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Best Day Trips From Seattle (Puget Sound Area) To Enjoy!

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Best Day Trips from Seattle

Best Day Trips From Seattle (Puget Sound Area) To Enjoy!

Washington is full of so many beautiful areas to visit, and many of them make great day trips from Seattle too. Well, really from anywhere in the Puget Sound area. We have a big list here of great places to get out for the day to explore. You will feel like you took a little mini vacation with a day trip to many of these spots. Most are great options to turn into an overnight or weekend trips as well.

We have listed ideas that fall within a 30 minute drive to a couple of hours to drive from the Seattle area (we have tried to keep the list to around 2″ish” hours and under, so you will have time to enjoy the location). So there should be ideas for quick getaways to get out of the house and be a tourist in your own state.

Washington day trip ideas (1)

Themed Towns to Visit in Washington

Here are some of the most popular day trip ideas from the Seattle area. Find 9 Themed Towns to Visit in Washington that might be PERFECT for a fun day trip, so check that out these onest that are withing a couple of hours from Seattle:

  • Leavenworth – a fun bavarian themed town. They have recently added an alpine slide and park outside of town, and it is a great 4 seasons spot.
  • Lynden – a dutch town that is great for exploring and eating. It is near Bellingham, so you could add that on for a bigger days adventure. If you are traveling with kids be sure to check out the Million Smiles Playground Park, for some more themed fun for them.
  • Roslyn – sits next to Cle Elum, which has so many fun activities to enjoy. This spot is famous from filmings of Northwern Exposure.
  • Langley – on Whidbey Island, this waterfront town is so reminiscent of earlier Washington days to me. You will find beach access as well as great restaurants and more here.
  • Poulsbo – the little viking town! We have spent many weekends here, and boy has it grown over the years. These days I find some of my favorite upcycled home decor shops, great coffee, fun restaurants and again – beach access!
  • Port Townsend – this Victorian themed town has beautiful architectures, fun state parks, beach access, great restaurants and shops and so much more.
  • Union Gap – a letter known area just outside of Yakima, Union Gap has one of my favorite free museum. Their Agricultural museum is wonderful, and a great walk down the history of this area. They do Civil War reenactments each year too, along with many other historical events.

Find more details on each of these options here.

And if you are looking for a specific theme, in terms of how to spend your day, consider:

In addition to those ideas, here are some more that we love.

North Sound Day Trip Ideas

The North Sound here is basically North of the Seattle area. Technically it is often described as Snohomish and Island counties, but we are going up to Whatcom with ideas here, and we have covered beach towns further down in the list.

Edmonds Sunset

Edmonds, Wa.

Edmonds has a quaint historic downtown area and waterfront, that makes for the perfect day trip. You can enjoy a great restaurant, spend time on the beach and shop all in one location. The other great thing about Edmonds is that it is so close to many in the Puget Sound area, making it easy to get too.

Check out our full review of some of our favorite Things to Do in Edmonds, to plan your perfect getaway.

La Conner Waterfront

La Conner

La Conner is most popular during the tulip and daffodil seasons. The Tulip Festival makes a wonderful day trip, but the town of La Conner itself it fun to explore, and there is quite a bit to do in the immediate area. You will find Victorian homes, charming shops & art galleries, delicious restaurants on the channel and a central location to explore the rest of the Skagit Valley as well.

We share more about where to stay, and things to do in La Conner here too.

Take Chuckanut Drive up to Fairhaven / Bellingham for the Day

This is a beautiful drive throughout the year, but I particularly enjoy it during the fall and summer months. You could just head up to Fairhaven and the Bellingham areas on I-5, but making a day out of it by taking Chuckanut drive is so much better!

If you will be visiting during the fall, be sure to check out all of these additional ideas for Things to Do in Whatcome County in the Fall.

South Sound Day Trip Ideas

For the most part, we are considering the south sound to be from the Tukwila/Renton area to Tacoma.

Tukwila / South Side

This might not be a spot that you would initially think of for a day trip, but this area actually offers quite a bit for families to do. If you are looking for something with indoor options, this is a particularly good idea as there is a Family Fun Center, Round One, Defy Trampoline Park, iFly, Bowling and more all very close together.

You will even find a Top Golf a short drive away (technically in Renton, but still in the area if you are making a trip out.

We share some of our favorite things to do in the Tukwila/ south side area here.

Dash Point New Bridge on Hiking Trail

Des Moines

Piggy Backing on the Tukwila/ South Side idea above, head a bit further south to Des Moines. There is some overlap in some of the things we share in both of these reviews, but that just means that they would be great to pack into a full weekend adventure.

I have been taking my kids to the Redondo waterfont area for years, as well as Salt Water State park, for fun beach time. I also love that this area offers some unusual eateries you won’t find elsewhere (like the Spice Bridge Global Dining Hall!). It is a great mix of outdoor fun, and city fun.

Check out our full review of some of our favorite Things to Do in Des Moines, to plan your perfect getaway.

Ruston Point

Ruson Point in Tacoma is packed with things to do! The Chutes and Ladders slide park and spray park, make great summer fun. There are restaurants and a nice waterfront paved walkway that goes for miles right here too. You can even walk to the Point Defiance park area, or jump on a ferry to Vashon from here.

Find our full review of so many fun things to do at Point Ruston, and nearby areas too!

Head East for Eastside Day Trip Ideas

When we talk about heading East here, we are referring to East of the Seattle area (not to be confused with Eastern Washington).

Day trip to Bellevue

Bellevue – 

Bellevue is so convenient, as it is so close. It will take very little travel time to reach your destination, but there is plenty to explore. My family loves to spend some time at the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, and its free! Bellevue has some really fun parks if you have littles ones, and it is packed full of great shopping options and restaurants too.

Find lots of ideas of things to do in Bellevue here.

You can head a bit further north to downtown Kirkland and the Kirkland waterfront too. These are also great spots to spend a day exploring. You will find parks that kids will love, a waterfront area with beach access, fun restaurants, plenty of shops and more in this area. Some highlights include:

  • Enjoy the beach and waterfront. Not only can you swim, but there are water activities in the immediate area too (like paddle boards you can rent and more).
  • Head up to the Kirkland Performance Center to catch a play or other event happening there.
  • A fun walkable downtown area, with lots of shops, parks, and restaurants (ending at the waterfront) in one central location.

Upper falls viewing platform

Snoqualmie & Snoqualmie Falls

Snowqualmie Falls is one of those spots you might think of to take company, when they are visiting from out of town. It makes a super day trip for those of us locals too. Not only are the falls beautiful, and easy to hike too, you can also catch a drink or meal in the Salish Lodge. We also love to head into historic downtown Snoqualmie afterwards for ice cream, or hit up the Snoqualmie Falls brewery for lunch. The Snoqualmie Casino is nearby and they have some fun restaurants too. We also love to stop in at the North Bend Outlet mall for a little shopping before heading home. The Snoqualmie Ridge Town Center is another fun spot in the area that boasts more restaurants and shops too.

You can also head a bit further into Falls City for some unique adventures like visiting Tree House Point, where they offer guided treehouse tours (or opt to stay there overnight)!

,m./ideas of things to do at Snoqualmie Falls here.


Ellensburg Bull


If you want to get further out of the city, and are looking for a nice relaxed pace, Ellensburg is a great fit. It offers a great mix of indoor and outdoor activties, as well as hosting some fun special events like rodeos. You will find wine tasting opportunities here too. You will find a riverfront park that is very nice to walk on sunny days, lots of museums, and great food options to enjoy during your visit.

No trip out this way is complete for us without a visit to the Thorp Fruit and Antique Mall, so make sure to stop in there for a visit too.

Find lots of ideas of things to do in Ellensburg here.

Pybus Market Wenatchee


Wenatchee is a really great spot to enjoy so many things. There are wonderful outdoor actvities, as well as one of my favorite indoor market places, the Pybus Market. The city sits along a river, so you can enjoy walking, biking, scooters and more. Plus, it sits in close proximity to other popular locations like Leavenworth, meaning you can combine visits to both locations. There are wine tastings, beer tastings, antique stores, specialty stores and more right along the main street of town too. And if you decide to turn it into an overnight trip, lodging can be more affordable in this area as well.

Find lots of ideas of things to do in Wenatchee here.

Hobbit House in Port Orchard WA

The Kitsap Penninsula & Olympic Penninsula Day Trip Ideas

The Kitsap Penninsula is easy to access and a pretty affordable area to plan a day trip to. You could also plan a trip to the Olympic Penninsula via the Kitsap Penninsula and build them both into the same trip.

We share a Kitsap Penninsula Road Trip Iteniary here that will let you know all the things you need to know about visting that area.

The Olympic Penninsula is one of the most popular areas in our state for outdoor beauty. You will find some of the best hiking and scenic drives in this area if that is what you are after! If you plan to visit the Olympic National Park you will need a National Parks Pass to do so. They do offer many fee free National Parks days throughout the year too.

Hikes at Mount Rainier

Mt. Rainier

(Note that Mt. Rainier has changed to a time entry system during peak seasons – late May to early September – so be sure to plan accordingly if you are visiting during these times. You will also want to pay attention to weather updates, and any current closures or conditions you should be aware of before visiting on the National Parks Service website).

Mt. Rainier is one of the more popular day trip areas in our state, and there is much to see and do here. It is located centrally in the Mt. Rainier National park, and there are a few different entrance areas to get access to the park. You should find everything you need to know to access the park, and for time entries here.

Also, another great spot for insider information on visiting Mt. Rainier, is to check out our Pacific Northwest Travel page here, and the many threads about visiting Mt. Rainier from locals here.

Now that the logistics are out of the way, one of the most popular activities at Mt. Rainier is hiking. You will find hikes for all levels, beautiful vista points and so many great areas to take amazing photos.

If you plan to head up as a family, we share some great starter Mt. Rainier Hikes for Families, that should be about the right pace for everyone in the group. A few more ideas for a trip to Mt. Rainier could include:

Rock stacking at Rialto Beach in Olympic National Park

Olympic Penninsula Beach Day

If a beach day seems more up your alley, check out this list of our favorite Olympic Park Beaches!

Devils punchbowl at Spruce Railroad Trail

More Ideas fro things to do in this area include:

  • Another really popular hike in this area, that is just beautiful, is the Spruce Railroad Trail hike, so you might want to add that to your list.
  • Check out the Sequim Lavendar Fields (seasonally)
  • Explore the Hoh Rainforest, for its unique landscapes. Stop in at the Quinalt lodge while in this area.
  • Plan a visit to towns like Port Townsend or Port Angeles
  • Check out an historic fort like Fort Flagler or Fort Wordon
  • Head to the Sul Doc Hot Springs for an overnight stay or day use of the springs

The options here are really endless, and you can make it a day trip or a week trip!

The Islands & Beach Towns

We are fortunate in the Pacific Northwest to have so many beautiful islands to explore. Here are some that make for great day trips. Note that some of these will require a ferry ride, which can be pricey, but others offer an option to drive over too.

Popular beach towns to visit include: 

Langley Waterfront
Enjoying a holiday day trip to Langley Wa.

The Washington coastline areas will take a bit longer (these three are still under 2.5 hours from the Seattle area). The island options might be better, if you want a shorter trip.

Seabrook and Ocean Shores make great options as far as places that will provide ocean access, spots to eat and things to do for the family, and are about 2.5 hours from Seattle. Long Beach is a bit further, but I like how clean and relaxed it is, so it is also a great option if you want to hit the Washington coastline and do not mind a bit of a longer drive.

Westport is also another option in terms of being one of the easier to access from the Seattle area.

Islands that make a fun day trip include:

  • Bainbridge – a couple of popular ways to access Bainbridge Island is via a ferry from Seattle or driving across the Narrows bridge in Tacoma and through the Kitsap Peninsula. Bainbridge has a fun town area right up from the ferry with shops and spots to eat, plus you will find parks and beach access, as well as a kids museum right there too.
  • Vashon – Vashon is best reached via ferry from Point Defiance or Fauntleroy ferries. It has always felt to me like an artsy island, with many local artisans. The Strawberry Festival is a fun time to experience Vashon, but year round you will find great local shops, restaurants and parks and beaches too. The Point Robinson Lighthouse, and their farmers market are not to be missed too.
  • Whidbey Island – out of all of the northwest islands, Whidbey Island is my personal favorite. I spent some time living there while growing up (back when you were designated as an “islander” or “main lander” – ha! Whidbey is made up of North Whidbey and South Whidbey. You can do it all in a day, or split it up for seperate days. Some highlights of both areas include:
    • North Whidbey – you can access from a bridge across Deception Pass. This is a beautiful area, and worth spending some time to explore. You will also find Fort Casey and the Fort Casey lighthouse over on this side of the island. Kids will love to explore the abandoned bunkers, and there is quite a bit of history to learn here.
    • South Whidbey – here you will find quaint island towns, reminiscent of a time before. I always get nostalgic visiting Langley, Coopeville. A trip out to enjoy the 25 Miles of Trails at Fort Ebey State Park is also a great way to spend a day.

Take a Trip Out On The Water

And if you want to stay more local, but are just looking for ways you can get on the water as a family, check out these ideas.

Here are some great ways to get out on the water with your family in the Puget Sound too.

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