Plan a Day Trip to Seattle!
Seattle is one of the best cities in the U.S. to take a day trip because of its proximity to a wide variety of scenic and cultural destinations. Within a short drive or ferry ride from Seattle, visitors can explore the stunning natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest, from the rugged mountains and glaciers of the Olympic and Cascade ranges to the pristine beaches and islands of Puget Sound.
Additionally, Seattle’s rich history and cultural offerings provide ample opportunities for day trips, with nearby attractions including museums, art galleries, historic landmarks, and charming small towns. With so much to see and do just a short distance from the city, Seattle is the perfect starting point for a memorable day trip adventure.
Outdoor Day Trip Ideas
- Mount Rainier National Park: Located about two hours southeast of Seattle, Mount Rainier National Park offers breathtaking views of the majestic mountain and surrounding forests. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, scenic drives, and wildlife viewing.
- Olympic National Park: Located about three hours northwest of Seattle, Olympic National Park is a vast wilderness area with mountain peaks, temperate rainforests, and a rugged coastline. Visitors can hike, camp, and explore the park’s many natural wonders.
- San Juan Islands: A popular destination for whale watching and outdoor recreation, the San Juan Islands are a group of islands located about two hours north of Seattle. Visitors can take a ferry to the islands and explore their charming small towns, scenic trails, and stunning waterfront views.
- Snoqualmie Falls: Located just 30 minutes east of Seattle, Snoqualmie Falls is a breathtaking 268-foot waterfall that attracts visitors worldwide. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, picnic areas, and stunning views of the falls.
- Bainbridge Island: A quick ferry ride from downtown Seattle, Bainbridge Island offers a charming small-town atmosphere with quaint shops, restaurants, and galleries. Visitors can explore the island’s many parks, beaches, and hiking trails.
- Discovery Park: Located within the city limits of Seattle, Discovery Park is a 534-acre park that offers stunning views of the Puget Sound and the Olympic Mountains. Visitors can enjoy hiking trails, beaches, and a lighthouse.
- Alki Beach: Located in West Seattle, Alki Beach is a popular destination for swimming, sunbathing, and water sports. Visitors can enjoy stunning views of downtown Seattle and Puget Sound while enjoying the beach’s many amenities.
Day Trip Ideas for Families
- Visit the Space Needle: A trip to Seattle is only complete with a visit to the Space Needle. Families can ride to the top of the iconic tower for stunning views of the city and surrounding areas.
- Explore Pike Place Market: Pike Place Market is a bustling public market in the heart of downtown Seattle. Families can explore the market’s many vendors, shops, and restaurants and watch the famous fish-throwing at the Pike Place Fish Market.
- Visit the Seattle Aquarium: The Seattle Aquarium is a fun and educational destination for families, with exhibits featuring sea creatures from the Pacific Northwest and beyond. Visitors can see sea otters, harbor seals, and a variety of fish and other marine life.
- Ride the Great Wheel: Located on the waterfront, the Seattle Great Wheel is a giant Ferris wheel that offers stunning views of the city and surrounding areas. Families can enjoy a thrilling ride while taking in the sights.
- Take a Ferry Ride: Seattle is surrounded by water, and families can take a ferry ride to explore the many islands and waterways in the area. Popular destinations include Bainbridge Island and the San Juan Islands.
- Visit the Woodland Park Zoo: The Woodland Park Zoo is a fun and educational destination for families, with exhibits featuring animals worldwide. Visitors can see lions, tigers, bears, and many other animals.
- Explore Discovery Park: Located within the city limits of Seattle, Discovery Park is a large park with hiking trails, beaches, and stunning views of the Puget Sound and Olympic Mountains.
- Visit the Museum of Flight: The Museum of Flight is a fascinating destination for families, with exhibits featuring historic airplanes and spacecraft. Visitors can see the first Boeing 747, a Concorde supersonic jet, and many other historic aircraft.
- Enjoy a picnic at Gas Works Park: Gas Works Park is a popular destination for families, with picnic areas, playgrounds, and stunning views of Lake Union and the Seattle skyline.
- Visit the Seattle Children’s Museum: The Seattle Children’s Museum is a fun and interactive destination for families with young children, with exhibits featuring hands-on learning experiences and creative play areas.
When to Take a Day Trip to Seattle
Seattle is a beautiful city that has a lot to offer year-round. However, the best time to take a day trip to Seattle depends on what you want to do and see there.
If you’re looking for the warmest weather, the best time to visit Seattle is from June to September. During these months, the weather is generally sunny and warm, with an average temperature of around 70°F (21°C). This is the perfect time to explore outdoor attractions like the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, and the Seattle waterfront.
However, it’s important to note that these are also the busiest months of the year, so that you can expect larger crowds and higher prices. It’s best to plan and book your accommodations and activities in advance.
Consider visiting Seattle during the shoulder season if you prefer cooler weather and fewer crowds. April, May, October, and November offer mild temperatures with fewer tourists. During this time, you can enjoy spring blossoms or autumn foliage and visit famous attractions without dealing with long lines.
If you don’t mind the rain, Seattle can also be a great place to visit during winter. From December to February, you can experience the city’s festive holiday spirit and enjoy seasonal activities such as ice skating and viewing the holiday lights. Just pack warm clothing and waterproof gear, as Seattle can be pretty rainy during this time.
In conclusion, the best time of year to take a day trip to Seattle depends on your preferences and what you want to do and see while there. If you prefer warm weather and don’t mind the crowds, visit during summer. If you prefer cooler weather and fewer tourists, visit during the shoulder season. And if you love the holiday season, consider visiting Seattle during the winter months.