12 Irresistible Day Trips From Seattle, Washington - Updated 2023

day trips in seattle
| 4 min read

Seattle is a lively seaport town set along the tranquil waters of Puget Sound. It offers plenty of accommodations, such as short-term rentals, luxury hotels, and serviced apartments for tourists who are wondering where to stay. Boasting a distinctive skyline enhanced by the futuristic-looking Space Needle, Seattle is the biggest city in the state of Washington and is surrounded by plenty of beautiful scenery. In fact, if you look beyond Seattle’s city limits, you’ll find a range of small towns and state parks that are as alluring as Seattle. The Pacific Northwest region is brimming with lots of breathtaking scenes such as the majestic Mt. Rainier and the striking Olympic Mountains, so if you want to roam past Seattle’s city limits then you have to check out this great list of day trips from Seattle, Washington, that are sure to add to your adventure.

1. North Cascades National Park

Mount Shuksan at North Cascades National Park in Washington 1
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Jeffhollett used under CC BY-SA 4.0

North Cascades National Park is a great day trip destination from Seattle for nature lovers and outdoor enthusiasts and is located about 2 hours northeast of Seattle. You can take a scenic drive along the North Cascades Highway, where you’ll get breathtaking views of the mountains and forests.

Several short hikes and trails offer easy access to some of the park’s highlights, such as the stunning Diablo Lake and the thundering waters of Ross Dam. For those who want a more challenging hike, the park offers several longer trails, including the popular Cascade Pass Trail, which rewards hikers with incredible panoramic views. There are also beautiful waterfalls to check out, such as Ladder Creek Falls and Gorge Creek Falls - both accessible via short hikes.

For water activities, visitors can check out Ross Lake, where you can enjoy kayaking, fishing, or boating.

North Cascades National Park

Website: North Cascades National Park

2. Puget Sound (from USD 549.0)

Puget Sound, located a 1.5-hour drive from Seattle, is an ideal day trip destination for those seeking to experience the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.

Visitors can explore the numerous islands that dot the sound, including Bainbridge Island and Whidbey Island, both accessible by ferry from Seattle. These islands offer charming small towns and unique local shops.

For those seeking outdoor adventure, Puget Sound offers excellent opportunities for kayaking and paddleboarding. The sound is also a great spot for wildlife watching, with opportunities to see seals, eagles, sea lions, and even orcas. Visitors can also relax and enjoy the stunning views of the Olympic and Cascade Mountains while enjoying a picnic or hiking along the shore.

Private Sailing Adventure on the Puget Sound

Duration: 3 hours

77 reviews

3. Olympic National Forest

If a variety of natural landscapes is your idea of outdoor bliss then a trip to the Olympic National Forest is the go-to place. A fine combination of Mother Nature’s riches, Olympic National Forest showcases everything from rain forests and beaches to canyons and mountains. This is a wondrous wilderness park and it is surely a nirvana for outdoor adventurers. Enjoy hiking, climbing, camping, fishing, boating, and so much more.

Olympic National Forest

Address: 47.4644° N, 123.4784° W

Website: Olympic National Forest

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: 30 USD (per vehicle)

4. San Juan Island

A quick day tour from Seattle takes travelers to the rural beauty and lively wildlife all around on San Juan Island. This destination is part of a group of islands just off Washington’s northern-most shoreline. San Juan Island’s big draw for daytrippers is the charming and energetic seaside town of Friday Harbor filled with fine dining, quaint shops, and many extracurricular activities. The true highlight, however, is Lime Kiln Point State Park where visitors can thrill at the sight of orca whales from a fabulous lookout!

San Juan Island

Address: 48° 38’ 12.0084’’ N and 122° 54’ 59.7996’’ W

Website: San Juan Island

Opening hours: dawn - 11pm

Price: 12 - 14 USD (ferry)

5. Darrington

Situated in a picturesque mountain valley and tucked away within the beautiful North Cascades region is Darrington. Possessing a wonderful small-town mountain retreat atmosphere, Darrington offers a great space to explore the Pacific Northwest’s far-reaching outdoors. Looming over this destination is the majestic Whitehorse Mountain that provides hikers, climbers, and backcountry wanderers an excellent place to play. Darrington is only 75 miles (120.7 kilometers) northeast of Seattle.


Address: 48.2554° N, 121.6015° W

Website: Darrington

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

6. Fairhaven

If you’re a shopaholic you’ll love a day trip to the small settlement of Fairhaven. Founded in the 1880s, Fairhaven offers a chill vibe by the water. Eye-catching tree-lined streets filled with a wide array of charming boutiques and stores are what you’ll find in this historic district. From hip bookstores to fanciful pottery shops, you’re sure to leave here with shopping bags stuffed with many items to enhance your home and your wardrobe.


Address: 48.7184° N, 122.5070° W

Website: Fairhaven

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

7. Bellingham

Residing near the Canadian border, Bellingham is a coastal city affording marvelous mountain and water views that include the North Cascades and the San Juan Islands. Only 90 miles (144.8 kilometers) north of Seattle, Bellingham consistently rates highly as one of the best places in the USA to live and it offers a thriving art and entertainment environment. In fact, don’t miss one of the top outdoor sculpture collections in the United States, on the campus of Western Washington University.


Address: 48.7519° N, 122.4787° W

Website: Bellingham

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

8. Blake Island Marine State Park

Mt. Rainier from Blake Island
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Rick Moerloos used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Located 15 miles (24 kilometers) from Seattle and nestled in the shadow of Mt. Rainier is the outstanding Blake Island Marine State Park. A camping park only reachable by tour or private boat, this state park is a real natural gem with a lovely saltwater beach shoreline that affords gorgeous sights of the Olympic Mountains and the Seattle skyline! There are plenty of things to do in Blake Island Marine State Park. Along with the inviting wilderness vibe, the part offers a glimpse into Native American culture with dining and dancing activities.

Blake Island Marine State Park

Address: 47.5384° N, 122.4929° W

Website: Blake Island Marine State Park

Opening hours: 8am - dusk (daily)

Price: 10 USD (per vehicle)

9. Birch Bay

Birch Bay is a beachfront community popular with tourists since the early part of the 20th century. Take a day trip to Birch Bay and you can anticipate thrills at a waterslide park, relaxation on a stretch of beach, picnicking at a first-rate state park or dining at a delectable restaurant, swinging a club at a renowned golf course, and more. Make sure to stop by Birch Bay State Park during low tide and enjoy digging for clams and shellfish on the mud flat.

Birch Bay

Address: 48.9179° N, 122.7446° W

Website: Birch Bay

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

10. Skagit Valley (from USD 209.0)

If you desire a one-of-a-kind day trip, consider taking the fantastic Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Day Trip from Seattle. Occurring in April, this tour affords participants the opportunity to explore colorful tulip fields and take endless delightful snapshots. You can also engage with the friendly tulip growers and learn about their proven techniques. This tour includes leisure time in the town of La Connor where participants can browse fun shops, visit interesting museums or take a scenic nature stroll. This tour is the ideal way to spend an April afternoon.

Skagit Valley Tulip Festival Day Trip from Seattle

Duration: 8 hours

5 reviews

11. Flaming Geyser State Park

day trips in seattle | flaming geyser state park
Source: instagram

Whether you choose adrenaline-fueled whitewater rafting or a leisurely pace of a picnic while watching remote-control model-airplanes flying overhead, Flaming Geyser State Park is a wonderful place to spend the day. Situated on the Green River, this park is a 480-acre (194.2-hectare) park with more than 3 miles (4.82 kilometers) of freshwater shoreline. Of course, the park’s unique feature is the “geysers” or methane seeps that draw many to the area. However, be aware that the flame no longer burns because of methane-source depletion.

Flaming Geyser State Park

Address: 23700 SE Flaming Geyser Rd, Auburn, WA 98092

Website: Flaming Geyser State Park

Opening hours: 8am - dusk

Price: 10 USD (per car)

12. Portland

Portland, Oregon skyline from the Ross Island Bridge
Source: Photo by Wikimedia Commons user Visitor7 used under CC BY-SA 3.0

Just a three-hour drive south of Seattle is Portland, Oregon. Portland is a beautiful eco-friendly city with snow-capped Mount Hood as a backdrop. Visitors to Portland can enjoy the great outdoors with the city offering a myriad of green parks like the iconic Washington Park and a network of scenic bike paths throughout the city. There are also many attractive bridges to admire and don’t forget to check out Portland’s oldest neighborhood, Old Town Chinatown. For indoor treats, Portland is known for its variety of energetic coffeehouses and microbreweries.


Address: 45.5155° N, 122.6793° W

Website: Portland

Opening hours: 24 hours (daily)

Price: Free

Seattle's fabulous day trips

From green parks to towering peaks and from small coastal towns to bustling big cities, the landscape beyond Seattle is worth exploring. And with this incredible list of wonderful day trips, your time in the dazzling Pacific Northwest is certain to be filled with unforgettable adventures.

Frequently asked questions about day trips from Seattle, Washington

1. What are some best places to visit within one hour of Seattle?

If you don’t want to spend too much time on the road, the best day trips to take from Seattle are to Fairhaven, Blake Island Marine State Park, Flaming Geyser State Park, and Portland. These notable places are only within one hour of Seattle.

2. What are some day trips from Seattle that can be reached without a car?

For a unique day trip from Seattle, hop on a ferry cruise and head to San Juan Island. This must-visit destination features fine-dining eateries, quaint shops, and many extracurricular activities.

Disclosure: Trip101 selects the listings in our articles independently. Some of the listings in this article contain affiliate links.

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As a child, Catherine's family took a trip to the World's Fair New Orleans and her mom asked what she wanted to see. She exclaimed, "Everything!" She's been working on that endeavor ever since.

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