21 Incredible Weekend Trips From Seattle to Explore (2024)

weekend trips from seattle vancouver island
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Seattle is an amazing city to explore, but sometimes even a local like myself wants to get out of the city. The great part about the area’s location is how accessible numerous weekend trips from Seattle are. Whether you want to go a few hours away to the beach or head north to Canada, you’ll find plenty of Seattle weekend getaways to choose from.

As a long-time local, I’ve explored dozens of different places in the area over the years and have created a list of the best things to do in the Pacific Northwest. Sometimes I feel like going on a short overnight trip, while other times, I have the time to do a long weekend vacation. I get constant emails asking about where to visit in the area, so I put together some amazing Seattle weekend getaways to help you plan your vacation.

While there are many incredible Seattle day trips to go on, I encourage you to get away from the city for a vacation. Whether you want to spend the entire time exploring the great outdoors or relaxing and drinking wine, you’ll find a place on this list of weekend getaways near Seattle that you’ll love.

This article was first published in 2020 and last updated in March 2024.

Tips for Planning a Weekend Getaway From Seattle

edmonds beach me

Many of these drives from Seattle are straightforward. However, some will have you taking a ferry to get to an island or crossing an international border. Here are a few tips to keep in mind when planning your weekend getaways from Seattle.

  • Look at the ferry schedule in advance – You’ll want to know what times are available if you need to take a ferry for your Seattle weekend getaway, so check this first before you start planning the specifics of your trip. The San Juan Islands schedule is online, and you can make reservations in advance. Other ferries, such as Whidbey Island and Bainbridge Island, are first-come, first-serve, so you’ll want to get there early.
  • Prepare before you go into Canada – Some of these Seattle weekend trips take you from Seattle over the Canadian border to British Columbia, and while it may seem obvious, always double-check that you have your passport first. You can also pay attention to the wait times (displayed on the freeway) at the different border entrances to decide which one to take.
  • Know the current rules for crossing into Canada – You’ll want to check the current rules for U.S. travelers entering Canada before you go, which you can see on their website. As of February 2023, you do not need to test or quarantine before or after entering the country. Having ArriveCAN filled out before you cross the border can expedite your crossing.
  • Plan for traffic – When you’re looking at how far away your destination is and figuring out when to leave, make sure to account for traffic. This can add hours to your trip if you leave at popular times like Friday or Sunday afternoons. Hot spots for traffic tend to be downtown Seattle, Tacoma, and Olympia, so maybe plan to stop for lunch or dinner in those areas to wait out the traffic.
seattle ebook cover 2

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What to Pack for Weekend Trips From Seattle

Some of these are short trips from Seattle, but others may be long road trips for you. I have a whole article on what to pack for a road trip, but here are some of my top recommendations:

  • Emergency roadside kit – I always recommend having an emergency kit to help with any issues that may come up.
  • Reusable water bottle – Staying hydrated is important when you travel, but so is not wasting dozens of plastic water bottles in the process.
  • Reusable coffee mug – Don’t waste paper cups every morning with your morning coffee, and bring your reusable one instead to fill it up.
  • Snacks – Staying fueled with healthy snacks like protein bars and trail mix will prevent you from crashing.

21 Weekend Trips From Seattle to Plan

If you need ideas for vacations from Seattle, here are 21 to choose from! From Idaho weekend trips to weekend getaways near Vancouver, you’re sure to find something!

1. Whidbey Island

weekend trips from seattle whidbey island

Distance From Seattle: 30 miles

Driving Time: 1 hour and 4 minutes (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Relaxing, wine tasting, ocean views

Where to Stay:

  • Comforts of Whidbey (pictured above) is my personal favorite bed and breakfast – you’ll have a beautiful deck with a view, homemade breakfast, and wine tasting available since it’s also a winery. (rates start at $245 per night)
  • Saratoga Inn has one of the best hotel views on the island and will have you staying in downtown Langley close to the shops. (rates start at $179 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • This waterfront cottage sleeps 2 and has high-speed Wi-Fi, an ocean view, a private deck, and a kitchenette. (rates start at $161 per night)

One of the closest getaways from Seattle is Whidbey Island, which is also one of the best scenic drives in Washington. While this is one of the closest day trips from Seattle, it’s best to spend the weekend here to fully enjoy your time.

You’ll get to take a scenic ferry ride across the water, which cuts down some of your driving time. I’ve been here dozens of times at this point because it’s such a short weekend getaway from Seattle.

There are so many things to do on Whidbey Island, so it’s not hard to please everyone in your group. Many people come here to enjoy the dozens of different wineries on the island, and there are several breweries for beer lovers.

You can also grab a bottle of wine during your 3 day trip from Seattle and take it back to your accommodation to enjoy a view of the water. While this may a short trip from Seattle, you’ll feel like you’re far removed from the city during one of the most relaxing weekend getaways near Seattle.

Whidbey is the perfect place to relax when you need a Seattle weekend trip, no matter what time of year it is. However, they have some fun outdoor activities, such as hiking at Ebey’s Landing or visiting Fort Casey. As these are free things to do near Seattle, it makes Whidbey a wonderful option for cheap weekend getaways from Seattle.

Many people enjoy staying on the island’s south end, as it’s less populated. However, the small city of Langley is about 15 minutes north of the ferry if you want to go shopping for local goods and groceries. There’s even a movie theater if you’re looking for a way to spend the evening.

When you’re on this last-minute getaway from Seattle, you can also drive to the island’s north end to see the stunning Deception Pass. This is a tall bridge connecting the island to Fidalgo Island and a popular stop on a Whidbey day trip. You’ll love watching all the whirlpools that form in the water below during one of the more scenic Seattle trips.

Need help planning out your road trip? I’ve been using Roadtrippers for years to see exactly how long it’ll take from one point to the next and find new places to add to my itinerary!

2. Gig Harbor

weekend trip from seattle gig harbor

Distance From Seattle: 44 miles

Driving Time: 46 minutes

Best for: Couples

Where to Stay:

A romantic getaway near Seattle is Gig Harbor, which is a cute town on the water. Booking a weekend in Gig Harbor makes for a relaxing vacation where you can take your time strolling around the water on this overnight trip from Seattle. I felt like I was somewhere much further away when I visited this quiet town.

There are many places to eat with a view of the water during your weekend getaway in Seattle, including Tide’s Tavern for pub food and Netshed No 9 for breakfast food. Many of the restaurants here are small, which gives them a cozy feel as you sit among locals. This is just one reason Gig Harbor is one of the more popular short getaways from Seattle.

To feel like you’re in Italy without spending the same amount, you’ll want to book a gondola ride. The gondolier imported a gondola from Italy and sing Italian songs as you glide along the water. You can see why this is one of the best getaways from Seattle when you want a little romance.

I also recommend checking out 7 Seas Brewing for a sample of local beer and an appetizer during your weekend trip from Seattle. They have a new location by the water and are kid-friendly, so you can bring the whole family.

If you’re spending three days in Seattle, this is also close enough to add to your itinerary.

3. Yakima

yakima weekend trip from seattle

Distance From Seattle: 142 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Best for: Wine and beer lovers

Where to Stay:

I love driving to Yakima when I need a Seattle weekend getaway because it’s a short drive with an entirely different terrain. The area is often sunny and warm when we’re still dealing with colder weather in Seattle, so it’s a nice break when I need ideas for overnight trips from Seattle.

Some people call Yakima the Napa Valley of Washington, as there are over 120 wineries in the region you can visit when looking for weekend trips around Seattle. Owen Roe and Treveri Cellars are the ones I recommend stopping at for wine tasting.

Plenty of hops are also grown in the region, so you won’t be disappointed if you’re looking to try the local beer. Some of my favorite breweries in the region include Berchman’s Brewing Company and Bron Yr Aur Brewing Co. You can sit outside at the latter brewery and enjoy the sun during one of the shorter weekend vacations from Seattle.

My guide to visiting Yakima gives a more detailed itinerary if you want to add activities to your list, such as whitewater rafting on the Tieton River. There are also many delicious restaurants in town, making Yakima one of the more tasty Seattle getaways you can book.

It’s also a very kid-friendly area, so they can get their energy out with some of the best hikes in Washington, like Cowiche Canyon, followed by lunch at a nearby restaurant.

4. Lake Chelan

long weekend getaway from seattle lake chelan

Distance From Seattle: 198 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours and 50 minutes

Best for: Outdoor activities

Where to Stay:

One of the most popular summer weekend trips from Seattle is Lake Chelan, and I usually head here one weekend a year. This long lake is on the other side of the Cascade Mountains and is where most people head when they want to do water activities.

There are many things to do in Chelan, including renting a boat, jet skiing, hanging out on the beach, and more. You can also go to a water park for the day to get your family’s energy out during one of the more active getaways near Seattle.

Wine tasting is another popular activity on a Seattle weekend trip, and you can do your own tour or hire someone to drive you around. If you want to treat yourself, make sure you stop at Tsillan Cellars for dinner, a glass of wine, and a stunning view of the lake.

5. San Juan Island

visiting san juan island friday harbor

Distance From Seattle: 107 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours and 18 minutes (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Relaxing

Where to Stay:

  • If you want a view of the ferry coming in, book a room at Friday Harbor House. (rates start at $399 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • A cozy place to stay in the woods is Lakedale, which is about 10 minutes away from town and on a lake. (rates start at $189 per night)
  • Cannery Inn – Lummi boasts a cozy, newly renovated unit just blocks away from the ferry landing. It sleeps 2 and has a small private deck area. (rates start at $109 per night)

While this is a long weekend getaway from Seattle with the time it takes to drive to the ferry dock and ride through the islands, San Juan Island is more than worth it. From lavender farms to whale sightings, you’ll love creating your San Juan Island itinerary.

There are many tasty places to eat on the island, such as Downriggers when you want appetizers with a view of the water. Friday’s Crabhouse is a place to grab a quick bite to eat, such as fish tacos.

You’ll love all the photo spots on the island, such as Lime Kiln Lighthouse, where you can even spot whales sometimes. You can also walk through the lavender fields at Pelindaba Lavender Farm. Whale watching is another popular activity you’ll want to check out, or you can check out the scenic San Juan Island hikes.

6. Long Beach

horseback riding long beach

Distance From Seattle: 171 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours and 7 minutes

Best for: Beach activities

Where to Stay:

Long Beach is my favorite Washington beach vacation to book, which is probably why I’ve been there multiple times. You can easily spend the entire time hanging out on the beach while taking breaks for food in town. The area is great for dog-friendly vacations, so you can bring your pups along as well.

During a weekend in Long Beach, some popular activities include horseback riding, flying kites, driving on the beach, and even surfing for adventurous visitors. If you feel like hiking, there are plenty of nearby Cape Disappointment State Park trails.

You can also learn about the area’s history by visiting Lewis & Clark Interpretive Center. You’ll read about how the southern Washington coastline was discovered and by who. If you love kites, you’ll want to stop at the World Kite Museum to see a variety of kites and even make your own.

Ready for another oceanside vacation? You’ll love all the things to do at Ocean Shores.

7. Winthrop

weekend in winthrop

Distance From Seattle: 241 miles

Driving Time: 4 hours and 9 minutes

Best for: Cross-country skiing

Where to Stay:

  • Hotel Rio Vista is located right in town and has a view of the river from the rooms. (rates start at $99 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com).
  • AbbyCreek Inn is great for families and has a pool for use during the summer. (rates start at $89 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • This riverfront cottage is the perfect romantic getaway with an outdoor dining area, free WiFi, and wooded views. (Rates start at $135 per night)

If you’re looking for a long weekend trip from Seattle, look at booking a weekend in Winthrop. The drive is particularly stunning, so take your time getting here to enjoy the view. Winthrop is one of the best Seattle getaways when you’re looking to explore the outdoors.

One of the town’s main draws is its Old Western theme, as you’ll see from the storefronts on Main Street. There are also numerous shops, cafes, and restaurants to stop at.

Winthrop is a great vacation at any time of the year but is particularly fun as a Seattle weekend getaway in winter. There are miles and miles of trails to go cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and more. Many hiking trails are also in the North Cascades nearby, making it a great getaway during fall in Seattle.

You’ll want to spend at least one day in North Cascades National Park if time allows before you head home and check out some of the North Cascades hikes. If you can time it right, come here around early October to check out amazing Washington larch hikes.

8. Tacoma

things to do in tacoma point ruston

Distance From Seattle: 34 miles

Driving Time: 45 minutes

Best for: Inexpensive weekend away

Where to Stay:

  • Hotel Murano is one of the top-rated hotels in Tacoma and has plush beds, a view of the city, and a modern lounge. (rates start at $107 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • Courtyard by Marriott – This hotel has a café and day spa to enjoy during your visit. (rates start at $149 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • Enjoy 360 panoramic views of Tacoma’s waterfront and skyline in this apartment. Sleeps 4 and has fast Wi-Fi with cable. (rates start at $125 per night)

Tacoma is a quick weekend getaway from Seattle when you don’t want to go too far but feel like going on a Seattle road trip. There are plenty of cheap things to do in Tacoma if you’re on a budget, whether you want to be outdoors or indoors.

Baseball lover? Check out a Tacoma Rainier baseball game, where the tickets and concessions are much cheaper than Seattle sports games. It’s a fun way to spend a sunny afternoon with your friends or family during one of the closer weekend trips near Seattle.

There are also plenty of museums to spend the day at, such as the Museum of Glass, Tacoma Art Museum, and America’s Car Museum. You’ll love adding Tacoma to your list of short trips from Seattle when you just feel like getting out for the day, and it’s a popular place to put on a Pacific Northwest trip itinerary.

If you want to extend your trip, head over to do a Mount Rainier day trip from Seattle to see a gorgeous mountain.

9. Wenatchee

weekend in wenatchee river

Distance From Seattle: 148 miles

Driving Time: 2.5 hours

Best for: Beer lovers, outdoor adventurers

Where to Stay:

Wenatchee is a destination that is often overlooked as a weekend getaway from Seattle, but you’ll be pleasantly surprised at how much there is to do here. I love that it’s a good option for quick getaways from Seattle when you want to book a vacation last minute. If you visit Wenatchee on the weekend in the winter, you’ll want to head up to Mission Ridge to spend the day skiing.

You can also try your hand at indoor rock climbing with the town’s impressive climbing and bouldering gym. The path along the river is ideal for riding your bike or just taking a walk.

Make sure to stop at Pybus Public Market before you end your weekend trip from Seattle to buy local produce and other goods. They also have several restaurants, a brewery, and live music on the weekends.

Speaking of breweries, there is a variety to choose from for such a small town, and I recommend stopping at Badger Mountain Brewing and Columbia Valley Brewing.

10. Anacortes

weekend in anacortes

Distance From Seattle: 80 miles

Driving Time: 1 hour and 20 minutes

Best for: Foodies, shopping

Where to Stay:

  • Majestic Inn & Spa is centrally located and even grinds fresh coffee for you every morning. (rates start at $140 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • Nantucket Inn is a little further down the main street but has a bed-and-breakfast feel to it. (rates start at $149 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • This private studio guesthouse sleeps 2 and has a full kitchen and a gas fireplace. (rates start at $105 per night)

Many people pass through Anacortes without stopping on their way to the San Juan Islands or as something on their list of quick trips from Seattle. However, you should spend a weekend in Anacortes to truly experience the town.

There are many things to do in Anacortes, but I recommend walking down Commercial Avenue, which is the town’s main street. You’ll find plenty of local shops, restaurants, and cafes to stop at. Bob’s Chowder & BBQ Salmon is one of my favorite restaurants to visit.

If you want one of the best weekend trips from Seattle that’s active, you can go kayaking, take a boat tour of the area, or go on a hike. At night, you can find live music at different bars around town.

11. Olympic National Park

Visit Olympic National Park fog

Distance From Seattle: 154 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Adventure lovers

Where to Stay:

  • Olympic Lodge is a cute place to stay close to the park and has an outdoor pool and bistro. (rates start at $125 per night; book your room on Booking.com)
  • Port Angeles Inn – This hotel has a view of the water and parts of Canada, plus you’ll be close to restaurants and shops. (rates start at $72 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • This three-story condo sleeps 6 and has a secure garage and backyard with unobstructed views of the Olympic Mountains. (rates start at $195 per night)
  • Check out my post on places to stay in Olympic National Park for more ideas.

Anytime I get asked where someone should take a Seattle getaway to really feel like they’re in the Pacific Northwest, I recommend visiting Olympic National Park. You can see the ocean, mountains, forest, and rainforest all on the same trip, making it one of the best weekend getaways near Seattle. It’s also one of the best Washington national parks, according to many locals.

You can go on many different Olympic hikes, such as Ozette Triangle Loop Trail, Hurricane Hill Trail, and Sol Duc Falls. You can do everything from an beginner Washington hike to a multiple-day backpacking trip in this area.

You can also go on a road trip around the Olympic Peninsula to see even more of this beautiful area. I would allow at least three days to see everything in the region if time allows, as it’s a scenic weekend getaway near Seattle.

12. Orcas Island

visit orcas island obstruction pass

Distance From Seattle: 103 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Relaxing

Where to Stay:

You may have noticed this is the third island on this list, but it’s for a good reason. Every single San Juan Island is unique, and I recommend them all for different reasons.

If you want a small-town feel with a view of nature everywhere you go, you’ll want to add visiting Orcas Island to your list. This is also considered the best weekend getaway from Seattle by many locals. You can hike up Mt. Constitution or just drive to the top for views of the San Juan Islands and Canada. You may also want to check out a more comprehensive list of San Juan hikes.

Eastsound is the main town in the middle of the island and is where you can grab a bite to eat, buy groceries, and go wine tasting. There are also bookstores, coffee shops, toy shops, and more.

13. Salem

exploring salem oregon

Distance From Seattle: 219 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Best for: Outdoor enthusiasts

Where to Stay:

When you need a Seattle weekend getaway in the outdoors, you’ll love exploring Salem. Not only is this a beautiful area in Oregon, but you could spend a week participating in all the outdoor activities here and still not see it all.

Make sure to put waterfall chasing and hiking on your list, as there are great opportunities for photos here. You can also go river kayaking down rapids, which is quite different from normal kayaking on a lake.

After all that activity, you’ll have quite an appetite. There are many healthy restaurants to choose from here, such as Gather. If you’re in the mood for pizza, check out the family-friendly Giovanni’s.

14. Mount Hood

mt hood ski bowl

Distance From Seattle: 263 miles

Driving Time: 4 hours and 50 minutes

Best for: Adventure lovers

Where to Stay:

One of the best times to head down to Mt. Hood is Seattle during the winter, as you’ll be greeted with tons of fresh snow. Mt. Hood Territory includes the giant mountain and the surrounding area with tons to explore outside if you’re looking for last-minute getaways near Seattle. The mountain itself is popular for skiing during the winter, but you can even ski part of the mountain during the summer thanks to the high elevation.

Hiking is also popular during the summer, thanks to the many trails in the area. If you’re an animal lover, make sure to stop by the alpaca farm at Marquam Hill Ranch. When visiting Mt. Hood in the spring, you’ll want to spend an afternoon at the Wooden Shoe Tulip Festival.

In typical Oregon fashion, there are various breweries in the area to stop at as well during one of the best weekend getaways from Seattle in winter. Bunsenbrewer is a fun brewery in Mt. Hood where the beer selection is displayed on a “Beeriodic Table.” If you prefer cider, you’ll want to visit Portland Cider Co to taste local cider during your weekend trip from Seattle.

Here’s everything to know about visiting Seattle vs. Portland if you can’t decide.

15. Astoria

weekend in Astoria Columbia River

Distance From Seattle: 181 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours

Best for: History, movie buffs

Where to Stay:

While many people head to Portland for a weekend, nearby Astoria is my preferred place to vacation. While it’s a perfect Seattle weekend getaway for couples, movie buffs, and history lovers will also enjoy visiting.

This town is set on the Columbia River, so you’ll be overlooking Washington state during your visit. For such a small town, you’ll love how many things there are to do during a weekend in Astoria.

I was surprised by how many movies were filmed in Astoria when I first visited. For example, Kindergarten Cop 2, The Ring 2, and the famous end scene of Free Willy all came to Astoria to film scenes. Another famous attraction to see is the house from The Goonies. Astoria is one of the more unique weekend trips around Seattle when it comes to movies.

You can also just stroll through the town, visit antique shops, try local seafood, and taste local beverages. I feel like life slows down when I visit Astoria, and I always leave feeling relaxed.

Astoria is also a great jumping-off point to go on an Oregon coast trip.

16. Eugene

willamette river trail eugene

Distance From Seattle: 283 miles

Driving Time: 4 hours and 20 minutes

Best for: Families

Where to Stay:

There are many family-friendly vacations in the Pacific Northwest, but Eugene is one of my favorites. You can go at any time of the year, as both outdoor and indoor activities are. This area is also great when you want long weekend getaways from Seattle.

If you’re taking this Seattle weekend getaway in the winter, you’ll love visiting the interactive Eugene Children’s Museum. There are different activities for kids of all ages, and you can watch a show in the Planetarium before you leave. There are plenty of fun things to do in Eugene in general, making it great for weekend getaways from Seattle with kids.

Take a walk along the Willamette River Trail for some exercise and beautiful views during the summer. Skinner Butte Park is also a great area to let kids get their energy out on a giant playground. If you need a family vacation, this is one of the best kid-friendly weekend trips from Seattle in the summer.

The majority of the restaurants and breweries are kid-friendly, at least until 8 pm. You’ll also find some food trucks throughout the city if you need a quick dinner on the go.

If you really want to extend your trip, check out how to plan a Seattle to San Diego road trip.

17. Willamette Valley

things to do in willamette valley iris vineyards

Distance From Seattle: 222 miles

Driving Time: 3 hours and 30 minutes

Best for: Wine lovers

Where to Stay:

While Willamette Valley is known as one of the more romantic weekend getaways from Seattle, the area is really for everyone. As long as you love wine or visiting wineries, you’ll fit right in, as many locals doing a short weekend trip from Portland know.

Willamette Valley has over 600 wineries, so there’s no way you’ll run out of places to visit. Some of them are small wineries that just have a few wines to sample, while others are massive ones with restaurants.

If you’re looking for other things to do in Willamette Valley, you can book a hot air balloon ride. This is a fantastic way to start the morning and see how big the Valley is. There are also hikes like the beautiful Silver Falls State Park.

When you get hungry, you can visit the famous Voodoo Donuts for your fill of every kind of donut you can imagine. There’s also a variety of cuisine in the area, such as Latin and Italian food.

18. Portland

day trips from portland city scape

Distance From Seattle: 175 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours and 45 minutes

Best for: Foodies, beer lovers

Where to Stay:

  • Staypineapple is a fun hotel to stay at on the river and includes a restaurant. (rates start at $94 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • Mark Spencer Hotel has a fitness center and some rooms with kitchens. (rates start at $103 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • The Art House sleeps four people and has Wi-Fi throughout and a working fireplace. (rates start at $125 per night)

Portland is the place where many Seattle locals go for a last-minute weekend trip from Seattle, whether it’s for a bachelor party or a birthday party. The city’s food scene is amazing, and I recommend stopping at food trucks for a few meals to taste the diversity of the cuisine when looking for what to do in Portland.

They also have dozens of breweries in the city, specializing in everything from IPAs to sours. A few breweries to consider include Deschutes Brewery Portland Public House, Baerlic Brewing Company, and Culmination Brewing. Many have full menus, so you can also grab dinner there, and some have outdoor seating in Portland in the summer.

Some places you’ll want to stop include the Portland Japanese Garden, where you’ll be surrounded by nature and feel far removed from the city. Washington Park is another great place to walk around and get exercise.

There are also many day trips from Portland to take if you’re looking for a full day of activities. Multnomah Falls is a popular waterfall just 30 minutes east of the city to get stunning pictures.

19. Whistler

umbrella bar whistler

Distance From Seattle: 217 miles

Driving Time: 4 hours

Best for: Nature lovers, foodies

Where to Stay:

Whistler, Canada, is one of the best long weekend trips from Seattle in winter when you really want to get out of the city. The Sea to Sky Highway is one of the most scenic drives in North America, so take your time getting up there for your weekend vacation in Whistler.

I tend to stop in Vancouver for lunch on my drive from Seattle to Vancouver, and then slowly make my way up (you can also spend 3 days in Vancouver for an extended trip). Due to the proximity, many locals also go to Whistler when they need a weekend trip from Vancouver.

This is a resort town in the mountains with something for everyone. Most people come here to ski on the giant Whistler and Blackcomb Mountains during the winter. Even if you’re not a skier, you can take the gondola up to have lunch at the top of the mountain.

However, there really is no bad time to come to Whistler, as you’ll find events for every season. There are tons of Whistler summer activities to explore, such as hiking, mountain biking, and ziplining, or you can come up when it’s spring in Vancouver to beat the crowds.

You’ll want to make sure you come to Whistler hungry, as you can find almost every type of cuisine here. Some of the types of restaurants include Indian, Thai, Italian, and seafood. You can also celebrate a special occasion at one of the fine dining restaurants or watch the hockey game at one of the bars in town. They also have delicious Whistler coffee shops to check out every morning.

20. Vancouver Island

drive vancouver island cameron lake

Distance From Seattle: 176 miles

Driving Time: 5 hours (includes a ferry ride)

Best for: Outdoor lovers

Where to Stay:

  • Tigh-Na-Mara is a stunning resort and spa in Parksville that’s right on the coast. (rates start at $154 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • Coast Bastion Hotel is close to the Nanaimo ferry dock and a great base for your trip to Vancouver Island. (rates start at $87 per night; book your room on Booking.com or Hotels.com)
  • Nothing beats this unique treehouse that you can rent out for the weekend. (rates start at $163 per night)

Almost every time I return from a road trip on Vancouver Island in Canada, I consider moving there. This gorgeous island is one of my favorite Seattle weekend getaways, even if it’s the longest one on this list.

I’ve been to the island multiple times and still have parts of it I haven’t been to. The most popular city to visit is Victoria, where you’ll feel like you’re in London. There are many kid-friendly activities in Victoria, making it ideal for families.

I recommend heading to the east side of the island by taking the ferry to Nanaimo. From there, you can set out on a weekend adventure by going kayaking or taking a seaplane over the islands in the area. There are also many hikes in the area as well as waterfalls to explore on your getaway from Seattle.

If you go further up the island, you can visit Mount Washington, where you can hike in the summer or ski in the winter. Never in my life have I skied on an island before, so I would take advantage of this if you’re a snowboarder or skier!

You can also turn this into a relaxing vacation by booking a place by the water and being stationed there all weekend. The sunrises and sunsets are gorgeous here, especially as they fall over the other smaller islands in the region. Grab a bottle of wine or hot chocolate and end the day on a calm note.

21. Richmond

richmond bc

Distance From Seattle: 136 miles

Driving Time: 2 hours and 15 minutes

Best for: Foodies

Where to Stay:

Richmond, Canada, is just over the Washington state border and south of Vancouver, so it’s rare that you’ll be stuck in traffic. This is also a perfect weekend trip from Seattle in winter because you can spend most of your time inside.

Richmond has a population that’s over 60% Asian, and there are hundreds of different restaurants to pick from. In fact, one street that’s known as “Food Street” has over 200 Asian restaurants within three blocks. If there’s ever a certain type of food you’ve wanted to try and haven’t found in Seattle, you’ll want to visit Richmond to order it finally.

While there are many places to choose from, I’ll recommend a few to put on your itinerary. You’ll love spending an hour or so at Yuan Chen, where you can go tea tasting. Another very popular restaurant is Chef Tony Seafood Restaurant, where you’ll want to go with a group to order dim sum.

While you’re in Richmond, make sure to visit Aberdeen Centre. This is one of the largest Asian malls in North America, and the food court is huge. You can get everything from bubble waffles to dumplings while you’re there.

Asian food isn’t the only cuisine offered, and those dreaming of going to Paris will love L’Opera Patisserie. This is a fun way to spend a morning tasting macarons and other pastries with a cup of coffee.

If you want to extend your trip, check out this Vancouver 2 day itinerary or see how to explore Vancouver in the winter.

While there are many fun weekend trips from Seattle to choose from, these are some of my favorite ones. I encourage you to get out and explore a new town, whether it’s nearby or in another state!

2 thoughts on “21 Incredible Weekend Trips From Seattle to Explore (2024)

  1. Ophélie Schaffar says:

    Those landscapes are so beautiful! I didn’t know there were so many extraordinary places around Seattle!

  2. Alix says:

    I grew up in Vancouver and now live in the Okanagan Valley so many of these locations are close to me as well. I’ll probably not be able to venture south of the border for a while, but adding several of spots from your list to my must see list when this pandemic is over with!

    Alix | bisousdescaribous.com

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