Ideas for a Road Trip Near Seattle

Discussion in 'Other U.S. Destinations' started by MX, Aug 4, 2013.  |  Print Topic

  1. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I am going to have a free day after visiting Seattle in the near future. I am thinking of renting a car in the morning, and returning it to SEA the same evening (around 9 pm). Can anyone familiar with that area suggest some good scenic routes to explore? I think I'd enjoy visiting cute small towns or hiking nature trails along the way. Any other ideas for spending the day (10-12 hrs) would be appreciated as well.
     
  2. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    So many choices near Seattle. Do you have a preference between mountains or water for scenery (though it is possible to have both)?
     
  3. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I guess I'll need to carefully balance wild scenery with the ease of access, so as not to get lost and miss my night flight home. :D When I'm away from home I usually go for hills and mountains, since my current home is in a flat area. But mountain lakes and rivers should be very pretty too.
     
  4. Mrlasssen

    Mrlasssen Silver Member

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    Think about riding ferries and exploring some of the islands with small towns, a day trip to Victoria could also be interesting.
     
  5. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Snoqualmie Falls is easy to get to (not far from I-90).
    While getting all the way to Mount Rainier and back would be hard to do within a day, I love the views of it from towns south of Seattle.
     
  6. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    I have done the loop around the Olympic Peninsula in one day. But it was a long day. Don't think I would try it if I had a flight that night.

    Snoqualmie is an easy trip. And even though it looks a long way, Mt. St. Helens is doable as a day trip too. Or just head out on any of the roads to the south and east and find a small town. Eat lunch, walk around and drive back.

    Renton, Kent, Puyallup, Enumclaw, Black Diamond, etc. All are interesting in their own way.
     
  7. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Wow, great idea - and only 40 min drive from Seattle. Should leave me enough time to maybe hit another spot or two on the way back, and get some dinner. Any ideas for the route back to complete the loop?
     
  8. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Thanks for a good list. I'll map them out, and include them if the time allows.
     
  9. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I went for a hike nearby. I drove up to Snoqualmie Pass and hiked a section of the Pacific Crest trail.
     
  10. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Don't forget that Seattle has some beautiful city parks with views of the Olympics, Mt. Rainier, Puget Sound and more. I have spent days just around town enjoying some good hikes and beautiful views.
     
  11. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I thought about exploring an island or two on a separate day. Would you recommend getting a rental car for that as well, or is it easier to do by foot and public transport? Any favorite islands that are not heavily developed and suburbanized?
     
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  12. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I'll be staying in downtown Seattle for a few days, and definitely plan to do this. I figured that having a rental car in the city is more of a nuisance than help. Please correct me if I'm wrong, so I'll plan accordingly.
     
  13. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    I've spent nearly zero time downtown, so I can't comment on your need for a rental car downtown.
     
  14. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Was there a part of Seattle that you particularly enjoyed as a base? I will only have brief business downtown, and can move to a different hotel afterwards.
     
  15. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    Rental car downtown is waste of money in my opinion. And I second the suggestion of Snoqualmie Falls. If you're into wineries on your way back you could stop at Chateau Ste. Michele in Woodinville. I also like Olympic peninsula. I love the area around Poulsbo and Bainbridge Island.
     
  16. miles and smiles
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    miles and smiles Gold Member

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    Yes, I stayed at my step-daughter's house :)
    So, others will have to chime in about hotels. My only hotel stays have been on Pointbreaks and for a conference. Both were near the airport.
     
  17. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Great ideas, thanks! Will add them to my list.
     
  18. philatravelgirl

    philatravelgirl Silver Member

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    Was just in Seattle a few weeks ago, stayed downtown didn't rent a car, never do I walk everywhere.
    I spent a free day at Friday Harbor San Juan islands (Clipper tour) for whale watching but long day 7:15am-7:30 pm. I was going to rent a car to explore but couldn't justify it. The Victoria boat is also a long day but a pretty visit especially the gardens. quicker/pricier to do seaplane option return to save time. If you had a few days, I'd stay on Orcas Island - we did light hiking, biking and water options there. you would get ferry at Anacortes need car to get there. there may be airport shuttle to the islands but not sure of their schedule
    I've written a bit of my Seattle trip on my blog (same as user name) still have more to post this week -
    Great part of the country - have a good trip
     
  19. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    As far as hotels are concerned, I've stayed at the Doubletree across from Sea-Tac, I've stayed in Bellevue, and I've stayed at the Hilton Garden Inn at Paine field in Everett. The HGI was mainly so I could watch the Dreamlifter arrive/depart.
     
  20. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    I'll definitely be checking out your blog for the upcoming trip report. Your piece about Seattle glass scuptors was quite fascinating. I am interested in glass sculpture myself, ever since visiting Alfred and Corning, NY.
    I also came to the same conclusion about car rentals in downtown Seattle after having realized that parking fees would exceed the rental (and that wasn't cheap either).
     
  21. marcwint55

    marcwint55 Gold Member

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    I would recommend staying at one of the hotels near Pike Place Market. There are several options and walking in that area is quite pleasant at any hour. You will also be close to many attractions and transportation. For your day of driving, if you don't want to go up north in Washington, Portland is only 2.5 hours south of Seattle and there are some beautiful areas to drive in that direction. Seaside, Oregon is a quaint little beach town worth seeing. The drive from Portland to Tillamook was also very nice and not too long of a drive. Halfway between Portland and Seattle is a historic town named Centralia that is worth a short detour. It is a small town with many historic buildings and very enjoyable.
     
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  22. Mrlasssen

    Mrlasssen Silver Member

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    You will find hotels downtown about $200 to $300 a night, another option is get a hotel by the airport and ride the light rail, .75 for seniors. The Clarion is at the second stop from the airport. You can exit near Pike and 3rd. The hotels near the airport are about half the price of downtown.
     
  23. MX

    MX Gold Member

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    Perhaps the Sheraton on Pike St would be convenient to Pike Place, plus will put my SPG points to good use. :)
    Thanks for the small town ideas -- will definitely try to visit one or two of them!
     
  24. ella
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    ella Silver Member

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    Museum of Glass in Tacoma is another one of my favorites in the area. You can watch visiting artists work in the hotshop daily, plus they have rotating exhibits as well. www.museumofglass.org.
     
  25. Mapsmith
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    Mapsmith Gold Member

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    Centralia is nice as long as it is a short trip. I was working at the WHOOPs mine there and after a while it really got to me. However, the Golf Course was interesting. The Sand Traps were filled with Volcanic Sand from Mt. St. Helens' eruption 4 years earlier.

    Personally, I found Olympia a better choice or even Longview. But everyone has their own choices.

    (As an aside to working in Centralia, while I was there a big news story broke about a woman from Montesano whose husband died and she tried to take him to the funeral home by herself. She couldn't lift him into the trunk of the car, so she rolled him in an area rug and tied it to the back of the car and drug him the seven miles to town before the Gendarmes stopped her.) Just something to make your day more pleasant.
     
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