Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Seattle is known for its iconic Space Needle and vibrant music scene. The city is also surrounded by natural beauty, from snow-capped mountains to lush forests, making it the perfect hub for weekend getaways and exploring the great outdoors.
Whether you’re searching for your first home in Seattle or want to rent an apartment, the surrounding region has something for everyone. Here are 10 places to visit while living in Seattle that are sure to delight.
1. Olympic National Park
Estimated travel time: 2 hours
Olympic National Park is a stunning destination just two hours from Seattle, offering a diverse range of natural beauty. Explore wild beaches, ancient old-growth forests, and glacier-capped peaks. Encounter majestic wildlife such as Roosevelt elk, black bears, and bald eagles. Whether you seek adventure or tranquility, the park offers endless opportunities for inspiration and rejuvenation. It’s a must-visit destination for anyone in the Seattle area, so pack your bags and hit the road.
2. Mount Rainier National Park
Estimated travel time: 1.5 hours
Visiting Mount Rainier should be an item on everyone’s Seattle bucket list. Mount Rainier National Park is an iconic destination located just an hour and a half away. The park is home to Mount Rainier, a 14,411-foot stratovolcano that is simply awe-inspiring. Visitors can hike along scenic wonderland trail, take in stunning vistas of wildflower meadows, glaciers, and waterfalls, and enjoy picturesque drives through the park’s pristine landscapes. For anyone in the Seattle area seeking adventure, relaxation, or just a chance to marvel at one of the most stunning natural wonders in the Pacific Northwest, this is a destination that cannot be missed.
3. San Juan Islands
Estimated travel time: 4 hours by ferry
Just north of Seattle, the San Juan Islands offer a peaceful retreat from the hustle and bustle of the city. With over 170 islands to explore, there’s no shortage of outdoor adventures to be had, from kayaking and whale watching to hiking and cycling. But that’s just the beginning. The islands are also home to charming small towns and villages, where you can immerse yourself in the local arts scene and discover the work of talented local artists. And when it comes to relaxation, there’s no better place to unwind than on the islands’ secluded beaches, where you can soak up the sun and listen to the gentle sound of the waves lapping at the shore. Don’t miss out on this incredible opportunity to discover one of the Pacific Northwest’s most beautiful and captivating destinations.
4. Snoqualmie Falls
Estimated travel time: 40 minutes
Snoqualmie Falls is a stunning natural wonder located just 30 miles east of Seattle. This 268-foot waterfall cascades into a deep pool below, creating a breathtaking sight that’s sure to leave you in awe. Take in the falls from a scenic overlook or hike down to the base for a closer look. It’s the perfect destination for a quick day trip or a relaxing weekend getaway, offering a chance to escape the city and immerse yourself in the beauty of nature.
The surrounding area is also home to some great hiking trails, allowing you to explore the lush forests and scenic vistas of the region. And if you’re a foodie, be sure to stop by the Salish Lodge and Spa, which offers delicious dining options and stunning views of the falls.
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
Get a taste of Europe just two and a half hours from Seattle in Leavenworth, a charming Bavarian-style village nestled in the Cascade Mountains. This picturesque town is renowned for its Bavarian architecture, with charming streets lined with unique shops, cafes, and restaurants that offer a taste of Germany. Visitors can enjoy a wide range of delicious food and drink, from traditional German fare like bratwurst and sauerkraut to locally crafted beers and wines.
Leavenworth also offers a variety of hiking trails, river rafting, skiing, and other outdoor activities available throughout the year. The nearby Wenatchee River offers world-class white-water rafting, while the surrounding mountains are home to miles of scenic hiking trails, perfect for exploring the beauty of the Pacific Northwest.
Throughout the year, the village hosts a variety of festivals and events that celebrate the unique culture and heritage of the region, from Oktoberfest to the Christmas Lighting Festival.
6. North Cascades National Park
Estimated travel time: 2 hours
North Cascades National Park is a must-visit destination located about three hours north of Seattle. This stunning park boasts rugged peaks, glaciers, and alpine lakes, offering visitors a chance to immerse themselves in some of the most breathtaking natural beauty the Pacific Northwest has to offer. Whether you’re a hiking enthusiast, a camping aficionado, or simply seeking a scenic drive through pristine wilderness, North Cascades National Park has something for everyone.
7. Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument
Estimated travel time: 2.5 hours
Located about two and a half hours south of Seattle, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a testament to the power of nature. This awe-inspiring destination offers visitors a chance to witness firsthand the aftermath of the historic 1980 eruption, including the gaping crater left behind by the disaster. Hiking trails throughout the monument provide stunning views of the volcano and its surroundings, offering a unique and unforgettable experience for visitors of all ages. Whether you’re a seasoned hiker or just looking for a day trip filled with breathtaking views and unforgettable memories, Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a must-visit destination for anyone in the Seattle area.
8. Victoria, British Columbia
Estimated travel time: 3 hours by ferry
Victoria is a charming seaside city located just a short ferry ride from Seattle, offering visitors a taste of old-world British charm. This picturesque destination is filled with historic buildings, beautiful gardens, and world-class museums, providing a perfect blend of culture and relaxation. Visitors can also enjoy a variety of outdoor activities, including whale watching, hiking, and more.
Seattle and its surroundings offer a wealth of natural beauty and outdoor activities for everyone to enjoy. From national parks to charming villages, there are several options for places to visit near Seattle.