The largest city in Washington, Seattle has come a long way from once being a dull city to now being famous as a flourishing economy known for its rich culture and laid-back lifestyle. The ‘Coffee Capital’ of the United States, the city is home to several remarkable attractions including a spectacular waterfront that has the popular Great Ferris Wheel.
If you are here for a holiday and would like to explore what’s around, here is a list of the top 5 weekend getaways from Seattle for you and your family:
A dormant volcano that last erupted in the 1890s, Mount Rainier is one of the oldest national parks in the world. Well-known for its scenic views of Mount Rainier and Emmons Glacier, Sunrise Visitor Center is well-equipped with maps, books, and information on the park. Nestled amidst an enormous alpine meadow, it is also the starting point for numerous trails, both short and long, around the fringe of the slumbering giant. The Frozen Lake, Winthrop Glacier, and the 7-mile hike to the Palisades Lake are also worth experiencing here.
Best Time to Visit: The most recommended time to visit the National Park is from July to August when wildflowers transform the region’s alpestrine pastures and the arid, warm weather provides ideal hiking opportunities.
How to Reach: You can either take a bus from Seattle to Crystal Mountain and then cover the last 21 km to Mount Rainier. Alternatively, you can take a train from King Street Station to Sumner station and then make your way to Mount Rainier.
Home to some of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful scenery, the picturesque Whidbey Island in the Puget Sound is often known as Martha’s Vineyard of the West Coast. To come here and not explore some of its natural landscapes would be a shame, especially places such as the Deception Pass in the north, Ebey’s Landing which is a National Historical Reserve, and the Chocolate Flower Farm.
Best Time to Visit: May to June is the most preferable time to visit Whidbey Island as the weather is great for staying outdoors. This is also a high tourist season.
How to Reach: There are three different ways to get to Whidbey Island from Seattle – bus, train, and car. All modes take around under an hour and a half but fuel costs for a self-driven car are the most economical at $7 to $9.
Not too far from the Canadian border, Bellingham is a gem that offers the best of everything that the region has to offer. With coastline access to the San Juan Islands and a hop, skip, and jump away from North Cascades National Park, Bellingham makes outdoor leisure easy to find. Within the charming city, sights such as Whatcom Falls Park, SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, and Fairhaven Historic District are some amazing places to visit.
Best Time to Visit: To make the most of your visit, it is best to avoid the rainy months of June to September and visit anytime during the rest of the year.
How to Reach: For Bellingham, you could either take a bus, train, shuttle, or a car. A car is the fastest means followed by the bus, train, and shuttle. Costs can vary between $9 to $70 depending on the mode you pick.
North Cascades National Park
One of the most underrated national parks in the country, North Cascades is a brilliant location for a short break from Seattle. With over 300 splendid glaciers, magnificent wildflower-covered mountains, and glimmering alpine lakes, the National Park is surely going to inspire you. It is important to note that the park is divided into three sections – Ross Lake National Recreational Area, Chelan Lake National Recreational Area, and North Cascades National Park Complex.
Best Time to Visit: The National Park is accessible round the clock, 365 days a year. However, the suggested time of year to visit is from mid-June through mid-September, Come prepared for summer storms though. You may experience snow on some trails until July.
How to Reach: If you would like to avoid changing multiple means of transportation, your best option of travel between the two locations is to get on a train to Mount Vernon Amtrak Station from Seattle and then make your way to the National Park.
Alive with cultural events, musical gatherings, theatre, and other exciting things to do, Portland is often considered one of the best places to live in the country. The city’s impressive gardens and lush green spaces are the primary most attraction here, including Washington Park which is home to the outstanding International Rose Test Garden, and Portland Japanese Garden (known to be the largest of its kind outside of Japan).
Best Time to Visit: The most recommended time to visit the city is between June to August when the pleasantly warm weather allows for outdoor activities to thrive. Also, this is when Portland’s famous roses can be seen in full bloom.
How to Reach: To travel to Portland from Seattle, you can either take a flight if you are willing to pay up to $250 or you could opt for a train or bus. The latter option takes around three and a half hours and less than half the airfare.