18 May Top 5 Outdoor Getaways near Seattle
Top 5 Outdoor Getaways near Seattle
Story and images by Sky Frost
Are you feeling the call to the outdoors? I feel you! Sometimes a quick adventure is just what the soul needs. Though Seattle is an adventure all its own, there is nothing quite like getting outside and taking a weekend road trip. If you are a Seattleite, you know you live in one of the most significant hubs for outdoor adventures. And the good news is, there are plenty of unique places to visit around Seattle, only 2 or 3 hours away! If you’re in the mood for getting out of town without going too far, here are 5 of the best Seattle getaways to inspire your next weekend adventure.
But first things first, packing and getting around!
Packing for Your Outdoor Escape
When planning your weekend getaway from the city, you want to be prepared for the elements and the bipolar weather that we Washingtonians know all too well! So, you want to make sure you have these in your pack before you head out!
- Rain jacket
- Plenty of layers (you don’t know when you’ll need them)
- Boots (suitable for rain and hiking)
Sunscreen (you never know when the sun will show)
- Camera, phone, chargers
- Plenty of memory for photos
- A sense of adventure!
Getting Around for Your Seattle Getaway
The best way of getting around to and from your Seattle Weekend trip would be by car! And there are two options for that, your own or a rental. If you are taking your own vehicle make sure that it is up to date on its services and has all the necessary equipment you need for any emergency. If you want to take the more convenient and BETTER route, you want to rent. And what better than to rent a camper van! There are a few reasons why this is the way to go:
- You don’t put miles on your car
- It’s fully serviced
- It has all the essentials you need
- A place to sleep if a tent isn’t your style
- Shelter from the rain or snow
- It makes for an adventure you won’t forget!
PacWesty makes it so easy to get out and go! We have taken a PacWesty out a few times when we have planned our weekend trips, and they have been some of the most unforgettable trips yet.
1. Olympic Peninsula (Olympic National Park)
Top of the list, the Olympic Peninsula is just a few hours from Seattle and boasts beautiful rainforests, glacial lakes, and snow-capped peaks. The Olympic National Park is the largest national park in the continental US and features endless wildlife and natural features. Locals love it for its rugged beauty and proximity to the city (it’s only about 3 hours). This area of Washington is a bit more remote than some of the other getaways on this list, but its vast features make it one of the best. With fewer people going here, it is an ideal destination for your weekend away from the hustle and bustle.
- Distance from Seattle: 3 Hours
- Type of Trip: Sea to Sky Adventure
- Recommended # of Nights: 3-4
- Nightly Itinerary: First night (Dungeness Spit), second night (Hobuck Campground), third night (Crescent Beach), fourth night (Lake Crescent).
- Top Sights: Hurricane Ridge, Sol Duc Falls, Second Beach, Cape Flattery, Shi Shi Beach, and Tree of Life.
2. Mount Rainier National Park
Driving just two and a half hours from downtown Seattle, Mount Rainier (known by the native people as Tahoma, mother of waters) is a volcanic wonderland. Rainier is a beautiful place for a weekend adventure with mountainous peaks covered in glacial ice and endless miles of trails. There are many hiking options, or you can experience views of Mt. Rainier by driving slowly along with its extensive road system. Crystal Mountain is an alpine ski resort just 15 minutes from Sunrise Visitor Center on Mt. Rainier’s south side offers both skiing and snowboarding during the winter months. In the summer months, Crystal Mountain transforms into one of Washington’s most beautiful hiking destinations with stunning views from every trailhead! In addition to Crystal Mountain, there are also many other adventure travel options within 2 hours of Mt.
- Distance from Seattle: 2.5Hours
- Type of Trip: Ancient VolcanoAdventure
- Recommended # of Nights: 2-3
- Nightly Itinerary: First night (White River Campground), second night (Ohanapecosh Campground), third night (Cougar Rock Campground).
- Top Sights: Crystal Mountain, Paradise Lodge, Skyline Trail, Sunrise Lodge, Three Burrows Trail, Silver Falls Trail, Grove of Patriarchs, Tipsoo Lake.
3. Leavenworth/ Lake Wenatchee
Looking for an escape to another country but want to stay close to home? Leavenworth is the place to go. This wonderful little mountain town looks and feels like a Bavarian Alps getaway without the long flight! Surrounding it are some of the most beautiful trails and lakes you cannot find anywhere else. It is a great place to catch some wildflowers and brews in the spring. Leavenworth is known for its beer and pretzels, so you don’t want to miss out on your fill of delicious treats and cheers. And if you are looking for a fall time escape, this is also the place to go as the leaves in the Wenatchee Lake area are rival to some of those jaw-dropping fall spots you’d see on the East coast, highly recommend it!
- Distance from Seattle: 2.25 Hours
- Type of Trip: Laid Back Bavarian Adventure
- Recommended # of Nights: 2-3
- Nightly Itinerary: First night (Leavenworth Loge), second night (Lake Wenatchee State Park), third night (Glacier View Campground).
- Top Sights: Downtown Leavenworth (make sure to get a pretzel and brew, München-Haus is an excellent spot with a view of the main strip of Leavenworth), Lake Wenatchee, Colchuck Lake Trail, Snow Lakes Trail, and Sauer’s Mountain Trail.
4.San Juan Islands
The San Juan Islands are a getaway paradise and may be one of my favorite weekend trips from Seattle. The islands are a beautiful area just off the coast of Washington, where you can find gorgeous beaches, picturesque sunsets, and incredible hiking. This fantastic island is full of wonder and charm. Highly recommend doing a drive around the whole island to catch all of its magic. The farmers market on Saturdays is a must, and a walkabout throughout Friday Harbor will have you wanting all the antiques. Being only a hop, skip, and ferry ride away from this tiny island will have you feeling miles away.
- Distance from Seattle: 3.5Hours
- Type of Trip: Island LifeAdventure
- Recommended # of Nights: 3-4
- Nightly Itinerary: First night (Lakedale), second night (English Camp), third night (San Juan County Park), and fourth night (Lime Kiln Point State Park).
- Top Sights: Ferry Ride, Friday Harbor, Farmers Market on Saturday, South Beach, Lime Kiln Lighthouse, Pelindaba Lavender Farm, and Young Hill.
5. North Cascades National Park
This weekend getaway from Seattle offers an authentic Cascadian wilderness experience. Located two hours away, North Cascades National Park is ideal for a long weekend trip. This underrated National Park is full of some extraordinary landscapes you cannot get anywhere else. Diablo Lake is one of those landscapes that will take you away to another world. With its cyan waters and snowcap peaks, this lake will leave you in awe. If you plan on going to the North Cascades, make sure to make a day trip to Winthrop, a cozy and quaint little town just on the other side of the scenic bypass through the park. If you haven’t been to the North Cascades National Park, this is your sign to plan a trip today; you will NOT regret it.
Distance from Seattle: 2 Hours
Type of Trip: Mountain Top Adventure
Recommended # of Nights: 3-4
Nightly Itinerary: First night (Newhalem Campground), second night (Gorge Lake Campground), third night (Colonial Creek South Campground), and fourth night (Lone Fir Campground).
Top Sights: Diablo Lake Vista, Thunderknob Trail, Sourdough Mountain Lookout, Ross Dam Trail, Washington Pass Scenic Drive, Blue Lake Trail.