30 Surreal Day Trip Ideas From Seattle That You Need To Add To You Winter Bucket List - Narcity

30 Surreal Day Trip Ideas From Seattle That You Need To Add To You Winter Bucket List

Seriously spectacular spots.

The Pacific Northwest is a geographical treasure chest full bursting with hidden gems. Hop on a ferry to one of the many rural towns or local island and — boom, and it's like you've stepped into a time machine and floated straight into a simpler time. 

READ ALSO: You Can Stroll Through An Endless Field Of Sunflowers At BC's First Ever Sunflower Festival

Their rough and varied landscapes characterize Washington and neighboring Oregon. From majestic peaks to sprawling fields, and cascading rivers, the diverse and untamed topography here is a testament to the power of nature and time and is a wonder to behold. 

Whether you're looking to escape for an afternoon, a weekend, or an entire week, there is a get-away for everyone within 3-hours of Seattle. Here are some ideas to get you started!


Content disclaimer: We strongly advise that before you go swimming or visit a potentially hazardous location, you check for the most recent updates on potential hazards, security, water quality, and closures. The locations listed below may or may not have changed their regulations in regards to what you can or cannot do on site since the article was last updated. Always consult with local authorities. If you do plan to visit a location, know the risks beforehand and respect the environment.


Check out Soap Lake for a totally natural spa get-away

Time from Seattle: 3 hours

Where: Grant County, Washington

@romanavasylehaembedded via  

Love the spa but don't want to spend a ton of money, just head to soap lake instead! The lake gets its name because of its mineral-rich waters that give the water a slick, soapy feel. Soap Lake's mineral-rich waters have long been thought to have medicinal value, just dive, slather yourself in mud, let it dry, rinse, and enjoy your baby soft skin. 

Visit the insanely scenic landscapes at Stehekin

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: Chelan County, Washington

@heatherguthrieembedded via  

This spot is the place to go if you really want to get away from it all. And by all, I mean people. This unincorporated community only houses 75 permanent residence, and there is no road access to this area of Washington State, it's only accessible by ferry. If you truly wanna drop off the grid for a weekend, this is the place to go.

Take a hike up the beautiful Beckler Peak

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest 

@therealjhoffembedded via  

Boasting a moderately tricky 7-mile trail, the hike up this mountain is pretty serious. However, the views are apparently phenomenal and well worth the effort, making the hike up this mountain one of the best in the state. 

Take in the jaw-dropping views at Palouse Falls

Time from Seattle: 3.5 hours

Where: Palouse Falls State Park, Washington

@viggtoriaembedded via  

These beautiful falls are located in Palouse Falls State Park and are just one of the many attractions that bring people to this beautiful natural escape. Although it's hard to believe from these pictures, the best part about this place is you get to see fantastic views with little effort — no hiking required.

Explore the best of the Pacific Ocean At the town of Westport 

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: Grays Harbor County, Washington

@visitwestportembedded via  

This coastal fishing town is all about charm and boasts sandy and rocky Pacific beaches that are full of surprises. If you love fishing, seafood, and just the smell of the ocean is instantly relaxing, take a drive down to this port town for a quick get-away. 

Spend a day in the unique landscape of the Hoh Rainforest 

Time from Seattle: 3.5 hours

Where: Forks, Washington

@jennaandrade24embedded via  

You can get a feel for the rainforest without actually hopping on a plane by visiting this spot in the Olympic Peninsula of western Washington state.  This Lord Of The Rings-style forest is one of the largest temperate rainforests in the U.S and is quite possibly the most scenic and lush place you will visit all year. 

Visit the tranquil seaside town of Marrowstone 

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: Jefferson County, Washington

@liviiaaaaaaembedded via  

With a population of only 855 people, this seaside community is perfect if you're looking for an ultra-tranquil personal or romantic retreat. Although not that many people reside there permanently, there are tons of seasonal tourist that come to this area for its peaceful nature and activities. 

Relax on the charming beaches of Sunbeach

Time from Seattle: 1.5 hours

Where: Mason County, Washington

@paula_h_dembedded via  

This little hidden gem is located right next to Belfair State Park and will give you a little taste of what Puget Sound is all about. Relax and enjoy a peaceful day in nature.

Relax on the beaches of Marine View Park

Time from Seattle: 23 minutes

Where: Normandy Park, Washington

@jaclynseifertembedded via  

Less than 30-minutes from Seattle, this waterfront community is the perfect spot to drop off the grid for an afternoon. It's not particularly busy or touristy, so it's a great place to go if you're trying to get away from the chaos of the city and surrounding attractions. 

Fall in love with the peaceful magic of Orcas Island

Time from Seattle: 3 hours

Where: San Juan County, Washington

@job3rtembedded via  

Tucked away in the northwestern corner of Washington state lies San Juan County, a collection of four islands you can only access by ferry. The Orcas is arguably the most popular and touristy one, for a couple of reasons, but it all comes down to one thing — stunning shorelines. 

Take a hike up to the Wild Horse Monument 

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Yakima, Washington

@alejaaa_cristinaembedded via  

 This site is home to one of the most-seen public artworks in Washington state. You can pretty much see the horses from anywhere near the place, but to get the best view you have to take a quick hike to the top. Whether you go to the top or not, it's a great place to stop if passing through the area.

Visit the lavender capital of the U.S at Sequim Fields 

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Sequim, Washington

@diaryofthisgirlmeganembedded via  

Picture time! This fully operational and functioning lavender farm is totally open to the public. They also sell lavender ice cream and have a gift shop full of homemade local and specialty products. 

Soak in the small town charm of Coupeville

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Whidbey Island, Washington

@xomissdanielleembedded via  

North of Seattle, lies a quiet area called Puget Sound. Here you will find Whidbey Island — known for rugged terrain, beaches, hills, and farmland.  The quaint coastal town of Coupeville will truly make you feel like your away from it all. With a historic vibe and plenty of little shops and restaurants, it's the perfect escape from the busy city.

Travel to Germany without the jet leg by visiting the Bavarian-style town of Leavenworth

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Chelan County, Washington

@truelaneembedded via  

Are we in Germany!? This picturesque town will have you asking just that. It's intentionally modeled after a Bavarian village, giving you that distinct Euro-vibe. This town is home to great restaurants, bars, and shops and is a great spot to spend the day being a tourist. 

Get your city-vibes on in Vancouver, B.C.

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

@canadavisacomembedded via  

Feel like seeing a bit of Canada, eh? This destination might be obvious, and it's not hidden, but a proper Seattle "get-away" list must include Vancouver. A little over 2-hours away from Seattle, the scenic city of Vancouver should be on everyone's bucket list. 

Enjoy the calm sandy beaches at Seaside, Oregon 

Time from Seattle: 3.5 hours

Where: Seaside, Oregon

@krista_ingramembedded via  

Does the ideal weekend getaway involve long lazy days at the beach? Then head to Seaside, a resort town that's known for its lazy sandy beaches. It's also home to the Sea Side Aquarium, which features all kinds of fascinating live wildlife.

Visit the quaint and charming town of La Conner

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Skagit County, Washington

@criminallyregalembedded via  

This quiet little town has a modest population of only about 800 people. It's often voted the "most perfect" and "most romantic" Washington state weekend getaway destination. This is the place for anyone who needs to escape crowds and enjoy the peaceful nature of small-town living.

Visit the breathtaking coastal city of Bellingham

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Whatcom County, Washington

@ukeeayeahembedded via  

This coastal city is the 13th largest city in the state. So, if you want the vibe of a larger city while experiencing nature, unspoiled Bellingham is the place to go. With tons of activities such as whale watching in the summer and snowboarding in the winter, there are lots of things to do in this beautiful spot.

Visit and swim in the beautiful Snoqualmie Falls

Time from Seattle: 40 minutes

Where: Fall City, Washington

@khalidgashgariembedded via  

These falls are one of Washington's most scenic attractions. At the falls, you will find a two-acre park, gift shop, and an observation deck,  and the famous 270-foot waterfall. The hike to the falls is relatively easy, and don't forget to pack and lunch to enjoy at the end!

Take a trip to the Reptile Zoo!

Time from Seattle: 45 minutes

Where: Monroe, Washington

@_abuttonembedded via  

This isn't just any kind of zoo; it's a reptile zoo! The exciting part is that it offers a "hands-on" experience with it resident critters including snakes, lizards, turtles, and more!

Spend a day playing in the water at Vashon Island

Time from Seattle: 1 hour

Where: Grant County, Washington

@mandudebrahembedded via  

This is the largest island in Puget Sound, located just a quick trip north of Seattle. Although it's a relatively busy island, with a fair amount of permanent residents and tourists visiting each year, you can access the island only by a ferry; giving you that genuine "get-away" vibe.

Relax in the peaceful surroundings of the town of East Sound 

Time from Seattle: 3 hours

Where: San Juan County, Washington

@kelli.vigilembedded via  

When visiting The Orcas Island you can't forget to check out the town of East Sound, this is basically the "downtown" of The Orcas. This area is very walkable. The village is filled with quaint shops, restaurants, galleries, and even a history museum. 

Admire the mesmerizing colors of Diablo Lake 

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: North Cascade mountains, Washington

@viviannenguyen1embedded via  

You won't believe it's real! Located in North Cascade National Park, you don't need to hike to the top to get a good view of the lake. But if you really want to, we won't stop you. This place will literally sweep you off your feet.

Explore the rocky shores of Lummi Island

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: Whatcom County, Washington

@acefacedembedded via  

After just a short ferry ride you can explore the quiet nature of Lummi Island. With a population of only about 800 people, this is another spot to check out if you're interested in escaping the hustle and bustle of everyday life. Don't forget to check out the Lummi Market filled with arts, music, food, and crafts. It's open every Saturday! 

Enjoy the peaceful waters of Camano Island

Time from Seattle: 1.5 hours

Where: Island County, Washington

@oneseatoanotherembedded via  

This spot is super accessible from Seattle and has been called an "antidote" from big city pressure.  This rural island, although small, still has plenty of stuff to do, and boasts awesome restaurants, sandy beaches, scenic vistas, and much more!

Explore the spectacular beaches of the Olympic Peninsula

Time from Seattle: 3 hours

Where:  Washington

@brittanywanderlustembedded via  

If you can afford a couple of days to spend exploring, head out to Olympic Peninsula, a large arm of land in western Washington that's an adventurer's playground. There are countless activities to do in the area, from hiking to just hanging out on the beach, there is something for everyone in this stunning Pacific landscape. 

Enjoy the beaches of the secluded Herron Island 

Time from Seattle: 2 hours

Where: Grant County, Washington

@haileypietenburgembedded via  

Only 152 people live on this teeny tiny island — it's the true definition of hidden gem.  If you're looking from the most remote and secluded beaches in the area, look no further than this stunning rural island. You will sleep like a baby out here.

Take a surfing lesson at Long Beach Peninsula 

Time from Seattle: 3 hours

Where: Long Beach Peninsula

@visitlongbeachwaembedded via  

Stretching 28 miles along Washington's southwest coast, this beach is very long and is the main attraction in the area. Also known for attracting lots of like-minded college students looking to have fun in the summer, the party-vibe tends to go strong here.

Visit Washington's oldest winery, Chateau Ste. Michelle

Time from Seattle: 30 minutes

Where: Woodinville, Washington

@taylor.cohennembedded via  

Between all the hiking and long beach days, you'll want to sip on something sweet, right? Why not take a trip and tour the state's oldest vineyard? After all, it's only 30-minutes outside of the city. They're open to the public for tastings and also have a calendar of food and wine events all summer long.

Visit the charming Victorian-style historic town of Port Townsend 

Time from Seattle: 2.5 hours

Where: Jefferson County, Washington

@laurieapfelembedded via  

With a distinct Victoria vibe, this seaside town will make you feel like you took a step back in time. A big step. As the self-proclaimed "coolest small town in America," this little yet big town also knows how to party and hosts a series of fun events and festivals all summer long, such as the Acoustic Blue Festival and The Uptown Street Fair

Share on Facebook