Though the glories of Mount Rainier and the glittering waters of the Puget Sound can be seen from within the Emerald City, Seattle is not without the pitfalls of any other major urban area and sometimes, you just need to get away. Fortunately, Seattle is surrounded by the rest of the spectacular Pacific Northwest and is within a short flight of some additional staggering locations. From quick day trips to swift plane rides, the best weekend getaway from Seattle that you can imagine is about to begin.
Quick Answer: Best Weekend Getaways From Seattle
Best Day Trips From Seattle
- Best for wildlife and nature lovers - Mount Rainier National Park
- Best for lovers of architecture, beer, and old world charm - Leavenworth
- Best for quiet, peaceful getaway close to home - Bainbridge Island
Best Road Trips From Seattle
- Best for getting out of the country without breaking the bank - Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- Best for film buffs - Astoria, Oregon
- Best for rainforest lovers - Hoh Rainforest
Best Weekend Trips From Seattle
- Best for traveler who feels most at home outdoors - Anchorage, Alaska
- Best for seafood and marine life lovers - Monterey Bay
- Best for theatre nerds and wine enthusiasts - Ashland, Oregon
Best Day Trips From Seattle
After work one chilly fall day, I was feeling extremely restless. I wanted to get in my car and just drive, no destination in mind. I packed my girlfriend in the car, and we started driving east. The late fall sun created a mosaic of shadows through the changing leaves as we drove into the Cascade mountains. After a couple of hours, we got hungry and kept our eyes peeled for a place to eat. We found one, right off the mountain pass, a little dive café. We went in, had dinner, and drove home. We still talk about that afternoon all the time, the thrill of taking off without a plan, and no real care about where we ended up — talk about adding some adventure to an average work week!
While you can of course simply get in your car and start driving in any direction that suits your whimsy at the time (I highly recommend everyone do this at least once in their lives), the best weekend getaways require a little more forethought. With that in mind, I humbly offer up the best day trips from Seattle for your perfect weekend getaway.
1. Mount Rainier National Park
- Perfect for:
Wildlife and nature lovers * Highlights of Rainier National Park: * Less than 90 miles from Seattle * 35 hiking trails * Astoundingly beautiful
How to Get to Mount Rainier National Park
You’ll head south on I-5 for about 45 minutes before getting on to WA-706. You’ll follow WA-706 straight to the park. Easy peasy.
Things to Do in Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park truly has something for everyone. The list of possibilities is endless, you can bike, climb, fish, boat, camp, hike, bird, or even just sit and have a picnic in a field of wildflowers. Choose your own adventure on this (literal) active volcano and live to tell the tale!
Where to Stay in Mount Rainier National Park
Of course, camping is an option, but if there are some not-so-outdoorsy folks in your party, they may need to be bribed a little with the promise of a cozy inn and amazing food. (I’ll be honest, this trick usually works on me.)
There are two inns inside the park, National Park Inn and Paradise Inn. National Park Inn has 25 guest rooms available as well as a full-service dining room and an adorable general store. It’s also the only inn that is open to visitors all year round, so keep that in when you’re making your plans.
Paradise Inn is generally open from mid-May through early October, depending on the condition of the roads at any given time. Standing at 5,420 feet of elevation, this beautiful inn was built in 1917 and has a gift shop, café, post office, full-service dining room, and 121 guest rooms.
If neither of these inns quite floats your boat, there are also many communities outside of the park that offers overnight accommodation, so whatever your timeline or budget, you’re sure to get a square meal and a sound night's sleep.
- Perfect for: Lovers of architecture, beer, and old-world charm
- Highlights of Leavenworth:
- Feels like you’ve traveled to another world
- SO much German beer
- Christmas all year round
How to Get to Leavenworth
Follow I-90 east from Seattle for about an hour and twenty minutes. From there, you’ll connect to US-97 North for an hour until you see the gorgeous housetops of Leavenworth!
Things to Do in Leavenworth
Leavenworth is a village built with old-world Bavarian architecture nestled in the foothills of the Cascade Mountains. Pulling into the village, you’ll feel like you’re in the heart of Europe instead of merely a 2.25-hour drive from Seattle.
You can start at one end of the village and work your way down, visiting Leavenworth’s famous restaurants, stores, and artisan shops. Pop into Boulder Bend Glassworks to watch some glass art being made in real-time, pick up a bag of sweets at The Rocky Mountain Chocolate Factory, and grab some lunch at one of the numerous breweries and eateries woven throughout the village.
No matter what time of year you visit, you don’t want to leave until you have seen Kris Kringl, a year-round Christmas shop specializing in ornaments, miniatures, and figurines. For one last taste of Christmas, stop by the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, home of more than 7,000 nutcrackers, some dating back centuries.
Where to Stay in Leavenworth
There are many fine lodgings to choose from in Leavenworth, including Lodges, Hotels & Motels, Cabins, and RV parks. We recommend going the Bed and Breakfast route for the most comfortable, luxurious stay. Warm Springs Inn & Winery and Cascade Valley Inn will give you elegance, beauty, and relaxation.
Cascade Valley Inn will get you out of the hustle and bustle, but still be close enough to enjoy all Leavenworth has to offer. Enjoy jetted tubs, private decks, fireplaces, and Wi-fi in your own little hideaway.
3. Bainbridge Island
- Perfect for: a quiet, peaceful getaway close to home
- Highlights of Bainbridge Island:
- A 35-minute ferry ride from Seattle
- A quiet, relaxed vibe
- Pizza to die for
How to Get to Bainbridge Island
While the Washington State Ferry is the most common way to get to Bainbridge Island, it is also accessible by car. If you opt to drive, you’ll be taking WA-305 around the Puget Sound and crossing the bridge that connects the Island to the mainland. The drive is about 1 hour and 43 minutes.
The Washington State Ferry will get you to the island in 35 minutes, plus, you get to ride a ferry!
Things to Do in Bainbridge Island
After wandering around the darling downtown and stopping into any shop that suits your fancy, feast your eyes on the glorious contemporary art of the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (parking and admission are free!).
Next, you’re going to want to wander the 150-acre wonderland of the Bloedel Reserve, choosing from any one of its 10 spectacular gardens. For dinner, there’s only one place you want to go — Bruciato Pizza! Trust me when I say, this wood-fired authentic Neapolitan pizza will ruin you for all other pizzas. Make sure to get an extra pie to go for the inevitable craving on your drive home!
Where to Stay in Bainbridge Island
While there’s nothing at all wrong with opting to stay in a traditional inn or motel, if you’re feeling adventurous, we suggest spending the night on a sailboat. Yes, you heard that right, a captain with Sail Bainbridge will take you on a two-hour sunset tour and then anchor the boat and leave you to enjoy it for the evening, coming back in the morning to pick you up after a wonderful breakfast on board.
If you want access to the coast plus the relaxing feeling of being on a farm, consider this cozy tranquil farm Airbnb. Suitable for four guests, this farm house is on the 26-acre grounds of the Bountiful Farm.
Best Road Trips From Seattle
Hitting the road with the windows down, the radio up, and your favorite soft drink in your hand is one of the most euphoric feelings of life. You’re ready to hit the road, and we’re ready to tell you the best road trips from Seattle. Win, win, win, all weekend long.
4. Victoria, British Columbia, Canada
- Perfect for: Getting out of the country without breaking the bank
- Highlights of Victoria, British Columbia:
- Exploring a whole new country
- Gorgeously landscaped city
- Stunning harbor views
How to Get to Victoria, B.C.
Victoria, British Columbia is accessible by car or by ferry. I personally took the Black Ball Ferry Line out of Port Angeles, and it was lovely. I simply drove aboard, walked upstairs, bought a piping hot cup of tea, and watched the ferry plowing through the water on my way to a country I’d never seen before. The drive to Port Angeles was 2.5 hours on US-101E and the ferry ride was an additional 90 minutes.
Things to Do in Victoria, British Columbia
Button your cravats and stick out your pinkies for High Tea in the elegant and luxurious dining room of the famous Fairmont Empress Hotel on Vancouver Island. You’ve never had a scone so buttery or tea so warm and full-bodied, all served by your own professional butler.
Once you’ve had your fill, walk around the harbor, weaving in and out of the rainbow of landscaped gardens on either side of you. Finally, finish the afternoon at Craigdarroch Castle, the once private residence of coal baron Robert Dunsmuir and family, now turned National Historic Site. The history of the vast house and grounds are fascinating, and it’s nestled in a quiet little neighborhood, so no parking headaches or hard-to-access entrance points.
Where to Stay in Victoria
I know I've already suggested afternoon tea here, but I would be completely remiss not to suggest you stay in the Queen of the City herself, the Fairmont Empress Hotel. Standing proud at 113 years old, the Castle on the Coast is jam-packed with luxury and has housed such esteemed personages as Shirley Temple, King George VI, and Queen Elizabeth. This is the stay of a lifetime.
This Vrbo with a forest view is in a great location for enjoying the scenic drives in the area, but you're also only 30 minutes by car from the harbor.
5. Astoria, Oregon
- Perfect for: Film buffs
- Highlights of Astoria:
- Filming site of the 1985 classic “The Goonies”
- Sports the longest continuous truss bridge in North America
- Nestled on the Columbia River
How to Get to Astoria
The drive to Astoria is a straight shot down I-5 S for the first 2 hours, then an additional 1 hour on US-30W that will take you right into Astoria.
Things to Do in Astoria
Start at the Oregon Film Museum, a museum dedicated to films shot in Oregon. Housed in the historic Clatsop County Jail, the museum is not only the filming site of the opening sequence of “The Goonies” but also contains exhibits celebrating other Oregon-made films including "Twilight," "Free Willy," "The Shining," and "National Lampoon’s Animal House."
You’ll want to wrap up your weekend at Astoria Sunday farmer’s market, a lively downtown market showcasing over 200 vendors with local food, art, and produce.
Where to Stay in Astoria
Astoria is bursting with Victorian-era delights. We recommend Rose River Inn Bed and Breakfast. Enjoy river views, a fireplace in your bedroom, and a big family-style breakfast, all a mere 4 blocks away from historic downtown.
Alternatively, you can sass it up a little with this cheeky tavern stay. The famous Workers Tavern Airbnb offers overnight stays in a comfy studio apartment complete with a full kitchen, bath, and queen size bed. Less than a block from the Marina and nestled under the longest truss bridge in America, this little slice of American history is sure to be a place to make some fantastic memories.
6. Hoh Rainforest
- Perfect for: rainforest lovers
- Highlights of Hoh Rainforest:
- Largest temperate rainforest in America
- You’ll feel like you’re in a storybook
- Quiet, calm solace with nature
How to Get to Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is about a 3.5-hour drive from Seattle. You’ll take I-5 South for 1.5. hours before veering off onto US-101 North for the remainder of the drive.
Things to Do in Hoh Rainforest
The Hoh Rainforest is in Olympic National Park and unlike anything you’ve ever seen. Lush, wet greenery covers everything as far as the eye can see, enclosing you in an enchanted world. The Hoh is one of the most comprehensive examples of a temperate rainforest in the United States, one of four rainforests on the Olympic Peninsula, and simply a must-see. Start at the visitor center to get a lay of the land and some more information about your outdoor adventure. Then, walk the trails and soak up every second in this magical canopy of greenery that nature hath wrought.
Olympic National Park also includes two spectacular waterfalls, beaches, lakes, and other marvels of nature, so you may not want to limit yourself to the Hoh rainforest only.
Where to Stay in Hoh Rainforest
Our pick for your stay near the Hoh Rainforest is the Lake Crescent Lodge. Built in 1915, the Lodge makes you feel cozy and safe nestled in amongst the fir and hemlock trees on the twinkling shores of Lake Crescent. Enjoy access to the lake, boat rentals, a lounge and bar, a gift shop, and comfortable, spacious rooms.
You may know the town of Forks, Washington, as the place where the movie "Twilight" was filmed. Olympic National Park is less than an hour form Forks, so if you're into "Twilight" tourism and beautiful natural scenery, this home for four in Forks is a great option for an Airbnb with access to lots of activities.
Best Weekend Trips From Seattle
A short plane ride can take you on an adventure you had no idea was so close to home. Start planning your next long weekend at one of these amazing locations only a 2-3 hour flight away from Seattle.
7. Anchorage, Alaska
- Perfect for: the traveler who feels most at home outdoors
- Highlights of Anchorage:
- Endless natural beauties of every variety
- Biggest artist hub in Alaska
- Moose, moose everywhere
How to Get to Anchorage
A 3.5-hour flight on the airline of your choice! (Perhaps Alaska Airlines is a bit too on the nose, eh?)
Things to Do in Anchorage
How to choose? Anchorage is a paradise for outdoor activities. Care to pan for gold? Get up close and personal with a glacier? Go horseback riding? Fishing? 4-wheeling? Dogsledding? Kayaking? Biking? You can do them all and more in Anchorage, with mountain views that will stay with you all your life.
Where to Stay in Anchorage
Choose from your standard chain hotels available in Anchorage, or settle in for a quieter and more private getaway with something like this cozy studio apartment in downtown Anchorage. Private parking, a washer & dryer, full kitchen, and walking distance from downtown. You can’t lose.
8. Monterey Bay, California
- Perfect for: Seafood and marine life lovers
- Highlights of Monterey Bay:
- Short, inexpensive flight away from Seattle
- Breezy, mild climate
- 2-hour drive away from San Francisco
How to Get to Monterey Bay
A short 2.5-hour flight and you’re in paradise!
Things to Do in Monterey Bay
Monterey Bay is famous for the Monterey Bay Aquarium and for good reason. Its world-class exhibits will bring you up close and personal with every kind of marine life, from waddling penguins, to suave sharks.
Afterward, take a 15-minute drive to the must-visit Carmel-by-the-Sea for some lunch in a fairy-tale-like village right on the beach. Bury your toes in the sand on a short walk by the water before heading back into Monterey for a fresh seafood dinner.
Monterey is perhaps the most romantic getaway on this list, so keep that in your hip pocket for special occasions.
Where to Stay in Monterey Bay
The Monterey Hotel is our pick for downtown Monterey. With its stunning architecture, spacious rooms, and unrivaled amenities, you’ll never have been more comfortable.
This ocean view studio in Monterey is a 20-minute walk to a beach, but you might be so happy on the condo grounds that you stay in more: three pools and hot tubs, a gas fire pit, walking trails, restaurant, lounge, and more.
9. Ashland, Oregon
- Perfect for: Theatre nerds and wine enthusiasts
- Highlights of Ashland:
- One of the top 5 wine regions in the world
- Home to the oldest Elizabethan theatre in the U.S
- Very easy to get around
How to Get to Ashland
A 1.5-hour flight into Medford, and a 10-minute drive from there, or road trip it down I-5 South for 7.5 hours and pull right into town.
Things to Do in Ashland
Ashland is home to the famous Oregon Shakespeare Festival, a thriving art community, and my favorite getaway destination in Oregon (sorry Portland!). Its stunning Elizabethan theatre sits at the heart of the town, offering live theatre, music, and art 365 days a year. (Book a backstage tour before the show to get the most out of the experience!).
Beyond its thriving theatre, Ashland is surrounded by beautiful rolling hills encompassing amazing wineries, all within a short drive of downtown, so definitely book some time for wine tasting. If you want a gorgeous small town absolutely bursting with art and culture, Ashland is one of the best weekend trips from Seattle you could ever dream of.
Where to Stay in Ashland
Due to its booming theatre scene, there are many places to stay in Ashland, from quaint bed and breakfasts, to hostels, to your classic hotels. Here are a few we can recommend.
The Bard's Inn is a popular spot and it's not hard to see why. With its Medieval decor, delicious homemade breakfast, outdoor pool and spa, and 6-minute walk from the Oregon Shakespeare Festival, The Bard's Inn tops our list.
The Iris Inn Bed & Breakfast offers the comforts of home in a lovely Victorian decked out with all the modern conveniences. Enjoy central AC & Heating, gorgeous rooms, and homemade breakfast.
The Plaza Inn & Suites prides itself on elegant, upscale lodging, and it truly delivers! Decorated in a Shakespearian theme, this boutique hotel offers a spa, gym, complimentary breakfast, outdoor seating, and more.
Your next adventure doesn't have to be far from home to be the trip of a lifetime. No matter how much time you have, make your next weekend trip from Seattle your best.