Located on the Puget Sound, Seattle, Washington, is a vibrant city with everything from dense forests and vast parklands to futuristic architecture and high-end shopping and dining. If you’re wondering what are the best day trips from Seattle, here are some great choices to make the most of your time in the Pacific Northwest.

Victoria, British Columbia

Victoria, the capital of British Columbia, is one of the best day trips from Seattle. It’s located on the north end of Vancouver Island and is known for its outdoor activities and historic sites. During your stay, you could see attractions like the Royal British Columbia Museum, a natural history museum with local artifacts, and Craigdarroch Castle, a historic Victorian mansion with tours. You can take a ferry ride from Seattle to reach Victoria or choose an organized ferry tour that includes refreshments and stops at the best sights in the city.

victoria harbor

Victoria Harbor, Canada

Mount Rainier National Park

If you want to get out of Seattle for a bit, Mount Rainier National Park is a year-round destination and a must-see on a trip to Washington. You’ll find numerous things to do in any season, from skiing and snowboarding in winter to summer hikes and watersports. If you want to learn a little more about the park and surrounding area, you can visit Longmire, a former homestead and mineral springs resort that’s now a local history museum that chronicles the park’s early days.

mount rainier

Mount Rainier, Washington

Gig Harbor

The quaint maritime village of Gig Harbor is a great destination close by Seattle. It boasts the beauty of Puget Sound and views of Mount Rainier, as well as vibrant maritime heritage. You could explore galleries and boutiques in town, learn about local maritime and Native American history at the Harbor History Museum, or head out onto the water for kayaking or boating. Gig Harbor is just a short driving distance from Seattle, making it one of the best getaways.

gig harbor

Gig Harbor, Washington

Puget Sound

If you’re looking for where to go near to Seattle for a totally different experience, Puget Sound is one of the best options. It’s close to the city and offers beautiful natural scenery and wildlife as well as charming towns. Puget Sound is a popular destination for boat tours, so you can book a tour for a few hours to take in the views from the water and catch a glimpse of orcas, humpback whales, seals, and otters. Many tours depart right from Seattle for a convenient day trip.

puget sound

Puget Sound

Mount St. Helens

One of the best day trips and a must-visit attraction close by Seattle is Mount St. Helens. The incredible volcano is just a short driving distance south of Seattle and found within the vast Gifford Pinchot National Forest. The volcano erupted in 1980, and the event is commemorated by a monument near the site with historic information. You could also hike, horseback ride, or bike through the trails near lakes and caves in the park to get a break from the city.

mount st. helens washington

Mount St. Helens, Washington

Tacoma

Located on the banks of Puget Sound, just a short driving distance south of Seattle, Tacoma is a popular destination for travelers and boasts an array of activities. There are plenty of things to do in Tacoma, such as The Museum of Glass, a glassworks and art gallery, and the Tacoma Art Museum are ideal for cultural enthusiasts. If you’re bringing the kids, Point Defiance Zoo & Aquarium, which showcases wildlife of the Pacific Rim, and the Washington State History Museum, a hands-on museum with a model railroad, are perfect family-friendly attractions.

tacoma washington

Tacoma, Washington

Bremerton

Located a short driving distance west of Seattle, Bremerton is a small city with a rich mix of historic and maritime attractions. It’s home to the Puget Sound Naval Shipyard, Naval Base Kitsap, and the Puget Sound Navy Museum, and it’s close to the U.S. Naval Undersea Museum—all musts for history lovers. It’s connected to Seattle by ferries, making it quick and convenient for a fascinating day trip. You could also venture north on the Kitsap Peninsula to check out quiet, charming towns and local attractions, such as the SEA Discovery Center.

Olympic National Forest

If you want to experience the diversity of Washington’s landscape, Olympic National Park is one of the best day trips you can take from Seattle. It boasts everything from verdant temperate rainforests to dramatic mountain peaks and canyons for a wealth of outdoor adventure. You could spend your time hiking on the prominent trails near waterfalls or through the dense rainforest, lying on the lakeside beaches, or taking to the water for boating, kayaking, waterskiing, and more. Olympic National Park is just a short drive from Seattle.

olympic national forest

Olympic National Forest, Washington

Plan your excursion

With so many fun day trips and getaways close by Seattle, you should start planning your adventure. Visit Expedia to check out deals on Seattle vacations and prepare to make the most of the experience.