Famously nicknamed “the Emerald City” in the late '80s, Seattle is a city that truly has it all. Not only do a plethora of famous musicians, actors, and other well-known personalities call the city home, but it's also the chosen location of several successful television shows and movies – did somebody say “Grey's Anatomy”? Seattle is a hip and vibrant city with lots to do and lots to see.
Sometimes, however, all you really need is a little break from the busy streets and city lights. If you're in Seattle, you're in luck, because now you have a list of epic places to choose! To make the choice a little bit easier for you, we've compiled a list of a few of the best places to go for a little weekend away so that you can find all the information you need in one go.
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- These destinations offer great adventures whether you are white water rafting, horseback riding, hiking, or fishing, REI has top quality gear to make sure you are outfitted for the best experience!
Here's what we're covering:
The Best Places To Go On Weekend Trips from Seattle
One of the best things about going on a weekend adventure from the Emerald City is that you truly are spoiled for choice. We're going to tell you everything you need to know about visiting Salem, Long Beach, Yakima, and Portland – including what to do and where to stay – so that all you need to do is pick one and hit the road!
The city of Salem is the capital of Oregon and it's the perfect destination for a spontaneous weekend getaway from the metropolis of Seattle. The place to be for nature enthusiasts, Salem has something for everybody – whether you're an adrenaline junky with a taste for adventure or just a lover of the tranquility of the great outdoors.
Distance from Seattle: 219 miles
Duration of Journey from Seattle to Salem: 3.5 hours
Things to Do in Salem, Oregon
Nice and close to Seattle, you can be in Salem within a few hours, soaking up the fresh air and enjoying the picturesque scenery all around you. Here are a few of the best things to do in Salem.
Spend the day at Willamette Mission State Park
Boasting 16 miles of trails, the Willamette River, and Mission Lake, this is a park you don't want to miss out on. It was initially established as the first-ever mission for Native Americans in the western part of the country, and today, the ruins of a few of the original mission buildings are still standing strong.
You can learn all about the fascinating history of the land and immerse yourself in nature. Within the park, visitors can enjoy hiking, fishing, and even horseback riding. Pair one or, a few, of these activities up with a cute little picnic, and you're bound to have an epic day out in the fresh air and sunshine.
Willamette is full of options to hike with varying levels of difficulty. Here are a few that are appropriate for hiking, running, or mountain biking:
- Willamette Vision Education Trail – Easy
- Equestrian Loop and K Trail – Moderate
If you're more into fishing, check out Mission and Goose Lakes – among other things, you should be able to fish for carp, bluegill, crappie, and largemouth bass.
For a combination of nature and history, don't leave without visiting the park's most famous attraction – the 250-year-old Black Cottonwood tree. It's the oldest of its type in all of the United States, and it truly is something to behold – if only the bark could speak!
Pair your active day outdoors with a Willamette Valley Wine Tour!
Go River Rafting at the North Santiam River
If you consider yourself an adventure seeker, river rafting may be just the thing for you. Offering visitors some serious rapids and picturesque scenery, river rafting on the North Santiam River is something you're unlikely to forget.
Extreme sports aren't for everybody, so if you'd like to get in the water, but don't necessarily want to face the roaring rapids, you can also opt for a kayaking adventure – river rafting's gentler cousin.
Choose whichever option floats your boat (excuse the pun) and head down to the river for a fun-filled day with a dash – or rather, a splash – of adventure. Don't forget to pack sunscreen and other sun-protective gear!
Visit the Enchanted Forest Theme Park
Whether or not you have children, Salem's Enchanted Forest Theme Park promises to be a good time for all. Spend the day strolling around and exploring the different little villages within the park – including, among others, the Western Town, the English Village, and Storybook Lane. There are also several fun rides for both adults and children, as well as a comedy theater for a little bit of entertainment.
The Enchanted Forest Theme Park is full of whimsy and wonder, unlike any other theme park you've ever visited before. It's sure to be a hit among kids, and with magic in the air and old classic tales coming to life all around, adults are bound to love every second too.
Where to Stay in Salem, Oregon
When you're looking for a place to stay in Salem, you're spoiled for choice. Whether you'd like to save some cash and go for something simple or splash out and enjoy a weekend of luxury, there are many choices for you to choose from. Here are a few different options in Salem:
Phoenix Inn Suites Salem
Centrally located, the Phoenix Inn offers visitors all the amenities you could possibly want. It's nice and close to several fun local attractions making it the perfect place to stay during your weekend getaway from Seattle.
Only 2.5 miles (3.5 kilometers) from the Salem city center, the Holiday Lodge is a budget-friendly accommodation option that should be perfect for a few nights' stay.
Long Beach, Washington
If you're looking for a salty and sandy holiday, head to Long Beach, Washington. Boasting the longest beach in the country, this is the perfect place to enjoy the picture-perfect beaches and have a laid-back weekend in the sun. Whether you want to head out and explore your surroundings or just chill out on the beach with a book, Long Beach is the place to be.
Distance from Seattle: 171 miles
Duration of Journey from Seattle to Long Beach: 3 hours
Here are a few cool things to do while you're in Long Beach, Washington.
Go Horse Riding
Whether you're an experienced rider or a complete novice, consider exploring the coastline on horseback. With loads of different options available in the area, you can head out on guided tours that'll allow you to wander along beautiful seaside trails and walk the 27-mile-long beach – well, part of it! There really is no better way to see the coastline as you gaze out over the Pacific Ocean.
Best of all, these horse-riding adventures are appropriate for the whole family. So whether you're a couple looking for a romantic adventure or a family hoping to do something different with the kids, this is sure to be an awesome day out.
Hit the beach and check out the waves at the Long Beach Peninsula. There's nothing better to do when you're at the seaside than try your hand at an age-old water sport. The best thing about the main break at Long Beach, Washington is that it's ideal for just about any skill set. If you're just starting out, there's always some nice white water – perfect for getting your balance right and messing around for hours on end.
If you're looking for a cleaner break and a little bit more fun, Long Beach also serves up some sweet swell for the more experienced surfers out there. Best of all, you can grab a delicious coffee or refreshing beer when you're done – that's sure to get you in the holiday spirit!
You can rent boards and wetsuits at several different places around the beachfront area. The water is reasonably warm, but we'd still suggest using a wetsuit so that you're comfortable enough to stay in the water for a while!
Hit the Trails and Go For a Hike
When it comes to hiking, you can choose between awesome coastal trails and forested mountain tracks. Best of all, if you're not into hiking, you can ride your bike or enjoy a run – there's no limit to what you can do. Here are a few of the coolest trails to try out:
- Cape Disappointment Trail: Don't let the name fool you! If you're looking for an easy trail with some interesting and pretty scenery along the way, this one certainly won't disappoint you. It's about a mile-and-a-half long and you'll be able to enjoy some beautiful views, spectacular forests, and cool old military forts.
- North Head Discovery Trail: It may be on the challenging side of things (a 14.5-mile-long trail) but it certainly is worth it. You'll be able to enjoy views of Cape Disappointment, Long Beach, and the Pacific Peninsula.
Where to Stay in Long Beach, Washington
When you're enjoying a weekend getaway in Long Beach, you'll want to be as close to the beach as possible. Here are a few different options to choose from.
Inn at Discovery Coast
Only about 500 meters away from Long Beach, the Inn at Discovery Coast has all the amenities and facilities you could wish for – and more! You simply can't do better than this.
Inn at the Sea
If you're looking for something cost-effective but central, the Inn at the Sea is the place for you. It's only 500 meters away from Long Beach and 300 meters from the town center – the ultimate convenience.
Yakima was founded as a mission back in the mid-19th century and has always been revered, by both local inhabitants and settlers, for its incredibly fertile land. The little valley is a large producer of wine, and, in fact, it's one of Washington's leading producers of many vegetables, fruits, grains, and many other things – especially apples!
Distance from Seattle: 142 miles
Duration of Journey from Seattle: 2 hours and 15 minutes
Fun Things to do in Yakima
Whether you want to explore the outdoors and learn about the history of the valley or rather just kick back and enjoy the fruit of its harvests, a visit to Yakima is bound to be a fun one.
Go Wine Tasting in Yakima
Spend a day touring the valley and learning all about the different wines, terroirs, and styles of wine making used in the area. In fact, wine has been made in the area since 1914, with the earliest evidence of grapes being planted as far back as 1874, so it truly does have a remarkable history.
Here are a few of the best wineries in Yakima to visit during your weekend trip from Seattle:
- Two Mountain Winery
- Wilridge Winery
- Naches Heights Vineyards
- Treveri Cellars
- Gilbert Cellars at the Hackett Ranch
- Owen Roe Winery
- Bonair Winery
Why not book a guided tour of the Yakima wine region? That way, everyone will be able to enjoy the wine without having to worry about driving, and you'll also learn more about the valley as you go.
Check Out the Local Orchards and Learn About the City's History
One thing you have to do while in Yakima is pay a visit to the local orchards. The Johnson Orchards, a family-owned farm, has been in operation since 1904. Head down to the farm, take a walk around the orchards, and purchase some fruit to take home with you. A few of their best crops include apples, cherries, apricots, peaches, and nectarines.
If you consider yourself more of a history buff, make some time to pop into the Yakima Valley Museum. Here, you'll be able to learn about the early local inhabitants of the valley, the first settlers, and the history of cultivation in the area.
Enjoy the Local Scenery
Yakima boasts the most beautiful natural landscapes, allowing for an endless list of possibilities when it comes to outdoor adventures. If you're a keen hiker, trail runner, or mountain biker, there are lots of cool trails just waiting to be explored, making Yakima one of the best day trips from Seattle for hiking. Here are a few of the best:
- Cowiche Canyon Trail – At 5.2 miles long, this trail is considered a reasonably easy route, ideal for the whole family.
- Ahtanum Ridge Loop – Starting just left of an old military tank, this trail is moderately difficult but totally manageable. It's only 2.5 miles long and loops right back to where you started.
- Umtanum Ridge Crest Trail – If you're an experienced hiker, this is the one for you. It may only be 5 miles long, but it's considered difficult – it's pretty steep and requires a bit of fitness to be enjoyable.
If you're not one for mountain trails, here are a few other outdoor attractions to visit if you're a fan of greenery and wide-open spaces:
- Yakima Greenway
- Yakima Area Arboretum
- Yakima River Canyon
- Yakima Sportsman State Park
- Yakima White Pass Ski Resort
On the other hand, if you're looking for something really epic to do and don't mind traveling a little, one of the best day trips from Seattle is to Mount Rainier National Park. It's home to the tallest peak in the state of Washington.
Where to Stay in Yakima
Finding somewhere to stay in Yakima shouldn't be too difficult. Here are a few different options to choose from, regardless of your budget.
If you're looking for a little bit of luxury during your stay in the Yakima Valley, Hotel Maison is the place for you. Elegant and sophisticated, this accommodation option will suit travelers looking for all the amenities and the utmost comfort.
Centrally located, the Yakima Holiday Lodge is the perfect place to stay if you're looking for a budget-friendly option that'll meet all your basic needs, including breakfast and pool.
Just can't get enough adventure in Washington?
Check out Leavenworth, Washington less than 2 hours away from Yakima to extend your getaway
Visit Portland, Oregon for a little holiday full of quirkiness and fun. Known for its vibrant atmosphere, Portland offers a hip city experience full of interesting places to visit and things to do, as well as beautiful scenery in close proximity too.
Enjoy the city's offbeat art scene, top-rated restaurants and bars, and other interesting attractions, and rest assured that you'll have one of the best weekend getaways from Seattle with your family or friends.
Distance from Seattle: 174 miles
Duration of Journey from Seattle to Portland: 2 hours and 40 minutes
Cool Things to Do in Portland
Get ready for uninterrupted fun when you head to Rip City. Here are a few of the best things to do in Portland, Oregon.
Indulge in the Food Scene
Portland is particularly well known for its eclectic food scene and is often described as one of America's best cities for foodies. Boasting a broad variety of eateries, the city is full of vibey restaurants, breweries, wineries, and bakeries. Best of all, it has lots of affordable options to offer, as well as specialty eateries with interesting things on offer, making Portland a great destination for those who love a good culinary experience.
- Langbaan – Delicious Thai food.
- Mucca Osteria – World-class service and avant garde food.
- Ringside Steakhouse – Epic meats and legendary onion rings.
- St. Jack – Fine dining for a special occasion.
- Toki Restaurant – Traditional Korean meals.
Coolest food trucks/carts:
- Bing Mi Food Cart – Top-notch Chinese food and specialty “Bing Sauce”.
- Kee's Loaded Kitchen – Massive, saucy meals to fill your belly.
- Matta – A Vietnamese flavor adventure.
- Kabba's Kitchen – The best Senegalese and Gambian dishes to satisfy your taste buds.
Must-try breweries and wineries:
- Gigantic Brewing
- Cascade Brewing
- Blackbird Wine and Atomic Cheese
- Wayfinder Beer
- Seven Bridges Winery
- Culmination Brewing
- Boedecker Cellars
If you're a foodie, Portland's vast variety of restaurants and bars is sure to make it one of the best possible weekend trips from Seattle for you.
Explore Portland's Special Gardens
Visit the International Rose Test Garden. During the First World War, this garden in Portland was established as a safe haven for hybrid roses to be cultivated and protected.
Today, it is home to over 10,000 different individual rose bushes and 610 rose varieties. Visit the garden on a sunny day and enjoy the abundance of roses that surround you. If you like, you can even take an organized tour of the gardens to make sure you see everything.
Another must-see garden in Portland is the Japanese Garden. Covering 5.5 acres, this gorgeous garden includes several smaller spaces showcasing different flora and landscapes. You'll even find a waterfall! The best way to see it all is via a guided tour.
Visit the City's Weird and Wonderful Museums
Get a real feel for Portland by checking out a few of the city's fascinating museums. Portland has everything ranging from educational and interesting to weird and whacky. Here are a few museums you need to see:
- The Freakkybutture Peculiarium Museum – Thought-evoking and decidedly creepy, this museum is full of weird toys, odd drawings, mysterious jars, and even gag body parts.
- The Oregon Historical Society – If you're a history buff, visit the Oregon Historical Society to learn all about the state's history and development.
- The Portland Art Museum – Home to about 42,000 pieces, you'll be able to view beautiful historical works done by artists from all walks of life.
- The Oregon Museum of Science and Industry – Learn about natural sciences, industry, and technology and visit the museum's auditoriums, exhibition halls, and planetarium for a fun day out
Where to Stay in Portland
Portland is full of a great mixture of standard hotels and slightly more quirky accommodation options. Luckily, there's something for everybody, regardless of your budget. Here are a few of the best options.
Conveniently located in Downtown Portland, the Woodlark Hotel is grand and luxurious. It offers all the amenities you could possibly wish for, so you're bound to be comfortable during your stay.
Only about 5 miles (7 kilometers) from the city center, Portland Inn is the perfect place to stay if you're looking at weekend trips from Seattle on a budget.
Final Thoughts on Weekend Trips from Seattle
There you have it, folks – the four best places to enjoy a fun getaway from Seattle. Whether you choose to visit Salem, Long Beach, Yakima, or Portland, you're bound to have a weekend full of fun. Some of the places are so close, that you can even travel to them to enjoy day trips from Seattle!
Whatever it is you decide to do, make sure you check out some of our top recommended things to do, and you're bound to have a blast during any one of these weekend trips from Seattle.
Portland does not promote a pass through their tourism board but GetOutPass does offer an Oregon group of offers that have some great Portland spots such as a Trailblazers game, Oaks Amusement Park, and Cycle Portland. This Pass also offers deals in Salem as well.
Seaview Beach Approach, North Benson Beach, Beards Hollow and A Jetty. Always plan to wear a wet suit. Long Beach ocean waters can be warm but not warm enough to go without a suit!
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