The 28 Best Day Trips From Seattle

Aerial view of Seattle downtown and harbor at dusk, USA

Matteo Colombo / Getty Images 

Whether you are a visitor looking to add on to your Seattle vacation experience or a local looking for an escape from the city, there are many day trips and getaways within driving distance of Seattle. You can head to the forest, the mountains, or even to a quiet island, or even combine a few of these things into a road trip.

You'll be able to relax and know when the getaway is over, it's only a short drive back to Seattle. As you make your way farther down the list, the distances increase and the trips are better suited for a long weekend away rather than a day trip. Since many of these excursions drive through mountain terrain, seasonal road closures are common and you should always check the conditions before heading out.

01 of 28

Bainbridge Island: Charming Small Town Vibe

A person biking through the forest on Bainbridge Island

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Bainbridge Island is filled with thousands of acres of parks and gardens, including the picturesque Bloedel Reserve. Wander the waterfront or the adorable downtown village of Winslow where you’ll find local shops and dining options. Bainbridge Island is also home to several wineries, a brewery, and a distillery so you can create your own tasting tour. Annually, you'll find art tours with open studios.

This is a great day trip, but if you stay a night or two, look to the island’s cottages, inns, and vacation rental options rather than expecting larger chain hotels.

Getting There: Bainbridge Island is located across the Puget Sound just off the main Kitsap Peninsula. From the Seattle side, catch the Bainbridge Island Ferry to get there, which takes 35 minutes. To drive around Puget Sound by car would take about one hour and 45 minutes.

Travel Tip: The town where the ferry drops off passengers is easy to explore on foot, so you don't need to worry about a car. If you want to visit farther parts of the island, bicycles are available to rent.

02 of 28

Tulalip Resort Casino: A Little Slice of Vegas

Tulalip Casino and Resort

Blake Handley / Flickr / CC BY 2.0

Address
10200 Quil Ceda Blvd, Tulalip, WA 98271, USA
Phone +1 888-272-1111

Want to jet away to Vegas, but don’t have time? The next best thing in Washington State is a trip to Tulalip Resort Casino.

This full-service casino resort provides a high-end Vegas experience, including table games and slots galore, live entertainment, luxe hotel rooms, and a number of excellent restaurants all on the resort property. The Tulalip Resort Casino, which is owned by the Tulalip tribe, is decorated with beautiful northwest Indigenous art and designs. They have a cultural center you can visit within a short drive from the casino.

Getting There: The casino, located in the town of Tulalip, is just 40 minutes north of Seattle right off of Interstate 5.

Travel Tips: If the casino isn't enough for you, then right next door are the Seattle Premium Outlets, a large upscale outlet mall.

03 of 28

Whidbey Island: Escape From the City

Deception Pass Whidbey Island

Aaron McCoy / Getty Images

Whidbey Island is just a little over an hour by car from Seattle, but it couldn’t feel more different from Washington’s largest city. This island has a distinctly rural atmosphere.

Like many of the islands in the Puget Sound, you’ll find ample art galleries, plenty of delicious places to eat and drink, wineries dotting the countryside, and shorelines on both the Puget Sound and several lakes to explore.

Oak Harbor is the main hub on the island and a fine place to wander from gallery to gallery or go out to eat. Beyond Oak Harbor, the island is fun to explore.

Getting There: It's about 40 minutes by car from Seattle to Mukilteo, and then you have to board a short 20-minute ferry to Clinton on Whidbey Island.

Travel Tips: Don’t miss spending some time at Ebey’s Landing, which marries outdoor adventures (hiking the Bluff Trail is especially scenic) with some historic appeal.

04 of 28

Woodinville: Washington's Wine Country

Chateau Ste. Michelle in Woodinville

Steven Morris Photography / Getty Images

Right outside of Seattle is Woodinville, which is Western Washington’s own wine country. No, you won’t see fields of grapevines, but you will see wineries and tasting rooms all within close proximity to each other.

There are two ways to tackle Woodinville. If what you seek is as many tastes as possible in a small area (and less driving to go with all that tasting), then head to the Warehouse District where there are more boutique wineries per square foot than anywhere else on the planet.

If you prefer your wine with some wandering, then wander you shall as there are more than 100 wineries situated within driving distance of each other, including well-known wineries like Chateau Ste. Michelle and plenty of lesser-known wineries and tasting rooms just waiting to become your next favorite.

Getting There: Woodinville is just 30 minutes outside of downtown Seattle and 10 minutes north of Bellevue.

Travel Tips: If you want to spend the night, you can enjoy a multi-course wine dinner at the famous Herb Farm and stay at the Willows Lodge across the parking lot.

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05 of 28

Bellingham: University Town

Bridge at Whatcom Falls, Bellingham

Thomas Winz / Getty Images

Bellingham is a charming university town that's just large enough to have plenty to see and do, but not so large that it has lost its unique atmosphere. Bellingham is a city that values its outdoor spaces, the environment (don't forget to recycle), and its laid-back vibe.

Visitors to the city should immerse themselves in the city’s outdoor spaces as they’re fantastic—keep it local and explore a park in the city, walk along the bay, or branch out and take a whale watching tour in the San Juan Islands. In winter you can go skiing on nearby Mt. Baker.

Bellingham has plenty of dining and cultural spots to enjoy, including the historic Mt. Baker Theatre and Whatcom Museum of History and Art. It's also known as a craft beer town. If you like a little bit more history added into the mix, visit the Fairhaven Historic District within the city limits of Bellingham, but with its own unique character.

Getting There: Bellingham is a bit farther than halfway from Seattle to Vancouver, Canada. Simply drive north on Interstate 5 for about 90 minutes and you'll hit it.

Travel Tip: The Bellingham Farmers Market operates every Saturday in downtown from April to December, while Wednesday nights in the summer you can check out Downtown Sounds, a family-friendly concert series.

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Fairhaven: Literary Utopia

Fairhaven

Mona Makela Photography / Getty Images 

Fairhaven is so pleasant to visit that some visitors make it the focal point of their getaways. This historic district is located just south of downtown Bellingham and consists of six square blocks of charm.

Newer buildings and Victorian-era red brick structures make up the area and house shops and restaurants, including one of the best indie bookstores you’ll find anywhere, Village Books. For the bookish visitor, this may just be the highlight of a Fairhaven visit. Books on the shelves are curated by Village Books’ buyers, and books include new and used books alike, as well as e-books on their website. Stop in to explore the collection or check the store’s website for events.

Other shops in Fairhaven include jewelry stores, a pottery shop, a flower shop, a rug gallery, and other artsy shops. Explore the shops on one of the Fourth Friday Art Walks.

Getting There: Fairhaven is just south of Bellingham, about an hour and a half north of Seattle by car off of Interstate 5.

Travel Tip: After you’re done exploring the shops, Fairhaven is an equally fine place to grab a bite to eat at one of the coffee shops or spend an evening enjoying a fine dining restaurant.

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Birch Bay: Romantic Walks on the Beach

Birch Bay

thyegn / Getty Images

Get that remote waterfront feeling just a short drive away from the full range of visitor amenities in Whatcom County. Not far from Bellingham, Birch Bay offers an ideal base for a vacation in nature.

The bay itself is a half-moon bay that’s picturesque and ideal for recreation. Walk, bike, or beach comb when the tide goes out. The small town of Birch Bay has options for dining, but if you’re looking for more than casual dining, you’ll need to go to nearby Ferndale or Semiahmoo Resort for meals and evening entertainment.

Also nearby are even more recreation options like the Semiahmoo Spit, which opens up more hiking, beach combing, and birding opportunities.

Getting There: Birch Bay is just a couple of miles south of the U.S.–Canada border and one hour and 45 minutes from Seattle by car.

Travel Tip: Birch Bay is one of the last cities on the U.S. side of the border. After a stay in Birch Bay, consider road tripping into British Columbia for an international trip.

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Port Ludlow: Outdoor Recreation

Waterfront Resort and marina at entrance to Hood Canal, 4th of July flag display, Port Ludlow, Washington State, USA

Danita Delimont / Getty Images

Port Ludlow is a small resort community with lots of outdoor appeal. Located on the Olympic Peninsula, the town serves as a great getaway in its own right, or use it as a base to get to northern parts of the Olympic National Park, like Hurricane Ridge or nearby Port Townsend.

Port Ludlow is known for golf, as well as outdoor pursuits like kayaking, birdwatching, or boating on the picturesque bay. Don’t expect lots of ritz and glitz. Instead, be prepared for a beautifully relaxing stay in a lovely location and you’ll leave completely recharged.

Getting There: The best way to avoid traffic is to drive your car onto the ferry from Seattle to Bainbridge Island, and then cross the bridge over the Kitsap Peninsula north until you reach Port Ludlow. The entire trip takes about one hour and 40 minutes.

Travel Tips: Don't skip visiting the Ludlow Falls for some breathtaking nature that's practically downtown.

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Port Townsend: Tours on the Water

Marina during the Annual Wooden Boat Festival.

Aaron McCoy / Getty Images

Port Townsend is just up the coastline from Port Ludlow and offers another option to explore a small and approachable town filled with charm around every corner.

Port Townsend is a former Victorian seaport town rich in historic attractions, unique shops, and scenic beauty. Stay right on the water and enjoy the views.

In fact, the water is one of the best attractions here as visitors can sometimes spot whales from shore, watch eagles and water birds, go beachcombing or get out on the water on a rental kayak.

Downtown Port Townsend is also great for a stroll through the galleries and a bite to eat. Keep an eye on the events calendar as the town hosts festivals and happenings throughout the year.

Getting There: From Seattle, drive your car onto the ferry to Bainbridge Island and continue north past Port Ludlow for an additional 20 minutes. The total travel time from Seattle is about two hours.

Travel Tips: Use the city's official Map Feature for a handy list of local shops, restaurants, hotels, hiking trails, and more.

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Skagit Valley: Springtime Tulip Blooms

A field of red tulips in Skagit Valley
 Chris VR / TripSavvy

While you can visit the Skagit Valley any time of year, it is most popular by far during the spring when the Tulip Festival takes over and the resulting traffic on the country roads is a testament to that.

Fields of tulips will make you feel like you’re in Holland as you drive past, but it’s a real treat to spend some time at one or more of the tulip farms. Bring a picnic lunch and don’t forget your camera.

Other times of year the Skagit Valley is filled with outdoor recreation options, everything from skiing and white water rafting in the mountains in the east to visiting beaches to the west.

Getting There: The Skagit Valley is a large area, but most of the tulip farms are in the area between the Skagit River and the Swinomish Channel. Drive north on Interstate 5 to Mount Vernon, then get off the highway and drive west. It's about an hour from downtown Seattle.

Travel Tips: In springtime, the Valley fills with visitors coming to see the tulips in bloom. If you're driving there in tulip season, be prepared for traffic in this rural area.

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San Juan Island: Slowed Down Pace

San Juan Island

 Chris VR / TripSavvy

The San Juan Islands, in general, make a stellar vacation destination, but if you have to choose one, choose the largest and namesake island: San Juan Island.

Many visitors opt to stay in Friday Harbor, which has the greatest concentration of lodging options and restaurants. Friday Harbor also makes a fabulous launch pad for the many maritime activities that visitors shouldn’t miss, such as whale watching tours, kayaking, and sailing.

Outside of Friday Harbor, life on San Juan Island pretty quickly slows down so you can bike or take a leisurely drive past lavender farms and stop by a wine tasting room. Enjoy the slow pace and amazing scenery to its fullest.

Getting There: From Seattle, it's about an hour and a half drive north to the city of Anacortes, and then another hour and a half on the ferry to Friday Harbor. For a faster journey of just 40 minutes, you can also charter a seaplane from Seattle. There is also a seasonal ferry from Seattle directly to Friday Harbor that takes just under four hours.

Travel Tips: If you have time to visit some of the other San Juan Islands, they are even more rustic and undeveloped than the main island.

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Lake Quinault Lodge: Glamping in Nature

Lake Quinault Lodge

Macduff Everton / Getty Images

Address
345 S Shore Rd, Quinault, WA 98575, USA
Phone +1 888-896-3818

Washington State is home to several grand lodges that are perfectly situated for outdoor recreation but don’t require that you rough it at all. So if you like your days filled with hikes, but your nights filled with pillow-top mattresses, go with a lodge. The Lake Quinault Lodge is one of these, and it’s got an idyllic location with lake views and the Olympic National Forest just steps away.

Activities at or near the lodge include boating or swimming on Lake Quinault, hiking (the Quinault Loop Trail and the Rainforest Nature Trail have trailheads right on the property), and fishing. Alternately, the lodge itself has a spa where you can enjoy a relaxing massage, a restaurant, a recreation room where you can play a round of ping pong or some board games, as well as a heated pool and sauna.

Getting There: The Lake Quinault Lodge is two and a half hours west of Seattle by car, in between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean.

Travel Tips: Glamping in the Lodge is the most comfortable option, but traditional camping is also an option for travelers who prefer to rough it and pitch a tent.

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Mt. Rainier National Park: Year-Round Hiking

Mt Rainier with a line of green pine trees in front of it

TripSavvy / Chris VR

Address
Mowich Lake Rd, Ashford, WA 98304, USA
Phone +1 360-569-2211

Mt. Rainier is an easy day trip from Seattle, Tacoma, or most other western Washington cities, but can easily turn it into an overnight camping trip or a stay at Paradise Inn right on the mountain.

You can keep busy on a day trip by hiking a trail or two as you drive around the national park. Research where you want to go ahead of time, or just look for marked trailheads and pull over to explore.

Highlights include visiting Paradise and wandering the wildflower fields (when they’re in season), exploring the temperate rainforest at Carbon River, and hiking to Silver Falls at Ohanapecosh, but there’s far more to do at this national park. Activities vary pretty widely by season. Most visitors will want to come during the spring or summer when the roads are clear and everything is open and accessible.

Getting There: To get to Paradise at Mount Rainier from Seattle, drive south on Interstate 5 to Highway 7. The total travel time is about two and a half hours.

Travel Tips: Don't assume the park isn't worth visiting in the winter. Even lesser experienced snow sports fans will find fun activities like free snowshoe tours.

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Leavenworth: A German Getaway

Leavenworth, WA

TripSavvy / Jamie Ditaranto

Leavenworth, east of Seattle, is tucked along the base of the Cascades, and the location coupled with its Bavarian theme means you might just feel like you’re enjoying a little getaway to the Alps.

Start with wandering Front Street and exploring the German-themed restaurants and shops. If you want to get into the Alpine spirit of things, stop at restaurants like Munchen Haus and a beer and a brat on a bun topped with one of the many specialty mustards and sauces on the condiment bar.

Or try some schnitzel at Andreas Keller. Duck into the many shops tucked along this main drag, hang out in Front Street Park, or take a hike through Waterfront Park—both within steps of downtown.

If you stay longer than a day, branch out beyond the town and plan a hike in the surrounding hills. The area is also popular in the winter as the surrounding mountains get plenty of snow perfect for sledding, skiing, snowshoeing, and other wintry pastimes.

Getting There: Almost two and a half hours east of Seattle, Leavenworth is just south of the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Travel Tips: The city of Leavenworth hosts a different festival practically every month, but the biggest of them all is the annual Oktoberfest event.

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Suncadia Resort: Alpine Sports

Suncadia
Kristin Kendle
Address
3600 Suncadia Trail, Cle Elum, WA 98922, USA
Phone +1 877-220-1438

Suncadia Resort is an easy drive from Seattle and Tacoma but feels like a million miles away. This mountain resort is upscale and posh, yet a whole lot of fun for the family.

Hike, bike, snowshoe, or cross-country ski on the resort’s miles of trails. Golf at one of three courses also within the resort’s bounds. The resort has a pool, hot tub, a spa, an ice skating rink in the winter, several restaurants, and even a winery all on the property.

Getting There: Drive east on Highway 90 into the Cascade Mountains for 90 minutes to reach Suncadia Resort, near the town of Cle Elum.

Travel Tips: If you love this resort so much you don’t want to leave, you can even buy a vacation home or cabin in one of three local neighborhoods.

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Columbia River Gorge: Where the Rivers Meet

The Dog Mountain Trail descends into the Columbia River Gorge, Washington.

Jeff Diener / Getty Images

Hood River, Oregon, is known above all for its wind—windsurfers and kite surfers travel from near and far to whip their way over the river. If that’s not quite your thing, never fear. The surrounding Columbia River Gorge overall is pretty stunning. Admire cliffs and waterfalls as you make your way along rugged trails, have a picnic along the edge of the river, or go white water rafting.

Stay at Skamania Lodge in Stevenson, Washington, or find a campsite and commune with nature. And if you somehow get tired of all the natural beauty, Portland is less than an hour away.

Getting There: The town of Hood River is just across the state border with Oregon along the Columbia River, about three and a half hours from Seattle.

Travel Tips: Enjoy following the Hood River County Fruit Loop with stops at U-pick farms and wineries with views of Mt. Hood. 

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Lake Chelan: A Bit of Everything

The town of Chelan on Lake Chelan in Washington State, USA.

Dave Blackey / Getty Images

Lake Chelan is a perfect all-around vacation spot for families, for couples seeking romance, for girlfriend getaways—really, for any kind of vacation you might seek.

The lake is huge and located on Washington’s sunny side, so visitors can soak up the rays while they sip wine from one of the area’s many wineries. It’s an idyllic combination.

Obviously, lake activities are a hit here. Get out on the water and you won’t regret it. But Lake Chelan is also known for its food and wine. Both are fresh and often local, due to the lake’s position right near agricultural Eastern Washington. So save some of your vacation budget for dining.

Getting There: Lake Chelan is about three hours east of Seattle by car, but you have to drive through the Cascade Mountains to get there.

Travel Tips: The city of Chelan on the south shore of the lake is the most developed town on the lake, but consider bucolic communities like Manson or Stehekin to truly disconnect.

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Long Beach Peninsula: Seaside Trails

A paved bike path through tall grass

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Long Beach is exactly what it sounds like—long! The beach is 28 miles long so there’s plenty of space to walk along the shore and listen to the waves washing up on the sand.

The town itself has plenty of seaside hotels and restaurants. Activities to enjoy include riding horses along the beach, renting a bike, walking on the half-mile-long boardwalk, going crabbing or clamming, golf, or even visiting lighthouses in nearby Ilwaco.

Also, don’t miss dining at a seafood restaurant since this is, after all, the coast. Seafood is fresh and delicious. The Depot Restaurant, housed in a historic Clamshell Railroad depot, is an award-winning restaurant with a classically trained chef. Oysters are especially popular on local menus and they are right from Willapa Bay.

While you are on the peninsula, go out to the historic village of Oysterville. The entire community is on the National Historic Register and the original one-room schoolhouse and church are still in use for community events.

Getting There: Long Beach is on the Pacific Coast just a stone's throw away from the Oregon border. Drive south on Interstate 5 to scenic Highway 101, for a total trip time of about three hours.

Travel Tips: There are six state parks on the Long Beach Peninsula. Instead of paying to visit each one, buy a Washington Discover Pass to visit them all.

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Mt. St. Helens: A Piece of Recent History

Wide shot of the crater of Mt St Helen's

TripSavvy / Chris VR

Mt. St. Helens is about three hours south of Seattle, but it’s worth the drive. As you turn off of I-5 and head toward the Johnston Ridge Observatory, which is most visitors' ultimate destination, you’ll see the destruction the 1980 eruption left first hand.

At first, as you drive, burned tree stumps only show up here and there, but soon, the forest is filled with them, as well as with new growth. There are smaller visitor centers on the way where you can stop and catch the view or explore a few trails, but Johnston Ridge Observatory is the primary visitors' center with a film and exhibits about the eruption, plus longer trails for hiking.

While Mt. St. Helens does not have a national park around it like Mt. Rainier, it's an important destination with opportunities for recreation in the area.

Getting There: Drive south on Interstate 5 from Seattle until the turnoff for Highway 505. The total trip takes about two hours and 45 minutes.

Travel Tips: For a one-of-a-kind hike, take a stroll through the Ape Cave, a 2.4-mile tube formed over 2,000 years ago by molten lava from the volcano.

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North Cascades National Park: A Scenic Road Trip

Northern Cascades National Park

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
7280 Ranger Station Rd, Marblemount, WA 98267, USA
Phone +1 360-854-7245

The North Cascades National Park is best and most commonly experienced via a road trip along the North Cascades Highway. The highway follows State Route 20 from Sedro-Woolley to the town of Twisp and passes through the national park as well as several towns and past the Gorge Dam Overlook on the way.

Stop by the North Cascades National Park Visitor Center to learn more about what to do in the area or chat with a ranger about which trails might suit you and your party best, but count on ample hiking, fishing, biking, and the usual outdoor pursuits.

The park is a little wilder than, say, Mt. Rainier National Park, where you’ll see tons of other people exploring along with you (you might even run into traffic on a sunny day). It’s also a lot farther north so State Route 20 does close for snow at times in the winter.

Getting There: It's an hour and 15 minutes from Seattle to Sedro-Woolley on Interstate 5, where the North Cascades Highway begins. From there, drive as much of the highway as you desire.

Travel Tips: If you have to pick one hike, trek to Diablo Lake. The water is a vibrant aquamarine color from the silt of nearby rocks.

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Olympic National Park: Views From Hurricane Ridge

Olympic National Park

TripSavvy / Alisha McDarris

Address
3002 Mt Angeles Rd, Port Angeles, WA 98362, USA
Phone +1 360-565-3130

Olympic National Park is yet another amazing natural destination—one with almost a million acres and just about every habitat possible between its bounds, from a moss-draped rainforest to rugged beaches.

Hiking, biking, and skiing are all available in the park. One special highlight that’s perfect for both the adventurous and those who just want to drive somewhere and see something gorgeous is Hurricane Ridge. The drive to get to the ridge is pretty awesome, but the trail along the ridge is sure to dazzle as you walk along a pathway that feels about even with the mountaintops in the distance.

Getting There: Olympic National Park is just across Puget Sound from Seattle, but the route depends on your specific destination. You can drive a loop around the entire park via Highway 101, which starts just outside of Olympia.

Travel Tips: The Kalaloch Lodge on the Pacific Coast side of the park is a perfect and picturesque rest point for travelers completing the entire loop.

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Wenatchee: Endless Apple Orchards

Wenatchee

Spaces Images / Getty Images

The town of Wenatchee is just on the other side of the Cascades on the sunny side of Washington, and as such, it’s popular for people seeking an outdoorsy vacation in the sun or snow.

In the summer, explore the 13-mile riverside Apple Capital Recreation Loop Trail (Wenatchee is the Apple Capital of the World after all) or Ohme Gardens. Or sign up for a whitewater rafting trip down the Wenatchee River if you want something a bit more adventurous.

In the winter, jaunt off to nearby Mission Ridge for skiing and snowboarding. Wenatchee is also really close to Leavenworth so a vacation here can easily include jaunts over to the little Bavarian town in the mountains.

Getting There: The town of Wenatchee is about two hours and 40 minutes from Seattle driving east on Highway 2.

Travel Tips: The town of Wenatchee is a jumping-off point for visiting the nearby Wenatchee National Forest, perfect for hikes and even more outdoor adventures.

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Tri-Cities: Golf Galore

Green Bridge over Columbia River
jmoor17/Getty Images

The Tri-Cities is made up of Richland, Kennewick, and Pasco, and this reliably dry and sunny destination is popular with golfers, boaters, and wine lovers.

Golfers will find seven golf courses and two championship putting courses and fantastic weather for much of the year for getting out on the course.

But it’s not all about golf and wine. If you want to get outdoors, look to the Sacagawea Heritage Trail or Columbia Park, which has 300 acres, as well as water recreation options like water skiing, fishing, and boating. The area also has a long and storied history, including being part of the Lewis and Clark trail. If you love history or geology, don’t miss a visit to The Hanford Reach Interpretive Center.

Getting There: The Tri-Cities are three and a half hours from Seattle, driving east on Interstate 90 until the junction with Highway 243 South.

Travel Tips: Wine is another big reason to visit the area—tasting rooms are open throughout the year and the Tri-Cities Wine Festival takes place in November.

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Methow Valley: Winter Sports

Methow Valley

Ty Milford / Getty Images

The Methow Valley is located on the south side of the North Cascades and is a prime location for outdoor adventures. Casual adventurers will find the usual trails and ski runs and rivers to enjoy, but Methow Valley goes far beyond the casual.

You can go so far as to experience heli-skiing in this area. But for most, summers will mean leisurely meals overlooking rolling hills, hikes on sunny days, or fishing sessions on the Methow River.

The valley is popular in the winter for skiing, snowshoeing, and other snow sports. This area is not hugely commercial but does have some incredible places to stay, including Sun Mountain Lodge.

Getting There: It's a 240-mile trip to Sun Mountain Lodge from Seattle, and winding through the Cascade Mountains it takes about four and a half hours.

Travel Tips: Taste award-winning coffee at Blue Star Coffee in the town of Twisp, voted one of the best micro-brewers in North America.

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Portland: A Foodie's Paradise

Portland Skyline

TerenceLeezy / Getty Images

Seattle and Portland are the two largest cities in the Northwest, and each has its own distinct vibe. Portland is a bit more laid back than Seattle, and a little quirkier. It’s also filled with lots of things to do. First things first, people flock to Portland for the food. Everything is delicious in Portland, but especially seek out food trucks (there are hundreds), brunch, and breakfast. They even have an internationally-known mega-food festival, FeastPortland, which takes place each September.

Portland is home to wonderful parks and green spaces, including expansive Forest Park and Washington Park, which is home to the zoo and a Japanese garden.

By day, explore downtown or quieter Nob Hill or choose another neighborhood to explore. By night, take in a show at one of the city’s many large or small movie and theater venues or explore the quirky nightlife scene.

Getting There: Portland is along the route driving south on Interstate 5, just three hours from Seattle.

Travel Tips: Make sure to enjoy the tax-free shopping. All of Oregon has no sales tax.

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The North Oregon Coast: Cross-Border Excursion

Haystack Rock during sunset

TripSavvy / Jamie Ditaranto

Washington has a coastline, it’s true, but many Washingtonians keep on driving and head to the Oregon Coast. Just over the border from Long Beach, Washington, the northern stretch of Oregon’s Coast includes more than one great getaway spot.

Start with quaint and historic Astoria where you can climb the Astoria Tower to enjoy some pretty amazing views (be prepared for a lot of steps) and stroll the historic downtown.

Seaside is possibly the most fun of the beach towns in the area, with a long boardwalk, restaurants and shops, an arcade and aquarium, and plenty for families to do. Plenty of other smaller beach towns offer camping, RV sites, and quieter stretches of beach as well.

Getting There: The Oregon Coast is easy to reach via Interstate 5. Astoria is just over three hours from Seattle, while Seaside and Cannon Beach are slightly farther down the coast.

Travel Tips: If ​a beach is what you seek, you can choose from several beach towns. Cannon Beach is the most sophisticated with art galleries and a long stretch of beach highlighted by 235-foot-high Haystack Rock.

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Willamette Valley: The Oregon Wine Country

Willamette Valley

Clay McLachlan / Getty Images

A few hours to the south of Seattle, and less than an hour south of Portland, is one of Oregon’s major wine countries, the Willamette Valley.

Where Seattle’s neighboring wine country in Woodinville has about 90 wineries, Willamette Valley has more than 500 dotting the landscape. Of course, you can taste the wine to your heart’s content here but that’s far from the only thing to do.

Stop to dine and enjoy the fresh food at local markets and restaurants. Pair your wine and food adventure with some outdoor adventures as there are plenty of places to cycle or hike. Or do something a little more unusual like going on a hot air balloon ride.

The valley is so large that there are many different kinds of things to do, but whatever you do, this is a vacation sure to be relaxing and delicious.

Getting There: To get to Salem, the biggest city in the Valley and capital of Oregon, drive south on Interstate 5 for about three and a half hours.

Travel Tips: There are several towns worth visiting in the Willamette Valley and each one has its own wine profile and charm, from Corvallis to Yamhill to Salem.

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Spokane: A Different Side of Washington

Wide shot of Spokane Falls

TripSavvy / Chris VR

Spokane is Washington State’s second-largest city, right across from the Idaho border on the eastern side of the state. The city is not always the first to come to mind for a vacation destination but has plenty to offer. Spokane is strung with parks and trails as the Spokane River meanders through the city.

Visit Riverfront Park (host of the 1974 World’s Fair) and enjoy the waterfalls there as well as the lovely park. If the waterfalls win you over, also visit the more impressive falls at Huntington Park. Other things to do in town include visiting the Bing Crosby Collection, taking in a round of golf, or tossing back a microbrew—Spokane’s craft beer scene is one of the best in the state. Spokane even has a downtown "Cork District" for trying locally-produced wines.

Getting There: Spokane is due east from Seattle, but the long trip through the Cascade Mountains and across Washington takes about five hours—albeit with some great scenery along the way. Short 50-minute flights are also available.

Travel Tips: Not many major cities have waterfalls right in downtown, but you can see several waterfalls throughout Riverfront Park in Spokane.

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The 28 Best Day Trips From Seattle