An Escape Is Closer Than You Think
You only have the weekend to unwind, but you’re so burnt out from life that if you don’t get away from it all then you may go crazy. Totally get it. We all need to escape our everyday once in a while.
So where should you go? If you’re in the Seattle area then you have options abound! You don’t have to go far, in fact less than a 3 hour journey, to experience relaxation in what feels like another world.
Here are a few suggestions for the next time you need to get away!
1. Port Townsend, WA (2h21m)
Explore the Olympic Peninsula! Port Angeles is a quaint seaside town across the Puget Sound from Seattle. The vibe of this historical town will force you to slow down.
How to get there: Take a ferry from the Seattle Ferry Terminal over to Bainbridge Island. From there you can drive up to the northeastern point of the peninsula where you’ll find Port Townsend.
Where to stay: There are a variety of adorable Bed and Breakfasts, as well as some boutique hotels all within walking distance to the downtown and shore.
What to do: Beyond walking and eating your way through the history of this cute town, you can escape to local adventures like hikes or drives (Hurricane Ridge anyone?) in Olympic National Park or National Forest. Or you can hit the green, on the 9-hole golf course of the Port Townsend Golf Club.
2. Paradise at Mount Rainier National Park, WA (2h26m)
This appropriately named destination will leave you stunned. If you’re looking to get outside and connect with nature, this is the place to do it. This National Park is open all year round and ready to share it’s immaculate environment with you.
How to get there: The best way to get to the park is to drive, and the most direct National Park entrance is the Nisqually Southwest entrance that will lead you up through the town of Longmire to Paradise!
Where to stay: For the immersive experience, you have to stay at Paradise Inn right near the top of Mount Rainier (be sure to book in advance for availability!!). In the winter months when the Inn is covered in snow (or for cheaper summer options), look at local cabin rentals or AirBnbs near the Nisqually Southwest entrance to the National Park.
What to do: There is so much to see at Mount Rainier. At Paradise alone there are endless trails for hiking in the summer or snowshoeing/x-country skiing in the winter, but venturing down from this slice of heaven opens even more possibilities. Explore the boardwalk trail in the Grove of the Patriarchs or experience more breathtaking views from the trails at Sunrise.
3. Leavenworth, WA (2h14m)
Transport yourself to Bavaria! The town of Leavenworth went all in on the German theme which is reflected in the architecture, food and drinks. Get rowdy, chow down, or just embrace the fun atmosphere of this international destination in our own backyard.
How to get there: Drive over the Cascade Mountains to this beautiful town. You can take either I-90 or Route 2 to get to Leavenworth, but Route 2 is a bit faster.
Where to stay: For the downtown experience, stay at one of the many hotels on the main drag, but if you’re willing to drive you can book an amazing cabin rental in the area that gives you quick access to both downtown and the local nature.
What to do: What would you do in Germany? Eat and drink of course! There are endless restaurants, pubs, distilleries, and wineries in the downtown and local area. Come October join in on Oktoberfest fun, and be sure to check out the countless other events happening throughout the year for everyone!
4. Orcas Island, WA (3h)
There could be whales! No promises, but this island off of Northwestern Washington has been known to share its waters with Orcas. In any case, you’ll share this trip with kind locals and countless quiet spots with incredible views.
How to get there: Drive up to the Anacortes Ferry Terminal to catch the ferry over to the island. Depending on what time you leave, you may have one or two stops before arriving at Orcas Island, but it’s worth the ride. Not interested in taking a boat? Hop on a float place from Lake Union to fly directly to the island! It is easy to rent bikes once you’re there to help you get around.
Where to stay: So many options! If you want to camp, there are great frontcountry sites in Moran State Park or short hike backcountry sites at Obstruction Pass State Park. If you’re looking for a more luxurious experience, check out Rosario Resort and Spa. For something more neutral, there are several Airbnbs you can rent throughout the island.
What to do: Biking, hiking, kayaking, shopping, eating. Basically you can explore or simply just relax. You choose! Just be sure to check out the different corners of the island for great views and potential whale sightings!
5. Victoria, B.C., Canada (2h45m)
Why not Canada, eh? Visit our friendly neighbors to the north in the breathtaking town of Victoria. From the history to the food to the amazing city gardens, you’ll melt into a relaxed weekend away during this Canadian escape.
How to get there: Since you don’t need a car in Victoria, hop on the Victoria Clipper in Seattle that will take you directly to the downtown. This high speed boat is the fastest way to get there by far. Boats aren’t your thing? No worries. Catch a float plane from Lake Union directly to Victoria.
Where to stay: Hotels and AirBnb rentals are the way to go. You can easily find a spot right downtown for a variety of prices.
What to do: You can do almost anything in Victoria, but here are a few suggestions that are unique to the destination. Take the CVS bus back and forth to Butchart Gardens, walk the streets of Victoria (find boutiques on Johnson Street!), and go on a whale watching adventure to see the orcas in the area!
Travel Tip: If you live in Seattle then you already know about the crazy traffic that seems to just appear at any moment. When you can, try to beat the traffic as this can add so much more time and unnecessary stress to your journey. I’ve found that the magical hour to leave on a Friday is around 1pm , especially when heading north to places like Orcas Island or Leavenworth.
Enjoy your weekend away!