Top 10 Best Day Trips From Seattle

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Seattle's surroundings add to the significant appeal of living in or visiting the city. It's surrounded on all sides by defining Pacific Northwest landscapes, ... read more...

  1. Olympic National Park is a beautiful region of snow-capped mountains, lush old-growth forests, alpine wildflower meadows, and rugged beaches. It takes up almost the entire Olympic Peninsula, and roads only ring the park's outskirts, never entering the park's wild heart. Many visitors spend several days or a week exploring Olympic National Park.

    Even though it will take about two and a half hours to reach Olympic National Park, it is still one of the most beautiful destinations in Washington State on this list of the top-rated day trips from Seattle. It is located on the Olympic Peninsula in the Pacific Northwest and is home to a diverse ecosystem. When you spend one day in Olympic National Park, make sure to stop by Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent, and Sol Duc River. The Olympic National Park tour from Seattle handles the logistics of traveling into this dense region. With breakfast and a gourmet lunch included, all that tour members need to bring are their cameras and comfortable clothes for exploring outside.

    Distance from Seattle: 83 miles
    Travel time:
    2 hours and 25 minutes

    Location: 3002 Mt. Angeles Road, Port Angeles, Washington

    Google Rating: 4.9/5

  2. Mount Rainier stands at more than 14,000 feet. It's the tallest mountain in the Pacific Northwest and one of the region's most iconic landforms. It is circled by the Wonderland Trail and is covered by glaciers and snowfields totaling about 35 square miles (91 km2). Carbon Glacier is the largest glacier by volume in the contiguous United States, while Emmons Glacier is the largest glacier by area. Mount Rainier is a popular peak for mountaineering with some 10,000 attempts per year with approximately 50% making it to the summit.

    A national park encompasses the mountain on all sides, and hundreds of visitors flock to Mount Rainier National Park each year, for good reason. Between accurately named areas like Paradise Valley and the beautiful landscapes found on hiking trails like the Skyline Trail, this wildlife-rich natural space is nothing short of awe-inspiring. The 93-mile Wonderland Trail circumnavigates the base of the mountain, and the park hosts several great campgrounds. Residents and visitors to Seattle can easily see the peak and explore some trails in a day.

    The Nisqually Entrance is one of the most popular spots to head from Seattle, but the less-developed Mowich Lake region is closer. With an early enough departure, the entire park is accessible in a day. Tours like the Mount Rainier Day Trip from Seattle not only make it easy but virtually stress-free. On this 10-hour tour, travelers enjoy a narrated bus ride into the national park, avoid congestion at the entrance station, and spend the rest of the time exploring Paradise and seeing waterfalls. During the shoulder months, the tour includes a chance to don some snowshoes and step off the normal tourist path.

    Distance from Seattle: 81.7 miles
    Travel time:
    1 hour 52 minutes

    Location: Pierce County and Lewis County, Washington, United States

    Google Rating: 4.9/5

  3. The North Cascades are a rugged mountain territory filled with vertical landscapes. They encompass much of northern Washington and span across the British Columbia border. The main entry point for most people is the North Cascades Highway, which cuts horizontally across this region. This scenic byway is accessible from Seattle with less than an hour's drive, and it's approximately another hour's drive to reach the park properly. Along the way, scenic destinations like Ross Lake National Recreation Area and the turquoise waters of Diablo Lake encourage pitstops.

    Mountains of conifer trees, glacier peaks, and clear blue lakes – you can find all of these at the North Cascades National Park. It’s a great place to visit for those who are only looking for day trips from Seattle, but you can get more from this experience if you stay longer. Spending the weekend in Winthrop is a fun mini-vacation to plan. You can go skiing at the Mt. Baker Ski Area in the winter or go hiking at Mount Shuksan. There are also several campsites inside the national park if you want to stay overnight, but it’s easy enough to take a North Cascades day trip from Seattle. Make sure to stop at Diablo Lake on the way out.

    Distance from Seattle: 110 miles
    Travel time:
    2 hours

    Location: Whatcom, Skagit, and Chelan counties, Washington, United States

    Google Rating: 4.8/5

  4. Water flow through Deception Pass is approximately equal to 2% of the total tidal exchange between Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Puget Sound extends approximately 100 miles (160 km) from Deception Pass in the north to Olympia in the south. This place is much more than a geological feature. It's a cultural region of Washington framed by an intricate system of channels, inlets, and islands. The lovely island escapes and communities of Puget Sound warrant more than a day trip, but it is still easy to see some major highlights without spending the night.

    Directly west of Seattle, Bainbridge Island boasts beautiful landscapes and hiking trails, like those found within the island's Grand Forest. North of Seattle, Whidbey Island is home to many attractive towns and natural attractions, like Deception Pass State Park. If you want to explore the waters of Puget Sound on a day trip and see some of the region's wildlife at the same time, the Friday Harbor Day Trip & Whale Watching tour from Seattle is a great option. The 2.5-hour guided whale-watching cruise with an experienced naturalist, and a visit to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. Minke whales, humpbacks, orcas, seals, porpoises, otters, and bald eagles are just some of the magnificent animals you might see while cruising the waters of Puget Sound.

    Distance from Seattle: 91.8 miles

    Travel time: 2.5 hours
    Puget Sound Lowlands, Washington, United States
    Google Rating:

  5. Leavenworth is a unique mountain town on the east side of the Cascade Crest, approximately two hours from Seattle. Alongside incredible mountain peaks surrounding the streets, what makes this tourist-friendly town stand out is its unique Bavarian flair. Thanks to revitalization efforts throughout the late 1900s, every inch of Leavenworth today, including the local Mcdonald's, is decked out with genuine Bavarian architecture. The town also illuminates during the month of December with the very popular Village of Lights and the Christmas Lighting Festival.

    Visiting the town of Leavenworth is one of the most popular day trips from Seattle with tourists and locals alike. The entire town center is modeled to look like a Bavarian village, which is reminiscent of an old German town. The village is a popular tourist destination with all the fun things to do in Leavenworth. This is also one of the best day trips from Seattle in winter due to all the Christmas festivities. This town is a fun place to book a tour from Seattle to Leavenworth so you can enjoy the drive. If you’re going around Christmas, you’ll want to book this Christmas tour well in advance. Leavenworth is one of the only train day trips from Seattle you can take, so you’ll want to experience this yourself.

    Distance from Seattle: 125 miles

    Travel time: 2 hours and 20 minutes

    Location: Chelan County, Washington, United States

    Google Rating: 4.8/5

  6. Snoqualmie Falls is a 268-foot (82 m) waterfall in the northwest United States, located east of Seattle on the Snoqualmie River between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington. It is one of Washington's most popular scenic attractions and is known internationally for its appearance in the cult television series Twin Peaks. More than 1.5 million visitors come to the Falls every year, where there is a two-acre (0.8 ha) park, an observation deck, and a gift shop.

    For the Snoqualmie People, who have lived since time immemorial in the Snoqualmie Valley in western Washington, Snoqualmie Falls is central to their culture, beliefs, and spirituality. The mists rising from the base of the waterfall are said to serve to connect Heaven and Earth. Admission to the two-acre park is free, and the park is home to a short hiking trail as well as a handicap-accessible observation deck and a picnic area with five tables. The historic Salish Lodge & Spa overlooks the falls and includes a restaurant renowned for its hearty pancakes. A gift shop, coffee stand, and public washrooms are also found on-site. Free parking is available, and it is open from dawn until dusk.

    Distance from Seattle: 28.7 miles

    Travel time: 36 minutes

    Location: West of Snoqualmie, Washington, United State.

    Google Rating: 4.8/5

  7. Whidbey Island ranks 7th on the list of the best day trips from Seattle. It is the largest of the islands composing Island County, Washington, in the United States. If you want to avoid one of those busy urban Seattle day trips, head to Whidbey Island for the day to take one of the more unique day trips from Seattle by ferry. The island forms the northern boundary of Puget Sound. It is home to Naval Air Station Whidbey Island. The state parks and natural forests are home to numerous old-growth trees.

    Here, you’ll find beaches, hills, cliffs, and farmland to explore. This is one of the best beach day trips from Seattle, as you can walk on beaches around the island when the tide goes out to discover the sea life in the sand. Visiting Whidbey Island wineries is another popular activity during any time of the year. Whidbey Island is also a great place to go shopping. There are boutiques, cafés, and galleries in the island’s coastal towns, including Oak Harbor, Coupeville, and Langley. Check out some of the best things to do on Whidbey Island when planning your trip. Day tours are available if you prefer someone else to drive you through Whidbey Island and see Deception Pass at the north end.

    Distance from Seattle: 35 miles
    Travel time:
    1 hour and 10 minutes

    Location: Island County, Washington, United States

    Google Rating: 4.7/5

  8. San Juan Island is one of the longest day trips from Seattle on this list, but it will be worth the travel. There are so many places to see and activities to do while you’re here. Many people love coming to one of the most scenic days trips from Seattle by ferry in the summer. There are many cute boutique shops to visit and restaurants with a view of the water. Another popular activity is to go whale watching at Lime Kiln Point State Park. This area is one of the most scenic places to go kayaking, so check out a San Juan Island kayaking tour if you have time.

    North of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands are a cluster of communities, islands, and natural spaces that offer a recreational and relaxing getaway. The archipelago encompasses over 170 named islands, including four main islands: San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw. Orcas Island, also known as the "Gem of the San Juans," is home to a verdant and rural landscape that's fun to explore on a scenic drive, hike, or airplane tour. Adventures abound on and around the San Juan Islands. Popular activities include sea kayaking, seasonal whale watching, and simply enjoying the stunning views found in this far northwest corner of the country

    Distance from Seattle: 110 miles

    Travel time: 3 hours and 15 minutes

    Location: San Juan Islands, Washington, United States

    Google Rating: 4.6/5

  9. Just south of Mount Rainier and located within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, Mount St. Helens stands as a testament to Washington's volcanic past and present. It is best known for its dramatic 1980 eruption, which scorched more than 200 square miles of the surrounding forest. Visitors to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument today can still see the major impacts of this massive geological event that happened 40 years prior.

    Mount St. Helens is geologically young compared with the other major Cascade volcanoes. It formed only within the past 40,000 years, and the summit cone present before its 1980 eruption began rising about 2,200 years ago. The volcano is considered the most active in the Cascades within the Holocene epoch, which encompasses roughly the last 10,000 years. Lakes, caves, and wildflowers are at the center of recreation at Mount St. Helens, and users with a permit can even make the steep climb to the edge of the crater. One of the most interesting aspects of visiting Mount St. Helens is learning about its geological history. As well as a narrated experience, this tour takes care of all the logistics of traveling to the crater and back, plus a locally sourced lunch.

    Distance from Seattle: 121.3 miles
    Travel time: 2 hours 11 minutes
    Location: Skamania County, Washington, United States
    Google Rating:

  10. Boeing Everett Factory is an airplane assembly facility built by Boeing in Everett, Washington, United States. It sits at the northeast corner of Paine Field and includes the largest building in the world by volume at 13,385,378 m3 and covers 98.7 acres. The factory was built in 1967 for the Boeing 747 and has since been expanded several times to accommodate new airliners, including the 767, 777, and 787 programs.

    In 1966, plans for a factory in the area to be the site of the construction of the 747 were first announced, after Boeing was awarded a contract worth US$525 million from Pan American World Airways to build 25 of the aircraft. The company purchased 780 acres north of the then little-used Paine Field, which was operated by the U.S. Army during World War II. Aviation fanatics and tech enthusiasts should take the easy 30-minute drive up to the Boeing Factory in Everett. If you’ve ever wondered how a plane is built, you’ll be treated to that answer with this tour. Check out ever-changing exhibits, learn about robots and aerospace, and the new things Boeing is working on. This is the perfect day trip to take in the winter or on one of Seattle’s rainy days.

    Distance from Seattle: 30 miles

    Travel time: 35 minutes

    Location: Everett, Washington, United States

    Google Rating: 4.6/5

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