From picturesque fishing villages hugging its rugged coastline to pristine high desert on the east side of the Cascade Mountain Range, Washington has everything from whale watching to wine tasting. In the middle of it all lies the state’s crown jewel, Seattle, otherwise known as The Emerald City — and a variety of weekend getaway destinations lie within easy driving distance of Seattle. Here are just three Washington gems that are worthy of a weekend excursion.
Located in the central part of the state about two and a half hours east of Seattle, Leavenworth transports visitors to an Alpine village in Bavaria. Deep in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range, Leavenwoth offers a winter wonderland with a range of Nordic outdoor sporting options, an enchanting spring wildflower display, hiking, boating, fishing, and swimming in summer, and autumn foliage fireworks worthy of their counterparts in New England. Bavarian architecture lines Leavenworth’s Front Street and houses, restaurants, brew pubs, museums, and galleries, while nearby Waterfront Park offers a serene space for picnicking, watching the eagles and ospreys, and simply relaxing while enjoying the fresh mountain air.
✓ Mountainous setting
✓ Nordic outdoor sporting options
✓ Bavarian architecture
Slightly more than four hours from Seattle in the southwestern part of the state, Walla Walla lies in one of the country’s finest wine regions. The surrounding wineries offer abundant tasting tour options, but it’s also possible to go enjoy wine tours in Walla Walla without leaving the city’s downtown core, thanks to the Downtown Walla Walla Wine District. Besides tasting rooms from many of the region’s top wineries, this district features fine arts galleries, award-wining restaurants, boutique hotels, and unique shopping options.
✓ Downtown wine district
✓ Fine art galleries
✓ Award-winning restaurants
Situated on the shores of Puget Sound approximately two hours from the Seattle Metro, Port Townsend offers miles of pristine beaches, easy access to the Olympic National Forest, and a charming downtown core with eclectic shopping, dining, and entertainment options that reflect the area’s vibrant cultural scene. The working waterfront provides a glimpse into the region’s rich maritime legacy, while wildlife cruises offer opportunities to view whales, puffins, dolphins, sea lions, and bald eagles. The local culinary scene features bounty from the sea as well as fresh fare sourced from local farms.
✓ 2.5 hours from Seattle
✓ Miles of pristine beaches
✓ Easy access to Olympic National Forest