Travefy loves Seattle for being as fun world city with countless unique activities for visitors to delve in. Just check out this 3-day itinerary for first-time visitors to have an idea of all the great things you could do over just one weekend.
With more time on your hand, we hand-picked seven Seattle day trips to nearby islands, national parks, and quaint little towns that will give you an even better appreciation of the Emerald City and why it is the dream destination for nature lovers and adventurers.
1. Bainbridge Island
From Seattle, there is a ferry that will take you to the city of Bainbridge Island. The ferry traverse is not only a unique travel experience, it also offers stunning views of the Seattle skyline.
A visit to Bainbridge Island is above all a fantastic Seattle Day trip. Nature lovers should definitely explore the Bloedel Reserve (one of the greatest and most beautiful forest gardens in Northwest America), Frog Rock, Gazzam Lake as well as the myriad of scenic state parks and outdoors recreational areas on the island. Before you leave back to Seattle, discover Winslow, the city’s historic downtown area full of awesome boutiques and coffee houses.
2. Mount Rainier National Park
Get up early to take on this Seattle day trip to Mount Rainier National Park. This is a must-see destination near the Emerald City and a 235,000-acre haven for mountain climbing, hiking, and biking. In fact, the park has many scenic trails for every hiking level; Paradise and Patriarchs being two of the most famous. For more, check out these suggested itineraries
Mount Rainier is features numerous beautiful snowfields and glaciers, lakes, and multicolored flower meadows. Be sure to grab lunch or refreshments in the alpine lodges and the inn on site while you take in the vistas. Better yet, spend the night camping immersed in its magnificent wilderness.
3. Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls are just 40 minutes away from Seattle but should be the highlight of a day trip discovering the Emerald City’s countryside. Hint: there are a couple of wineries along the way and on weekends, you can ride a vintage train at the Northwest Railway Museum.
Seeing the gushing Snoqualmie River fall 270 feet is a wonderful sight that attracts over a million visitors each year. The best vantage point is the observation deck facing the falls with a park and even a picnic area and a shop. For a more upscale experience, hard to beat the Salish Lodge & Spa sitting at the top of the Snoqualmie Falls.
4. Vashon Island
Sandy Beaches, trekking trails, and cool local attractions: Vashon Island is off the tourist trail but a beautiful hidden gem you will love to discover. Best way to get around is car-free on a bike. From the town roads to the mountainous trails, the biking excursion might be challenging but the parks and scenic landscapes you will go through would be totally worth it.
This Seattle day trip would be incomplete with a visit to the Point Robinson Park and its iconic lighthouse. Grab fresh produce and even local wines at the Farmers Market. Do not underestimate the wonderful things there are to find on the island, including coffee roasteries and top-class martini patios.
Tacoma could be the coolest Seattle day trip destination for those into arts and culture. Just like New York City has the Museum Mile, Tacoma has the Museum Row. The Washington State History Museum, the Tacoma Art Museum and the gorgeous Museum of Glass are just three of the world-class institution you will find along Pacific Avenue.
On a visit to Tacoma, don’t pass up on a walk through Point Defiance Park. On a particularly nice sunny day, you will enjoy photo-op views of Gig Harbor, Tacoma Narrows Bridge, and Vashon Island. If you are traveling with kids, no doubt you will have to cut down on the previous activities in favor of the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium.
3 hours are all it takes to get from Seattle to Bavaria, Germany… by car. Leavenworth is the perfect replica of an authentic Bavarian town with taverns and restaurants offering the same menus you would expect in a German village.
Visit the Nutcracker Museum with more than 5000 unique pieces on display. Take part in Bavarian celebrations such as Oktoberfest and the Ice Festival. During summertime, Cascade Mountains offers out-of-this-world hiking and camping opportunities while white rafting the Wenatchee River will be an experience you will most likely never forget.
7. The Olympic Peninsula
If you are a huge Twilight fan, then you’ve already heard of the Olympic Peninsula and how a story of vampires and werewolves changed the little town of Forks forever.
Beyond the tourist craze for Forks, the Olympic Peninsula makes a fantastic day trip away from Seattle with pristine lakes, lush rainforests, and many alluring national and state parks.
The 400 miles of coastline offers spectacular opportunities for fishing, boating, and wildlife spotting.
The Seattle day trip options do not stop there. Nothing stops you from visiting Mount Helens National Volcanic Monument or head North past the Canadian border to Victoria and Vancouver in British Columbia.
What other Seattle outings can you think of? Tell us about them in the comments.