Best Places to Visit in Seattle
Seattle’s surroundings add great charm to living or visiting the city. It is surrounded by the unique landscape of the Pacific Northwest, including volcanic mountains, high seas, and adventurous ancient archipelagos. These day-trip sights also include many of Washington’s best state and national parks, including Mount Rainier, Northern Falls, and the Olympic Peninsula.
Larger cities near Seattle, such as Tacoma and Bellevue, also attract tourists with their art museums and international cuisine. The smaller communities in Puget Sound stay at a slower pace giving you time to take the boats to state parks, explore interesting local heritage, and enjoy your island getaway.
All of the best day trips from Seattle are accessible by car, ferry, or other public transportation. While any time of the year is ideal for getting out of town, summer is probably the best time to plan a trip. Find your next unforgettable city trip with our list of the Best Places to Visit in Seattle and make your trip enjoyable.
10 Best Places to Visit in Seattle
Let’s explore the top 10 Most Beautiful and Best Places to Visit in Seattle:
1. Victoria, British Columbia
Blooming Victoria on Vancouver Island is the capital of British Columbia and one of Canada’s most beautiful cities. This international tourist destination is a 3-hour high-speed ferry ride from Seattle. Victoria has one of the country’s most temperate climates, due to its secluded location between the surrounding mountains and warm North Pacific currents.
Highlights of a visit to Victoria include the beautiful Butchart Gardens; Royal British Columbia Museum; the magnificent domed Houses of Parliament; and Craigdarroch Castle, an evocative example of Victorian architecture.
A fun addition to any visit is afternoon tea at the Fairmont Empress, an iconic hotel that dates back to 1908. The Miniature World is another popular attraction on the hotel grounds, with delightful dioramas depicting the past, present and future.
An easy way to see the island and the capital is on a day trip from Seattle on the Victoria Clipper. Departing early in the morning from Pier 69 in downtown Seattle, guests can relax in the comfortable seats of the ferry and purchase duty-free items on board, as well as drinks and snacks. After a day exploring Victoria’s sights and attractions and perhaps an afternoon tea, visitors hop on a ferry and head back to Seattle in the early evening.
2. Puget Sound
Puget Sound is more than just a geological feature. This is a cultural region in Washington consisting of a complex system of canals, inlets, and islands. The beautiful island resort and community of Puget Sound are worth a day trip, but some highlights are easy to see without staying overnight.
Bainbridge Island, just west of Seattle, has beautiful scenery and hiking trails like those in the island’s vast forest. Whidbey Island, north of Seattle, is home to many charming towns and natural attractions, including Deception Pass State Park. Further north, the San Juan Islands offer more aquatic worlds to enjoy.
If you want to explore the waters of Puget Sound on a day trip and see some of the area’s wildlife at the same time, Seattle’s Friday Harbor Day Trip and Whale Watching Tour is a great option. This full-day tour departs directly from downtown Seattle and includes a round-trip ferry service. Take a 2.5-hour whale watching cruise led by an experienced naturalist and visit Friday Harbor on San Juan Island.
Minke whales, humpback whales, orcas, seals, dolphins, otters and bald eagles are just some of the amazing animals you can spot while navigating Puget Sound’s waters. Whale watching in Puget Sound is available year-round, but the best time for whale watching is from June to September.
3. Mount Rainier National Park
Mount Rainier is over 14,000 feet above sea level. It is the highest mountain in the Pacific Northwest and one of the most iconic landforms in the region. A national park surrounds the mountain, and hundreds of tourists flock to Mount Rainier National Park each year, and with good reason.
Between correctly named areas like Paradise Valley and the beautiful scenery found on hiking trails like the Skyline Trail, this wildlife-rich natural area is awe-inspiring. The 93-mile Wonderland Trail wraps around the foot of the mountain (permit required for overnight excursions), and there are several great campgrounds in the park.
Seattle residents and visitors alike can easily see the summit and explore some of the trails in one day. The Nisqually Inlet is one of Seattle’s most popular attractions, but the less developed Lake Mowich area is even closer. You can reach the entire park in one day if you leave early enough.
A trip like the Mount Rainier Day Trip from Seattle is not only easy but also virtually stress-free. On this 10-hour tour, visitors can take an audio bus to the national park, avoid the congestion at the entrance station, and then spend the rest of the day exploring paradise and watching the waterfalls. During the shoulder months, the tour includes the opportunity to put on some snowshoes and get off the normal tour route.
Official website: https://www.nps.gov/mora/index.htm
4. San Juan Islands
Located north of Puget Sound and the Strait of Juan de Fuca, the San Juan Islands are a group of communities, islands, and natural areas that provide a retreat for relaxation and relaxation. The archipelago includes more than 170 islands, including four main ones: San Juan, Orcas, Lopez, and Shaw.
The most populated island, San Juan Island has many interesting natural attractions to explore, including Lime Kiln State Park. There are also different communities on San Juan Island, including Friday Harbor, a fun exit town to explore the rest of the island.
Also known as the “Jewel of San Juan,” Orca Island boasts lush rural landscapes that are fun to explore with a scenic drive, hike, or plane tour. Here, the expansive Moran State Park offers some great adventures, including hiking trails to the summit of Constitution Mountain.
Adventure activities abound in and around the San Juan Islands. Popular activities include sea kayaking, seasonal whale watching, and stunning views from the far northwest corner of the country.
5. Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a beautiful area with snow-capped mountains, lush old forests, alpine wildflower meadows, and rugged beaches. It covers almost the entire Olympic Peninsula, and the road only circles the perimeter of the park, never entering the park’s destinations.
Many tourists spend a few days or a week exploring the Olympic National Park. For a day trip from Seattle, it is recommended to drive from Port Angeles to Hurricane Ridge. Other day trip options include exploring the mossy environment of the 90-foot Marymere Falls and Cocoa Rainforest near Lake Crescent.
To turn a day trip into an overnight adventure, Olympic’s numerous campsites cater to all types of travelers. An overnight stay gives you plenty of time to explore the best hiking trails in Olympic Park.
Olympic National Park tours from Seattle take care of the logistics of getting to this busy area. After being picked up in downtown Seattle, the tour includes a pleasant two-hour drive in a van or SUV and a guided tour through the forests, beaches and snow-capped mountains that define the Olympic Peninsula. Including breakfast and gourmet lunch, all tour members should bring their cameras and comfortable clothes for exploring the outdoors.
Address: 3002 Mount Angeles Road, Port Angeles, Washington
Official website: http://www.nps.gov/olym/index.htm
6. Mount St Helens
Just south of Mount Rainier, within the Gifford Pinchot National Forest, St. Helens is a testament to the past and present of Mount Washington. It is best known for its violent eruption in 1980 that destroyed 200 square miles of surrounding forest. st. Helens National Volcanic Monument today can still see the main effects of this massive geological event that occurred 40 years ago.
Lakes, caves and wildflowers, St. Helens, and users with permission can climb steeply to the rim of the crater. All of the best hiking trails in the park are perfect for exploring the volcano’s impact on the area. Fishing, camping, and horseback riding are other popular adventure activities.
st. One of the most interesting aspects of visiting Mount Helens is learning about its geological history. For the full story, from Seattle to St. Explore the beautiful scenery with a knowledgeable guide on this Small Group Full-Day Tour of Mount Helens. In addition to describing the experience, the tour takes care of all the logistics to and from the crater, along with a locally sourced lunch.
Official website: http://www.mshinstitute.org/
7. North Cascades National Park
North Falls is a rugged mountainous region filled with vertical landscapes. They cover most of northern Washington and are located on the border with British Columbia. The main point of entry for most people is the North Cascade Highway (State Route 20), which runs horizontally through the area.
This scenic trail is less than an hour’s drive from Seattle and about an hour’s drive from the park. Along the way, scenic spots like the Ross Lake National Recreation Area and the turquoise waters of Diablo Lake encourage pit stops. Highway 20 is a seasonal street that is not cultivated during the winter. The typical operating season is between early May and mid-to-late November.
Extending further north into North Falls outside the national park, Mount Baker Ski Resort is a popular downhill ski resort known for its massive snowpack. This downhill snow sports destination has also earned a reputation as one of Washington’s top ski resorts. Mount Baker Ski Resort is a three-hour drive from Seattle.
Leavenworth is a unique hill town located on the east side of Cascade Crest about two hours from Seattle. Aside from the incredible peaks that line the streets, what makes this tourist-friendly town stand out is its unique Bavarian vibe. Thanks to revival efforts in the late 1900s, every corner of Leavenworth today, including the local McDonald’s, is adorned with authentic Bavarian architecture.
In addition to the authentic showcases and landscaping, the town hosts several annual Bavarian festivals. Nearly every month of the year offers visitors to Leavenworth a reason to celebrate, including events like Maifest in May and Kinderfest in July. The town also hosts the very popular Village of Lights and Christmas Lights Festival in December.
Leavenworth is also a major adventure destination in the state. It is located near the confluence of the Icicle Creek and Wenatchee Rivers, and the stunning Cascade Peaks add to the town’s Alpine theme. One of the first stops here and a reason for a day trip is the Icicle Creek corridor on the north side of town.
The city of Bellevue is located in Seattle’s eastern suburbs in a picturesque setting in front of the Cascade Mountains. It is a highly thriving and growing community that attracts commuters from the surrounding area.
The Bellevue Museum of Art is a major attraction, with ever-changing exhibits, programs, lectures, and workshops. Bellevue Botanical Gardens is free to enter and is also a popular place to visit. The 53-acre garden is planted with Washington’s showy state flower, rhododendrons.
For window shopping in a relaxed atmosphere, Bellevue Square is known as one of the best malls on the Seattle subway, with more than 200 shops and 50 restaurants to choose from. Bellevue’s city center also has other shopping and dining options.
Further east along I-90, Issaquah is a thriving town with family-friendly attractions like the Cougar Mountain Zoo. Endangered species are the highlight of this zoo, along with large mammals such as cougars, caribou, and alpaca.
Bellingham is a university town in northern Washington, about 80 miles north of Seattle. The city borders Bellingham Bay to the east with the impressive Mount Baker in the background. It is also home to Western Washington University and nearly 90,000 people. This college appeal and the unique scenery of the Pacific Northwest add to the town’s emphasis on laid-back charm and outdoor adventure.
Bellingham has many outdoor recreational activities. One of the first routes to take is Chuckanut Mountain Drive, and places like Larabie State Park offer a variety of ways to explore these unique mountains. Other adventure destinations in Bellingham include attractions such as Whatcom Falls and Galbraith Mountain Bike Park.
Bellingham also offers plenty of places to fill up with food and fun after a mountain bike or trail run. The city center is adjacent to the waterfront and there are several local shop windows lining the streets. Likewise, the Fairhaven Historic District south of the city center offers a three-course meal menu per day.
Hope you like our choice of the best places to visit in Seattle. If you think there are some more beautiful places to visit in Seattle, we should cover them. Write us below in the comment box.