Whether it’s quick access to stunning wilderness or a cosmopolitan coffee culture that is home to truly iconic architecture - Seattle in the USA’s northwest is definitely a location worthy of a little exploration. But what sights, cultural experiences and potential memories of the future await you on your trip? These tours offer the perfect launchpad for your Pacific Northwest adventure…
Take in the beautiful seascape of Puget Sound and the San Juan Islands - and hopefully enjoy the odd close encounter or two with some of the area’s whales on this enchanting day tour. Leaving from downtown Seattle your journey will be led by a trained naturalist who will point out some of the wildlife you spot on your trip. Species that call the area home include humpback and minke whales and orca - three pods migrate to the area for the summer months, maximizing the chance you might spot something.
Other wildlife to keep a keen eye out for include bald eagles, otters, porpoises and seals. The trip also includes stopovers at Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, where you will be given ample time to grab a bite to eat in a local restaurant and spend an hour or two enjoying the local shopping scene.
Friday Harbor Day Trip and Whale Watching from Seattle
Price: From 107 USD
Get up close to the highest mountain in Washington state, experience spectacular waterfalls and glimpse colorful wildflowers by taking this highly-rated day tour. Setting out from Seattle, the 10-hour itinerary to Mt Rainier and back features sublime views within and around Mt Rainier National Park.
During your day you’ll be able to drink in the iconic view of Mt Rainier from Christine Falls, take in the wildflower meadows of Paradise and enjoy a walk along the Nisqually River. The latter of which culminates in views of the grand Narada Falls, a horsetail fall that drops further than the mighty Niagara Falls, and which freezes in the depths of winter to produce a spectacular wall of ice. The day will also includes a visit to Longmire and its museum.
Duration: 10 hours
The Olympic National Park, with its jagged peaks, ancient forests and beautiful vistas is sure to entrance those who make the trip - is it any wonder it is a UNESCO World Heritage Site? The rain forest and stunning coastline are also home to a whole host of ecosystems and wildlife - from black bear to black-tailed deer and from marmots to waterfowl.
The day includes a journey through the waters of Puget Sound, and takes in locations with such evocative names at Hurricane Ridge, Lake Crescent and the Olympic peninsula. Sights include 360 degree views of local mountains and the San Juan Islands, tranquil waters in the area around Lake Crescent and the plunge of Marymere Falls.
Duration: 12.0 hour
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If it’s fine wines, wickedly indulgent chocolate and beautiful waterfall scenes you’re after, then this tour is the one for you. The six-hour itinerary includes visits to one of the state’s most highly acclaimed wineries in the form of Chateau Ste. Michelle, as well as a chance to sample delightful drops at one of the other many wineries in the Woodinville area. Chocolate lovers will salivate at the prospect of a stop at Boehm’s Swiss Chocolate Factory in Issaquah. And sightseers are also well catered for, in the form of views over Lake Washington, the lush landscape of the Cascade foothills and, of course, Snoqualmie Falls.
There’s a good reason the falls feature in this tour’s name, for the location is among Washington’s most popular attractions. More than one-and-a-half million people visit every year and it has also made quite the impact in popular culture, featuring in cult TV classic Twin Peaks. The site is also of major importance to the native peoples of the area, with the falls being central to their creation story as the spot where the first man and woman were made. The mists which rise up from the falls are also likened to connecting earth and heaven.
Duration: 6 hours
One of the world’s most famous volcanoes as a result of the spectacular but deadly explosive eruption of 1980, which blasted away an entire flank of the mountain, killing 57 people and covering a swathe of Washington state in ash. When the dust settled the mountain had lost height and a massive one mile (1.6 km) wide horseshoe crater had been created on its northern slopes.
The tour picks people up in Seattle and includes a three-hour drive to the Mount St Helens National Volcanic Monument. Sights include the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which boasts superb views of the volcano, and the chance to take a walk along the Eruption Trail. This includes views of the crater and the lava dome as well as giving people a chance to take in the devastation wrought by the eruption nearly four decades ago.
Duration: 12 hours
Delve beneath Seattle’s concrete and glass skyline to explore the pioneering early days of this magnificent city during this one-hour tour. You will be regaled by tales from the early days of the city’s foundation in 1890 as you explore three blocks of old Pioneer Square and the underground passageways that lie beneath the city. Seattle’s role in the Yukon and Klondike gold rushes and the history of the area’s indigenous peoples are just some of the highlights you can expect to learn about.
Duration: 1 hour
Of course, while the previous tour is ideal for those whose stay in Seattle is relatively brief, what if you want to take your time and savor every moment? The solution is simple - break up your trip. Separate tours are available for a number of those locations - including the likes of Pike Place, which will let you linger longer and give you the chance to truly salivate over every mouthful within this impressive market.
The market’s dizzying array of food types and styles will prove irresistible to many a food lover, and the longer stay afforded by this tour will give them the chance to sample everything from gelato and artisan cheeses to smoked salmon and arguably the best clam chowder in the country. Lip-smacking highlights also include visits to a number of landmarks, including Delaurenti and Botegga Italiana.
Duration: 2.0 hour
Lovers of all things aeronautical will find this tour hard to resist - as it gives people the chance to explore the home of the biggest name in aviation, Boeing. The manufacturer behind the iconic 747 jumbo jet operates a massive factory at Everett, north of Seattle. And by big, I mean big. The aircraft assembly plant is the largest building in the world by volume. Some 30,000 people work here and the site is so large that it even has its very own fire department.
Entire aircraft are built and assembled within its walls, and the scale of these hangers is so vast they are even rumored to have their own weather. Your tour will include a chance to explore an aviation gallery and a chance to walk the assembly line with informative guides and view the aviation giant’s mighty aircraft in various stages of construction. The factory’s ‘Future of Flight’ attraction also gives people the opportunity to learn about aviation via a number of interactive learning areas.
Duration: 4.5 hour
This six-hour tour is perfect for those looking to take in many of Seattle’s iconic locations - including the world famous Space Needle and its stunning views across to Mt Rainier, Puget Sound and the majestic Olympic and Cascade mountain ranges. Other sights that you will enjoy include Seattle’s birthplace in the form of Pioneer Square, and Pike Place Market - famed for being among the oldest farmers’ markets in the USA and the site of the world’s first Starbucks store, so coffee lovers take note.
Film lovers will also enjoy the trip to the Lake Union area, which is home to several floating homes. These include one that featured heavily in the classic rom-com Sleepless in Seattle, which starred Oscar-winner Tom Hanks and Meg Ryan.
Duration: 5 to 7 hours
The delights of the Pacific Northwest await
From majestic peaks to explosive volcanoes and from beautiful waterfalls to awe inspiring wildlife, the Pacific Northwest is truly blessed with a myriad of natural wonders. And Seattle is also a great destination if you prefer your attractions to have a human element - from its coffee culture, super wineries and foodie delights to its impressive skyline and world-famous landmarks like the Space Needle. So whether you’re hankering after nature, or crave a little culture, there’s something in this great city for you.
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