Seattle Center, © Can Stock / melastmohican
Snoqualmie Falls is about 40 minutes east of town. On the way to Snoqualmie Falls, stop at the Triple XXX Root Beer Drive In or have a meal at the Salish Lodge & Spa, which overlooks the 270 foot falls. After visiting the falls, head over to the Northwest Railway Museum and during the summer take a short train ride up the Snoqualmie Valley.
You can also head a bit further west to the hiking trails on Mount Si. From Mount Si, catch views over the city against the backdrop of the Olympic Mountains.
Salish Lodge, Snoqualmie Falls, © Can Stock / leksle
San Juan Islands
Travel 2 hours north of Seattle to Anacortes and then take a Washington State Ferry through the picturesque San Juan Islands. Look for whales on your ferry ride. You can also take the Clipper high speed catamaran from Pier 69 to search for whales in the San Juan Islands during the summer. The Clipper makes regular day trips to Victoria BC, in Canada too. If you travel to Anacortes in April, stop at the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival.
Hurricane Ridge, by Miguel Vieira
Olympic National Park
Olympic National Park is a huge mountainous rainforest to the west of Seattle. There are 7 major vehicle routes into the wilderness of this 1,500 square mile national park, but none of the routes interconnect. That’s because there are no roads through the center of the park. Most of Olympic National Park is for hikers.
Drive 3.5 hours from Seattle to Port Angeles and then drive up Hurricane Ridge. You will find great views of the Olympics and Canada at the top. On the Pacific Coast side of Olympic National Park, you will find dense rainforest, great beaches and rock outcroppings along the ocean shores. Follow the link in the comments below to check out Hiking In Olympic National Park by Richard Campbell.
More Sights Near Seattle
- Mount Rainier National Park – an extinct volcano about a half hour southeast of downtown Seattle. Ride the Mount Rainier Gondola.
- The Future of Flight Aviation Center & Boeing Tour – located in Mukilteo about 30 minutes north of Seattle.
- Museum of Glass – 45 minutes south, in the city of Tacoma.
- “Do the Puyallup” – The catch phrase for the Washington State Fair each September in Puyallup. The fair grounds are about an hour south of Seattle.
- Northwest Trek Wildlife Park – includes tram tours and Zip Wild adventures, about 1.5 hours south of Seattle.
- Leavenworth – a replicated Bavarian village along the Wenatchee River in the Cascade Mountains about 2.5 hours east of Seattle
- Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument – Travel about 4 hours to see the effects of the 1980 eruption from the Johnston Ridge Observatory.
Space Needle, © Can Stock / Rigucci
Seattle weather is influenced by the Pacific Ocean and also by a rain shadow from the Olympic mountains. The rainy season extends from November to February. During this period temperatures can reach highs of 50 F or 10 C with heavy rainfall. If the skies clear, temperatures can drop slightly below freezing. Snowfall is extremely rare.
The dry season for Seattle weather extends from May to September. The best Seattle weather is in July and August. Summer highs average around 75 F. Many people from the southern United States choose to summer in the Pacific Northwest.
Safeco Field, Seattle Mariners
Get to Seattle
The way to get to Seattle is through the international airport, known as SEA-TAC (Seattle -Tacoma). SEA-TAC airport is about a half hour south of town. From the airport, you can take the Central Link light rail to Westlake in downtown Seattle. From there you can walk to Pike Place Market, use local transit, take the Seattle Center Monorail to Seattle Center or ride the South Lake Union Street Car to Lake Union Park.
The popularity of Alaska cruises has prompted several cruise lines to offer regular weekly service from Seattle to Alaska during the summer. Some ships dock at Pier 66 in the heart of downtown, while others tie up at Pier 90/91 about 10 minutes north. Similar to San Francisco, the pier numbers are your best indication of addresses on the waterfront.