Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Washington State boasts many enchanting destinations perfect for weekend getaways. From bustling urban centers to tranquil coastal retreats, this diverse landscape has something to offer every traveler. Embark on a journey through the top Washington weekend getaways and uncover the magic that awaits.
Quick Answer Guide: 12 Best Weekend Getaways in Washington
Top Washington Weekend Getaways
- Best for city explorers - Seattle
- Best for fans of outdoor recreation - Spokane
- Best for historic charm - Olympia
- Best for museum lovers - Tacoma
Unique Weekend Trips in Washington
- Best for fans of Europe - Leavenworth
- Best for people who want lots of options - Vancouver
- Best for wine connoisseurs - Walla Walla
- Best for tourists interested in Scandinavia - Poulsbo
More Places to Go in Washington for the Weekend
- Best for beach-loving families - Ocean Shores
- Best for relaxed vacationers - Langley
- Best for people who love hiking - Olympic National Park
- Best for year-round recreation - Mount Rainier National Park
The Top Washington Weekend Getaways
Washington is filled with vibrant and diverse cities that make the Evergreen State a perfect destination for a memorable weekend escape. From the urban allure of Seattle to the enchanting landscapes of Spokane, this guide will lead you through the exciting and quick Washington getaways that promise an unforgettable weekend adventure.
- Perfect For: City explorers
- Best Time to Visit: Seattle experiences a lot of rain throughout the year, but summers are sunny and warm without getting too hot.
- If You Go: Seattle is very walkable but the city is built on hills, so be prepared to get a calf workout.
How to Get to Seattle
To get to Seattle, you can easily access the city via major highways, Amtrak trains, or by flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport.
Things to Do in Seattle
Seattle is perfect for people seeking a dynamic weekend getaway filled with art, culture, and the exploration of iconic landmarks. Embracing a rich arts scene, Seattle offers galleries, museums, and public art, with the Seattle Art Museum and Olympic Sculpture Park standing out as cultural highlights. The iconic Space Needle has incredible panoramic views, while the Museum of Pop Culture (MoPOP) delves into music and pop culture.
Culinary adventures abound at Pike Place Market, where fresh seafood and local produce will delight your taste buds, while indie coffee shops around the city cater to coffee connoisseurs. Nature enthusiasts will find serenity in Discovery Park's trails and Alki Beach's coastal walks. Neighborhoods like Capitol Hill, Fremont, and Pioneer Square each have their own charm, offering unique eateries, museums, and things to do. Seattle's tapestry of creativity, culture, and nature makes it one of the best weekend getaways in Washington.
- Perfect For: Fans of outdoor recreation
- Best Time to Visit: The late spring and early summer offer mild temperatures and minimal rain, making it the perfect time of year to enjoy everything Spokane has to offer.
- If You Go: After visiting downtown, don’t forget to cross the Spokane River and stroll through Kendall Yards, a cool neighborhood lined with delicious restaurants and fun shops.
How to Get to Spokane
Spokane can be easily reached by air through Spokane International Airport (GEG), or by car via major highways like Interstate 90.
Things to Do in Spokane
If you want a weekend getaway on the east side of the state, Spokane is the place to visit. Explore the iconic Riverfront Park, where you can witness the majestic Spokane Falls and enjoy leisurely strolls, picnics, and a ride on the historic Looff Carrousel. Don’t forget to check out Manito Park and appreciate the beautiful blooms throughout the various seasons.
Uncover Spokane's rich history and architecture with a visit to the opulent Historic Davenport Hotel, an architectural masterpiece that transports you to a bygone era of luxury travel.
Finally, indulge in the city's culinary scene, from wine tasting at Mizuna Restaurant and Wine Bar, offering innovative menus that highlight New American dishes, to Sushi.com, a long-standing Japanese restaurant offering an extensive sushi menu. And don’t miss out on some of the many local breweries, including the award-winning No-Li Brewhouse.
- Perfect For: Historic charm
- Best Time to Visit: Check out Olympia during the summer months, from June to August, when the pleasant weather allows for outdoor activities and exploration of the city's parks and waterfront.
- If You Go: The Capitol Building offers free, guided tours every day.
How to Get to Olympia
To reach Olympia, you can easily drive south from Seattle or north from Portland on Interstate 5. You can also fly into Seattle-Tacoma Airport and drive approximately one hour on I-5 to Olympia.
Things to Do in Olympia
Elevated by a fusion of cultural experiences and historical charm, Olympia is one of the best Washington getaways and sets the stage for an inspiring weekend adventure. The iconic Washington State Capitol Building offers free guided tours that delve into its architectural marvel, legislative history, and stunning views of Capitol Lake, appealing to history buffs and architecture enthusiasts alike. Nature enthusiasts can find solace at the nearby Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, a serene sanctuary of wetlands and trails that not only offers birdwatching and native plant appreciation but also contributes to conservation efforts.
Olympia's artistic pulse thrives at places like the Hands On Children's Museum, engaging young minds with interactive exhibits, while Percival Landing Park's waterfront boardwalk provides a scenic stroll accompanied by public art installations that showcase the city's creativity. For an ideal blend of history and entertainment, check out performances at the historic State Theater, which offers an inviting venue to enjoy local talent in plays and musicals.
- Perfect For: Museum lovers
- Best Time to Visit: The late summer and early fall offer mild temperatures but plenty of sunshine for all activities.
- If You Go: Schedule at least one full day for Point Defiance Park, which hosts museums, gardens, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, and other attractions.
How to Get to Tacoma
You can reach Tacoma by taking I-5 North or South by road, or by flying into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and driving approximately 25 miles south to reach the city.
Things to Do in Tacoma
Tacoma is a great choice for a dynamic weekend getaway, blending art, culture, and natural beauty in a way that will suit everyone's taste. One standout is the Museum of Glass, where you can witness the mesmerizing art of glassblowing up close. They even offer live demos, giving you an inside look at the intricate work that goes into creating these incredible glass pieces. You also can't miss the Chihuly Bridge of Glass, which adds a cool artsy touch to the city.
The Washington State History Museum is ready to take you on a journey through the state's past. From its indigenous roots to its industrial growth, the museum's exhibits cover it all, adding a deep layer to Tacoma's cultural vibe. And for a nature fix, Point Defiance Park is your spot. With the Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium and the Japanese Garden nestled within, you can get up close to wildlife and find a peaceful escape.
Unique Weekend Trips in Washington
Beyond the bustling metropolis of Seattle and Olympia, there's a tapestry of distinctive spots waiting to be uncovered in Washington. From picturesque coastal towns to charming inland villages, these unique getaways in Washington promise an unforgettable experience.
- Perfect For: Fans of Europe
- Best Time to Visit: Visiting Leavenworth at Christmas time is a magical experience, as the entire town transforms into a picturesque winter wonderland with stunning Bavarian-style decorations and enchanting festivities.
- If You Go: The holidays are immensely popular here, so book your hotel several months in advance if you plan on visiting in December.
How to Get to Leavenworth
Travel east on I-90 for approximately two hours from Seattle or west on I-90 for about three hours from Spokane.
Things to Do in Leavenworth
Leavenworth, Washington, is a charming Bavarian-style village nestled in the Cascade Mountains, offering a unique and picturesque destination for families to explore, making it great for a weekend getaway. It is particularly beautiful during the Christmas season, when every building seems to be lit up with lights. Whenever you visit, one of the top highlights is the Nutcracker Museum, a whimsical place where kids can immerse themselves in the world of nutcrackers.
Leavenworth is also known for its outdoor adventures that are perfect for families. If you’re visiting in the spring or summer, take a scenic river float along the Wenatchee River, where you can enjoy the stunning natural beauty while gently cruising on the water.
Another must-visit attraction is the Leavenworth Reindeer Farm, where kids can get up close and personal with these gentle creatures. Note that the farm is not open in the afternoon during the summer months in order to keep the reindeer comfortable. Tours can still be booked during the morning and some evenings.
- Perfect For: People who want lots of options
- Best Time to Visit: Spring shows off Vancouver in full bloom, and you’ll find a variety of flower-related events between March and May.
- If You Go: Vancouver is just across the Columbia River from Portland, so it’s easy to pop over to Oregon’s biggest city for a day trip (or even just a meal).
How to Get to Vancouver
To reach Vancouver, Washington, you can drive via Interstate 5 if traveling by road, or you can fly into Portland International Airport (PDX) and then take a short drive across the Columbia River from Oregon into Vancouver.
Things to Do in Vancouver
Vancouver, Washington, not to be confused with Vancouver in Canada, is a versatile destination in the Pacific Northwest that caters to a wide range of travelers, ensuring an enriching weekend escape. The city's diverse offerings include an array of activities for every taste, from exploring historic sites like the Fort Vancouver National Historic Site and delving into local history at the Clark County Historical Museum to immersing yourself in the beauty of the nearby Ridgefield National Wildlife Refuge.
Uptown Village's artsy atmosphere and vibrant boutiques further add to the city's appeal, while its proximity to Portland and the opportunity to indulge in fresh local flavors at the Vancouver Farmers Market and eateries like Elements Restaurant make it a must-visit for those seeking cultural exploration, culinary delights, and outdoor adventures in the Pacific Northwest.
7. Walla Walla
- Perfect For: Wine connoisseurs
- Best Time to Visit: If you’re interested in wine tasting, you’ll want to visit in the spring or fall when wineries offer events and release new wines.
- If You Go: Since the covid pandemic, it has become increasingly common for wineries to require reservations for tastings, so be sure to check before you go, especially if you’ll be visiting over the weekend.
How to Get to Walla Walla
To reach Walla Walla, you can take a scenic drive along Highway 12 or fly into the Walla Walla Regional Airport for convenient access.
Things to Do in Walla Walla
Walla Walla is renowned for its flourishing wine culture and charming small-town ambiance. Wine tasting is undoubtedly a highlight of Walla Walla, with more than 100 wineries dotting the valley. Visiting award-winning wineries, like Woodward Canyon Winery and Caprio Cellars, not only allows you to savor exquisite wines but also offers a chance to learn about the winemaking process and the unique process that contributes to each one.
Embrace the culinary scene by exploring local eateries that showcase farm-to-table fare, or by trying something more casual after a day of wine tasting. Clarette's Restaurant is a great laid-back option if you want homestyle American eats. Stay in a local inn or bed and breakfast to make the weekend extra special.
- Perfect For: Tourists interested in Scandinavia
- Best Time to Visit: Events and festivals are hosted every month, but the largest is Viking Fest in May, which celebrates Norway’s Constitution Day with colorful processions and traditional food.
- If You Go: If you’re visiting from out of state, fly into Seattle and drive to Poulsbo from there. The journey is only an hour and a half long, and includes a beautiful ferry ride that will showcase the wonders of Puget Sound.
How to Get to Poulsbo
To get to Poulsbo, Washington, you can connect to State Route 3 from Seattle, or you can fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and then take a combination of road and ferry routes to reach the town.
Things to Do in Poulsbo
Poulsbo, with its Scandinavian charm and picturesque waterfront, offers an array of delightful activities that promise a memorable getaway. Known as "Little Norway," this town invites visitors to explore its unique blend of cultural heritage and natural beauty.
Stroll along the historic Front Street, where you'll find charming shops, bakeries, and boutiques that showcase the town's Scandinavian influence. Don't miss the chance to visit Sluys Poulsbo Bakery, renowned for its delectable pastries and treats that pay homage to the town's heritage. The iconic Viking statue stands proudly, welcoming you to experience Poulsbo's Norse roots. This town is easily one of the most unique and best weekend getaways in Washington.
More Places to Go in Washington for the Weekend
For outdoor enthusiasts and nature lovers, Washington State is a paradise of endless possibilities. Beyond the urban centers, there are some of the best Washington getaways that beckon adventurers with their stunning landscapes, abundant recreational opportunities, and a strong connection to the great outdoors.
9. Ocean Shores
- Perfect For: Beach-loving families
- Best Time to Visit: Central Washington isn’t balmy Southern California, so you’ll want to visit Ocean Shores in the summer for the warmest weather, especially if you plan on getting into the cold Pacific Ocean.
- If You Go: You can drive on the beach in Ocean Shores, so it’s easy to find a section all to yourself.
How to Get to Ocean Shores
Ocean Shores is tucked away on the Washington Coast. To get there, you can take a scenic drive west from Olympia on Highway 101, or you can fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and then drive southwest for about 2.5 hours to reach the coastal town.
Things to Do in Ocean Shores
Coming from someone who visited Ocean Shores many times as a kid, this is a great place for people of all ages. Spend your days strolling along the miles of sandy beachfront, building sandcastles, flying kites, or simply enjoying the ocean breeze. Because of the amount of free activities, Ocean Shores is also one of the most affordable getaways in Washington.
For outdoor enthusiasts, there are various activities to choose from, including beachcombing, clamming, fishing, biking, and kayaking. Take a scenic nature walk at Damon Point State Park, where you can explore dunes, marshes, and tidal flats teeming with wildlife.
Families can also enjoy the local attractions, such as the Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center, which features go-karts, mini-golf, and an arcade. Don't miss the chance to visit the Coastal Interpretive Center, where kids can learn about the unique marine ecosystem and wildlife of the region.
- Perfect For: Relaxed vacationers
- Best Time to Visit: Springtime in Langley brings flowers, festivals, and whale watching with gray whale sightings.
- If You Go: Rent a car on your trip if possible. Langley has lots to offer, but there is also a lot to see and do around Whidbey Island.
How to Get to Langley
To get to Langley, Washington, you can drive via State Route 525 from the mainland or take a ferry to Clinton from Mukilteo, and for those traveling by plane, you can fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and then drive or take a ferry to reach Langley.
Things to Do in Langley
Langley, nestled on the serene Whidbey Island, promises a laid-back and tranquil getaway. Its charming downtown, adorned with art galleries, quaint boutiques, and cozy cafes, creates an atmosphere perfect for unwinding. Take in the natural beauty of South Whidbey State Park, where leisurely hikes and scenic shoreline views invite you to take life at a slower pace.
Beyond Langley, the rest of Whidbey Island offers plenty to do. Explore Coupeville's historic charm and savor waterfront dining, or relish the breathtaking vistas and serenity of Deception Pass State Park. Embrace relaxation, bask in the easygoing ambiance, and uncover hidden treasures as you indulge in a blissful and chill vacation in Langley and its soothing island surroundings. Langley also offers easy access to the San Juan Islands, including the well-known Orcas Island and Friday Harbor, if you wanted to head up there for a day.
11. Olympic National Park
- Perfect For: People who love hiking
- Best Time to Visit: While summer offers the best weather, we recommend visiting Olympic National Park in the early fall when most tourists have left but fall rains haven’t started yet.
- If You Go: You’ll need a car to get around the park, and you’ll need to be prepared to do a lot of driving. Olympic National Park is very large and it will take at least three hours to drive from one end of the park to the other.
How to Get to Olympic National Park
From Seattle, drive west on US-101 N for approximately two and a half hours to reach Olympic National Park. The park has multiple entrances, including the Hurricane Ridge Visitor Center near Port Angeles, the Hoh Rain Forest Visitor Center, and the Quinault Rain Forest.
Things to Do in Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a true paradise for families seeking outdoor adventures and breathtaking natural beauty in the Washington State Olympic Peninsula. Start your journey by exploring the various ecosystems within the park. Take a hike through the enchanting Hoh Rain Forest, where moss-draped trees and lush ferns create a magical atmosphere. Marvel at the towering old-growth trees and listen to the sounds of nature surrounding you during your family getaway.
For stunning mountain views, head to Hurricane Ridge. Take a scenic drive up the mountain and enjoy panoramic vistas of snow-capped peaks. You can also embark on a family-friendly hike along one of the many trails, keeping an eye out for wildlife like deer and marmots.
Don't miss the opportunity to visit the park's magnificent coastline. Rialto Beach and Ruby Beach are two popular destinations for outdoor activities known for their rugged beauty and tidal pools teeming with marine life. Explore tide pools, search for seashells, and feel the refreshing ocean breeze on your face during a fun weekend trip. There are also plenty of campsites around the park if you want to rough it for the weekend.
12. Mount Rainier National Park
- Perfect For: Year-round recreation
- Best Time to Visit: There’s something to do during every season at Mount Rainier, but the summertime is truly special because wildflowers bloom all over the park.
- If You Go: Always check the weather before you head out for the day, especially if you’re expecting views. The Pacific Northwest can experience thick fog at any time of the year.
How to Get to Mount Rainier National Park
To reach Mount Rainier National Park, you can drive via Highway 410 or Highway 706, or you can fly into Seattle-Tacoma International Airport and then drive to the park.
Things to Do in Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is a haven for nature lovers in Washington State, offering a range of activities that cater to all ages, from hiking to mountain biking to snowshoeing. Don't miss the opportunity to witness the awe-inspiring glaciers and cascading waterfalls within the park.
Visit the famous Paradise area, where you'll be greeted by stunning wildflower meadows and breathtaking views of the mountain. Take a leisurely stroll along the Skyline Trail, which offers panoramic vistas of the surrounding valleys and an up-close look at the park's vibrant flora and fauna.
For a more leisurely activity, drive along the scenic Stevens Canyon Road and make stops at picturesque viewpoints such as Reflection Lakes and Box Canyon. These spots offer incredible photo opportunities and a chance to appreciate the natural beauty of the park and make your weekend getaway feel truly worthwhile. Note that the road closes every winter.
Washington State is a treasure trove of amazing weekend getaways. Whether you're into the buzz of Seattle, the wine wonderland of Walla Walla, or the beachy fun in Ocean Shores, there's something here for everyone. From city lights to coastal sunsets, these Washington getaways are ready to make your next weekend truly incredible.