From Seattle (From a Local!)

Last Updated on January 16, 2024 by Kelly

One of the best parts about living in Seattle is the fact that there are so many beautiful day trips that are easily within reach! With just one free day in Seattle, you can head up to the mountains, drive to the beach, explore the islands, or even travel out of the country!

I’ve lived in Seattle most of my life, and I’m still exploring the many hikes and small towns. In this post, I’m sharing my list for the 34 best day trips from Seattle. I’ve completed each of these day trips myself, so I know it’s feasible to do so. Read on to see some of my favorite destinations near Seattle!

Map of Seattle Day Trip Destinations

We created this helpful map showing all the locations we mention in this post so that you can conveniently plan your trip.

This map was created with Wanderlog, an itinerary planner
 

34 Best Day Trips from Seattle

Now let’s get to it! Here’s my list for the best day trips from Seattle.

1. Mount Rainier National Park

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 107 miles

Mount Rainier National Park

If you’re traveling to Seattle for the first time, I highly recommend that you build time into your itinerary to visit Mount Rainier National Park. It’s where Walt Disney spent his honeymoon, so you know it must be a pretty spectacular place!

Mount Rainier National Park is extremely large, so it’s impossible to see the park fully in a day. (Or a week for that matter!) But you can easily some of the park’s highlights during a day trip.

We recommend that you visit the Paradise portion of the park for a day trip. On a clear day, you’ll have an upfront and dramatic view of Mount Rainier. You can also visit the historic Paradise Inn, see Reflection Lakes, and Inspiration Point. Our favorite viewing area is the path to Myrtle Falls – be sure not to miss it!

During our last day trip to Mount Rainier National Park, in addition to seeing Paradise, we also added on the Grove of the Patriarch’s trail. The trail is a short 1.5 mile loop that includes a suspension bridge and a boardwalk around some of the oldest trees in the park. (Some are over one thousand years old!) The trail is temporarily closed due to winter storm damage, but it looks like it will likely re-open prior to the summer season in 2024. (Don’t forget to bring the 10 Essentials anytime you go hiking.)

 

See our post on 104 Things to Do in Seattle for a complete sightseeing guide for the city!

2. Leavenworth

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 117 miles

Leavenworth Washington

We’ve written extensively about Leavenworth because it’s one of our favorite places to visit! We typically visit this charming village in the mountains at least several times per year. We also like this destination because it’s just as fun to visit in the winter as in the summer! It’s also home to one of our favorite hotels of all time. 

Leavenworth is an alpine town located in the Cascade mountains. The village has a Bavarian theme, so you will feel like you are strolling through a small mountain town in Germany. With tons of restaurants, shops, wine tasting rooms, and outdoor activities, you’ll be sure to have a fun-filled day trip.

The drive to Leavenworth is incredibly scenic. I always look forward to traveling to Leavenworth because I love the portion of Highway 2 that follows the river.

3. Bainbridge Island

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 10 miles

things to do on Bainbridge Island

One of the easiest day trips from Seattle is hopping across the water to visit the adjacent Bainbridge Island. The ferry terminal is conveniently located downtown, and you can either take your car on the ferry or you can walk across. If you choose to walk across, you can easily walk to the downtown district, go shopping, and have lunch.

With a car, you’ll also be able to visit the stunning Bloedel Reserve. The Bloedel Reserve is one of our favorite places to take our out-of-town family when they come to visit. There reserve has plenty of easy trails, views of the Puget Sound, quiet ponds, and manicured gardens.

4. Port Townsend

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 56 miles

Port Townsend

Port Townsend is located west of Seattle on the Quimper Peninsula. It’s known for its historic feel due to its many Victorian buildings. Located right on the water, it’s the perfect escape to relax and unwind. You can travel to Port Townsend either by ferry or by driving south and looping around the Puget Sound. During our last trip to Port Townsend, we especially enjoyed going for beach walks, eating at cafes, and soaking in a beautiful hot tub at Soak on the Sound.

Our favorite thing to do while in Port Townsend is to visit the adjacent Fort Worden State Park. The park has miles of trails, pristine shoreline for beach walks, and an old military fort to explore.

5. Hurricane Ridge

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 101 miles

Hurricane Ridge

The drive to Hurricane Ridge in Olympic National Park is about 3 hours from Seattle. When my “sister” visited us from Spain, we took her to Hurricane Ridge for a day trip to see the mountains. We recommend visiting on a clear day, because the views from the top of the ridge are truly impressive. You’ll be able to see the Olympic Mountains as well as Canada! Every time I’ve been to Hurricane Ridge in the summer, I’ve also seen wild deer. The Visitor Center at Hurricane Ridge is also a great place to stop by and see dioramas of the mountains, grab a snack, and buy gifts. 

6. Diablo Lake

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 124 miles

Diablo Lake day trip from Seattle
View of Diablo Lake from the Thunder Knob Trail

 

This pristine turquoise lake is one of the most beautiful lakes in Washington State. What I love about Diablo Lake is that it is easily accessible by everyone. You can park your car at the Diablo Lake Overlook and easily admire it from the road. (Location: State Route 20, Mile 131.7.) Or, you can take a hike and admire its beauty from the Thunder Knob Creek trail. Or, you can head to the Colonial Creek Campground and walk along the lake’s shores. However you choose to see this lake, you are sure to be impressed. If you have a bit of time, we recommend the Diablo Lake Trail. 

7. Vashon Island

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 17.8 miles

beach walk on Vashon Island
A nice beach walk on our last visit to Vashon Island. Enjoying the low tide!

Another easy day trip from Seattle that will seem like a world away is Vashon Island. Because you have to take the ferry to reach this island, there are less crowds and it’s a lot more quiet. We recommend heading to Jensen Point for a beach walk, Nashi Orchards to taste some hard cider, and seeing the lighthouse at Point Robinson.

8. Suncadia Resort

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 84 miles

things to do in suncadia resort

A popular day trip from Seattle is a visit to Suncadia Resort. Suncadia Resort is nestled in the mountains near the small town of Roslyn, which historically was a mining town. We recommend wine tasting at Swiftwater Cellars, a trip to the spa at Glade Spring Spa, and a fancy dinner at Portals Restaurant. You can also take the steps down to the river, or take a walk along one of the many wooded trails around the resort. However you choose to spend your day, you are sure to feel relaxed after spending time in the fresh mountain air.

9. Ocean Shores

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 132 miles

Seattle is located along the Puget Sound, but if you’re looking to see the Pacific Ocean, head west to Ocean Shores. You’ll find expansive sandy beaches and gorgeous sunsets. Check the weather in advance of your visit, because even a warm day in Seattle might see a cold day along the coast. My husband would probably also like me to warn you that the water will be very cold, even during the summer. My favorite thing to do while at Ocean Shores is go for a nice long beach walk. 

The town of Ocean Shores itself also has a lot to do. There’s a family fun center, a coastal interpretive center, and a state park. For these reasons, it makes it a very family-friendly destination.

Disclosure: This post may contain affiliate links. As an Amazon Associate, I may earn commissions from qualifying purchases.

Travel Tip: If you’re planning a trip to Seattle, consider buying a Seattle CityPASS. You’ll be able to save money if you plan on visiting multiple attractions. 

 

10. Crystal Mountain

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 83 miles

Crystal Mountain is the largest ski resort in Washington State. If you’re visiting during the winter, you can head to Crystal Mountain to play in the snow. You can ski, snowboard, or snow shoe. We also recommend that you ride the scenic Mount Rainier Gondola. While at the top of the mountain, have a meal at the Summit House Restaurant. Riding the gondola is just as scenic during the summer months too!

11. Whidbey Island

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 35 miles

Whidbey Island Ebey's Landing

Whidbey Island is another island in the Puget Sound that is close to Seattle. This island is best accessed by ferry at the Mukilteo terminal, although you can drive around to the north side of the island and cross the bridge. Ferry lines on summer weekends can sometimes be hours long, so make sure that you check the wait times to Clinton, Whidbey Island, in advance of your trip. (It’s best to head over on a week day if possible!) 

We recommend that you visit Langley to check out the Whidbey Island Distillery. One of our favorite hikes on the island is Ebey’s Landing. The last time we completed that hike, we saw orca whales off the shore! It was one of my most magical hiking experiences. We also recommend that you head to Coupeville to see Fort Casey State Park.  While you’re in Coupeville, be sure to stop by Kapaws Iskreme. They are open seasonally, and they have some of the best ice cream we have ever tasted!

12. Yakima Valley

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 177 miles

Washington’s Yakima Valley is known for its vineyards and orchards. Most Seattleites visit the Yakima Valley to go wine tasting at its numerous wineries. We recommend that you visit Treveri Cellars for sparkling wine, Gilbert Cellars at the Hackett Ranch, and Naches Heights Vineyard. Always drink responsibly and never drink and drive. If you don’t want to worry about driving, there are multiple tour companies in the area.

13. Snoqualmie Falls

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 29 miles

view from the upper observation deck at Snoqualmie Falls
View from the upper observation deck at Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls is only about a 30 minute drive from Seattle, so it makes for a very easy day trip. Snoqualmie Falls is 268 feet tall. It’s one of the tallest waterfalls in Washington State!

The most popular place to view the falls is from the upper observation deck, which is just a quick walk from Salish Lodge. It’s definitely possible to view the falls without hiking at all. If you prefer to hike though, you can take a trail down to the lower falls viewing area. (Or you can park down there too.) Once you’re at the bottom, there’s a short boardwalk along the river that will take you to the falls.

In addition to the magnificent view, it’s also a treat to visit Salish Lodge, which overlooks the falls. They have a full spa as well as a really nice restaurant.

14. Anacortes

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 81 miles

Anacortes Washington Park

Anacortes is located on Fidalgo Island, which is a drive-on island located north of Seattle. The coastal town has sweeping views of the Puget Sound and is the gateway to several of the San Juan Islands, including Lopez Island, Orcas Island, and San Juan Island.

My favorite thing to do while visiting Anacortes is to spend the day at Washington Park. There’s a gorgeous loop trail that will take you along the shore as well as up along the bluffs. The views from Washington Park are some of my favorite in the whole Pacific Northwest. It’s one of my favorite day trip activities from Seattle.

You can also drive up to Mt. Erie for beautiful views of the surrounding area. As you’re wrapping up your day, you can eat in one of the many good restaurants in quaint downtown Anacortes.

15. Skagit Valley

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 72 miles 

bright pink tulips at the Skagit Valley Tulip Fesitval
This photo was taken by me on RoozenGaarde property and is courtesy of RoozenGaarde (Tulips.com)

If you’re in the Seattle area during the month of April, I highly recommend that you take a day trip up north to visit the Skagit Valley. The area is famous for its Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Washington State has the most tulip fields in all of North America, and the festival is a month-long celebration that occurs every April. I’ve visited during the spring several times, and I’m in awe every time I walk through the fields. 

16. Port Angeles

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 83 miles 

Port Angeles is a coastal town located on the peninsula. See the Olympic Coast Discovery Center and explore the downtown area. While visiting Port Angeles, also be sure to visit the nearby Marymere Falls. It’s an easy hike that will take you to a beautiful waterfall. Or, you can travel a bit further to see the spectacular Crescent Lake. 

17. Woodinville

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 20 miles 

best wineries in Woodinville Novelty Hill Januik

Washington State is the second largest wine producer in the country, and the city of Woodinville has over 130 wineries and tasting rooms! Woodinville is an easy day trip from Seattle. We wrote all about our favorite wineries in Woodinville, so be sure to check out that post! We recommend that you visit the sprawling Chateau St. Michelle winery to explore the grounds and try a tasting. Then head across the street and visit Columbia Winery, DeLille Cellars, and Sparkman Cellars. You can also visit one of our personal favorite wineries: JM Cellars. Please remember to drink responsibly. There are numerous tasting tours available if you do not want to drive.

18. Gig Harbor

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 44 miles 

Gig Harbor is located on the Kitsap Peninsula and is a beautiful town to visit along the waters of the Puget Sound. The downtown area is charming and filled with lots of cute shops and restaurants. You can also visit the Harbor History Museum and Kopachuck State Park.

19. Long Beach

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 171 miles 

Long Beach WA

Similar to Ocean Shores, Long Beach is located on Washington’s western coast. If you want to see the Pacific Ocean, it’s another great choice for a day trip. Long Beach is known for being the longest continuous sand beach in the United States at 28 miles. (If you’re surprised to find the longest beach in the country in Washington State, you’re not alone!) Many visitors love to access the beach by car and drive their vehicles on the sand. (Be sure to read up on best practices for beach driving in advance! I see people get stuck in the sand all the time.) The town is also known fo the World Kite Museum and the Washington State International Kite Festival. I particularly like walking along the boardwalk, which winds through the dunes with beautiful views of the Pacific Ocean.

20. Vancouver BC

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 143 miles 

weekend in vancouver two day itinerary

Wondering if you can travel to Vancouver BC, Canada, as a day trip from Seattle? You absolutely can! Just get an early start in the morning and be prepared with all documentation required to enter Canada. We recently wrote a post about the best way to travel from Seattle to Vancouver, so be sure to check it out so you are well-prepared for your travels.

Once you’ve made it to Vancouver BC, there’s so many things to do. We like to visit Granville Island Public Market, Stanley Park, and the Vancouver Aquarium. We also love to eat our way around the city, so be sure to see our guide on where to eat in Vancouver BC.

21. Camano Island

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 68 miles 

One of the best things about Camano Island is that you can drive to it. Although I love the experience of taking the ferry, sometimes the long ferry lines can make it difficult to travel to the island on a whim. With Camano, however, you can easily drive there. My favorite thing to do on Camano Island is visit Camano Island State Park. The park has 6,700 feet of shoreline, as well as a campground and trails.

22. Deception Pass

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 83 miles 

Kelly from Our Adventure Journal at Deception Pass in Washington State

Deception Pass is the strait that separates Whidbey Island from Fidalgo Island. Deception Pass State Park is one of our favorite parks in the state. In fact, it’s the most popular park in the state! The park is huge, with over 77,000 feet of saltwater shoreline. There’s numerous trails that will take you to epic vistas of the Puget Sound. 

We recommend that you walk across the historic Deception Pass Bridge (more great views), and then drive to Rosario Head for one of our favorite hikes. The views from Rosario are simply spectacular. Taking a day trip to Deception Pass is one of my favorite things to do in the summer.

23. La Conner

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 67 miles 

The town of La Conner is located along the Salish Sea. It’s consistently rated as one of Seattle’s best weekend getaways. If you’re able to visit during the month of March, you will see the daffodil fields in full bloom. The perfect time to visit is during the Daffodil Festival. 

24. Kayak Point

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 47 miles 

Kayak Point is located along the shores of Port Susan. Kayak Point State Park has over 3,300 feet of shoreline, as well as a fishing pier. We like to drive there for the day and have a picnic and enjoy the beach during the summer.

25. Poulsbo

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 22 miles 

Take the ferry to Bainbridge Island and then drive up north to visit the town of Poulsbo for a unique day trip from Seattle. While Leavenworth is known as being a Bavarian town, Poulsbo is known as “Little Norway.” The Smithsonian Magazine even ranked it as one of 10 American towns that feel like Europe. You’ll find lots of pubs downtown, as well as Scandinavian architecture. Be sure to visit during Viking Fest in May!

26. Downtown Snohomish

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 29 miles 

The historic downtown Snohomish has been considered as one of the top 25 main streets in America. There are plenty of antique shops, restaurants, and pubs. While you’re there, be sure to head to Snohomish Pie Company for a slice of heaven. You can also go for a walk at Lord Hill Regional Park, or visit one of the many pumpkin farms in the fall. 

27. Tulalip

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 29 miles

The Tulalip Resort Casino is one of the most popular casinos in Washington State. In addition to gaming, the casino also has a hotel, restaurants, and often hosts live events. It’s a great place to go for a date night! Right next to the casino is the Seattle Premium Outlets. If you like to shop, you’ll find dozens of outlet stores that have competitive prices.

28.  Birch Bay

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 109 miles 

Located near the Canadian border, Birch Bay is a fun coastal city that makes for a great family-friendly day trip. We recommend you visit Birch Bay State Park. Stay for a dreamy sunset over the bay. During the summer, we recommend visiting the Birch Bay Waterslides.

29. Colchuck Lake

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 129 miles 

Colchuck Lake

One of Washington’s most famous hikes is the hike to Colchuck Lake! This rigorous hike will take you to an emerald alpine lake. The trail is part of the Enchantments, which is a permitted trail in which you need to enter a lottery. Colchuck Lake, however, can be completed as a day trip without a need for an overnight permit.

The parking lot fills up pretty early in the morning on popular weekend days, so if you’re traveling from Seattle, you’ll want to wake up very early to complete this hike as a day trip. (Of course, you can always stay the night in Leavenworth the night before so you don’t have to wake up quite as early. There’s even a shuttle to the trailhead on select days so you don’t have to worry about a full parking lot!) If you have a chance to complete this hike, do yourself a favor and make sure you go. It’s famous for a reason!

30. Olympia

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 61 miles 

A lot of visitors mistakenly think the capital of Washington State is Seattle, but it’s actually Olympia. It’s not known as being a big travel destination in Washington, but it is pretty cool to check out the Washington State Capitol Building at least once. The dome of the capitol building is visible across the city, and is apparently the tallest masonry dome in North America! While visiting the capitol building, also walk over to see the Tivoli Fountain.

If you can visit while the Farmers Market is running, it’s one of the best in the state. You can also go for a walk on the paved trail around Capitol Lake. Finally, head to the boardwalk at Percival Landing.

31. Portland

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 174 miles 

Voodoo Doughnuts

Admittedly, traveling to Portland, Oregon, from Seattle makes for a better weekend trip than a day trip, but it can be done! (We’ve done it a couple of times for events down in Portland.) There’s so much to do in Portland, you won’t have trouble coming up with an itinerary for a day trip. We particularly like visiting Portland for the food scene.

Donuts are extremely popular in Portland, and we recommend visiting Voodoo Doughnuts and Blue Star Donuts. If you time your visit the Saturday market, that’s also a great spot to check out. While you’re in Portland, we also recommend visiting Powell’s Books (a super large book store), 

32. Franklin Falls

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 51 miles 

Franklin falls froze in the winter

Franklin Falls is another one of our favorite hikes. What we love about this hike is that it is just as spectacular in the winter as it is in the summer. If you time your visit right, you can see these falls frozen over during the winter. (Be sure to pack a pair of microspikes if you plan on hiking on icy or snowy trails!) During the summer, it’s a short and rewarding hike. During the winter, you’ll need to use an alternative route to reach the falls. It’s totally worth it, though, because hiking through the snow to see Franklin Falls was truly a winter wonderland. Pack the 10 Essentials and check out recent trip reports to prepare for your hike.

33. Sequim

Distance from Seattle: Approximately 66 miles 

Sequim, pronounced “Skwim”, is the Lavender Capital of North America. Because of its location on the the peninsula, it has a more sunny climate compared to Seattle. This makes it an ideal growing spot for lavender, not unlike the south of France! There are more than a dozen lavender farms you can visit. The Sequim Lavender Weekend is an annual event that occurs every third weekend in July.

34. Victoria BC

Distance from Seattle: Under 3 hours when taking the Victoria Clipper passenger boat

Victoria Clipper in Victoria's Inner Harbor

Did you know that you can visit Canada from Seattle as a day trip? When you book tickets on the Victoria Clipper’s passenger ferry, you can reach Victoria BC in under 3 hours. The journey itself is incredible, with views of the San Juan Islands and Salish Sea. You can relax in comfort while the Victoria Clipper takes you directly to Victoria’s Inner Harbor. We recently rode the Victoria Clipper, and we disembarked from Seattle’s Pier 69 at 8am. We reached Victoria BC by 11am, which left us plenty of time to explore the city. The next boat left at 5:30pm and arrived in Seattle at 8:15pm. Although we stayed in Victoria BC for several nights, you could easily visit Victoria BC as a day trip. You can read all about our experience taking the Victoria Clipper for more information.


What to Bring on Your Day Trip

First things first. Before you head out on your day trip, you’ll need to pack your essentials for the day. Here’s my recommendations:

  • Packable rain jacket: Even if rain isn’t in the forecast, the weather can change quickly. This rain jacket folds down small and can be easily packed in a bag for when you need it.
  • Snacks, lunch, and lots of water. Road trips are way more fun when you’ve prepared special treats in advance. 
  • Comfortable daypack:  When exploring, you’ll want a comfortable daypack to place all of your belongings, snacks, and souvenirs.
  • Portable charger: You’ll be using your phone for maps, navigation, and photos, so make sure you don’t run out of battery while you’re on the go. We like this charger because it’s slim and you don’t have to worry about packing extra cables. The cable is built-in to the charger.
  • Insulated water bottle: This water bottle will keep your water cooler for longer. We’ve had this water bottle for awhile now, and it’s worked great!
  • Comfortable walking shoes: When out exploring, you’ll be walking quite a bit. Make sure you have comfortable shoes! Brooks has been my favorite brand so far.

FAQs: Best Day Trips from Seattle

What are the best Seattle day trips in the winter?

If you’re looking for a day trip from Seattle during the winter, we suggest the following destinations:

  • Leavenworth: Spending a day in this Christmas-town is the perfect winter escape. The city is typically covered in snow with plenty of holiday activities to keep you occupied.
  • Ocean Shores: Head to the coast! The Washington State coast is not as busy during summer season. Rent a cozy cabin and enjoy ocean views next to a fireplace.
  • Bellingham: Drive north and enjoy the Bellingham art scene. Visit galleries and boutique shops, and then head to a brewery.

Can you take a day trip from Seattle to Canada?

It’s definitely possible to visit Canada for a day trip from Seattle. You can take the Victoria Clipper to Victoria BC, or you can drive north and head to Vancouver BC. Just be sure to get an early start to maximize your day. 


Summary: Best Day Trips From Seattle

We hope this list of 34 day trips from Seattle is helpful in planning your next adventure! We’ve taken many of these day trips ourselves, and we hope you enjoy them too. Seattle has an amazing location, and there’s plenty of fun things to do that are easily accessible from the city.

Disclaimer: We always strive for content accuracy. Since the time of publishing, travel-related information regarding pricing, schedules, and hours may have changed. Please look up such information directly from each vendor or institution for the most current information.

Hi, I’m Kelly!

After studying abroad in Spain, I became passionate about international travel. Since then, I’ve traveled to 6 continents and 36 states within the United States. When I’m not travel blogging, you can find me hiking, reading books in Spanish, or playing cribbage. I hope my blog inspires you to see the world!