The city of Seattle offers a vibrant urban experience for visitors. With numerous neighborhoods to explore and cultural offerings to experience, tourists and locals alike could easily eat, drink and shop many days away in the city. But exploration shouldn’t be limited to the city’s borders; a host of amazing places wait just a short car or train ride beyond the city proper. Here, I list a few of the many great day trips that those based in Seattle should take on while staying in the city.

 

Mount Rainier

You can’t miss Mount Rainier; the mountain towers over the city of Seattle, though it is frequently shrouded in cloud cover. Its proximity to the city makes a visit to this 14,410 foot peak a must-do for nature lovers, as it can be reached by car in under two hours. The mountain is housed inside of the Mount Rainier National Park, and parts of it are accessible year-round. Mount Rainier is well-established as one of the snowiest places in the world –  encountering snow as late as June is common! That said, once the ice melts in summertime, visitors can enjoy an expansive alpine meadows filled with wildflowers. Truly spectacular!

 

Whidbey Island

Coupeville, on Whidbey Island, holds the distinction of being the second-oldest town in Washington. It is also a perfect destination for shellfish lovers. Nicknamed “Mussel Beach”, the town overlooks the oldest and largest mussel farm in the United States. The local restaurants all feature the salty bivalves in a variety of unusual restaurants. Seafood doesn’t really get much fresher than that.

 

Snoqualmie Falls

Beautiful Snoqualmie Falls is located only 40 minutes east of Seattle and is an easy destination for those looking for a short excursion to admire the Pacific Northwest’s natural beauty. Here, the roaring Snoqualmie River cascades 270 feet to massive rocks below, creating the Falls. Visitors can enjoy a free observation deck at the top. There is also a gift shop and picnic area if tourists or family want to make an afternoon of the trip. Those looking for an upgrade from the park picnic scene can enjoy a meal at the adjacent Salish Lodge and Spa.

 

La Conner

Home to a variety of galleries, artisanal shops, and museums, including one which specializes in quilts and textiles, the town of La Conner is an ideal day trip for the art lover. The town has been home to a number of notable artists, including author Tom Robbins, painters Mark Tobey and Guy Anderson. The artistic legacy of the latter is commemorated in the town’s Museum of Northwest Art.