Are you thinking about heading outside of Seattle but not sure where to go?
Then you’re in for a real treat!
We’ve had a look at all the attractions, scenic locations and small suburbs and uncovered the best places to visit.
And they’re all just a short drive away from Seattle.
Continue reading to discover the 15 best day trips from Seattle by car.
1. Boeing Future of Flight Museum
The first must-do day trip from Seattle?
The Boeing Future of Flight Museum!
This fascinating and interactive museum is located in Everett, Washington, which is just 30 minutes by car from Seattle.
The museum is housed inside the Boeing Everett Factory, where airplanes are assembled.
Boeing Future of Flight Museum is actually the largest building in the world by volume at nearly 400,000 metres squared.
Inside the museum, prepare to walk through a number of exciting exhibitions all centred on the history of Flight.
Next, take a 90 minute tour of the Boeing plant, where you can see some of their most famous models being assembled in front of your very eyes.
This is the perfect attraction to visit if you have young kids with you.
- Distance from Seattle: 23.9 mi (38.5 km) via I-5 S
- Duration: 30 minutes by car
- Opening Hours: Daily 8:30am-5pm
2. Snoqualmie Falls
When in Washington state, you have to take advantage of the beautiful nature that surrounds you.
And luckily, this is easy to do given that sites like Snoqualmie Falls are only 32 minutes by car from Seattle.
Snoqualmie Falls is one of the state’s most popular natural attractions, receiving over 1.5 million visitors each year.
As soon as you arrive, you will clearly see why!
These falls are simply breathtaking, standing 268 feet high.
They are located on the Snoqualmie River between Snoqualmie and Fall City, Washington.
When you arrive, be sure to go on a short hike – there are multiple hiking trails around the falls for people of all fitness levels.
- Distance from Seattle: 28.3 mi (45.5 km) via I-90 W
- Duration: 32 minutes by car
3. Reptile zoo
Are you an animal lover?
Then this mini road trip from Seattle is a must!
Reptile Zoo is located in Monroe, Washington, just 40 minutes from downtown Seattle by car.
It offers visitors an extraordinary chance to get up close and personal with their favourite reptiles.
We’re talking about alligators, turtles, snakes, and lizards.
Some of the rarest animals in Reptile Zoo’s collection include an albino alligator, a two-headed turtle, a king cobra, and a Cuban rock iguana.
This interactive, hands-on experience is perfect for families with children and couples alike.
- Distance from Seattle: 34.6 mi (55.7 km) via WA-522
- Duration: 40 minutes by car
- Opening Hours: Monday to Thursday 10am-5pm; Friday to Sunday 10am-6pm
4. Flaming Geyser State Park
Escape to nature at Flaming Geyser State Park.
This Washington Park is less than 45 minutes from Seattle by car, making it perfect for a day trip, or even a half day trip.
The park earned its name after a flame burned through a concrete basin that was fueled by a methane gas pocket over 1,000 feet below (don’t worry – the flame no longer burns!).
Today, the park is a popular destination for nature lovers in the Seattle area.
Flaming Geyser State Park sits on the Green River and offers visitors a chance to swim, fish, hike, or run.
There are also group picnic sites with barbecues, playgrounds for children, and even horse trails for horseback riders.
- Distance from Seattle: 38.4 mi (61.8 km) via I-5 N
- Duration: 44 minute by car
5. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
For a cultural activity like no other, consider a day trip to Fort Nisqually Living History Museum.
This interactive museum will transport you straight into history.
For those that don’t know, Fort Nisqually was an important fur trading and farming post set up by the Hudson’s Bay Company in the 19th century.
It was originally located in what is modern day DuPont, Wisconsin.
The Fort Nisqually Living History Museum was reconstructed in the 1930s to look exactly like the original.
This gives visitors and immersive experience and helps them get a feel for what life and commerce were like in the mid 1800s.
- Distance from Seattle: 39.8 mi (64 km) via I-5N
- Duration: 47 minutes by car
- Opening Hours: Wednesday to Sunday 11am-4pm
6. Lakewold Gardens
Enjoy a peaceful and relaxing day at the scenic Lakewold Gardens.
Located in Lakewood, Washington, the gardens are roughly 45 minutes by car from Seattle.
The non-profit estate garden spans 10 acres and is open to visitors year round.
It has many gardens on-site, including the Woodland Garden, Rock Garden, Shade Garden, and Cutting Garden.
Take a stroll through its many pristine gardens, stop at the gift shop, or admire the paintings at the gardens’ own art exhibits.
This historical botanical garden also allows picnicking on their grounds, so be sure to bring a packed lunch.
- Distance from Seattle: 42.1 mi (67.6 km) via I-5 N
- Duration: 43 minutes by car
- Opening Hours: Weekends 10am-4pm
7. LeMay Family Collection Foundation
Calling all car buffs!
If you’re in Seattle, then a day trip to the LeMay Family Collection Foundation is an absolute must!
This family-owned museum was founded by Harold LeMay.
LeMay’s dream was always to keep his huge car collection together and to put them on display for the world to see.
The eclectic vehicle collection is like nothing you will have seen before, from military cars, to colourful retro cars from the 1950s.
There are a variety of tours you can take at the LeMay Family Collection Foundation, including a vintage vehicle tour and a tour of LeMay’s private garages.
Beyond cars, this museum also has vintage radios, dolls, piggy banks, outboard motors, and more on display.
- Distance from Seattle: 43.8 mi (70.5 km) via I-5 N
- Duration: 48 minutes by car
- Opening Hours: Tuesday to Saturday 10am-5pm; Sunday 12pm-5pm
8. Mount Rainier National Park
To experience Washington state’s spectacular natural beauty, there is nowhere better than Mount Rainier National Park.
Less than an hour and half from Seattle by car, Mount Rainier is simply iconic in the state.
It stands over 14,000 feet high and is often snow-capped.
The mountain itself is surrounded by wildflower meadows and ancient forest, not to mention many pristine lakes and waterfalls.
Wildlife is abundant here so keep your eyes peeled for elk, deer, marmot, and chipmunks.
There are plenty of hikes available for people of all fitness levels.
However, there are also several scenic spots accessible by car, such as the 6,400 foot high Sunrise (the highest point in the park reachable by vehicle).
- Distance from Seattle: 61 mi (98.2 km) via WA-167 N
- Duration: 1 hour 22 minutes by car
For an authentic mountain community experience, Darrington, Washington is the place to be.
This small town in Snohomish County is located in a valley in the North Cascades.
The mountains are right at your doorstep, which makes this a quiet and picturesque spot to spend a day outside of Seattle.
Darrington is less than an hour and a half’s drive from Seattle and boasts some of the best hiking, camping, biking, and rafting in the state.
Mountain Loop Highway, Squire Creek Park, Darrington Bluegrass Music Park, and Old School Park are all popular destinations for outdoor activities.
- Distance from Seattle: 75.2 mi (121 km) via I-5S and WA-530
- Duration: 1 hour 23 minutes by car
Head north to the scenic Pacific coast in Bellingham, Washington.
Bellingham is located along the Canadian border and is a popular destination for people from all over.
It has a ferry port with boats heading to Vancouver and Alaska.
It’s also the best starting point for those interested in heading to Mount Baker.
Mount Baker is a snow-capped mountain that visitors can hike in the summer months or ski in the winter months.
Attractions within Bellingham’s city centre include the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, and the Whatcom Museum showcasing art, nature, and local history.
Lummi Island, Larrabee State Park, and Whatcom Falls Park are other popular outdoor spots.
- Distance from Seattle: 88.4 mi (142.3 km) via I-5 S
- Duration: 1 hour 30 minutes by car
11. Olympic National Forest
Enter a woodland forest at Olympic National Forest, less than 2 hours by car from Washington.
This forest spans over 628,000 acres and surrounds the Olympic Mountain Range.
Despite what the name would imply, Olympic National Forest isn’t just home to forests.
Rather, it also has beaches, canyons, waterfalls, and mountains.
Due to the diverse landscape, visitors to the forest can do everything from hiking and swimming to fishing and camping.
Some of the most visited areas of the park include Lake Quinault, Mount Ellinor, and Lake Cushman.
- Distance from Seattle: 108 mi (173.8 km) via I-5 N
- Duration: 1 hour 50 minutes by car
We bet you never thought there would be a Bavarian-style village in Washington state!
But think again, because Leavenworth, Washington is just that.
This German-esque village in nestled in the Cascade Mountains.
While it is only a little over 2 hours by car from Seattle, it will feel like you’ve been transported all the way to Munich.
The village is made up of alpine-style buildings with restaurants serving German beer and food.
Front Street is the most popular attraction, but the Nutcracker Museum (which houses thousands of nutcrackers) is also located here.
There are many ski hills and wineries nearby, which makes it a great starting point if you’re looking to explore more of central Washington.
- Distance from Seattle: 117 mi (188.3 km) via US-2 W
- Duration: 2 hours 15 minutes by car
13. North Cascades National Park
Some of the most beautiful scenery in the state awaits at North Cascades National Park.
This stunning park is in the northern part of the state and is just over a two hour drive from Seattle.
Alpine wilderness surrounds you here, as the park is packed with snow-capped mountains, glaciers, and lakes.
Hiking, cycling, and swimming are all permitted here.
When you’re hiking, be on the lookout for the park’s year round residents, including grizzly bears and gray wolves.
Popular hikes include Cascade Pass Trail, Maple Pass Loop, Hidden Lake, Rainbow Loop, Diablo Lake, and Copper Ridge.
- Distance from Seattle: 118 mi (189.9 km) via I-5S & WA-20 W
- Duration: 2 hours 5 minutes by car
See two of the Pacific Northwest’s best cities by taking a trip to Portland while visiting Seattle.
Portland has a reputation as one of the hippest cities in the United States and it is only two and a half hours from Seattle by car.
The city is known for its many microbreweries, independent coffee shops, its thriving art scene, and its eco-friendliness.
Biking is a way of life in the city so we recommending renting bikes upon arrival and exploring the city this way.
Attractions in Portland include the Portland Japanese Garden, the Oregon Zoo, Washington Park, the Portland Art Museum, Forest Park, and Pittock Mansion.
Whether you want to enjoy nature or culture in Portland, there is plenty to do in this Oregon city.
- Distance from Seattle: 174 mi (280 km) via I-5 N
- Duration: 2 hour 41 minutes by car
15. Mount St Helens
Visit the famous active volcano that is Mount St Helens on a day trip from Seattle.
It will take just over three hours by car to arrive here, but as soon as you do, you will be stunned by its beauty.
Mount St Helens stands 2,550 metres tall and is considered an active stratovolcano.
It is located in the Cascade Mountain Range.
In recent history, the mountain has become synonymous with its explosion in 1980 that killed 57 people.
However, that hasn’t stopped many visitors from enjoying the mountain year round.
Hiking, rock climbing, and mountaineering are all popular activities here.
The Monitor Ridge Route is the most popular hiking trail in the summer months.
- Distance from Seattle: 184 mi (296.1 km) via I-5 N
- Duration: 3 hours 10 minutes by car
We hope this list has inspired you on your upcoming trip to Seattle!
From visiting the Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth to travelling all the way to hip Portland, there are plenty of exciting road trips available to you from Seattle.