Weekend trips in Washington
Washington State is home to many great places to go for a weekend vacation. Whether you want to enjoy nature, culture, history, food, wine, shopping, or just plain relaxation, there are plenty of options for everyone. From big cities like Seattle and Portland to rural towns like Olympia, Bellingham, and Walla Walla, Washington State offers something for everyone.
Here are world-class weekend getaways in Washington state.
Washington Weekend Getaways: City Breaks
Seattle is one of America’s best cities to visit. With over 600 days of sunshine each year, it boasts some of the most stunning scenery in North America. But did you know it has something else to offer its visitors – culture, history, art, music, cuisine and adventure?!
From the Pacific Northwest’s largest public market, where fishmongers hawk their wares and musicians play everything from jazz to blues, to the world-famous Pike Place Market, where shoppers bargain for produce and seafood, Seattle offers a little something for everyone.
The city is home to the University of Washington, the oldest institution of higher learning west of the Mississippi River. Its campus features the beautiful Burke Museum, the world-renowned College of Arts & Sciences and the internationally renowned School of Music.
In addition to the university, Seattle is home to many cultural institutions including the Seattle Art Museum, the Experience Music Project and the Henry Art Gallery. There are several small museums scattered around the downtown area, such as the Seattle Asian Art Museum, the Children’s Discovery Museum and the Museum of Pop Culture.
For those looking to explore the outdoors, Seattle is located near Mount Rainier National Park, which provides hiking trails, camping sites and breathtaking views.
There are plenty of activities to do in the city, too. From whale watching cruises to kayaking excursions, fishing trips to zipline adventures, Seattle is full of fun things to see and do.
And don’t forget about the food! Seattle is known for being a culinary destination; the city hosts dozens of restaurants serving every type of cuisine imaginable. Visitors can sample traditional American fare, Japanese sushi, Korean barbecue, Italian pasta, Mexican tacos, French bistros, Middle Eastern mezze platters and even authentic Ethiopian dishes.
So pack your bags and head to Seattle today!
Spokane Eastern Washington
Located in the less-frequent eastern Washington, Spokane offers something very special. A city where nature meets culture, where you can enjoy beautiful parks, outstanding restaurants, and proximity to incredible state parks. And best of all, it’s just over two hours away from Palouse Falls, one the most spectacular waterfalls in Washington state.
Lake Chelan is Washington state’s largest lake, and it’s located just north of Seattle. Its shores are lined with small communities like Chelan, where people come together to enjoy the area’s natural beauty. While Lake Chelan might look like a big blue body of water, there are many things to do here besides fish, swim, and boat. There are plenty of places to eat, drink, shop, and play games.
The town itself is filled with restaurants serving everything from pizza to sushi, and even some Mexican food. You can find something to fit every palate, whether you want to spend money or save money. If you prefer to keep costs down, you can always cook your own meals in your cabin. The nearby Winery Creek Vineyards offers tours of their facility, wine tastings, and special events. They also offer lodging in their cabins, which are situated along the banks of the lake.
There are several golf courses within driving distance of Chelan. You can choose to go to the public course or opt for a private club. Either way, you’ll have a great time playing 18 holes. For families looking for a little adventure, you can rent kayaks or paddle boards at the marina. Or, you can take advantage of the numerous recreational activities offered by the Chelan Area Recreation District. These include hiking trails, swimming pools, tennis courts, basketball courts, playgrounds, and skate parks.
The city of Tacoma is located just south of Seattle. With a population of over 200,000 people, it is one of the fastest growing cities in the United States. This makes it a great place to live and work, but it’s also home to some pretty amazing attractions. One of those is the Tacoma Dome, which hosts concerts throughout the year. For example, in February 2020, the Tacoma Dome hosted Travis Scott for his “Rodeo Tour.” In addition to being a concert venue, the Tacoma Dome also serves as a sports arena where you can watch professional teams like the NBA’s Portland Trail Blazers play basketball.
There are many things to do in Tacoma besides attending a show at the Tacoma Dome. You could go see the Space Needle, take a tour of the USS Arizona Memorial, or even visit the Museum of Glass. There are plenty of other places to explore in Tacoma, including parks, restaurants, and shopping malls. If you want to find out what else there is to do in Tacoma, keep reading!
A strange mix of Oregonians, Washingtonians, Canadians and Californians call Vancouver home. Located just across the Columbia River from Portland, Oregon, it is a bustling hub of activity for families looking to enjoy a variety of activities. From the popular waterfront parks to the many wineries, there are plenty of ways to spend some quality family time here.
The city is nestled right along one of the most beautiful rivers in North America, the Columbia River. With miles of beaches, water sports galore, and great hiking trails, you’ll find yourself spending countless hours enjoying nature around every corner. For those seeking adventure, there are plenty of exciting things to do on land and sea.
For those interested in food, Vancouver offers a wide range of dining options. Whether you’re craving sushi, pizza or Mexican cuisine, you’re sure to find something delicious. If you want to take advantage of the local breweries, head over to Granville Island where you’ll find dozens of craft beers and ales.
As you know, we love our little city of Bellingham. With its close proximity to Seattle, Portland, Vancouver, and even San Francisco, there are plenty of reasons why people choose to call Bellingham home. But what about those who want to escape the hustle and bustle of the big city life? If you’re looking for a place where you can enjoy a slower pace, beautiful scenery, and a laidback atmosphere, look no further than Bellingham. Here are five reasons why you should make it your next vacation destination:
1. A College Town Getaway
The small town feel combined with the large university population makes Bellingham a college town like no other. You won’t find yourself lost in a sea of students during your trip; instead, you’ll find yourself surrounded by friendly locals and tons of fun things to do. Whether you prefer to explore the campus or just relax on a warm summer day, you’ll always find something to keep you busy. Plus, since Bellingham is located within driving distance of many universities, you’ll never run out of exciting activities to take part in.
2. Artistic District
If you’re looking to see some incredible artwork, head over to the Fairhaven Historic District. This quaint area is filled with dozens of unique shops and restaurants, including some of the best coffee shops around. From locally owned businesses to national chains, you’ll be sure to find something that appeals to your taste buds. And don’t worry—you won’t miss out on the amazing food options either. From Italian cuisine to sushi, you’ll definitely find something worth trying.
3. Hiking & Biking Trails
Bellingham offers endless opportunities for outdoor enthusiasts. There are hiking trails galore throughout the city, giving visitors the chance to explore the surrounding areas and discover hidden gems along the way. For biking enthusiasts, Bellingham is known for having some of the most scenic bike paths in North America. Not only does this allow you to ride alongside the water, but the views are absolutely breathtaking.
4. Local Breweries
You may not think much about beer when you go on vacation, but if you’ve ever been to Bellingham, you already know how good the local brews are. In fact, the city has more microbreweries per capita than any other city in the country. So whether you’re looking forward to relaxing at the beach or exploring the nearby parks, you’ll have an excuse to indulge in one (or all) of these tasty beverages.
5. The Pacific Northwest Coastline
While Bellingham isn’t exactly located near the ocean, you still get the same gorgeous view from the shores of Lake Whatcom. The lake itself provides stunning views of Mount Baker, which is often referred to as “America’s tallest mountain.” It’s also a great spot for fishing, boating, swimming, and kayaking.
Washington Weekend Trips: Nature Breaks
Ocean Shores is located about 50 miles north of Seattle, WA. It sits along the Puget Sound waterfront, just south of Hood Canal. With over 12 miles of shoreline, it offers visitors access to some of the best beaches in the region.
The city itself is home to around 10,000 residents, and many come to enjoy the natural beauty surrounding them. Visitors can take advantage of the nearby trails and forests, while others prefer to spend time relaxing on the beach.
Mt. Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier National Park is located just south of Seattle, Washington. This stunning national park encompasses over 2 million acres of land and provides visitors with unrivaled views of Mount Rainier, Lake Crescent, and Puget Sound. With nearly 300 miles of trail systems, visitors are able to explore the rugged landscape while enjoying the beautiful scenery around every corner.
The park offers many activities for people of all ages, including camping, fishing, boating, swimming, horseback riding, wildlife viewing, and much more. There are several campgrounds throughout the park where guests can pitch tents and enjoy the outdoors. One of the most popular areas within the park is Paradise, which features over 200 campsites along the shores of Lake Crescent. Campers can choose from tent sites, RV sites, trailer sites, cabins, yurts, group facilities, and even teepees!
For those interested in exploring the mountains, there are numerous hiking trails throughout the park. Visitors can hike to the summit of Mount Rainier, take part in the Wonderland Trail, or go on a day hike near the lake. For those looking to fish, the park has three lakes that offer excellent trout fishing.
If you want to learn about the history of the region, there are museums in both Ashford and Packwood that provide insight into Native American culture and early settlers. You can tour the historic buildings and see exhibits inside the museum. Outside of the museum, you can view totem poles, petroglyphs, and rock art that date back thousands of years.
There are also many restaurants in the area where you can stop for lunch or dinner. Some of the favorites include the Tilly’s Cafe & Bakery, the Mountain Café, the Red Onion Grill, and the Black Bear Diner. If you want to try some of the local cuisine, head to the Nisqually Indian Reservation for authentic native dishes like salmon cakes, bannock bread, and halibut stew.
With the abundance of outdoor opportunities, it’s no wonder why Mt. Rainier National Park is one of America’s favorite places to visit!
Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest
The Mt. Baker-Sno Qualmie National Forest is located in north central Washington state just south of Bellingham. This forest covers over 4,500 square miles and offers visitors a variety of outdoor activities including skiing, mountain biking, fishing, boating, kayaking, swimming, horseback riding, hiking, cross-country skiing, snowshoeing, and snowmobiling. There are many trails throughout the area where hikers, bikers, and equestrians can go exploring. For those looking for some adventure, there are several alpine lakes within the national forest offering opportunities for fishing, canoeing, and camping.
Looking for a camping option for a Washington weekend getaway? Douglas Fir Campground and the Red Bridge Campground come recommended. Both offer spacious sites, full hookups, showers, laundry facilities, picnic tables, fire rings, playgrounds, and much more! If you want to avoid paying for expensive cabins, check out our list of free campsites in the area.
Deception Pass State Park
The breathtaking views and abundant wildlife are just some of what you’ll find here at Deception Pass State Park. Located along Puget Sound on the Olympic Peninsula, this 2,500 acre park offers visitors access to miles of pristine beaches, forests, mountains, wetlands, lakes, rivers, and waterfalls. There are plenty of activities to do, too, including hiking, fishing, boating, kayaking, camping, swimming, bird watching, whale watching, biking, horseback riding, and much more.
Cle Elum River
The Cle Elum River runs through the heart of Washington state. It flows north into Lake Roosevelt and eventually empties out into Puget Sound. This beautiful waterway offers some of the best opportunities for white water rafting in the Northwest.
If you enjoy thrilling recreation, such as whitewater rafting, hiking, and even potential bear encounters, Cle Elum makes for a great getaway in the Pacific Northwest. Campers can pitch tents near the banks of the river, where it becomes crystal clear and slow moving.
Looking for something to eat? You’ll find everything from pizza joints to local favorites offering delicious options just minutes away from the campsite.
The best way to experience Stevens Pass is to take advantage of the area’s natural beauty and cultural offerings. There are miles of trails perfect for hiking, biking, skiing, snowshoeing, cross-country skiing, dog walking, horseback riding, ice skating, sledding, and much more. And there are plenty of restaurants serving up hearty meals, coffee shops where you can warm up with a latte, bakeries selling sweet treats, and bars offering cold beverages. Plus, there are lots of lodging options to choose from, including hotels, inns, bed & breakfasts, cabins, condos, and even campgrounds.
Small Town Weekend Trips in Washington
Leavenworth, WA is a charming little mountain town in the northwest corner of Washington state. This picturesque destination offers visitors a variety of fun things to do during a short trip away from Seattle. From quaint shops to amazing restaurants, there are many reasons why you should make Leavenworth part of your next vacation plans. Here’s how to plan a memorable trip to this unique city.
One of the state’s best places to soak up its natural beauty, Westport offers a lavish way to immerse yourself in Washington’s natural splendor. From the moment you arrive, you’ll feel like you’ve stepped into a postcard. Nestled along the shores of Puget Sound, the town boasts miles of pristine beaches, scenic trails, and gorgeous views of Mount Rainier. And while it might look like just another seaside resort, there’s much more to explore here than meets the eye. Whether you want to relax on the sand, catch fish off the pier, hike the forested hillsides, or take part in one of many outdoor activities, Westport is sure to satisfy every type of visitor.
The tiny town of Edmonds, Washington, located just south of Seattle, is often overlooked by tourists looking for big cities. But it shouldn’t be. This charming little burg offers everything you could want in a vacation destination—and much more.
For starters, there’s the fact that Edmonds is one of the most walkable towns in America. You don’t even need to rent a car to explore the area; you can simply hop on foot. And what a great place that is! You’ll find yourself wandering down quaint side streets lined with shops and restaurants, stopping into places like the Blue Moon Coffeehouse & Bakery for some delicious baked goods, then heading over to the Edmonds Art Museum for a dose of culture.
But beyond the art, history, and architecture, Edmonds is known for something else: its incredible selection of bars. Whether you’re looking for a cozy neighborhood pub serving up classic American fare or a lively sports bar where you can catch a game while enjoying a pint of beer, Edmonds has got you covered. If you’ve never been to Edmonds, here are our favorite bars in the city.
1. The Bier Stein
2. Barley Swine
3. Blackbird Public House
4. The Boiler Room Pub
5. The Brew Kettle
6. The Bullpen Sports Bar
7. The Cactus Club
8. The Copper Door Tavern
9. The Eagle’s Roost
10. The Elks Lodge
11. The Firehouse Saloon
12. The Foxhole
13. The Great Northern Brewing Company
14. The Green Dragon Inn
15. The Huckleberry
The small city of Port Angeles, located just north of Seattle, offers visitors a unique combination of natural beauty, cultural heritage, and delicious local cuisine.
Just 30 minutes away from the breathtaking Olympic Peninsula wilderness, there are endless opportunities to hike, bike, fish, swim, kayak, and explore.
In addition to being home to one of Washington state’s best beaches, Port Angeles is surrounded by some of the most beautiful scenery in the Pacific Northwest.
Coastal Washington State Weekend Getaways
Neah Bay: A hidden gem tucked away off the main highway, Neah Bay is one of the most beautiful places I’ve ever visited. Located just north of Port Angeles, WA, this little village is home to about 2,500 residents, making it one of the smallest towns in America. But what makes Neah Bay special is the breathtaking view of the rugged coastline. From the moment you arrive, you’re surrounded by towering cliffs covered in mossy trees. If you want to see the best views of the ocean, hike up to Cape Flattery and look out over the water from atop a massive boulder. You won’t believe how far the sea stretches!
LaPush: With its long sandy beach and calm waters, this tiny island is a great place to escape the hustle and bustle of city life. There are no cars allowed on the island, so you’ll feel like you’re truly getting away from it all. On the way there, make sure to stop at the lighthouse and check out the amazing views of the surrounding area. Once you reach the end of the road, walk down to the shoreline where you’ll find tidepools full of colorful marine creatures including starfish, crabs, mussels, and clams. If you’re lucky enough to catch a glimpse of seals while you’re here, don’t forget to take a picture!
Shi Shi Beach: Just south of LaPush lies another gorgeous stretch of sand. Similar to LaPush, Shi Shi Beach is free of cars, allowing visitors to enjoy the outdoors without worrying about traffic. The views of the Puget Sound are spectacular, and even better during sunset. During low tide, you’ll be able to explore the rocks for hours looking for interesting shells and fossils. Bring a picnic dinner and spend the night under the stars watching the sun set behind Mount Baker.
Island Getaways in Washington
Vashon Island, OrcasmandWhidbey Islandare three of the most beautiful and serene places to call home in Washington state. Each offers visitors a unique experience, whether you’re looking for a family vacation, romantic retreat, or active adventure.
The best part about these islands is that there are no crowds — just you and nature. Whether it’s hiking along the cliffs of Point Robinson or exploring the rainforests of Mount Baker, there is plenty to do.
In addition to being some of the most scenic spots in the area, these islands offer something for everyone. From art galleries and boutique shops to world-class restaurants and award-winning wineries, each destination offers a variety of activities and attractions to keep guests busy during their trip.
Theme Park Weekend Getaways
Wild Waves Waterpark, located in Issaquah, Washington, is one of the closest water parks to Seattle. With three full days of fun planned, there are plenty of things to do for families big and small. Thrilling roller coasters and twisting water slides, plus lots of traditional theme park fare like carnival rides, bumper boats, arcade games and more, can keep everyone entertained for hours.
The park offers something for every age group, including thrill seekers, kids and teens, adults, couples and groups. There are even special events throughout the weekend such as Halloween Haunt, Christmas in July, 4th of July Fireworks and much more.
Great Wolf Lodge
For the perfect intersection of kid friendly activities and adult-centric traveling, the Great Wolf Lodge in West Virginia is a great place to begin. Indoor water slides, swimming pools, hot tubs and interactive games are just the beginning of what you’ll find here. Dining that ranges from baked goods and lunchtime sandwiches to a nice sit down dinner provides the opportunity for some quiet relaxation over a glass of wine or cocktail.