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Top 6 Outdoor Day Trips in Seattle

June 02, 2020

As the COVID-19 pandemic rages on, many Seattle residents are finding themselves sitting at home on the weekends with nothing to do. Going out to restaurants or bars is limited, and large public gatherings are a huge no-no.

If cabin fever (the proverbial kind) is starting to set in, and you’re tired of following the instructions on social distancing signs, you can always hop in your car and take an hour or two drive to relax and de-stress as you soak up nature from the relative safety of the driver’s seat.

We want to share with you our top six favorite Seattle day trips that will give you the chance to get out of the house for a few hours.

Snoqualmie Falls

Located just 31 minutes from Seattle proper is historic Snoqualmie Falls. Once an important trading post for the local Snoqualmie Tribe of Native Americans, it’s now a premier hiking and sightseeing destination. The falls themselves are 270 feet high and provide a spectacular sight as they cascade into the river down below.

As of the writing of this guide, the upper parking lot and observation decks are currently open. However, the lower boardwalk, observation deck, and restrooms are closed—so it’s probably a wise idea to forgo drinking that 64-ounce Big Gulp until after you’ve visited the park!

What: Snoqualmie Falls

Where: 6501 State Hwy 202, Snoqualmie, WA 98065

Cost: Free!


Mt. Ranier National Park

With over 236,381 acres of land, Mt. Ranier National Park is massive, to say the least. If you’re looking for a place to go where you can get out of your car and stretch your legs as you take in the sights, smells, and sounds of pristine nature, look no further. Located an hour and a half from Seattle, the park offers ample hiking trails and wildlife viewing opportunities.

The great thing about a park of this size and magnitude is that you can most likely avoid coming into contact with another human being relatively easily. If you don’t want to chance taking a walk along the miles of trails, you can always find a scenic spot to pull over, get out, and soak up the sights, sounds, and fresh smells of this majestic National Park.

What: Mt. Ranier National Park

Where: 39000 State Route 706 E, Ashford, WA 98304

Cost: Entrance fees vary, see website for more details.


Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument

Created in 1982, the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument is a great way to spend an afternoon learning about the cataclysmic volcanic eruption that occurred in this area in 1981. Located 2-1/2 hours from your favorite Seattle coffee shop, the monument offers several fun outdoor activities such as hiking, fishing, and sightseeing.

If you’re a big believer in the unknown, be sure to bring your binoculars and camera as this area is said to be prime Bigfoot country. While the actual existence of a 10-foot hairy ape that roams the wilderness is up for debate, you will see some of the most amazing views of the monument and surrounding areas from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.


San Juan Islands

Situated between the coast of Washington State and Vancouver Island, Canada, the San Juan Islands are easily accessible by car—provided that you take the auto ferry. 

Once there, you can drive to the western side of the island, find a safe place to park and marvel at the massive pods of Orca whales swimming along the coastline. There’s an excellent chance you’ll see other marine life such as harbor porpoises, sea lions, and the occasional humpback whale.

The ferry that will take your car to the island is located 85 miles north of Seattle proper. It’s highly recommended you make reservations in advance due to the long wait times that sometimes occur during peak operating hours. 

What: San Juan Island

Where: 2100 Ferry Terminal Rd, Anacortes, WA 98221

Cost: See website for details.



Willkommen in der Stadt Leavenworth! Located just a two-hour drive north of Seattle, the town of Leavenworth is situated in a picturesque mountain valley. A stroll down the quaint streets will instantly transport you back in time to an idyllic Bavarian mountain village that’s seemingly frozen in time.

There are ample activities to enjoy, such as abundant hiking trails, paddleboarding on the river, or enjoying a leisurely stroll down the street as you take in the fantastic Bavarian architecture. As social distancing policies permits, there are ample outdoor events no matter what day you visit!

What: Leavenworth

Where: 940 Highway 2 Suite B, Leavenworth, WA 98826

Cost: Free!


Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

The Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park was founded in the 1930s when highway workers found massive quantities of fallen petrified wood scattered throughout the area. There are 3 miles of trails that meander their way around the petrified forest and make for an easy but quick walk around the park.

There are also over 300 Native American petroglyphs that depict their way of life and culture, so be sure to bring your camera! Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park is located just 2 hours away from Seattle and will provide you with a scenic desert landscape in contrast to the lush greenery of the Pacific Northwest.

What: Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park

Where: 4511 Huntzinger Rd, Vantage, WA 98950

Cost: Free!


Unique Day Trips in Seattle

We hope you’ve enjoyed our list of our top six favorite outdoor day trips. At McNamara signs, we’ve helped countless Seattle businesses and organizations with their custom sign design and creation. Give us a call at (206) 284-0809, or contact us via our website to learn more about our sign design and creation services!


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