Looking for a quick getaway? These are the best day trips from Seattle Washington.

Seattle has so many day trip opportunities for nature lovers and adventure seekers. The city is the perfect home base to explore the surrounding area, whether you’re visiting for a cruise or just for fun. You can spend a weekend in Seattle, making your way through the ultimate Seattle bucket list, or visit nearby national parks, picturesque islands, and more.

Buckle up as we share some of the best day trip destinations from Seattle to help you discover more of Washington State!

A special thanks to the State of Washington and Port of Seattle for sponsoring this post. All opinions are always our own. This post may contain affiliate links, where we receive a small commission on sales of the products that are linked at no additional cost to you. Read our full disclosure for more info. Thank you for supporting the brands that make Local Adventurer possible.

Last Updated: November 1, 2023

15 Best Day Trips from Seattle Washington

1. Bainbridge Island – Best Day trip from Seattle by ferry

395 Winslow Way E, Bainbridge Island, WA 98110, map

Distance: 10.1 mi / 50 min (map) – Including Ferry Ride
Things You Can’t Miss: Bloedel Reserve, Pia the Peacekeeper Troll, Founders Courts
Where to Eat: Blackbird Bakery, Ba Sa, Bainbridge Apothecary & Tea Shop

Just a short ferry ride from Seattle, Bainbridge Island welcomes visitors with its charming small-town atmosphere and scenic beauty. Winslow is the island’s main town, where you can explore art galleries and walk through Bloedel Reserve gardens, named one of the top ten botanical gardens in the US.

Pickleball lovers are also in for a treat since this is where it was invented! Jacob had the best time playing with locals at Founder’s Court. He even played with someone who was there at its inception.

Everything we did on our bainbridge island day trip

Breakfast at Blackbird Bakery

Pickleball at Founders Courts

Hike through Grand Forest

Lunch at Ba Sa

Tea at Bainbridge Apothecary

Visited Pia the Peacekeeper Troll by artist Thomas Dambo

Strolled through Bloedel Reserve

Paid our respects to Chief Sealth (whom Seattle was named after)

Shopped in Bremerton on the Kitsap Peninsula

Local Tip: If ferry times don’t work out and you’re going out to the Kitsap Peninsula, you can always drive back. Depending on timing, it may be faster, but there are tolls.

2. Whidbey Island

11196 WA-525, Clinton, WA 98236, map

Distance: 32.4 mi / 1 hr 22 min (map) – Includes Ferry Ride
Things You Can’t Miss: Deception Pass, Ebey’s Landing, Coupeville
Where to Eat: Seabolt’s Smokehouse, Ott & Hunter, Oystercatcher

Whidbey Island, the largest island in Puget Sound, has rugged coastlines, historic sites, and picturesque villages. Visit the famous Deception Pass State Park or Ebey’s Landing National Historical Reserve, where pastoral landscapes meet the sea, or check out some lesser-known trails like Ala Spit, Earth Sanctuary, or Windjammer Park. You can also explore the charming town of Coupeville with its iconic wharf.

Everything We Did on Our Whidbey Island Day Trip

Deception Pass State Park – North Beach has the best view of the bridge.

Ala Spit County Park Trail – lesser known trail to avoid crowds at Deception Pass and Ebey’s Landing.

The Farm Stand – sunflowers, pumpkin patches, ice cream, and more

Oak Harbor Murals by Allgire Project

Windjammer Park – hikes near the Oak Harbor waterfront

Lunch at Seabolts Restaurant – we got fish and chips and clam chowder

Coupeville Pier and town – look out for the hundreds of starfish under the pier.

Ebey’s Landing Bluff Trail – if you have a national park passport, stop at the visitor center for a stamp.

Fort Casey State Park – the best view of the forts over the water was from the lighthouse.

Meerkerk Gardens – look for the puzzle monkey tree.

Earth Sanctuary – combines ecology with art (pay online ahead of time).

Ott & Hunter Wine Tasting in Langley – you can sit by the window for a nice view of the water.

Explore downtown Langley

Local Tip: To avoid driving back and forth, start at the top of Whidbey Island (Deception Pass) and work your way down to Clinton Ferry Terminal.

3. Vashon Island

17627 94th Ave SW, Vashon, WA 98070, map

Distance: 16.5 mi / 1 hr 8 min (map) – Includes Ferry Rides
Things You Can’t Miss: Oscar the Bird King Troll, Point Robinson Lighthouse, Fern Cove
Where to Eat: Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie, May Kitchen & Bar, Cafe Vino Olio

Vashon Island is known for its organic farms and artistic community and offers a peaceful retreat from the bustling city. You can experience the island’s creative spirit in local galleries, savor farm-to-table cuisine, and take leisurely walks along the pristine beaches. You will also spot roadside farm stands with produce, popsicles, shrub sodas, and lassis. We found many of them were self-service and took Venmo.

Everything We Did On Our Vashon Island Day Trip

Point Robinson Lighthouse

Oscar the Bird King Troll (our favorite of Thomas Dambo’s Northwest trolls) 

Flora Hill Popsicle Stand (they have shrub sodas too!)

Coffee at Burton Coffee Stand

Dockton Park and Forest

Pastries and coffee at the Vashon Island Coffee Roasterie – the birthplace of Seattle’s Best Coffee.

Vashon Center for the Arts

Mango Lassi at Venison Valley Farm & Creamery

Rented e-bikes with Vashon Adventures – a great way to get around the island!

Hiked Shinglemill Trail

Relaxed at Fern Cove

Picked up fruits at Country Store and Farm

Local Tip: Two ferries go to Vashon. We took the ferry from West Seattle (Fauntleroy) to visit the troll in Lincoln Park before or after.

4. Rattlesnake Lake / Ledge + Snoqualmie Falls

6351 Railroad Ave, Snoqualmie, WA 98065, map

Distance: 29.9 mi / 38 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Rattlesnake Lake, Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie Pass
Where to Eat: The Commonwealth, Pie for the People NW, Il Paesano Ristorante Italiano

The North Bend area is a paradise for outdoor enthusiasts with many hiking trails, panoramic views, serene lakeside picnics, and the awe-inspiring Snoqualmie Falls. If you like to hike, you can go up the popular Rattlesnake Ledge or enjoy a leisure day on the lake.

Local Tip: Bring an inflatable SUP to Rattlesnake Lake for a relaxing afternoon. We did that for Jacob’s birthday last year!

5. Mount Rainier National Park – Best National Park day trip from seattle

Paradise Rd E, Ashford, WA 98304, map

Distance: 107 mi / 2 hr 20 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Panorama Point, Myrtle Falls, Grove of Patriarchs
Where to Eat: Snorting Elk, Paradise Village Restaurant, Copper Creek Inn

Mount Rainier National Park offers visitors a chance to witness the wonders of an active volcano. Don’t miss the iconic Paradise area, offering some of the park’s most stunning vistas. If you visit during spring, the wildflower meadows are full of color, but be prepared for crowds, especially on weekends.

Also, help keep these places pristine by visiting mid-week or during the shoulder seasons.

Local Tip: Pick up a National Park Pass to save money if you visit multiple parks in a year.

See More: Your Complete List of All National Parks in the US

6. Olympic National Park →

3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362, map

Distance: 102 mi / 2 hr 55 min (map) – Includes Ferry Ride (but you can also drive around)
Things You Can’t Miss: Hall of Mosses, Hoh Rainforest, Sol Duc Falls
Where to Eat: Next Door GastropubBBG Blakeslees Bar & Grill8th Street Ale House

Did you know we had rainforests in the US? They are temperate rainforests, and you will find them in Olympic National Park. It is a UNESCO World Heritage site and a biodiversity haven. The park showcases nature’s grandeur, from lush rainforests and alpine peaks to rugged coastline. Hike the Hoh Rainforest trails, spot wildlife in Hurricane Ridge, and unwind at the peaceful Lake Crescent.

This is another spot that is best to visit mid-week or during the shoulder seasons. It helps keep the parks in pristine condition but also allows you the enjoy them when they are less crowded.

See More: 4 Things to Do in Olympic National Park Washington

7. Leavenworth

940 US Hwy 2 STE B, Leavenworth, WA 98826, map

Distance: 135 mi / 2 hr 15 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: The Enchantments (requires permits through a lottery system), Icicle Gorge, Waterfront Park
Where to Eat: Munchen Haus, Larch, Icicle Brewing

Nestled in the Cascade Mountains, Leavenworth is a charming Bavarian-themed village that draws tons of visitors with its European-inspired architecture and festive atmosphere. Explore the village’s unique shops, indulge in German cuisine, and participate in outdoor activities like river rafting, hiking, and our favorite, bouldering. This was my third time visiting, but we love it so much that we’re trying to make it out here once a year.

Local Tip: It’s extra magical during October with fall foliage and family-friendly Oktoberfest activities and during Christmas.

8. North Cascades National Park →

7280 Ranger Station Rd, Marblemount, WA 98267, map

Distance: 102 mi / 2 hrs (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: North Cascades Highway, Diablo Lake, Ross Lake
Where to Eat: Cascade BurgersArrowleaf BistroUpriver Grill & Taproom

North Cascades National Park is a hidden gem if you’re seeking remote wilderness and unparalleled beauty. With its jagged peaks, cascading waterfalls, and pristine lakes, the park is a paradise for backpackers and nature photographers. You may think the vibrant, turquoise waters of Diablo Lake are photoshopped, but it is that blue.

See More: 7 Best Things to Do in North Cascades National Park

9. Friday Harbor

165 First St S, Friday Harbor, WA 98250, map

Distance: 103 mi / 3 hrs (map) – Ferry Ride Required
Things You Can’t Miss: Lime Kiln Point State Park, Pelindaba Lavender Farm, The Whale Museum
Where to Eat: Downriggers, Duck Soup, Mike’s Cafe & Wine Bar

Friday Harbor is a picturesque coastal town in San Juan Island known for whale watching tours, art galleries, and a charming harbor. Explore the island’s rich marine life, stroll along the historic streets, and visit the Whale Museum to learn about the majestic creatures that inhabit the surrounding waters.

See More: 15 Best Places to Whale Watch in the US + When to Go

10. Yakima

101 N Fair Ave, Yakima, WA 98901, map

Distance: 143 mi / 2 hr 9 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Yakima Area Arboretum & Botanical Garden, Cowiche Canyon Trail, Wineries/Breweries
Where to Eat: Bubbles & Co, Crafted, Geet Indian Cuisine

Yakima, located in the heart of Washington’s Wine Country, is also the hops capital of the world. They produce 75% of hops for brewers in the US. If you love wine or beer, Yakima is one of the best day trips from Seattle for you. Take a wine or brewery tour, indulge in farm-to-table dining, and learn about the region’s agricultural heritage at the Yakima Valley Museum.

Local Tip: Say hi to our friends at Bubble & Co for bubble tea, craft Asian & PNW beer, craft sakes, and many rare Asian snacks. They have so many Japanese kit kats!

11. Skagit Valley

Main St &, State Rte 20, Marblemount, WA 98267, map

Distance: 116 mi / 2 hr 10 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Skagit Valley Tulip Festival, Roozengaarde Display Garden, Little Mountain Park
Where to Eat: Train Wreck Bar, The Fairhaven, Skagit Valley Burgers Express

Skagit Valley (pronounced Ska-jit with a long “a” as in apple, as a friend corrected me) is famous for its tulip fields and the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival. Although locals try to avoid the crowds during this season, as a photographer, seeing them in full bloom is a visual feast. The valley also boasts a thriving art and craft beer scene that can be enjoyed year-round.

See More: Ultimate PNW Bucket List

12. Columbia River Gorge →

45.6992035,-121.7101839, map

Distance: 180 mi / 2 hr 40 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Beacon Rock Hike, Coyote Wall, Dog Mountain
Where to Eat: Big River Grill, Walking Man Brewing, The Cabin Drive-Thru

The Columbia River carved this natural wonder we call the Gorge. We love the many stunning hikes to scenic vistas and waterfalls. One of our favorites is Dog Mountain, when the balsamroot is blooming (permits are not required for the spring). You can even windsurf in the river’s gusty winds.

See More: 21 Best Hikes in the Columbia River Gorge Oregon

13. Anacortes / Fidalgo Island

819 Commercial Ave STE A, Anacortes, WA 98221, map

Distance: 80.7 mi / 1 hr 15 min (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: W.T. Preston & Maritime Center, Cap Sante, Washington Park
Where to Eat: Adrift, A’Town Bistro, Dad’s Diner

Anacortes is the gateway to the San Juan Islands and is a charming coastal town with scenic viewpoints, hiking trails, and marine activities. Washington Park gives you panoramic views of Puget Sound, and you can also island hop around nearby islands that are just a ferry ride away.

14. Port Townsend

2409 Jefferson St, Port Townsend, WA 98368, map

Distance: 57.1 mi / 2 hr 10 min (map) – Requires a Ferry Ride
Things You Can’t Miss: Fort Worden State Park, Port Townsend Marine Science Center, The Starrett House Inn
Where to Eat: Fountain Cafe, Finistere, Owl Spirit Cafe

Step back in time in Port Townsend, a Victorian seaport town brimming with historic charm. Stroll through well-preserved Victorian buildings, visit art galleries, and enjoy the town’s maritime heritage. Fort Worden State Park offers beautiful beaches and hiking trails. The city also has public murals and galleries perfect for art lovers.

15. Orcas Island

65 N Beach Rd, Eastsound, WA 98245, map

Distance: 108 mi / 3 hrs (map)
Things You Can’t Miss: Moran State Park, Obstruction Pass State Park, Mount Consitution
Where to Eat: New Leaf Cafe, The Lower Tavern, Mijitas

Orcas Island is the largest of the San Juan Islands and has diverse landscapes, including mountains, forests, and pristine beaches. Explore Moran State Park, where hiking trails lead to the island’s highest peak, Mount Constitution, offering panoramic views of the surrounding islands and waterways.

Map of the Best Day Trips from Seattle

Best Places to Stay in Seattle

We stayed at the Kimpton Palladian Hotel in downtown Seattle, which was the perfect home base. I loved that we were only a few blocks from Pike Place and could walk to lots of restaurants and bars. Because we were staying here, we also conveniently saw that Atsuko had a show at the Moore next door and was able to catch her show!

For more hotel options, check the map below.

Essential Tips

Tolls are common in Seattle. If you rent a car, most car rental companies will charge you for the toll after.

Look up the ferry schedule if you plan any day trips via ferry. Depending on the season, you may need to pad extra time. During the summer (the busy season), some tolls can have up to 3-hour waits. We traveled in October, so we never had a wait.

Be prepared for rain when you’re in the PNW. We always carry a light raincoat in the car and wear waterproof shoes just in case.

Check the current hours of restaurants and shops when visiting small towns during the off-season. They tend to be more limited or closed on certain days.

Download AllTrails+ to access trail maps offline if you’re hiking and often get lost like me.

Bring a daypack to carry essentials on your adventures while keeping your hands free.

Planning Checklist

Get comprehensive insurance for your trip.

Download these helpful language apps.

Find a great deal on Seattle hotels.

Arrange a rental car for your trip.

Book a tour for your visit.

Get airport lounge access.

Buy a travel charger to keep your devices charged.

Get a new backpack for your trip.

Buy a Seattle travel guide.

Pack the appropriate shoes for your trip.

Don’t forget your in-flight essentials.

Save money on attractions with a CityPass.

Have you done any of these day trips from Seattle? Which one are you going to do next?

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Esther + Jacob

Esther and Jacob are the founders of Local Adventurer, one of the top 5 travel blogs in the US. They believe that adventure can be found near and far and hope to inspire others to explore locally. They explore a new city in depth every year and currently base themselves in Las Vegas.

Follow on Instagram (E + J), YouTube, TikTok, and Pinterest.

The post 15 Best Day Trips from Seattle Washington appeared first on Local Adventurer » Travel Adventures in Las Vegas + World Wide.

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