Seattle is a wonderful place to call home. But it’s always important to skip town for a weekend here and there. Absence makes the heart grow fonder. The question is: where should you go? Well, here is our list of the best weekend getaways from Seattle.
One of the main highlights of Seattle and the surrounding area is the water and our incredible islands.
The San Juan Islands obviously get most of the attention. And there is a great reason for that. They are spectacular. We usually stay in Friday Harbor or Roche Harbor on San Juan Island. You can jump on the ferry and island hop or book a fun trip on Kenmore Air. In fact, Kenmore Air provides an awesome day trip option that includes whale watching, if that’s something that interests you.
Whidbey Island needs to be on anyone’s list of best weekend getaways from Seattle. It’s close to home but it feels far away. From Langley to Deception Pass, there are so many adventures and stops along the way. We have done Whidbey Island as a day trip and posted up shop there for the weekend. There is no shortage of hiking, shopping and eating on Whidbey Island.
Bainbridge Island is minutes away from Seattle on a ferry. You can easily get back and forth in a single day. Or…you can book a hotel room, Airbnb, or go the Glamping Hub route. With Hitchcock, Restaurant Marche, and of course Mora Iced Creamery, you can eat, eat and eat on Bainbridge Island, making it one of the best getaways from Seattle.
Closer to Home
There is no rule that says you need to travel a long distance for a weekend getaway from Seattle. You can just as easily drive a hair north to Woodinville Wine Country and set up shop. Willows Lodge is a wonderful place to stay, and there are plenty of good restaurants to enjoy. But the highlight is obviously the wine. There are more than 100 tasting rooms in Woodinville. Don’t forget about beer and whiskey too.
Tove and I are guilty of not enjoying Mount Rainier enough. It’s big, beautiful, and an outdoor wonderland. It’s far enough away to make it a long day trip, but it’s even better as a weekend getaway from Seattle. You can stay at Crystal Mountain, one of the other lodges, enjoy the growing number of Airbnbs, or go backpacking. You can visit Paradise and/or Sunrise. Summer is especially beautiful at Mount Rainier but there are winter adventures as well.
There are plenty of places to go over the mountains. You can spend a weekend in Spokane, enjoy wine in Walla Walla, and celebrate the apple blossoms in Wenatchee. Lake Chelan is another splendid choice. And not all that far away — actually still in the mountains — is Suncadia. Less than an hour and a half drive from Seattle, Suncadia puts you in the middle of the ponderosa pines. You can enjoy outdoor fun, golfing, pools when it is hot, or go snowshoeing, sledding or snowmobiling in the winter.
You can also drop yourself into the middle of Bavaria in Leavenworth. The Bavarian themed city is fun anytime of the year, but it leaves its biggest impression in the summer and winter. Outdoor adventures await in the long summer months, while the Christmas tree lighting ceremony is a can’t-miss every holiday season. Don’t forget sausage, beer and pretzels. The Enzian Inn is also a fun hotel option.
A little more off the beaten path, you will find Palouse Falls. It should be included as part of a bigger trip but it’s surely a sight to see.
Head Farther East
And if you continue east, there are even more adventures in Idaho. You can bike the Hiawatha Trail, go skiing and snowboarding at Schweitzer Mountain, or stay on one of Idaho’s wonderful lakes. There is Sandpoint and Lake Pend Oreille but beyond that you will find Priest Lake. And I’m not kidding when I say that Priest Lake is a little slice of heaven right here on Earth.
And I’m possibly starting to stretch beyond a weekend getaway — unless it’s a long weekend — but you can also hit Glacier National Park in Montana.
No, I don’t mean the Port of Seattle. Or Seattle-Tacoma International Airport. I mean Port Townsend and Port Angeles.
Port Townsend is a sweet little gem about two hours from Seattle. It’s a quaint city with restaurants, shopping, and fun hotels. You can hop on a boat and go whale watching, stomp around Fort Warden Historical State Park, and so much more. More than anything, Port Townsend is a great place to relax. And be sure to take in a sunset on the beach.
Port Angeles is also on our list of best weekend getaways from Seattle. While there isn’t a ton in Port Angeles itself, it is the gateway to Olympic National Park. From Port Angeles, you can visit Hurricane Ridge, drive out to Lake Crescent, and hike one of the trillion trails around the area. And don’t miss Olympic Game Farm in Sequim. It’s an experience all in itself.
Not everyone has the luxury of hopping across the Canadian border on a weekend whim…but we do. Vancouver is easily one of the best weekend getaways from Seattle. With plenty of outdoor adventures, beautiful Stanley Park, culture, and a plethora of food and drink options, you can spend four full days in Vancouver and still not see and do everything.
Vancouver isn’t the only easy weekend getaway to British Columbia. You can simply hop on the Clipper and jet your way to Victoria. Enjoy tea at The Empress, hop on bikes and tour different breweries and beer bars, or explore beautiful Butchart Gardens. Quick, easy and fun — a weekend getaway doesn’t get much better than that.
It takes some time to get to Banff (an hour and a half flight to Calgary followed by an hour and a half drive to Banff), but it is worth every second. The Canadian Rockies offer some of the most majestic scenery on this planet. And that’s not an exaggeration. To be honest, Lake Louise is only a small part of what the area has to offer. Hit the trails. Spot wildlife. And say “wow” a million times when you make this weekend getaway from Seattle.
The obvious weekend getaway from Seattle heading south is Portland. And it’s a great choice. Tove and I have spent many weekends in the Rose City. To mix it up, you can go to Hood River. Or, once again walking a fine line of doable weekend getaways, you can also go farther south to Crater Lake or white water rafting on the Deschutes River. Bend/Sunriver is always great. But each of those comes with some travel.
And there is so much happening in Seattle, you don’t even have to leave to get away. Book a hotel or play tourist in your own city. Tove and I did this when we first moved back to Seattle after years away. We did all the touristy things: Pike Place Market, the Space Needle, the Great Wheel, and so much more. It was an absolute blast and we did it in the comfort of a local hotel. It made us feel like we were away in our own city.
Best Weekend Getaways From Seattle
I hope we didn’t overwhelm you with this list of the best weekend getaways from Seattle. More than anything, I’m sure it shows there are no shortage of places to go and things to do. Whatever you decide, just pull the trigger and get out of town. You’re sure to have a fantastic time no matter what you choose.
What is on your list of best weekend getaways from Seattle? Is there anything we missed? Leave a comment below or connect with us on Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram. You can also check out Seattle Bloggers for more great places to explore in the Emerald City and beyond!