14 amazing remote day trips you can drive to from Seattle

Feb 4 2021, 5:26 pm

Please note: As recommended by Washington’s health officials, gatherings of any kind and unessential travel in the state is not recommended at this time. Please adhere to COVID-19 health and safety measures, including proper physical distancing and frequent handwashing. If you are sick, please stay home.

When you’re caught up in the daily grind, it’s easy to forget the simple pleasure of just driving somewhere on your own time, in your own way. No gridlock or fighting for downtown parking spots; just a car, a destination, and a driver.

Well, no more: It’s time to take back your sense of relaxation and your city, one day trip at a time.

If you’re looking to escape the city, take a look below at some beautiful nearby destinations that don’t require a reservation in advance.

Kalaloch and Ruby Beach

Kalaloch and Ruby Beach are located on the southwest coast of the Olympic Peninsula and are easily accessible three hours away from Seattle directly off of Highway 101. Kalaloch is a great place for bird watching as well as hiking, as the Hoh River north of Ruby Beach creates a natural boundary.

Snoqualmie Falls


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Forget about Niagara Falls and come see the famous 270-foot waterfall known as Snoqualmie Falls. Spend the day picnicking, hiking, and enjoying the scenic town that’s only 45 minutes out of Seattle.

Columbia River Gorge

A nice three hours out of Seattle is the Columbia River Gorge. Designated as the largest National Scenic Area in the US, hike along the gorge’s trails, admire the views from the vistas, and gawk at its many waterfalls.

Lake Easton State Park


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Located an hour-and-a-half away from Seattle off the I-90, Lake Easton State Park offers basic snowshoeing terrain, enthusiastic park guides, as well as beautiful views.

Griffiths-Priday State Park


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Set on the Pacific coast, this park is perfect for beach lovers. Sure, it’s too chilly to enter the water, but that doesn’t mean that you can’t enjoy the ocean as well as the river at this gorgeous state park.

Lake Sylvia State Park


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Set in a former logging camp, enjoy wandering around the five-mile loop that revolves around the large swimming and fishing lake. While hiking, keep on the lookout for the dam that provided hydro-electric power to the logging camp in the early 1900s.

Twanoh State Park


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This beautiful forest on Hood Canal has an old-timey feel with modern amenities. You’ll love hiking the trails which feel like they’re in the middle of nowhere but are actually incredibly safe.

Nolte State Park


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The forested, lakeside park is a perfect pick for those looking to encounter small woodland animals. The park includes 1.4 miles of bike trails and 1.4 miles of hiking trails. This is the perfect family park, with a playground as well as a large, grassy field.

Frenchman Coulee


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Climbers, climb on. For those who don’t climb, we suggest hanging out right on the edge of the canyon, where you’ll get some great vista views. From the canyon, you have many options. Take a short hike to the waterfall, watch the rock climbers climb the basalt towers, or follow the road down to the Columbia River, where you’ll find multiple walking trails and a boat launch.

Nisqually Glacier


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The Nisqually Glacier is a beautiful sheet of ice, easily accessible to the public. Those wanting to wander can do so without a permit until they reach 10,000 feet or onto the glaciers themselves. Avid climbers can also opt to take courses and crevasse rescue training through The Mountaineers. Those wanting to skip the climb and embark on a calm hike can do so around the Glacier Point Trail, which leads to a beautiful viewpoint of the glacier.

Colchuck Lake


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When you first catch a glimpse of the lake, your jaw will drop. Seriously. With a backdrop of snowy mountains and bright skies, the aquamarine waters will be ever so inviting. After your hike, feel free to picnic, take a nap under a tree, or jump into the water — we’re warning you, though, the glacier water is freezing cold.

Hoh Rain Forest


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With a yearly average of 3.55 meters of rain, it’s no wonder the Hoh Rain Forest is as green as it is. The beautiful temperate rain forest is one of the lushest in the world, crowned with both a World Heritage Site title and biosphere reserve title from UNESCO, the United Nations Educational, Scientific, and Cultural Organization.

Silver Falls

With rainbow stones and an accessible path, Silver Falls is undoubtedly one of the prettiest waterfalls that our state has to offer. One look at the crystal clear water and colorful rocks, you’re going to want to dip right in. The falls are accessible year-round and are perfectly picturesque.

Diablo Lake


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Although Diablo lake itself is a man-made reservoir created by the Diablo hydroelectric dam, you won’t feel like it’s artificial with the amount of nature nearby. We can thank glacial flour in the water for the stunning turquoise color of the lake — much of the water is fed by Thunder Creek Basin.

Alyssa TherrienAlyssa Therrien

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