You’ve seen (and totally fallen for) the beautiful city of Seattle, many times over. There’s no lack of wildlife, culture, and outdoor activities is this neck of the woods. But, whether you’ve visited this iconic spot in the Pacific Northwest a million times or never before, there’s a ton to check out beyond the city limits. Wondering what kinds of cool things you can do that won’t be chock full of tourists, and how far you’ll have to drive to find them?
Grab some wheels, a compass, and your sense of adventure! You’re about to take a day trip to visit Seattle’s surrounding areas, all within an hour’s drive (or boat ride).
To the North
You’ve always been a little curious about how planes fly. Or maybe your daughter really wants to be an engineer. What better way to spend a few hours than in the Boeing Factory, where the planes are dissected and explained to you? Just make sure the kiddos are at least four feet tall.
The factory is most accessible by car, and has a few public transit options. Or, if you’re baller enough to fly in and park your private plane, that’s always an option. Whatever works.
When you’re done learning all about airplanes, you can explore the Mukilteo’s lighthouses, grab a bite, and hit the ferry for a quick stop in Clinton, on Whidbey Island. Mukilteo runs adjacent to the Puget Sound, and is only about 25 minutes north of Seattle, which makes for some prime views along the coast. Don’t forget to bring your car on the ferry, because Whidbey Island is 55 miles long.
Whether you like wineries, boating, beaches, golf, or just want to hang with the squid, there’s something for pretty much everyone in this neck of the woods.
East of Seattle
If you’re looking for less water and more small-town charm, head east, toward the Cascade Mountains.
The Northwest Railway Museum is only about 40 minutes away by car, and is full of educational facts for the young and old. In the warmer months (April-October), you can take a 10-mile train ride to the top of Snoqualmie Falls on the weekends.
Speaking of Snoqualmie Falls, why not bring a picnic along, or go for a hike in the woods? There are abundant opportunities to check out the wildlife while you’re there. Don’t forget the binoculars!
If you maybe need a little break from seeing nature’s wonders, head a little south of Seattle to Tacoma (roughly 40 minutes), and you’ll find all the quirky charm, arts, and culture you could ever hope for.
Check out the Museum of Glass, where you can see sky-high creations both indoors and out, and watch glass-blowers work their magic with molten lumps of glass.
If you’re into theatre (or just love historical architecture) catch a show at either the Pantages or Rialto Theater. Both opened in 1918 and are well worth the price of admission.
It’s Best in the West
Bring your car (optional) and your camera (a must) for the 35-minute trip across the Puget sound to Bainbridge Island. This is where you’ll get all those lovely skyline selfies with your S.O. (selfie stick not required). Is there any better way to spend a commute?
Once the ferry’s docked, you can walk or drive off to your next adventure. Bainbridge has no lack of things to do. Bikes, boats, and kayaks abound, but you can also find a wine tour, go shopping, or just a plain old restaurant with a view of the Seattle skyline.
Now that you’ve planned your day trip, what are you waiting for? Hit the road!
Be brave with those wheels, and let us know in the comments what you find, if you venture further than an hour outside the city!