Post Summary: Incredible Day Trips From Seattle, Washington
Seattle feels like it was situated in the perfect spot for adventure.
While there is an abundance of fun activities to do (like, check out all these free things to do in Seattle!), Berty and I couldn’t help but plan exciting adventures just outside the city limits every chance we got.
We are so incredibly lucky to have our pick of mountains, rainforests, and ocean in any direction we choose. In this post, we’re sharing the best Seattle day trips that you can easily manage in a day. You’re bound to find something on this list for your next family adventure!
The Best Day Trips From Seattle, Washington From Nearest To Farthest
For your browsing convenience…
We’re going to be breaking down this list by distance and time required. This way, it’s a lot easier to choose which of these epic day trips from Seattle fit your time frame and distance. Here are our sections broken-down:
Short Trips: A few hours to spare, short drives from Seattle, less than 1 hour
Medium Trips: Half-day trips from Seattle, between 1-3 hours of driving
Long Trips: Full day trips from Seattle, over 4 hours of driving
We hope you enjoy it!
Short Day Trips From Seattle (Less Than 1 Hour Away)
1. Bellevue, Washington
Distance From Seattle: 15 minutes, 10 miles
For family day trips from Seattle with minimal time spent in the car, just drive across Lake Washington to Bellevue! Here, there are things to do all year. In the winter, stay indoors and explore the Kid’s Quest Children’s Museum, or spend some time wandering the shops around Bellevue Square.
When the weather is nice out, stop by the Bellevue Botanical Gardens, Meydenbauer Bay Park, or even Kelsey Creek Farm (with farm animals and historic barns!).
Bellevue is similar to Seattle in climate, so use our Seattle packing list to make trip planning easier!
2. Issaquah, Washington
Distance From Seattle: 20 minutes, 17 miles
A quick drive to Issaquah makes for another really easy day trip from Seattle, only 20 minutes away! There are a lot of outdoor recreation opportunities around Issaquah, including Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park, Lake Sammamish State Park, and the Squak and Tiger Mountains.
It’s a great day trip to take if you are seeking out short hikes to train for bigger adventures, or simply want some time out in nature!
3. Woodinville, Washington
Distance From Seattle: 25 minutes, 20 miles
Looking for day trips from Seattle to take after you get off work? Woodinville is the place for you! Here, there is a high concentration of gorgeous estates and wineries, perfect for meeting up with your girlfriends at the end of the day. It’s not called Woodinville Wine Country for nothing!
Some of the most popular places to visit in Woodinville are Chateau St. Michelle, Columbia Winery, and Novelty Hill – Januik Winery. If you come in the summer, plan it around one of Chateau St Michelle’s outdoor summer concerts!
Not ready for date night to end? Plan a quick and convenient overnight staycation and book a night and the gorgeous Willows Lodge, right in downtown Woodinville.
4. Snoqualmie Falls
Distance From Seattle: 30 minutes driving, 30 miles
While it shares the same name as Snoqualmie Pass, the waterfall is its own attraction completely!
This trip is a quick drive from Seattle – only 30 minutes. It’s easily accessible for the whole family, with boardwalks and short trails to explore that have lots of views of the falls! The best time to come visit is during late spring or after heavy rain when the water levels are high.
Other Seattle day trip ideas near the area? Visit Cougar Mountain Regional Wildland Park and Tiger Mountain State Forest for a little more time in nature.
Don’t have access to a car? You can easily book day tours from Seattle via bus or a small van from downtown!
5. Future of Flight Aviation Center
Distance from Seattle: 30 minutes, 25 miles
The Future of Flight Aviation Center is a guided tour through the aviation center and education area of the Boeing complex, near Paine Field in Mukilteo, Washington. The area includes interactive exhibits, a theater, and cafe, and gift shops.
This is a great activity to do with kids who like machines, or simply as adults who want to know more about this influential business in Washington State!
Note: The Boeing Factory Tour is currently not in operation. However, this could change, so stay updated on the news by subscribing to their newsletter.
6. North Bend, WA
Distance From Seattle: 32 minutes, 30 miles
Similar to Snoqualmie Falls and the I-90 Corridor, North Bend is an adventure-centered small town located at the base of the Cascade Mountains, just outside of Seattle! It’s one of the best places for hiking day trips from Seattle, showcasing waterfalls, rivers, mountains, and overlooks!
The most popular trails to take are Mount Si and Little Si. Other popular hiking spots in North Bend include Twin Falls, Three Forks Natural Area, and Rattlesnake Mountain.
If you love TV shows set in the Pacific Northwest like we do, plan to stop in for lunch at Twede’s Cafe, which was used as the Double R Diner in the popular Twin Peaks series.
7. Tacoma, Washington
Distance From Seattle: 35 minutes driving, 33 miles
Tacoma is one of the best family day trips from Seattle. Not only is it convenient and easy to reach (just hop on I-5!) there are tons of activities that will keep the whole crew entertained.
For kids that are a little older, check out the famous Dale Chihuly Collection in the Tacoma Art Museum. It’s a collection dedicated in 1997 to members of his immediate family.
For the active family, rent some bikes and cruise down Ruston Way as you search for delicious treats or lunch!
8. Snohomish County, Washington
Distance from Seattle: 45 minutes, 30 miles
Snohomish Washington provides the surrounding area with an abundance of opportunities to pick fresh produce, try the local wine, and enjoy the bounty of Western Washington growers! Depending on what time of year you visit, here are some suggestions for your day outings:
- Day trips from Seattle in winter: Try some cozy eateries in Historic Downtown Snohomish, tastings Randolph Cellar Wineries.
- Snohomish spring activities: Bike the Snohomish Centennial Trail (30 miles), and take a farm tour of Alpacas from Mars.
- Snohomish summer activities: Go berry picking at Mountainview Blueberry Farm
- Fall activities in Snohomish: Pick out pumpkins and go through the maze at Thomas Family Farm
9. Fort Nisqually Living History Museum
Distance from Seattle: 50 minutes, 40 miles
While also located in Tacoma, Fort Nisqually Living History Museum is a day trip from Seattle all on its own! This fort was established in 1833 by the Hudson’s Bay Company, and while the original location was in DuPont, the museum on Point Defiance is a re-creation of what it was like in the past.
Here, people are dressed up in period clothing, and there are frequent workshops to learn how to craft items, hear stories, and learn about the history of the people of this time in the Puget Sound.
This is a great day trip from Seattle for families who want to bring their kids to learn about local history. Get your tickets for admission here!
10. Bainbridge Island
Distance from Seattle: 52 minutes, 10 miles across the Puget Sound (Ferry ride)
A day trip to Bainbridge Island is one of the most convenient day trips from Seattle without a car. It’s ideal for families because getting there just requires a ferry ride!
Load on the ferry from downtown Seattle, and you’ll arrive right downtown, with walkable access to cute cafes, shops, and museums.
Pop into the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art for some local inspiration, and then keep walking along Main Street (Winslow Way) to grab a bite to eat. Our favorites are Mora Iced Creamery, Bruciato Pizza, and Blackbird Bakery! For even more stories about the area, visit the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum.
11. Bloedel Reserve
Distance from Seattle: 1 hour (via ferry), 16 miles
If you are a fan of gardening like I am, you’ve GOT to check out the Bloedel Reserve! While this is also located on Bainbridge Island, it does require you to take your car on the ferry, as it’s located on the northernmost side of the island.
The Bloedel Reserve is one of the 10 best North American botanical gardens, and a stunning display of Pacific Northwest native plants, landscape design, and natural beauty. It’s a great place for some peace and tranquility – the space is designed to be a “quiet, immersive experience in nature.” It’s one of the best day trips from Seattle in fall, because the trees will be bursting with color!
If you or your family have a hard time with sensory overload, this is the perfect place to plan a day trip from Seattle.
Make sure to plan your trip accordingly, to mitigate crowds, timed-ticketed are required. Walk-ups are not permitted so you’ll need to do a bit of advanced planning before heading over here.
12. Lakewold Gardens
Distances from Seattle: 45 minutes, 42 miles
If you’re looking for a unique and easy day trip from Seatle, head to the Lakewold Gardens! General admission is $10 and youth tickets are $5.
Lakewold Gardens has activities during all seasons. Come in the fall to see the beautiful reds, oranges, and yellows on the trees. Spend spring and summer wandering around the grounds to see the various in-season blooms.
Finally, come in the wintertime to celebrate Solstice Lights, which illuminate the grounds with music, light, and laughter.
13. Gig Harbor
Distance from Seattle: 45 minutes, 45 miles
If you’re craving time by the water, the darling coastal town of Gig Harbor is a great Seattle day trip option. Only a 45-minute to 1-hour drive on I-5 transports you to a charming town with a marina, cute shops, and lots of ways to enjoy the water.
During the summer season, you can rent paddleboards and boats from Lee’s SUP (located near Anthony’s restaurant) and go boating in the marina. For a date night along the water, schedule a boat cruise to learn more about the harbor and the sound at Destiny Harbor Tours.
Winter in Gig Harbor is fun and festive, with lots of holiday celebrations happening during the month of December. It’s also common to visit parks year-round. Walk to Skansie Brothers Park on a clear day for views of the marina. Too cold to be outside? Visit the Harbor History Museum!
14. Wallace Falls
Distance From Seattle: 58 minutes, 47 miles
Wallace Falls is one of the most convenient hikes near Seattle and a great activity for the whole family. It’s one of the best day trips from Seattle if you’re looking for a nearby hike!
Wallace Falls trail has a little bit of everything the PNW is known for – lush ferns, rushing rivers, majestic waterfalls (yes, there are a few drops to see!), and tall trees and moss everywhere you look!
You’ll definitely work up a sweat on this hike – it can get quite steep at times! Pack lots of water and snacks, and take a break whenever you feel like it.
Planning a winter day trip from Seattle? Continue east on Highway 2 to go skiing at Stevens Pass after your hike!
15. Snoqualmie Pass
Distance From Seattle: 52 minutes, 54 miles.
If you are seeking hiking day trips from Seattle, head over to Snoqualmie Pass for an abundance of choices! For an easy trail, take the short Gold Creek Pond Loop with the whole family. For a moderate trail, take on Rattlesnake Ledge or Snow Lake. Looking for a challenge? Try Mount St or Mailbox Peak for a sweat!
Looking for a way to volunteer your time? The Pacific Crest Trail Association frequently posts work parties all along the trail, and lots of them meet in Snoqualmie Pass.
16. Vashon Island
Distance From Seattle: 1 hour, 20 miles (with a ferry ride from Fauntleroy)
Escape from everybody in Seattle, without really truly leaving the area! Vashon Island is located in the Puget Sound, north of Tacoma and south of Banbridge Island.
It’s super close to downtown Seattle, with ALL the benefits of a quick, quiet, and serene escape. Here, you’ll find a laid-back community of farmers, growers, and artisans who are embracing a slower lifestyle.
While you’re here, rent a few bikes and tour around the island. Stop at May’s Kitchen for a bite to eat, go tasting at the Palouse Winery, and if you can, make it all the way south to Maury Island Marine Park!
Half-Day Trips From Seattle (1-2 Hours Away)
17. Olympia, Washington
Distance from Seattle: 1 hour, 60 miles
Come explore Washington’s state capital for the day! Olympia is a charming area of Washington known for its historic downtown district. It’s full of grand government buildings, parks, and lots of corner cafes and shops.
Take a tour of the Washington State Capitol building for an afternoon full of local history. For some outside adventures, check out Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge, Percival Landing Park, or Squaxin Park.
18. Kitsap County Parks
Distance From Seattle: 1.5 hours, 80 miles
If you’re looking for quieter trails to explore, take a quick ferry over to Bremerton or Bainbridge Island and explore the Kitsap County Parks system! It’s one of the easiest day trips from Seattle (just a ferry ride away) and perfect for taking the whole family.
From serene forest walks to seaside explorations, there are a variety of heritage parks to explore. Some notable ones include Port Gamble Forest Heritage Park, Newberry Hill Heritage Park, and North Kitsap Heritage Park.
For a fun, family-friendly day trip from Seattle, check out the Stump House in Guillemot Cove Preserve. Here, you can explore a house bored from a stump, which is the location of many folklore stories from the past!
19. Poulsbo, Washington
Distance from Seattle: 1.5 hours, 80 miles
Poulsbo’s darling downtown waterfront draws the perfect crowd for day trips from Seattle. It’s a perfect mix of small-town feel, with the convenience of only being about a 1.5-hour drive from Seattle! It’s often referred to as “Little Norway” for the heavy cultural influence Norway has in the area.
You can easily spend an entire morning in the walkable downtown area. Start by grabbing pastries from Sluys Polsbou Bakery and walking along the boardwalk at Liberty Bay Waterfront. Check out some local art galleries, and if you’ve got kids, take them to the SEA Discovery Center!
20. Blake Island Marine State Park
Distance from Seattle: 1 hour, 15 miles (ferry)
Getting to Blake Island Marine State Park is half of the adventure! There is currently no public transportation option to get to this iconic Washington State Park, so the only way to experience it is by private boat or booking a day tour to Blake Island.
Once here, take your pick of the incredible hiking, birding, beach exploration, and even camping opportunities.
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21. Chuckanut Drive
Distance From Seattle: 1-2 hours, 75 miles
Now, there are many gorgeous scenic drives in Washington to choose from, but none as varied and adventurous as Chuckanut Drive!
Chuckanut Drive Scenic Byway is 21 miles long and begins in Burlington and ends in the Fairhaven neighborhood of Bellingham. along the way, you’ll drive through the farmlands of the Skagit Valley and enjoy scenic views of the bay.
If you want to stop and stretch your legs, Oyster Dome trail is one of the most popular hikes in Washington state, especially in summer and fall when the foliage is at its best!
22. Bellingham, Washington
Distance from Seattle: 1.5 hours, 90 miles
Located nearly at the Canadian border, Bellingham is a charming town on Bellingham Bay with a plethora of outdoor activities to choose from. You can use Bellingham as a sort of base camp for longer trips to places like Mount Baker or Lummi Island.
While you’re here, check out Whatcom Falls, The Chuckanut Mountains, and Lake Padden. After a morning of adventure, head down to the Fairhaven neighborhood to grab a bite to eat and browse some cute shops.
23. Whidbey Island
Distance from Seattle: 2 hours and 103 miles via I-5 OR 1.5 hours and 57 miles via ferry
For dreamy day trips from Seattle that aren’t too far away, a trip to Whidbey Island is a great pick for you! This small Puget Sound island is home to quaint little sea towns, hikes with views of the Sound, Deception Pass State Park and the Deception Pass Bridge.
There are two ways to access the island from the Seattle area. The first is taking the Mukilteo-Clinton Ferry to access the south side, and the second way is by driving over to the north section of Whidbey Island via I-5 and Highway 20.
Explore the darling town of Coupeville (once the set of the movie ‘Practical Magic’) to wander the gift shops, restaurants, and pier. Hike at Ebey’s Landing for some incredible (and windy!) sunsets. Finally, spend some time finding hidden beaches and spotting sea lions off the coast of Deception Pass State Park!
Not ready to leave? Stay overnight and the Anchorage Inn B&B, right on North Main Street in Downtown Coupeville.
24. Mountain Loop Highway
Distance From Seattle: 1.5 hours. 45 miles (depending on the hiking trail you choose)
If you’re looking for day trips from Seattle that involve hiking, we’ve got the perfect adventure for you!
The Mountain Loop Scenic Byway is an alternate driving route between Granite Falls and Darrington, Washington. Along the way, it’s bursting with trailheads, lookouts, mountains, and waterfalls to explore. The hard part will be finding which of these amazing Washington hikes to try first!
Note: The Mountain Loop Highway between Gothic Basin Trailhead and Darrington are closed in the winter season. After Barlow Pass, the road isn’t paved, and the roads are quite narrow. Be cautious and know if your car can take the “off-road” features of this stretch of highway.
25. Skagit Valley
Distance From Seattle: 1 hour 15 minutes, 70 miles
Looking for day trips from Seattle in spring? Visiting the Skagit Valley is probably THE most popular thing to do during this time of year! The Roozengaarde Tulip Festival runs every year around mid to late April and it celebrates the millions of tulips and flowers that are grown in this region every spring.
RoozenGaarde, Tulip Town, and Garden Rosalyn are all popular tulip destinations to visit, which have car viewing routes, photo spots, and lots of ways to enjoy spring in the PNW.
If you’re coming any other time than spring, you can also enjoy Taylor’s Shellfish Farm, Shuh Farm, Bay View State Park, and Gorgon Skagit Farms.
26. Yakima, Washington
Distance From Seattle: 2.25 hours, 145 miles
Is it cloudy in Seattle? Chances are, it’s sunny in Yakima!
Here, you can pick wineries, breweries, U-pick orchards, and more. Yakima is known for growing apple, grapes, and hops, and actually produce more than 77% of all hops grown in the State!
Check out Cowiche Canyon and the Tieton Nature Trail if you love hiking. After your morning trail, head to a farmers market to pick up some fresh eats and enjoy the sunshine in the Yakima Valley.
27. Port Townsend, Washington
Distance From Seattle: 2ish hours, 50-100 miles (depending on route via ferry or driving)
Port Townsend is the perfect little escape from Seattle to enjoy good food, history, and a charming small-town vibe.
There are a few options to reach Port Townsend, and the best one depends on where you live in Seattle!
If you’re up north, consider taking your car on the Edmonds/Kingston ferry line to reach the town. Closer to downtown? Take the Seattle/Bremerton ferry line. If you live south, skip the ferry altogether and drive up past Gig Harbor and Silverdale to reach Port Townsend.
In town, you’ve got to check out Fort Worden State Park. Come during fall for a ghost tour – it’s one of the most haunted places in Washington State!
Other things to do here include attending the Wooden Boat Festival (September 8-10, 2023), trying downtown cafes, going to Chetzemoka Park, the Rose Theater, or the Port Townsend Farmers Market.
Full Day Trips From Seattle (Over 3 Hours Away)
28. North Cascades National Park
Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours, 140 miles
The North Cascades National Park honestly deserves its own weekend, but it can also be easily explored as a Seattle day trip too!
For a fun day trip to North Cascades National Park, drive all the way from Seattle to Washington Pass Overlook. From there, you can turn around back to Diablo Lake Overlook, Ross Dam, and stop to dip your toes in the water at Thunder Creek Trail.
The drive to the North Cascades from Seattle is moody, filled with evergreen trees, and filled with Pacific Northwest vibes. We suggest taking this scenic Washington drive early in the morning to catch the fog on the trees!
Don’t forget to brush up on these 30 fun facts about the North Cascades to better appreciate the area too!
Note: Winter snow closes Highway 20 every year, right after Diablo Lake Overlook. Save this website for updates on when the road will open back up in the spring.
29. Mount Rainier National Park
Distance From Seattle: 2.5 hours, 110 miles
The park is best enjoyed by car (it’s big), and the most accessible sections of the park are the Paradise area and the Sunrise area, but you’ll have to pick just one if you’ve got only one day to spare!
In the Paradise area, take the short but beautiful Nisqually Vista Loop or take the 5.5-mile Skyline Trail. For roadside attractions, check out Reflections Lake and Inspiration Point.
In the Sunrise area, hike the iconic Naches Peak Loop Trail or Tipsoo Lake. For roadside attractions, stop by the White River Patrol Cabin, Sunrise Point, and the Columnar Lava banks.
If you’re coming during peak season (summer), make sure to get there early, as the parking lots fill up very fast, sometimes by 8:00 am!
Don’t have a car? You can book a Mount Rainier full day tour that picks you up and brings you right back to Seattle at the end of the day.
30. Mount St Helens National Monument
Distance From Seattle: 2.5 hours, 150 miles
Following its tumultuous eruption in 1980, Mount St Helens National Monument is an incredible place to visit for geology enthusiasts. Start your day at the Johnston Ridge Observatory to get an up-close view of the blown-out side of the mountain.
Visiting this volcano is one of the coolest day trips from Seattle if you like history and nature!
From here, you can learn about the damage it caused in such a short amount of time and simultaneously learn about the forest regrowth just 40 years later. Now, it’s actually one of the best places in Washington to see wildflowers!
The Mount St Helens area has quite a number of Washington hikes to take with the whole family. Work your way back down the mountain by exploring trails like Hummocks Trail, Coldwater Lake, and the Johnston Ridge Observatory loop.
Stop by the many viewpoints of the mountain along the way – don’t forget your camera!
31. Port Angeles
Distance From Seattle: 2.5 hours, 140 miles
Love the Olympics but want to spend more time exploring the city instead? Port Angeles is one of the farthest day trips from Seattle, but what it lacks in convenience it makes up for in activity options! Book guided kayaking tours, biking tours, or fishing charters.
For some secluded beach time, visit the Dungeness Recreation Area, Salt Creek Falls, or quiet beaches along the Strait of Juan de Fuca Highway.
32. Leavenworth, Washington
Distance from Seattle: 2.5 hours, 120 miles
Leavenworth requires a full day, but it’s worth the distance! Leavenworth is a charming town that’s decorated like a Bavarian village. It will be as if you transported yourself right to Germany!
The easiest way to get to Leavenworth from Seattle is via Highway 2, but you can also book a full-day Leavenworth tour that begins and ends in Seattle, if you don’t want to worry about driving.
Everything you would want to for the day is within walking distance of the town square
During the winter holiday season, the entire town is absolutely lit up with lights, making it quite a magical experience. In the fall, you can expect the town to go all out for Oktoberfest, and the summertime is brimming with live music, great food, and mountain sunshine.
Don’t forget to pick up a classic German brat, some beer, and enjoy this day trip from Seattle with your friends!
33. Victoria, BC
Distance From Seattle: 2.5 hours (via ferry)
You might think that it’s ridiculous to leave the country and call it a day trip, but not if you live in Seattle! Victoria, BC is one of the coolest full-day trips from Seattle to experience the old-city charm, history, and hospitality.
It’s easy to book transportation right from downtown Seattle and back on the Victoria Clipper. This boat ride takes about 2.5 hours each way, and is part of the fun itself! Book a departure in the morning and return in the evening for anywhere from 3-6 hours to explore Victoria.
Extend your stay! It’s really easy to stay overnight in Victoria, or stay even longer and plan a Vancouver Island road trip. Go all out and stay at the Fairmont Empress, or sleep nestled near the harbor at the gorgeous Oswego Hotel.
34. San Juan Islands (Friday Harbor)
Distance From Seatle: 3 hours, 110 miles (+ a ferry ride)
For unique Seattle day trips, don’t forget the San Juan Islands! Orcas Island and San Juan Island specifically are great places to check out. They can be visited in a day, but we actually suggest making it out for a Seattle weekend trip too!
You can drive up there yourself and catch a ferry in Anacortes, or you can book a tour on the Clipper Ferry to Friday Harbor that leaves and returns to downtown Seattle. On the way, you can look for whales and hear about the many islands on your way through Puget Sound.
Spend time wandering around Friday Harbor for great food, local shops, and lots of beautiful perspectives of the harbor. You can also rent bikes in town and take a bike ride around the island. It’s a total of 43 miles! Other activities include visiting Lime Kiln State Park, booking a kayaking tour, or checking out the many local farms in the area.
Travel Tip: If you are going to rely on the ferry to get from island to island, we HIGHLY recommend booking your spot in advance!
35. Vancouver, BC
Distance From Seattle: 3 hours, 140 miles
Vancouver BC is another really exciting Seattle day trip to take if you want to go international! Getting to Vancouver is more straightforward than getting to Victoria – all you have to do is drive on I-5 until you reach the border!
You can easily spend the whole day wandering the streets of downtown, seeing things like Gastown, The Vancouver Lookout, and the Granville Island Public Market.
Want more outdoorsy time? You’ve got to check out Stanley Park right downtown, or drive a little bit farther to Lynn Canyon Suspension Bridge. Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is another really popular attraction, even more, magical in the winter when it’s lit up with tons of lights!
36. Olympic National Park
Distance from Seattle: ~4 hours one way, 190 miles one way
While this is probably on the longer side for day trips from Seattle, it’s worth it if you are seeking adventure and seclusion! For Seattle day trips, the easiest things to do in Olympic National Park are on the north side and the southeast side (but you’ll have to choose which one!)
The north side includes Hurricane Ridge, the Storm King Ranger Station, the Mount Storm King Trail, Marymere Falls, and Sol Duc Falls. Choose this area if you are looking for adventurous hikes in the Olympic National Park!
The south side includes Lake Crescent, the Staircase area, and high-elevation hikes like Lena Lake. Come here for a day trip from Seattle if you are seeking nature and solitude – it’s one of the least visited areas of Olympic National Park.
Map of Day Trips From Seattle
Want a visual representation of all the Seattle day trips you can take? Click the map below for inspiration for your next trips!