Seattle offers plenty of attractions within the city. But one of the highlights is its proximity to fantastic national parks and other charming destinations, perfect for weekend getaways. Thanks to it’s strategic location with easy access to major roads leading in all directions, you can embark on exciting weekend trips from Seattle within a five-hour drive from the city.
So, whether you have a day or an entire weekend to spare, there are many ideal spots on our list for you. It’s time you take a break from the city and discover these delightful weekend getaways near Seattle.
Essential tips for your weekend trip
Before you start exploring, make sure to follow these essential tips for a hassle-free journey:
- Choose your getaway wisely based on your interests and budget
- Book accommodations early if you are planning to visit a popular tourist spot
- Plan your itinerary to maximize your time and account for travel and rest
- Pack for unpredictable Pacific Northwest weather with layers, a rain jacket, and sunscreen
- Stay flexible, as travel plans may change unexpectedly
- Utilize Seattle’s efficient public transportation system for easy travel
- Opt for off-season visits to avoid crowds and high costs
- Explore local cuisine by researching restaurants and food carts
Try to venture off the beaten path for hidden gems and unexpected discoveries.
With its stunning scenery and abundance of activities, Seattle is a great starting point for weekend getaways. By following these tips, you can make the most of your time and have a memorable trip.
Weekend Trips From Seattle
Here are 9 suggestions for weekend trips from Seattle:
1. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park locates 2.5 to 3 hours away from Seattle. It is a natural wonderland that offers a diverse range of outdoor experiences.
One of its standout features is the lush rainforests that are genuinely enchanting to explore. The Hoh Rainforest, in particular, is a must-visit destination within the park. Here you can wander among towering trees draped in moss and experience a unique ecosystem found nowhere else in the United States.
For those seeking adventure, Olympic National Park offers breathtaking hikes leading to dramatic waterfalls and awe-inspiring vistas.
Hurricane Ridge is a favorite spot for hikers and photographers. It offers panoramic views of the Olympic Mountains and the surrounding wilderness.
If you’re in need of relaxation, the park even boasts soothing hot springs where you can unwind amidst the natural beauty of the region.
2. San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands, a short 2-3 hour journey from Seattle that includes a scenic drive and a ferry ride, are a true Pacific Northwest gem. These picturesque islands offer a wide range of outdoor adventures and charming experiences.
You can enjoy whale watching, as the waters surrounding the islands are home to various species of whales, including orcas.
For those who love water-based activities, kayaking around the San Juan Islands is a must. The calm and pristine waters are perfect for paddling, and you can explore secluded coves, rocky shorelines, and lush marine life.
Additionally, the islands are dotted with charming towns like Friday Harbor, where you can stroll through quaint streets, savor delicious seafood, and immerse yourself in the island’s unique culture.
Leavenworth, located approximately 2.5 hours by car from Seattle, is a charming Bavarian-themed town nestled in the heart of the Cascades.
It is one of the best destinations for weekend trips from Seattle, offering you a taste of Germany right in the Pacific Northwest.
One of the key draws of Leavenworth is its wealth of outdoor activities. Surrounded by the stunning Cascade Mountains, you can hike, ski, mountain bike, and enjoy various other outdoor adventures year-round.
In the winter, the town transforms into a winter wonderland, and nearby ski resorts like Stevens Pass provide excellent opportunities for skiing and snowboarding.
Leavenworth is also renowned for its Bavarian-style architecture and cuisine. Strolling through the charming streets feels like being in a European village, and you can sample delicious German dishes at local restaurants.
For those visiting in the fall, the town hosts a famous Oktoberfest celebration, complete with beer, music, and traditional festivities.
4. Mount Rainier National Park
Just a scenic 2-hour drive from Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park highlights the opportunity to hike through alpine meadows, where vibrant wildflowers paint the landscape in summer.
Trails like the Skyline Trail offer stunning vistas of the majestic Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano, and the surrounding wilderness. Don’t miss the Paradise Visitor Center, which provides valuable insights into the park’s ecology and history.
Mount Rainier National Park is a year-round destination. In the winter, it transforms into a snow-covered wonderland, offering opportunities for snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even sledding.
Whether you visit in the summer or winter, the awe-inspiring views of Mount Rainier and the diverse range of outdoor activities make this park a must-visit destination for nature enthusiasts and adventurers alike.
5. Portland, Oregon
Portland, located approximately 3-4 hours by car from Seattle, is one of the top choices for weekend trips from Seattle.
It is a vibrant and eclectic city with a unique character that sets it apart. Known for its hipster culture and diverse attractions, there’s something for everyone to enjoy in the City of Roses.
One of Portland’s iconic highlights is Powell’s Books, one of the world’s largest and most famous independent bookstores. Book lovers can get lost in its intricate aisles filled with new and used books of every genre.
For a tranquil escape, the Portland Japanese Garden offers a serene setting where you can stroll among meticulously manicured landscapes and koi-filled ponds.
The city’s culinary scene is a significant draw, boasting a wide range of restaurants, food trucks, and markets. From farm-to-table dining to international cuisine, Portland is a food lover’s paradise.
6. Whidbey Island
Whidbey Island, accessible via a picturesque 1.5-hour drive from Seattle followed by a scenic ferry ride, is a captivating destination offering a wealth of experiences.
One of its prime highlights is its beautiful beaches. The island’s coastline is adorned with sandy shores and rocky cliffs, providing the perfect backdrop for beachcombing, picnicking, or simply soaking up the coastal ambiance.
The charming towns of Langley and Coupeville offer a glimpse into Whidbey Island’s history and culture with their quaint streets, local shops, and delicious dining options.
For nature enthusiasts, a visit to Deception Pass State Park is a must. This park boasts stunning views of the iconic Deception Pass Bridge, lush forests, and rugged coastline.
Hiking trails, wildlife watching, and water activities like kayaking and paddleboarding make it an outdoor paradise.
7. Snoqualmie Pass
Snoqualmie Pass, located just 45 minutes to 1 hour from Seattle, is a convenient and accessible option for weekend trips from Seattle.
One of the main highlights of Snoqualmie Pass is its versatility. In the summer, it’s a hiker’s paradise with numerous trails to explore, catering to various skill levels.
Whether you’re looking for a stroll through alpine meadows or a more challenging trek to the summit, you’ll find options to suit your preferences.
In the winter, the ski resorts in the area offer downhill skiing, snowboarding, and even tubing, making it a popular destination for winter sports enthusiasts.
If you’re not into outdoor activities, you can still enjoy the beauty of the region by visiting Snoqualmie Falls, a stunning 268-foot waterfall that’s easily accessible from the pass.
8. Cannon Beach, Oregon
The beach is located approximately 4-5 hours by car from Seattle and is among the best for weekend road trips from Seattle. Its highlights include breathtaking coastal landscapes, the iconic Haystack Rock, and a peaceful and welcoming atmosphere.
The star of Cannon Beach is undoubtedly Haystack Rock, a massive sea stack that rises dramatically from the shoreline. It’s a natural wonder and a popular spot for birdwatching and tidepooling during low tide.
The wide sandy beach, fringed by scenic cliffs and forested areas, provides a picturesque backdrop for relaxation and beachcombing.
The town itself is known for its charming and relaxed atmosphere. Stroll through the quaint streets, explore local art galleries, and savor delicious seafood at waterfront restaurants.
Cannon Beach offers the perfect blend of natural beauty and small-town charm, making it a favorite destination for those seeking a peaceful coastal retreat.
9. Mount St. Helens
The Mount St. Helens area, located approximately 2.5 to 3 hours from Seattle, is a fascinating destination filled with opportunities to learn about the 1980 volcanic eruption and explore unique geological features.
A highlight of the area is the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which provides a comprehensive insight into the catastrophic eruption of Mount St. Helens. You can view the volcano’s crater and learn about the dramatic events that unfolded in 1980.
The observatory offers breathtaking panoramic views of the surrounding landscape, including the blast zone, which was dramatically altered by the eruption.
For hikers and adventurers, exploring the blast zone is an incredible experience. You can hike through the newly formed landscape, witnessing how nature has slowly reclaimed the area since the eruption.
Additionally, nearby Ape Cave offers a unique underground adventure, as it’s the longest lava tube in the continental United States. You can explore this dark and mysterious environment, marveling at the geological formations created by ancient lava flows.
Weekend trips from Seattle in winter
Here are some suggestions for weekend trips from Seattle in winter:
- Mount Rainier National Park, 2.5 hours from Seattle, is ideal for winter activities like snowshoeing, skiing, and ranger-led programs.
- San Juan Islands, Puget Sound, a 1-hour ferry from Seattle, is known for scenic beauty, wildlife, and winter activities like whale watching, hiking, and kayaking.
- Whidbey Island, Puget Sound, a 1-hour ferry from Seattle, famous for beaches, farms, and winter activities like bird watching, hiking, and biking.
- Bellingham, Washington, 2 hours from Seattle, is known for arts, outdoor activities, and proximity to Mount Baker for winter sports.
- Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, 3 hours from Seattle, known for scenery, culture, and winter activities at Grouse Mountain and Cypress Mountain, plus the Vancouver Aquarium.
Seattle is a fantastic starting point for weekend getaways, offering a diverse range of weekend trips from Seattle to suit different interests and seasons. Whether you’re into outdoor adventures, cultural experiences, or peaceful coastal retreats, there’s something for everyone within a few hours’ drive of the city.
Remember to plan your trip wisely, book accommodations in advance, and stay flexible to make the most of your weekend getaway from Seattle. With the Pacific Northwest’s stunning scenery and abundant activities, you’re sure to have a memorable and enjoyable time exploring these destinations.
Whether you’re interested in exploring nature, enjoying a small-town atmosphere, or immersing yourself in urban culture, these weekend trips from Seattle have something unique to offer.
1. How far is Olympic National Park from Seattle?
Olympic National Park is approximately 2.5 to 3 hours away from Seattle by car.
2. What are the winter activities you can enjoy in Mount Rainier National Park?
In Mount Rainier National Park, you can enjoy winter activities like snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, and even sledding.
3. How long does it take to reach Whidbey Island from Seattle?
Whidbey Island is accessible via a picturesque 1.5-hour drive from Seattle, followed by a scenic ferry ride.
4. What is the star attraction of Cannon Beach, Oregon?
The star attraction of Cannon Beach is Haystack Rock, a massive sea stack that rises dramatically from the shoreline, offering excellent opportunities for birdwatching and tidepooling during low tide.
5. What cities are 3 hours from Seattle?
Some 3-hour cities are Portland, Oregon; Vancouver, British Columbia; Bellingham, Washington; Port Townsend, Washington; and Victoria, British Columbia.
6. What cities are 5 hours from Seattle?
Some famous 5-hour cities are Spokane, Washington; Astoria, Oregon; and Eugene, Oregon.
7. Is Chicago a good weekend getaway?
Yes, Chicago is a great weekend getaway, with plenty to see and do, including Millennium Park, the Art Institute of Chicago, and Wrigley Field.
8. Is Seattle close to Los Angeles?
No, Seattle is not close to Los Angeles. The two cities are about 1,100 miles apart, or about 18 hours by car.
9. What German town is close to Seattle?
Leavenworth, Washington, is a Bavarian-themed village in the Cascade Mountains, about 2 hours from Seattle.
10. What are some long weekend trips from Seattle?
Some long weekend trips from Seattle include Olympic National Park, North Cascades National Park, Mount Rainier National Park, and Portland, Oregon