Seattle has Pike Place Market, the Space Needle and so many fun things to do. What you may not know is that the Northwest is also packed full of great escapes just a few hours from the city. Where else in the US can you be in another country, skiing in the mountains and sipping wine with your girlfriends on a vineyard in under two hours? Here are a few must-see trips for quick Northwest getaways just a short jaunt from Seattle.
The SAN JUAN ISLANDS. From Lopez to Orcas to San Juan Island, each island in the San Juan Islands has it’s own unique personality. Hop a ferry from Seattle to explore the diverse beauty of Puget Sound’s islands:
San Juan Island is the largest island with great shopping, and fun accommodations. Try Lakedale Resort for a cozy lodge escape in the winter months and “Glamping” or luxe tent camping during the summer months.
Orcas Island: Take a hike up Mt. Constitution for extraordinary views of the Puget Sound and San Juan Islands
Lopez Island: if you are looking to slow it down, try the laid-back pace of Lopez, cozy up with a book, unplug and take in the beautiful views of the Puget Sound.
VICTORIA, BRITISH COLUMBIA: Just a short 2+ hour ferry ride aboard the Victoria Clipper, you will be transported to another world and the beautiful country of Canada. Victoria BC is an exceptional friendly and walkable city.
PORTLAND, OREGON: Portland is my home town and has become a really hip little city. It’s also becoming a destinations for foodies with great restaurants, independent coffee shops and unique hole-in-the-wall experiences you won’t find anywhere else. Here are a few must-dos in Portland:
Grab a doughnut at VooDoo Donuts – most mornings, you will see a line around the block for these delicious treats.
Explore The Pearl and get lost in Powell’s City of Books
Support the local artisians of Portland and explore Saturday Market and Last Thursday street fair – the next one is coming up on October 27.
Stay at the Nines Hotel – you will love this beautiful, posh hotel’s turquoise décor and central location to tax-free shopping downtown Portland
Dinner at Andina – you will savor the fun and flavor of this Peruvian food restaurant in the heart of the Pearl district
For more great ideas of places to explore, visit Travel Portland.
NORTHWEST WINE COUNTRY: Did you know that the Northwest produces some of our country’s best wines? In Washington alone, there are 700+ wineries and is the second largest producer of premium wines behind California. Oregon’s Willamette Valley is also renowned for it’s extraordinary Pinot Noir.
Visit Washington Wine Country. There are countless wine regions in Washington to explore. Some of my favorites are:
Woodinville Wine Country: The most accessible wine region from Seattle, just 40 minutes north of Seattle, Woodinville has amazing wines and one of my favorite weekend retreats. Stay at Willows Lodge and dine at the Barking Frog restaurant for an unforgettable weekend that will make you feel a million miles from home.
Walla Walla Wine Country: Just four hours away from Seattle, is Walla Walla wine country has great food, luxe retreats and delicious wine. Walla Walla is beautiful, with amber waves of wheat fields contrasted with lush vineyards. Take an unforgettable wine tour with IMBIBE wine tours in a vintage checker cab limo. Stay at the Inn at Abeja for an extraordinary experiences. On your way to this amazing wine region, don’t forget to stop off in Prosser and Yakima for other amazing wine experiences.
Visit Willamette Valley. Fall is an exceptional time to visit Willamette Valley, where the hillsides are on fire with bright orange and yellow foliage. Take a horse ride through the vineyards, pack a Perfect Picnic and Stay at the luxe retreat, The Allison Inn and Spa. Check out our tips for a Willamette Valley weekend.
MOUNT RAINIER: We take it for granted that this majestic mountain is in our skyline every day. Mt. Rainier has endless activities for the outdoor enthusiast year round.
During the winter you can ski, snowboard and snowshoe at Crystal Mountain Resort.
Take the Gondola to Washington’s highest restaurant, at nearly 7,000 feet, the Summit Restaurant has spectacular views and fine dining for lunch and dinner.
No matter what you choose, there is so much to see and do around Seattle and a quick escape is never far away!
A big thank you to all of the great organizations that helped to gather content and images for The Today Show travel segment. Images courtesy of San Juan Island Visitor Bureau, Lakedale Resort, VIctoria and BC Tourism, Visit Portland, Washington Wine Commission, Allison Inn, Willamette Valley Wines and Visit Rainier.