If you’re planning a trip to Seattle soon and have a few extra days up your sleeve, it’s worth considering taking some time to do some day trips while in the area.
There are all sorts of interesting destinations you can explore just a few hours from the center of Seattle. Here are some you might like to check out.
Once you’ve had a chance to pick up a car rental from Seattle airport or the city area, you might like to make your way to Puget Sound. This cultural region is known for its vast geological features with a spectacular system of inlets, channels, and islands that give you plenty to explore.
In this part of Washington, you can spot all sorts of sea and other creatures, including seals, otters, porpoises, minke and humpback whales, orcas, and bald eagles, to name a few. In particular, it pays to hop on a cruise of the area so you can see animals in the waters around Puget Sound. The best time for whale watching is typically between June and September.
While in Puget Sound, also head to Bainbridge Island for great hiking trails and breathtaking landscapes, or check out Whidbey Island to see pretty towns and Deception Pass State Park. Also, you might like to visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
Mount Rainier National Park
A Washington icon you should visit at least once in your life, Mount Rainier stands at over 14,000 feet and is the highest mountain in the Pacific Northwest. This landmark is the unofficial logo of Seattle, so you’ll spot it on tourist gifts, license plates, and more. However, there’s nothing like seeing it in person. A national park borders the mountain on all sides, and here you’ll find a wildlife-rich natural space that will soon help you forget any worries from day-to-day life.
Like the many other visitors that flock to Mount Rainier National Park annually, you can stand in awe in aptly-named Paradise Valley or stretch your legs and take in stunning landscapes while walking hiking trails such as the Skyline Trail. Plus, make your way to Panorama Point to get an excellent view of meadows, forests, and other Washington mountains. Mount Rainier is popular for skiing and rock climbing, too, so if you want to go beyond hiking, this is the place to do it.
Victoria in British Columbia, Canada
If you want to get a little bit of an international flavor while in Seattle, you might decide to go over the border into Canada and visit the picturesque capital of British Columbia, which is Victoria. Sitting on the southern end of Vancouver Island, Victoria is known for its outdoor activities, especially access to abundant parkland, and its striking architecture that showcases its British colonial past.
Be sure to take a look at Craigdarroch Castle mansion and explore the massive and memorable Butchart Gardens that have miles of stunning floral displays, water features, and other elements to take in, no matter the time of year. You should also check out the Royal BC Museum and Fisherman’s Wharf, plus the thriving arts and cultural scene.
The city also hosts more than 100 annual festivals, so there’s typically always some fun event you can tie your day trip into. The quickest and simplest way to get to Victoria from Seattle is to take the ferry that will take you to the walkable city in under three hours.
For anyone who loves history and wants to feel like they’ve truly stepped back in time, a visit to the town of Leavenworth is a must. This whole town center has been modeled to look like an old Bavarian village in Germany. Spend time drinking beer and eating German sausages, have a picnic at Waterfront Park, play a round of mini-golf, or head inside the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum that contains over 6,000 historic nut-cracking tools.
If you’re in Leavenworth in summer, you might enjoy the town’s well-regarded theater program, or if you’re there in winter, you’ll no doubt appreciate the many Christmas festivities Leavenworth is known for. Horse lovers are also well catered to with the Eagle Creek Ranch. This historic, family-owned and operated four-season attraction amidst the Cascade Mountains enables guests to go horseback riding through the forested foothills or take a horse-drawn sleigh ride.
Some other day trips well worth taking around Seattle include visiting Tacoma, where you can explore the Museum of Glass that exhibits the work of Dale Chihuly, or booking a ticket for the Future of Flight Aviation Center and Boeing Tour to view airplanes being built. You might also like to spend some time in Woodinville wine country.
As you can see, there is plenty to keep you occupied outside of Seattle itself, with visitors spoiled for choice when it comes to attractions. Start planning your day trips today.