With so many road trips from Seattle to choose from, it’s hard to know where to start—until now
With spring break just around the corner, we know you’ve got getting out of town on the brain. If you aren’t planning an escape to a sunny destination, we think a PNW road trip should be on your list. That’s why we mapped out seven weekend trips from Seattle that are bursting with things to do this spring. You’ll find festivals, sandy beaches, clam digging and more at these nearby destinations. All you need to do is pack up a few things and head out of town.
Our Favorite Road Trips from Seattle
1. Walla Walla
Come for the wine, stay for the relaxed vibes of this eastern Washington town. Spring kicks off Walla Walla's wine season, without the summer crowds. Families can still enjoy plenty of outside time, wine tastings, and activities when the flowers are in bloom.
Foodie Fun: Second in the list of things its known for is Walla Walla's restaurant scene. It goes without saying that you can't build a wine town and not include amazing eateries too. But one of the reasons Walla Walla works for families is that simple family-friendly fare is just as plentiful as high end dining. Grab your morning pastry and coffee at the Walla Walla Bread Co. and you won't be disappointed. Their lunch fare is equally as tasty, and no one will think twice if you take a few loaves of fresh-baked bread home with you at the end of your trip. Locals will always recommend the Maple Counter Cafe for a home-cooked, sit down breakfast or lunch for good reason. Sweet or savory, their fare is always fresh and hits the spot. Plus, they've got a waffle truck that sits right outside (it opens in April for the season), if you want something quick. Grab dinner at Sweet Basil Pizzeria if NY style slices please your crew, or head to Wingman Birdz + Brewz for your pub food favorites served with a side of sass. Your kids will love the YouTube-esque TV offerings they've got playing on repeat that help the food wait move pretty quickly.
Kid-Friendly Wineries: Most of the wineries in town welcome kids. But there are a few stand-outs that are worth a mention. Start your tasting odyssey at Time & Direction. While you sip, kids can admire the Star Wars and '80s gaming paraphernalia that line the walls and keep things interesting. The tabletop video game works, and no, you don't need quarters to play it. Be sure to ask the bartender to walk you through the wines. They include all kinds of easter eggs—from the hidden logo on each bottle to the tasting notes on back (one is a Mad Lib of sorts). Kontos is another that gets the parent nod of approval, and not just because the wines are good. Head upstairs to find swings where the kids can lounge, and plenty of space to sit and color for a bit too. You can sit by a fireplace and enjoy food at Henry Earl.
Just for Kids: The wineries are for you, parents, so the kids should have some fun too, right? You can't go wrong with a handmade chocolate from Bright's Candies and a trip to Island Octopus next door will keep the kids entertained for as long as you let it. We suggest hitting these two spots before you hit the road back to the city.
Cozy Time: Settle in for your trip at The Finch. Located on East Main Street, it makes a perfect base camp for your time downtown, whether you're wine tasting, shopping, or just want to ditch the car to walk to meals. This boutique hotel welcomes families from the minute you walk through the door—sometimes with wine (they have tastings in the lobby once a week), always with a scavenger hunt for the kids. While you get checked in, they can complete the lobby chandelier seek and find for a prize (it's a good one, trust us). In the evenings, the cozy outdoor fireplace, just off the lobby, is the perfect spot to snuggle up with the kids and roast s'mores before bedtime (they have kits for sale in the lobby).
The Finch's retro chic rooms hit all the right notes. Kids will love the aqua mini fridge and wall stencils that highlight the region. While parents will love things like MALIN+GOETZ bath products and a bathroom layout that's all about privacy and function. The 375-square-foot double queen has all that families of three to four need to stay comfortably. Families of five, or those looking for a little more space, should book one of the three suites that also include a living area. The Mill Creek Suite includes a dining area, so you can finish up those leftovers for lunch the next day. Free on-site, covered parking is also included with your stay.
Drive Time: Just over 4 hours from Seattle.
If you’re ready to trade the bustling city for a peaceful escape, Seabrook is an unbelievably easy spring break destination for families. And their SpringFest activities (now through April 16) are sure to keep everyone in your family entertained during your stay. Plan your stay around Magic Mondays, Tag Tuesdays, Field Day Fridays, and more.
Parks and Rec: No matter where you stay in Seabrook, you're only about five minutes from the glorious sandy beaches of the Pacific. And all you need to enjoy it is pack your wagon full of beach chairs, kites, all the sand toys you can carry, and a picnic basket full of goodies and head out the door. Stay all day or add on an afternoon bike ride to your day's itinerary. Beyond the beach and biking everywhere, kids can shoot hoops, visit farm animals, explore the community garden, and play at the playground. And if you really want to make a day of it, check out the family adventures offered at Buck's Northwest. Surf lessons, river tours, and a clam digging expedition for first-timers are all part of the fun.
Foodie Fun: While Seabrook is a small town, it's no stranger to great eats. Breakfast at Vista Bakeshop rivals any you'll find in the city, but if pastries and coffee isn't what your morning is all about, you can find healthy bowls and smoothies at Blue. Lunch and dinner are just as easy. It's hard to go wrong with a pizza from Frontager's or an inventive modern Latin dish from Koko's Restaurant. And no trip to Seabrook is complete with out at least one scoop of small-batch ice cream from the Sweet Life. Spring is also an ideal time to take advantage of the community fireplaces you'll find scattered around the town. Bring fixings for s'mores and call it a night.
Learning Moments: Although clamming seems like a summer activity, it's actually something families can do year-round in the PNW. And if you head to Seabrook in spring, you and the kids can get in on razor clam season. March dates have been approved, and there are many listed in April pending approval. Bring your gear and plan to cook your haul that night.
Just for Kids: Usually families can only enjoy the popular Float Find in winter, but this year, the find has been extended through spring. Find clues at Guest Services on Front Street and then get hunting.
Cozy Time: The whole town of Seabrook was made for vacations. Most of the houses, bungalows, and manses are available to rent. Browse the cottage rentals to find just what you need—from sweet cottages with ocean views to pet-friendly cottages and cottages that sleep up to twenty-plus people. Each one comes with different perks like hot tubs, gas grills, fire pits, toy closets, and even baby gear (think high chairs or pack-n-plays) that make renting an easy option for families.
Drive Time: 2.5 hours from Seattle.
3. Port Townsend
The dramatic, windswept location, perfectly preserved Victorian architecture, and carefully curated shops and restaurants set the stage. You’ve arrived in Port Townsend, and there’s nowhere else in the state quite like it.
Parks and Rec: Fort Worden is a 434-acre park that will amaze and surprise at every turn. Once a military fort and barracks, it is now an unofficial scavenger hunt, filled with surprises and amusement in every nook and cranny. The restored houses, formerly military housing, provide unique holiday rental opportunities. Be sure to point out Alexander’s Castle to your Disney-obsessed kids. There are e-bikes, cornhole, badminton, yoga, plus jazz concerts for adults and budding musicians, in this cultural haven. Don’t forget to tell your group a ghostly tale before climbing the ruined barracks by the sea. Camping, swimming, museums, even a Pulitzer-prize winning poetry publisher can all be found on the property. It’s impossible to see it all in one day. Thank goodness summer vacation is three months long.
Foodie Fun: Port Townsend is packed with options for hungry little eaters. Doc’s Marina Grill has all the yummy fish, chips and chowder one would expect from the aquatic surroundings. Water Street has a plethora of choices, including must-lick local institution Elevated Ice Cream Company. Further afield, Finnriver Cidery, in nearby Chimacum, makes for a unique experience, nourishing the mind and spirit as well as the body. The menu is simple but satisfying: salads, bratwurst and sandwiches. The cider is what you'd expect from a cidery that thinks in terms of appellations instead of mass appeal, and their mission is inspiring. They engage with the community and reconnect with the land, with the sense of place imbued by Washington state apples.
Learning Moments: The čičməhán Trail is a wonderful way to learn about the S’Klallam people who lived in this area for hundreds of years, while also enjoying a walking tour throughout the town. There are 18 sites throughout the city, sectioned into three-, six- and eight-mile loops, each telling a part of the tribe’s history. Print out the map in advance and then check off the signs as you find them. Whether you do some or all, every plaque is moving and educational.
Just For Kids: Port Townsend is the epicenter of the maritime environment that makes our state so special. So bring your little mariners down to the water next to the Northwest Maritime Center. There's a pirate ship where young sailors can raise the mizzenmast and jib the topsails. There are also maritime youth programs for ages 5-17. Eye patch and parrot not required, but highly recommended.
Cozy Time: The Port Ludlow Inn is a picturesque hideaway where groups can bond and connect, with watercolor views and casual activities. Check in and make a reservation at The Fireside. Be sure to ask about their dining events, as they are a farm-to-fork regional destination. Inquire at the front desk about farm tours and wine tastings, or sign up for hiking, biking, kayaking, giant lawn games, beach strolling or bird watching. On the flipside, grab a board game from the front desk, sip some tea and breathe in the sea air while winning at Trivial Pursuit.
Drive Time: Two hours from Seattle.
Parks and Rec: The protected seashore of Bellingham and Whatcom County is perfect for exploring tide pools, taking scenic hikes and watching seabirds swoop in for their catch. If you want to see all the beauty this area offers, head down Chuckanut Drive and stop at Larabee State Park for hiking trails and water access. It’s $10 to enter the state park and you’ll have loads of options for a day by the shore.
Foodie Fun: Drive by Zane Burgers in the Fairhaven neighborhood and you’ll feel like you’ve gone back in time to the days of carhops. We found the burgers to be delicious and inexpensive, just what you want when feeding a family. Topping our list of favorite restaurants in downtown Bellingham is AB Crepes where sweet and savory crepes are the focus (our favorites: the Nutella and banana crepe and the crepizza) and the POG mimosa really hits the spot.
Keep Bellingham’s many breweries in mind when you visit as they not only have unique beers for the adult members of your crew but their energetic vibe drowns out all sorts of cranky toddler moods. Boundary Bay Brewery & Bistro was serving up a blackberry wheat on our visit and offered Etch-a-Sketches to the kids while they waited for food (BRILLIANT).
Learning Moments: The quirky and eclectic (or electric?) SPARK Museum should definitely be on your must-visit list. Kids will love learning about static electricity through hair-raising hands-on demonstrations. Find out how things like telephones worked before smartphones were invented (i.e. “the olden days”). Upstairs in the museum is an area just for the littlest visitors.
Just for Kids: If the temps dip and the rain falls during your Bellingham visit, there are still tons of options for keeping the kids active. We particularly loved our visit to VITAL Climbing Gym where the drop-in rate of $19/person can’t be beat. Kids can rent shoes here and your pass is good for the whole day so you can take a break for lunch (crepes! See below!) and return for more bouldering action.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours from Seattle
Read More: tinybeans.com
5. Hood Canal
The Hood Canal is a winding waterway set between views of the Olympic National Park, oyster beds and forest trails. Families have been spending their free time along these shores for centuries, and this year is no exception. It’s hard to pin down what makes this region so special, but perhaps it starts with a perfect gathering place, Alderbrook Resort & Spa.
Parks and Rec: Potlatch State Park is located right on the Hood Canal with 57 acres available for camping, fishing, picnics, beachcombing and shellfish harvesting. Alderbrook Resort & Spa has five miles of private trails and a water sport center where families can rent wild rides like hydrobikes, paddle kayaks, peddle boats and seacycles.
Foodie Fun: The newly renovated Restaurant at Alderbrook Resort & Spa serves up scrumptious fare and their menu for little eaters is extensive. Hamma Hamma Oyster Saloon is a tradition. Grab chowder, oysters and more and sit in their outdoor wooden A-frame huts for fresh air and views. A true culinary highlight is Hook & Fork at Union City Market. The outdoor setting pairs perfectly with the flavorful offerings—such as salmon salad, trout dip, charbroiled oysters and the you-can’t-stop-slurping clam chowder.
Learning Moments: Sign up for Alderbrook Resort & Spa’s guided nature walks to learn about wildflowers, fungus, and plant life depending on the season. Discover Shinrin Yoku–Forest Meditation-by grabbing a booklet from the concierge and heading into the trees.
Just For Kids: The glass enclosed pool and hot tub area is where the kiddos will splash all day. Be sure to take them on the Nautical Flag Hunt which zigs and zags all over the property. Afterwards pick up a wooden frog music maker from the gift shop so your group can sing along with the amphibian night symphony.
Cozy Time: Order a s’mores kit (or two) for an evening treat by the bonfires.
Drive Time: 1.5 hours from Seattle.
6. Bainbridge Island
How about a vacation that starts at once? That’s the magic of Bainbridge Island. Your adventure begins on a ferry ride across the Sound with nature’s tableau escorting the way. Bainbridge Island has foodie haunts, parks and water sports, shopping, culture, and quiet moments for bonding and laughter. And with so many new additions—if you think you know Bainbridge, think again.
Parks and Rec: The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art (BIMA) is celebrating its tenth anniversary with a Treasure Trek this spring. You and the kids can try your luck at spotting one of 100 glass floats that'll be hidden around the Kitsap Peninsula, including five parks on Bainbridge Island, including Strwaberry Hill and Manzanita. The first drop happened April 1, and five more are planned throughout the season. Tiny tots and big kids alike will have 90 acres of play space to frolic and play at Battle Point Park. The all-abilities kid’s play structure provides hours of amusement, and if you plan it right, you can get in on the Earth Day Expo scheduled for April 22. Another worthwhile outdoor option? Explore with Islandwood when you sign up for their community programming (hint: the next one celebrates mothers on May 14).
Foodie Fun: With so many choices, it’s hard to choose where to nosh. If you ask us, Via Roso 11 is an absolute must. The atmosphere is convivial and boisterous; you will feel at home at once thanks to the authentic Italian, just-like-Mama-cooked menu. Savor their homemade gnocchi, secret pesto sauce, bruschetta with Genovese basil, pasta and pizza. No need to get hangry, kids get Italian crackers immediately and all pasta dishes can be ordered in a kid’s portion. There's also Proper Fish with their British fish and chips and East Coast lobster rolls that do not disappoint. Streamliner Diner serves up famous brunch, while Pleasant Beach Donuts satisfies that sweet tooth. Get dolled up and dine at Joe’s Restaurant or Ba Sa. Don't forget the Bainbridge Island Farmers Market. Find fresh eats plus amazing local products on Saturdays, from 10 a.m.-2 p.m. at the Town Square.
Learning Moments: Bloedel Reserve is not just for kids, but the vast property is filled with the wonders of nature and many activities for budding naturalists and everything is coming back to life in spring. Plus, they've got amazing Earth Month programming planned throughout April. We're looking forward to the KiDiMu Garden Tour for Kids on April 26.
Just for Kids: KiDiMu is a hands-on museum for children with lots of interactivity and STEM activities. Make sure to get a copy of the Second Edition of Explore Bainbridge Activity Book when you play.
Cozy Time: After all that excitement, it’s time for bed. We recommend The Inn at Pleasant Beach for a luxury, boutique hotel in a prime location with a pool. It’s above The Marketplace (with gourmet sandwiches, coffee and adult bevvies) and Island Cool frozen yogurt. Plus it's across the street from the movie theatre. Win, win!
Ferry Ride: 35 minutes from Seattle.
7. Vancouver, BC
Oh, Canada! Travel to Canada is especially sweet in spring. Vancouver is a cosmopolitan city tucked into a delicious, bite-sized morsel next to the Pacific. Food, nature and shopping—plus that exchange rate—make this a great family escape.
Parks and Rec: Pack your shovels and sand toys because Kitsilano Beach has golden sand that's perfect for little diggers with views of the city and mountains. Vancouver’s newest urban playground is called “park of the future” and was designed with sustainability as a priority. Six thousand shrubs, perennials, climbers, and mature trees embrace the space.
Foodie Fun: Sign up for Rocky Mountain Flatbread Co.'s Sunday night pizza-making fun from 5-7 p.m. Sal Y Limon serves authentic Mexican street food fare, and has a kids play area complete with play kitchen and toys. For more games head to Bells & Whistles where they serve up a chill atmosphere and arcade games for all ages amusement.
Just For Kids: Psst parents, this one’s for you too! The Capilano Suspension Bridge Park is serenely beautiful and awe-inspiring. Adults will love the views and nature. Kids will be exhilarated by the swaying of the bridge. Check out Science World and the Kids Market at Granville Island for more kid-approved fun.
Learning Moments: Art inspires. Grab the group and take a self-guided art tour around Vancouver and discover BC’s diverse art scene. The tour takes folks through Stanley Park, around totem poles, the Vancouver Art Gallery, public art and more.
Cozy Time: Stay at the coveted Fairmont Waterfront, a luxury hotel with children-specific perks like kids’ robes, babysitting services (advanced notice is required) plus 5-year-olds and younger eat for free off the kids menu. Granville Island Hotel is conveniently located on Granville Island surrounded by parks, and the colorful Aquabus provides fun transfers to downtown, Stanley Park and Science World.
Flight Time: One hour from Seattle.
Drive Time: Just over two hours, depending on the border crossing wait times.