5 Adventure-focused Days in Seattle
Arts & Culture
This guide is jam packed with activities, dining and exploring in various areas of Seattle and the nearby National Parks (Olympic, Mt. Rainier and Northern Cascades). If you are looking for a fast paced weekend, this guide is for you! Feel free to remove some items for a more laid back trip, of course.
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Day 1: Arrival
You are likely to arrive mid-morning at Sea-Tac Airport. I recommend getting a rental car for this trip as the National Parks and other excursions will make it easy to get around. Head into the city and get brunch at Tilikum Place Cafe. From brunch, walk towards the Space Needle and Chihuly Art Museum and choose to do either or both if time allows. Spend some time in the famous Pike Place Market and pass by the original Starbucks! Try to catch the fish throwing in the market as well if you can! For dinner, The Pink Door is a must! Its speakeasy vibes and live entertainment are a bonus to the amazing food. Reservations open 30 days prior, so be sure to set an alarm to get one!
Day 2: Olympic National Park
Taking the Edmonds-Kingston Ferry, head towards Olympic National Park, the earlier the better to really optimize time! Once on the peninsula, stop at -14 Below Café for breakfast before continuing on to the park. The park is very large, so I recommend prioritizing these areas - Dungeness Recreation Area, The Devils Punchbowl, Marymere Falls, Rialto Beach to Hole-In-The-Wall and the Hall of Mosses in Hoh Rainforest. All of these are easy hikes/nature walks but make sure to have sturdy soles for the beach as it is rocky. On your way back to the ferry, stop at Lake Crescent Lodge for to go dinner and watch the sunset.
Day 3: Wild orca tour
For someone who has never seen wild orcas, a whale-watching tour was on my list. The FRS Clipper was amazing. The seats were comfortable and the naturalist was extremely knowledgeable and could answer any question someone asked on board. This 3-5 hour cruise leaves from Pier 69 and guarantees to see whales. We happened to see a mother and her five children! Once you get off the boat, drive over to White Swan Public House for happy hour (3-5pm) for what were the best oysters I have ever had. Depending on the season of travel, see if there is a Mariners or Seahawks game to spend the evening at. On your way home, stop at Salt and Straw for ice cream. You do not want to miss it!
Day 4: Parson Garden & Seattle Aquarium
Be sure to get coffee and breakfast from Café Hagen Modern Scandinavian Cafe and check out the cute quaint area of Queen Anne. This offers one of the best views of Seattle. Parsons Garden is also fun to walk through! We happened to have a rainy afternoon, so we went to the Seattle Aquarium, which can be done in two hours or less. The remainder of the day was spent in Ballard. Check out the Ballard Locks Fish Ladder to catch the salmon jumping and then spend the evening brewery hopping! Swing by Reuben's Brews, Urban Family Brewing Co, Old Stove or Stoup to name a few. There are also numerous breweries in Fremont as well!
Day 5: Mt. Rainier National Park
On your final day, drive out of Seattle to Mt. Rainier National Park. The weather changes quickly, so do not be discouraged if "the mountain is not out" during your drive. Certainly, check the weather, but the park is still beautiful regardless. If you are up to a moderate hike, go to the Sunrise Visitors Center and take the Burroughs Mt Trail. Officially there are only two Burroughs, but enough people have gone to the third that there is an extremely well-defined trail. The total loop is 9.5 miles with a 2,601 ft. elevation gain. If you are up for it, dress warmly and enjoy! It offers an amazing view of the mountain!
Need to Know
Looking for more travel inspiration? Check out my guide, Luxury Vacation to South Africa and Zimbabwe.
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This guide is part of our ongoing series on travel to Seattle.