Travel & Tourism

27 Best Day Trips from Seattle in 2023

27 Best Day Trips from Seattle in 2023


This Pacific Northwest city is a dream for day-trippers; Seattle is set next to the Olympic Peninsula and situated on Puget Sound. When visiting Seattle, you are surrounded by water and rainforest. And when you venture out of the city limits, you have the Canadian border, many national park choices, and islands galore you can access by ferry. Day trips from Seattle are adventurous by default. So outdoor adventure lovers, prepare for the serious temptation to leave Downtown Seattle.

Top Day Trips from Seattle

In this guide, we’ve got the absolute creme de la creme of day trips from Seattle. We’re talking Olympic National Park classics like Hoh Rain Forest and ferry ride Seattle day trips to places like the San Juan Islands. You can hop on a boat, grab hiking boots and climbing gear, book an excursion, or rent a car. These day trips from Seattle are all worth pushing yourself.

Planning Your Trip To Seattle Right Now?

Below are some of the top day trip tours from Seattle. Don’t forget to plan ahead when visiting Washington!

Top Day Trip Activities and Tours from Seattle:

Best Day Trips From Seattle Whatcom Falls Park
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This little city park might sound unassuming, but it is one of the best day trips for waterfall hiking trails and ornate gardens. You walk along tiny paved hiking trails through heavily mossed forests – occasionally navigating stone bridges that look like something from a fairytale.

The whole park is atmospheric, and you can’t go wrong for a serene hiking experience. We added it to this guide as a lesser-considered option than the ‘major Seattle day trips’ like Mount Rainier. Whatcom Falls Park is a lovely day trip from Seattle, involving a 1.5-hour drive or a 2.5-hour Greyhound journey. By car, it is an ideal distance from Seattle, and as a brilliant bonus, it is free to enter.

On the way, you can incorporate stops at Samish Park, which has a designated swimming area, and northern Seattle attractions like Bad Dog Brewery and Stillaguamish Valley Pioneer Museum. Bellingham is a beautiful coastal city and has plenty more to offer once you’ve visited Whatcom Falls Park. As a winter day trip detour, you could even go skiing on the nearby Mount Baker. Whatcom Falls is just a starting point.

2. Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area

Best Day Trips From Seattle Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area
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Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is where to go for a dramatic waterfall. Whatcom Falls is perfect for cutesy forest waterfalls, but Columbia River Gorge has a selection of colossal falls. The preserve is set around an 80-mile-long canyon up to 4000 feet deep. The Columbia River crashes through the canyon, and you can choose from various hiking trails to embrace the scenery.

Visiting Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is quite an undertaking, nearly 4 hours in distance from Seattle. But it is definitely undertakable if you have multiple drivers to rotate between driving shifts. Besides, you can even stopover in Portland en route.

For us, Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area stood out for its mighty waterfalls, which are the most impressive (force-wise) in the region. If you fancy some more adventurous waterfall hikes, it is the best of the day trips from Seattle.

3. Point Defiance Park

Best Day Trips From Seattle Point Defiance Park
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Point Defiance Park is not to be skimmed over. This 760-acre monster of a park is set in the nearby city of Tacoma and is the classic nod to an ‘urban oasis’ that many city-dwellers crave. Point Defiance Park juts into Puget Sound, with viewpoints sprinkled around its edge.

Vashon Viewpoint and Dalco Passage Viewpoint – these views all deserve a look in, especially if you coincide your visit with sunrise or sunset. Aside from the scenic strolls, Point Defiance Park has plenty of major attractions. While you can enter the park for free, you can pay to visit attractions like Fort Nisqually Living History Museum and the Point Defiance Aquarium.

Point Defiance Park is barely any distance from Seattle. You are talking 45 minutes by car, and by public transport, about 2 hours. To be honest, Point Defiance most caught our eye because it involves bypassing Tacoma and getting a fresh city perspective. After a few days in Seattle, shaking off one city and refreshingly embracing another for a day is good. This park is the most beautiful place to do so, incorporating a bit of green space.

4. Whale Watching

Best Day Trips From Seattle Whale Watching
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While we are on the topic of marine life, it would be a crime to go without mentioning whale watching. Whale watching is one of the best day trips from Seattle, and between May and October, you are in for a treat. Seattle’s surrounding waters have everything from gray and humpback whales to the beloved orca. Book a whale-watching tour and try your luck with sightings; Seattle is a whale hotspot.

Best Day Trips from Seattle Whale Watching Tour
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Your travel distance from Seattle depends on your boat trip choice. Many boats offer a half-day experience, like this 4-hour afternoon zodiac cruise. It is important to note that what boat type you choose also massively impacts your day trip experience. Zodiacs are much closer to the water’s surface, so you can get a much more intimate experience, but wrap up warm because you’ll be exposed to all the elements.

Covered boats offer a more comfortable, warm experience, but you are much further away from the whales. We’d recommend the zodiacs for optimal experience, which are also deemed slightly more ethical and less intrusive than the large boats, where whales can injure themselves on giant propellers.

5. Boeing Future of Flight

Best Day Trips From Seattle Boeing Future of Flight
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Boeing Future of Flight is one of our shortest day trips from Seattle. In fact, it is only a 30-minute distance from Seattle city center by car. Flight enthusiasts looking for a quick addition to your itinerary, this is it. The museum is a ridiculously informative immersion into the world of commercial jets. You wander through hall after hall of detailed exhibits. But, perhaps most excitingly, also get up-close and personal with jets-in-the-making at the commercial jet assembly plant. Boeing Future of Flight is the closest you can get to commercial aviation action in the US – if not the world. For that reason, we just had to add it to this guide.

Time-wise, we’d allow a few hours to get to the museum, look around, grab a coffee, and return to Seattle. It really is a bitesize day trip.

6. Skagit Valley Tulip Festival

Best Day Trips from Seattle Skagit Valley Tulip Festival
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Let’s preface this by saying that Skagit Valley is always a beautiful day trip from Seattle. The valley is cut in half by 150 miles of river and has stunning, sweeping green grasslands. However, it really comes into its own during the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival – which runs from March to May annually. During the tulip festival, there are seas (and we mean seas) of bobbing tulips in oranges, pinks, yellows, whites, and more. The flowers are painstakingly organized in color-coordinated rows and are a stunning place to visit from Seattle. You can easily spend several hours walking between the different tulip fields.

Best Day Trips From Seattle Skagit Valley Tulip Festival  flowers
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The valley is an hour and 10 minutes from Seattle city center by car. You can also take several guided tours to see the tulip displays, like this one on Viator. If you don’t drive, a guided tour is your best option.

7. Victoria, BC

Best Day Trips From Seattle Victoria BC
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Victoria, BC, is located across the Canadian border and is a famously old-world destination. Sat on the sleepy, grizzly bear and jumping salmon-filled Vancouver Island, Victoria is proud of its early ancestry and not yet ready to shake off the old architecture and even transport methods like horse-drawn carriages. The British influence in Victoria is also heavily leaned into, with tearooms and double-decker buses throughout the city. As a day trip, it is great fun.

By land, Victoria is a considerable distance from Seattle. But by high-speed clipper ferry, the journey takes less than 3 hours. Must-visit attractions in Victoria include visiting the brightly-colored floating pier of shops at Fisherman’s Wharf Pier, Hatley Castle, and Craigdarroch Castle. Don’t forget the Malahat SkyWalk either; this attraction is a 10-story tower that brings you to a 600-meter elevated walkway amidst Arbutus and Douglas Fir forests. It is one of the best outdoor attractions the city has to offer.

8. Mount St Helens

Best Day Trips From Seattle Mount St Helen
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Mount St Helens is an active stratovolcano just south of Seattle. Scary? Perhaps a little. Its last explosion was in 1980, and this catastrophe marked the deadliest volcanic eruption ever in US history. And while it hasn’t erupted since, it is still one of the most adrenaline-junkie day trips from Seattle. You can visit any of its surrounding viewpoints, including Johnston Ridge Observatory and Windy Ridge Viewpoint. But only advanced climbers and mountaineers can tackle the climb-only route to the summit. Non-climbers get the views, while climbers get the challenge of summiting an active volcano.

Best Day Trips From Seattle Mount St Helen2
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Mount St Helens may be one of the longest day trips from Seattle, taking 3.5 hours by car from Seattle’s city center. Don’t let that phase you though, especially if you have drivers to rotate driving shifts between. Mount St Helens is a fascinating and challenging place for your next haunt if you are an advanced climber and mountaineer. You’ll pass through Olympia on your way to the volcano, which makes a great halfway stopping point. You can always stop for some political history and well-earned coffee after getting face-to-face with one of the US’ most feared volcanoes.

9. La Push Beaches

Best Day Trips From Seattle La Push Beaches
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Twilight fans will probably be familiar with La Push Beach. It is that moody-aesthetic, angsty teen-style beach with battered black sprinkled sand, crashing waves, and washed-up driftwood. The most impressive thing about driftwood is that sometimes it can be almost complete tree trunks. Out of all the day trips from Seattle, La Push beaches really have the atmosphere down to a tee. You can visit (creatively named) First Beach, Second Beach, Third Beach, or Rialto Beach.

Best Day Trips From Seattle La Push Beach2
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The distance from Seattle is pretty high; you’ll catch a ferry ride with your car across Puget Sound before driving through the Olympic National Park if you want to go the adventurous route. Otherwise, drive through Tacoma and over the Tacoma Narrows Bridge, all around the top end of the Olympic Peninsula – passing Port Angeles. The whole drive takes under 4 hours, with an 8-hour return trip. Therefore, you’ll need multiple drivers or an overnight stay and some flexibility over the term ‘day trip.’

10. Port Angeles

Best Day Trips from Seattle Port Angeles
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Port Angeles is far more than a city squeezed onto the coastline by the looming presence of Olympic National Park. The tiny city is right at the top of the Olympic Peninsula and, for most, simply a bolt-hole to explore the nearby national park and forest. Don’t be that person, though; Port Angeles is a day trip in its own right. The city is a real cultural hotspot – highly celebratory of its heritage and arts. You can visit the Port Angeles Fine Arts Center, Elwha Klallam Museum at the Carnegie, and the Port Angeles Underground & Heritage Tour.

Best Day Trips from Seattle Port Angeles Downtown
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Port Angeles is one of the most underrated day trips from Seattle. The Port Angeles distance from Seattle is just 2.5 hours; you’ll need a car and will be crossing the Puget Sound by car ferry (which even sounds exciting). If you have a day or two to spare, you could stay overnight in Port Angeles and use it as a base to catch the ferry to Victoria the following day as a second-day trip. There’s a direct ferry line between the two that is just too tempting not to use if you have the time.

11. Olympia

Best Day Trips From Seattle Olympia
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There’s always natural beauty and a hiking trail to be found within easy distance from Seattle. But this day trip offers something slightly different. Olympia is the state capitol of Washington, DC. This title means that the city, which is humbly located at the southern end of Puget Sound, just an hour’s drive from Seattle, houses the most important buildings in Washington.

The Washington State Capitol Campus, Legislative Building, and a 1909-built Governor’s Mansion are in Olympia. Regarding political history and American culture, Olympia offers much more in-depth insight than Seattle. So day trip down to Olympia and get it all figured out.

It is free to enter the Washington State Capitol Building and Campus. You can easily spend an hour or two wandering around this political attraction. Then you can see more of the things to do in Olympia. Definitely allow a whole day for the visit, especially if you reach the city by 1.5-hour train. Olympia is understandably popular for its political and American history. And if these are things that float your boat, then Olympia has your name written all over it.

12. North Bend

Best Day Trips From Seattle North Bend
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North Bend is an ideal day trip for railroad history and beautiful natural scenery. The town has Northwest Railway Museum and its traditional train line. Plus, the stunning Three Forks Natural Area. It is a great place to visit for a few hours of wandering and fun. North Bend is also the only day trip in this guide that can be completed by a single, short-distance bus journey. You can catch the Trailhead Direct Mt. Si for 35 minutes and arrive directly in North Bend – which definitely beats navigating the Seattle city center in a rental car.

Best Day Trips From Seattle North Bend2 Mount Si
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North Bend is a cute allrounder, primarily suited to those with an interest in railway heritage or dead set against driving to go on a day trip from Seattle. We’ve added this day trip as it is an easy bus ride option for non-drivers visiting Seattle. Oh, and we’ll drop in the fun fact that the town was also used as a set for Twin Peaks, a significant movie; be prepared to spot all the familiar backdrops.

13. Go Wine Tasting

Best Seattle Day Trips Wine Tasting
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Going wine tasting is a fun day trip from Seattle – and you are definitely never short of guided wine-tasting tours from Seattle. Woodinville is one of the hotspots for wine-tasting day trips from Seattle. Woodinville Wine Country is famed for its reds; cabernet sauvignon, syrah, and merlot are all on the tasting menus. And with over 130+ wineries in the region, visiting them all in a day is impossible. Pick your tasting experience wisely. If you opt for this day trip, you are in for an exciting time.

Best day trips from Seattle Wine Tasting Tours
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Most wine-tasting tours last approximately 7 hours and include 4-6 wineries. Pace yourself, as you’ll be trying around 5 glasses of wine at each stop, and it’s hilariously easy to get too tipsy. Woodinville is only a 25-minute drive from Seattle city center, so most of your time will be spent in the tasting experiences. It is easy to see why wine tasting is so prevalent in Seattle. Woodinville Wine Country is close, well-run with lots of tour options, and renowned for tasty reds.

14. Gig Harbor

Best Day Trips from Seattle Gig Harbor
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Gig Harbor is a blink-and-you-miss-it town in size, but in character, it is worth a visit. The town is connected to its past and has a strong sense of maritime community. Gig Harbor is straightforward and full of sweet local attractions for a wholesome escape for a day. The Harbor History Museum is an absolute must, with an immersive history that includes an 1893 schoolhouse and a 65-foot fishing vessel.

Climbing Finholm View gives you a stunning view of the town and water, and catching a Gig Harbor gondola is a must if you want beautiful views from the water. Even just walking through Gig Harbor is worthwhile; spotting the houses with overwater verandas and trying the fresh catch dishes is a treat.

Best Day Trips from Seattle Gig Harbor Museum
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The Gig Harbor distance from Seattle is next to nothing, taking just 45 minutes by car or 2.5 hours by public transport. It is a popular day trip that also bypasses Tacoma – win, win.

15. Snoqualmie Falls

Best Day Trips From Seattle Snoqualmie Falls
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Snoqualmie Falls is another beautiful waterfall, this time situated along the Snoqualmie River within walking distance of its namesake town Snoqualmie. That’s a lot of ‘Snoqualmies’. In more practical terms, though, the waterfall is just a 30-minute drive from Seattle, making it one of the shortest Seattle day trips. It is popular as a sunset attraction, as the falls are beautifully illuminated at this time with a pastel backdrop. Between the billowing waterfall spray and the sheer power of the crashing water, it is one of the most impactful falls you can visit within a short distance from Seattle.

For us, we love how close this waterfall is. It is the sort of day trip you could still wrangle after a busy day in Downtown Seattle – zipping across to catch the sunset at Snoqualmie Falls is the perfect late-afternoon adventure.

16. Tiger Mountain State Forest

Best Day Trips From Seattle Tiger Mountain State Forest
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Tiger Mountain State Forest spans 13,745 acres. And we’d suggest experiencing it on horseback or by bike if you want to cover some ground. You can rent bikes and organize horseback trail rides online beforehand. Otherwise, embrace the dozens of hiking trails Tiger Mountain State Forest offers.

The most impressive is Chirico Trail to Poo-Poo Point, which is 6.4km out and back and takes around 3 hours to complete. You can usually spot hang gliders and paragliders enjoying the valley, and this trail also gives you beautiful views of Mount Rainier in the distance. Tiger Mountain State Forest is ideal for endless hours on forest tracks.

The distance from Seattle is minimal, taking only 30 minutes by car. You can add Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park to your day trip when you drive to Tiger Mountain State Forest. The park has tons of hiking trails and is located halfway along the exact driving route you’ll be using.

17. Wallace Falls State Park

Best Day Trips From Seattle Wallace Falls State Park
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Wallace Falls State Park is jam-packed and full of old-growth forests, spreading over a vast area of 1,380 acres. But its winning factor is its 265-foot waterfall, which you can get up close to at the Wallace Falls Middle Falls Overlook. The waterfall plunges dramatically against a thick backdrop of coniferous trees – visually really striking. The overlook is a 5-mile hike but worth every sweaty step for the final view.

Wallace Falls State Park is the perfect place to exhaust yourself for the most untouched natural views. The park is somewhere to go for an ultimate waterfall hike. Of course, there are extended trails along the riverbank, too, including the nearby beautiful Wallace Lake. So you have plenty of hiking options.

The Wallace Falls State Park distance from Seattle is an hour by car or 3 hours by a sketchy public transport combination. For obvious reasons, we’d suggest driving. If you have time to stay at Wallace Falls State Park overnight, do, as it offers campgrounds that make for an enjoyable overnight base.

18. Portland

Best Day Trips From Seattle Portland
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When mentioning our other day trips from Seattle, Portland has popped up a few times. So what exactly does this powerhouse of Oregon offer to visiting tourists? In short, eco-friendly recreation, microbreweries, and more coffeehouses than you could ever count. Portland is inherently trendy, and Oregon’s largest city is overdue a reputation makeover. Visiting Hoyt Arboretum, International Rose Test Gardens, and Witch’s Castle are all brilliant outdoor things to do in Portland to connect with nature. Then just head to the microbreweries or grab a caffeine fix.

Top Day Trips From Seattle Portland Oregon
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You can drive to Portland in just over 3 hours from Seattle. But we’d actually suggest catching the Amtrak Cascade. The train takes 3.5 hours but means you avoid driving through the congested city center or worrying about having to park and ride in on public transport. Catch the first train from Seattle to Portland so that you can arrive at around 10 am, catching the 7 pm service back to Seattle. You’ll be back in Seattle by 11 pm and get a full day of 9 hours to sightsee Portland.

19. Diablo Lake

Best Day Trips From Seattle Diablo Lake
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Diablo Lake is a stunning alpine attraction and beautiful addition to our day trips from Seattle. We’d suggest pinpointing the Diablo Lake Vista Point, aka the Diablo Lake Overlook, which has the most impressive view of the electric blue lake. Because Diablo Lake is filled with glacial water, its waters appear almost cloudy in color.

And the brightness is a real draw, too, making the lake one of the most photogenic day trips from Seattle. You can start at the viewpoint and then embark on one of the many hikes around the lake’s perimeter; a camera is necessary.

In terms of distance from Seattle, Diablo Lake is 2.5 hours by car and requires you to drive – it is in the middle of nowhere. It is sandwiched between the remainder of Ross Lake National Recreation Area and North Cascades National Park. Be prepared for a desolate wilderness experience of natural beauty.

20. Vancouver

Best Day Trips from Seattle Vancouver
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Vancouver is one of the most incredible day trips from Seattle, and it will take little to convince you to agree with us. You can zip over from Seattle to Vancouver in just 2.5 hours by car. Vancouver is the darling of the Pacific Northwest coast of Canada. It has close ties to its First Nations history, unrivaled orca-watching opportunities, and a brilliant cultural scene. It actually feels like you can museum-hop forever in Vancouver. Or you can head just outside the city to hikes and outdoor recreation attractions like Capilano Suspension Bridge Park, which snakes through the treetops of a 30-acre park.

Best Day Trips from Seattle Vancouver Capilano Suspension Bridge
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It doesn’t take a genius to see why Vancouver is so popular – there are so many things to do. And for anyone wanting to sneak Canada into their US trip, it is a brilliant way to combine two countries in a limited time. Vancouver is so iconic that we just had to include it amongst the best Seattle day trips. How could you miss it when you are so close?

21. Whidbey Island

Best Day Trips From Seattle Whidbey Island
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Whidbey Island is another of the best Seattle day trips – famously acting as the boundary for the northern end of the Puget Sound. The island is big, playing home to over 70,000 permanent residents. It is beloved for its coastline and small coastal communities. It is such a beautiful example of coastal living that it has been used in films such as Free Willy 2, The War of the Roses, and Top Gun: Maverick. Whidbey Island has everything from beaches to lakes and farmland. You go to this sort of place because you want to find farm-to-table restaurants and have a wholesome, off-the-grid weekend.

Deception Pass Bridge

Best Day Trips From Seattle Deception Pass Bridge
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With only a day trip, though, you need to think practically. You should definitely drive Deception Pass Bridge, visit Deception Pass State Park, stop by arty Langley, get some history at Fort Casey, and, with younger children, visit Price Sculpture Forest for some family-tailored fun.

Whidbey Island is a surprisingly short distance from Seattle. The Whidbey Island distance varies by train and car, but both options take around 1.5 hours. The train takes 1.5 hours while driving takes an hour. Its proximity to Seattle partly makes it a popular getaway and day trip.

22. Bainbridge Island

Best Day Trips from Seattle Bainbridge Island
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Remember Bainbridge Island from earlier? This time, we’ll focus on the whole island, not just Fort Ward’s scuba diving opportunities. The island is reached by ferry from Seattle, taking only an hour. You can bring a car (which we highly recommend because the island is a nightmare on foot or public transport), and ticket price varies based on vehicle size. When it comes to outdoor recreation, when you arrive, you are spoiled for choice, and that extra money to bring a car will be greatly appreciated.

Best Day Trips from Seattle Bainbridge Island Coast
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On a day trip from Seattle, you can plan a little road trip around Bainbridge Island to hop between its different attractions. The Bainbridge Island distance by ferry is so short that you barely use up any energy on the ferry section. So, a few hours of driving is absolutely nothing and a feasible option. Bainbridge Island has the beautiful Bloedel Reserve, a nature preserve 150 acres in size. The reserve has manicured paths to visit the forests, ornate garden, and reflection pool within its limits. The island also has the Grand Forest West and Gazzam Lake reserves. While for culture, there’s the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum and Museum of Art.

23. San Juan Island

Best Day Trips From Seattle San Juan Island
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San Juan Island is a little animal-watching hotspot just off the coast of Seattle. You can meet its resident alpacas, take a kayaking tour to spot its regular orca visitors, or just embrace bird watching from a scenic lavender field. The ferry ride drops you in Friday Harbor, where you can museum hop and take advantage of numerous wildlife-themed tours around the island.

In terms of distance from Seattle, this day trip is lengthy. While it is best visited on a multi-day trip, the most ambitious and rigid-scheduled of you can tackle this as a day trip from Seattle. San Juan Island is reached by a 3-hour 45-minute ferry that departs from Seattle Harbor.

Treat this ferry ride as your first wildlife-watching experience. You can see whales, orcas, dolphins, seals, and many sea birds. So don’t waste this ferry trip – pack binoculars and a camera with a good lens. You will have a good few hours on the island before catching a return ferry.

24. North Cascades National Park

Best Day Trips From Seattle North Cascades National Park
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Banff has everyone flashing heart eyes but North Cascades National Park is your best bet if you want a Banff-style experience without crossing the Canadian border. And as an ideal mid-length trip North Cascades National Park is just 2 hours away from Seattle by car.

It’s most impressive when it has snow-capped peaks in full glory, but its bright blue and green alpine lakes are stunning year-round. North Cascades has that alpine allure while being way less busy than some of the other national park choices near Seattle. Those in the know love it for its quieter trails and alpine scenery – especially those electric-colored lakes.

Best Day Trips From Seattle North Cascades National Park2
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North Cascades is an absolute given in a list of the best day trips from Seattle. It has more than 300 glaciers and dozens of mountains, essentially a photographer’s paradise. You have many trails to choose from, and even just driving through guarantees beautiful views. Allow a full day in North Cascades to embrace the experience fully.

25. Olympic National Park

Best Day Trips from Seattle Olympic National Park
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Olympic National Park is an incredible addition to your Seattle experience, and you are likely already planning a trip or, at the very least, familiar with it. Olympic National Park staggeringly covers a near million acres. Predominantly, this encompasses old-growth rainforests, waterfalls, and a few multi-day hiking trails that leave you otherwise cut off from the outside world.

In an ideal world, you’d have more than a day to visit the park, especially with its proximity to Rialto Beach and the Twilight-famed black sand shoreline. There are just so many things to do in Olympic National Park. But in a day, you can at least cover its highlights – Hoh Rain Forest and its Hall of Mosses Trail, Hurricane Ridge, and trail-lined shores of Lake Crescent.

Best Day Trips from Seattle Olympic National Park Views
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The Olympic National Park’s distance from Seattle varies depending on where you plan to visit (it is almost a million acres in size, remember). However, to get to the main visitor center is a 2.5-hour drive. We recommend renting a car for this trip. You can book guided tours, but they are extortionate in price and very limited in your itinerary. Instead, rent a car and get exploring independently.

26. Mount Rainier National Park

Best Day Trips From Seattle Mount Rainier National Park
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Mount Rainier National Park is clustered around an active volcano with a glaciated peak – Mount Rainier itself. The mountain basks in both glory and attention, with fantastic hiking trails zig-zagging its slopes and surrounding area. And while it is stunning in spring with all the mountain flowers, Mount Rainier National Park is definitely more of a winter day trip from Seattle. You can ski or snowmobile.

While you can even take guided snowshoe walks if you fancy something with a bit more of a sightseeing angle. If you visit Seattle in winter, Mount Rainier National Park is where you want to be. It has a reputation for being a snow lover’s heaven.

Fun Day Trips From Seattle Mount Rainier National Park
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In terms of distance from Seattle, the Mount Rainier National Park distance varies slightly depending on where you visit. As a general rule though, allow just over 2 hours to reach the park by car, with extra time in case of poor conditions. If you book a guided tour with transport from Seattle (you will need a car to access the national park), expect to be driving for a few hours to allow for potential pick-ups and stop-offs.

27. Fort Ward Park

Regarding waterfront parks, Fort Ward Park is not one to miss. The park is only an hour’s drive or a 1.5-hour bus and ferry ride from Seattle, but it gives you a totally different impression of the region. But it is most famous for its underwater park for scuba divers. For anyone PADI qualified, there are tons of corals and marine life to interact with. Hard not to love, right? Fort Ward Park is a hidden gem for many, so consider it the dark horse of this guide on the best day trips from Seattle.

Fort Ward Park is set on Bainbridge Island, which we will cover as a day trip attraction later. However, we wanted to first highlight Fort Ward Park as a standalone attraction – primarily due to its massive scuba diving potential. It is one of the best dive spots in miles around. And while a PADI is required to scuba dive at Fort Ward Park, you can still enjoy the 4,300 feet of shoreline with a scenic footpath without getting your feet wet.

Day Trips from Seattle: FAQs

Fun Day Trips From Seattle FAQ
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It is so easy to feel inspired by these day trips from Seattle; natural beauty is a guarantee, which we love. Before you go, though, take note of these extra snippets of info. These are our Seattle day trips FAQs.

What to visit outside of Seattle?

Definitely squeeze in some national park visits when visiting Seattle. Olympic National Park and Mount Rainer National Park are the two big ones. You should also make time to go whale watching as well.

What cities are one hour from Seattle?

Olympia, Bremerton, and Tacoma are all within an hour of Seattle. With three hours, you can reach cities like Portland and Vancouver.

Is Bainbridge Island worth visiting?

Bainbridge Island is renowned for its nature and has the forested Bloedel Reserve to visit. It also has some cultural attractions like the Bainbridge Island Museum. It is a good allrounder when it comes to day trips from Seattle.

What is 5 hours away from Seattle?

Siuslaw National Forest and many other major Oregon attractions are 5 hours away from Seattle. You can also venture across the Canadian border and into the rural areas around Vancouver and Vancouver Island.

To Conclude

Best Seattle Day Trips San Juan Islands
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Day trips from Seattle are exciting – but you don’t need us to tell you that. Now you know the full extent of the city’s day trip potential for yourself. If you fancy culture, there is Port Angeles, rainforest hikes, Olympic National Park, and skiing, Mount Rainier. Oh, and you can see humpback whales and sometimes even orcas from May to October. Seattle is somewhere where you need to allow extra days just to use the city as a base.

Wait, have you got accommodation already? If not, choosing a Seattle neighborhood is just as important as planning a Seattle day trip or two. Which neighborhood you choose will massively impact your experience, so make sure to distinguish your Fremont from your West Seattle. You’ll also want to pay close attention to your neighborhood of choice and how it affects your distance to certain day trip attractions.

Have a brilliant time visiting Seattle. Whether you visit Mount Rainier or Whatcom Falls, you’ll have a spectacular time embracing all its exciting surroundings.

Plan Your Next Trip to Washington State With these Resources



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