Seattle is filled with fun things to see and do, but sometimes it’s nice to get away from the city for a day trip or weekend getaway to explore the surrounding areas. If you’re planning a trip, you can find weekend getaways from Seattle for singles, families, couples, outdoor enthusiasts, and those without a car so you can enjoy a memorable vacation.
For families: Winthrop
For a glimpse into the Old West, Winthrop is the best place. The western-themed town offers plenty of child-friendly attractions and experiences, as well as outdoor activities for all ages. For a family weekend getaway, you can visit Winthrop and take advantage of experiences like hiking, fishing, biking, rock climbing, hot air ballooning, and more. The town itself is like driving into the wild west, complete with cheap, family-friendly accommodation with ample space for all the kids. In town, you’ll find boutiques, restaurants, ice cream stands, candy shops, and other amusements. Winthrop is about a 4-hour drive from Seattle via the North Cascades Scenic Byway, which gives you stunning views of the mountains, the sparkling Lake Diablo, and the rolling hills of the Methow Valley. For some sightseeing and educational opportunities, you can visit places like the Shafer Museum, Homestream Park, and the Winthrop National Fish Hatchery Visitor Center. There are also some unique attractions, such as the North Cascades Smokejumper Base, which is the birthplace of smokejumping. The experimental jumps began in 1939 as a means for rescue workers to reach fires in remote, roadless areas using aircraft owned by the Forest Service.
For couples: San Juan Islands
If you’re planning a romantic getaway, the San Juan Islands are the perfect choice for couples. Just a short ferry trip from the city, the San Juan Islands offer a range of romantic experiences like watching colorful sunsets, enjoying whale-watching tours, and dining on fresh-caught seafood. The largest of the islands, San Juan Island, is highly walkable, particularly in the Friday Harbor area, and it offers plays, concerts, bike tours, marathons, and more throughout the year. Lopez Island is a beachgoers paradise and is perfect for a quiet, intimate retreat, thanks to its rolling farmlands, sheltered bays, and unspoiled beaches. For sightseeing and nightlife, you can stroll through Lopez Village to explore bookstores, galleries, a historic museum, shops, and restaurants. There are many parklands in Lopez Island as well, such as Spencer Spit State Park. Orcas Island, known as the “gem of the San Juans,” offers a range of couple’s activities as well, such as a rural landscape with biking trails past apple orchards and artist studios, and hiking in Moran State Park. The park has numerous lakes and hiking trails to see wildlife like bald eagles, deer, and rabbits. If you want water sports, you can take a kayak, sailboat, or fishing charter on the sea.
For singles: Bellingham
Whether your idea of activities for singles includes adventures in the outdoors or a night on the town, Bellingham has a little of everything. One of the best spots for weekend getaways for singles, Bellingham is just 2 hours from Seattle and is home to many college students, so there are many affordable accommodation options and plenty of sightseeing. Western Washington University is located in Bellingham, so the downtown area is loaded with laid-back bars and local restaurants for dining, drinks, and mingling. The town also has the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, which is home to many exhibits on electrical innovation, and the Whatcom Museum, which is focused on regional artwork and artifacts. During your getaway, you can visit the nearby community of Fairhaven, a historic seaside area with a posh vibe and a young population. There are plenty of places to explore outdoors as well, such as Mount Baker and its extensive network of hiking trails, or North Cascades National Park, which is a popular spot for winter sports, camping, stargazing, biking, climbing, and more. You can explore other parks and outdoor spaces, such as Larrabee State Park, Whatcom Falls Park, the Chuckanut Mountains, and Big Rock Garden Park, which has sculptures and wildflowers.
To get outdoors: Columbia River Gorge
If you’re eager to escape the hustle and bustle of the city, you can escape to the great outdoors on a weekend getaway to the Columbia River Gorge. Located about 3 hours and 20 minutes from the city, the Columbia River Gorge is an adventure playground for outdoor enthusiasts. It’s home to exciting natural attractions like Multnomah Falls, a stunning 611-foot waterfall on the Columbia River, and Bridal Veil Falls, a picturesque waterfall with a pool at the base. You can see both on the extensive network of hiking trails that travel through the gorge. There are other waterfalls in more scenic areas of the park, such as Dry Creek Falls and Starvation Creek Falls, which you can see from the stopover point on the Rowena Crest Viewpoint. If you’re looking for more challenging hikes and water sports, you can travel south along the gorge to Trillium Lake. The nearby Cascades create a wind tunnel effect that offers perfect conditions for windsurfing and kiteboarding on the lake in warm weather. Many visitors come to the gorge for other outdoor activities such as biking and fishing. For accommodation, dining, and indoor activities, you can visit The Dalles nearby.
For the carless: Anacortes
Accessible via the Amtrak Cascades and Skagit Transit route 615 or 40x, Anacortes is roughly 2 hours from Seattle and is a cheap public transportation trip away for a weekend getaway. If you don’t have a car, Anacortes is the perfect place to explore on foot or using public transportation. The island town is not only a base point for exploring the San Juan Islands and Mount Vernon, but it also has a vibrant coastal community all its own. You can find everything from casual eateries to high-end dining, making it ideal for singles, couples, and families. Art galleries, antique shops, and sophisticated stores line the streets for things to do. Some of the best attractions in town include the Anacortes Museum, Seafarers Memorial Park, the Anacortes W.T. Preston Museum, and the Ship Harbor Interpretive Preserve. There’s also “Predators of the Heart” Animal Sanctuary, which is home to wolves, cougars, lynxes, hawks, owls, and other wildlife of Fidalgo Island. If you want to get out and explore the outdoors, you can book tours for whale watching, sailing, boating, kayaking, birding, fishing, and crabbing, or rent a bike to cycle around town on your own.
Plan your weekend getaway
From kid-friendly attractions to adventures in the outdoors, you can find all types of unforgettable experiences outside of Seattle. Now that you know the best places for a weekend getaway, take a look at Expedia for Anacortes hotels, Columbia River Gorge hotels, romantic hotels in the San Juan Islands, and more to plan your trip.