It doesn’t take a plane ticket or a booking at a fancy lodge to have a great vacation with your family. Some of the simplest trips can be the ones that make great, lasting memories.
In Washington state, we’re lucky to have beautiful beaches, islands, mountains, and rivers within driving distance. So set your alarms, fill up with gas, and get excited for these day trips that — depending on where you’re located — are just a few hours away!
One of those iconic towns that is uniquely special depending on what season you visit, Leavenworth is a must-visit for any Washingtonian. This German-themed village nestled in the Bavarian Alps — err — Cascade Mountains, has got something for everyone in your family: small-town shopping, outdoor reenactments of the Sound of Music, leisurely floats along the Icicle River, snowshoeing and cross country skiing. Check out the town’s tourism site to see what events are available to you each season.
The 60-mile stretch of island in the Puget Sound is a beautiful destination that can be reached by ferry or car. Check out Ebey's Landing National Historical Reserve near Coupeville, filled with history and scenic walks. Visit some of the local wineries and breweries scattered around the southern part of the island. Tour local art galleries or rent kayaks and paddle around the Puget Sound. You can plan your day trip here.
Just 30 miles east of Seattle, the small town of Snoqualmie is home to one of the most stunning waterfalls. You can hike the river trail to watch the water pour hundreds of feet over granite cliffs, or walk along one of the dozens of other trails near the town. Explore historic downtown and visit the Northwest Railway Museum, where you can hop aboard a train through the upper Snoqualmie Valley.
Perched on the Quimper Peninsula, Port Townsend is great for a science and history trip in one. Tour a pirate ship at the Northwest Maritime Center, or walk an interpretive trail that chronicles the history of the S’Klallam people and the European settlers. Gaze at starfish in the Marine Science Center, or walk through Victorian-era Officers’ homes at Fort Worden Historical State Park. Plan your trip here.
Walla Walla is one of the most bustling wine regions in the country, with 120 wineries. Fall is a great time to visit during autumn wine releases. There are also dozens of historical sites and museums that chronicle the lives of immigrants and Native American history. Learn more about the wine country in Washington’s southeast corner.
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