Every time I look at a map showing the upper ‘left’ corner of the United States at its furthest northwest point I think of a trip I took to Neah Bay. This tiny town is about 120 miles from Seattle, Washington. Any visitors to the Seattle area should include it in their itinerary if at all possible. This is a unique place, especially for eco-tourists, located along the Strait of Juan de Fuca on the Makah Indian Reservation. I had the life-changing experience of being in a tiny two-person fishing boat when a giant orca whale surfaced near enough for me to touch it on its head as it looked right at me.Whether taking the ¾ mile hike above Cape Flattery or exploring the Olympic Rain Forest, Neah Bay is a top site for a day trip from Seattle. The Olympic Rain Forest is a national park so a pass is required.
Kids and grown-ups alike enjoy a boat ride. With that in mind, a passenger ferry trip to Vancouver Island combines the high seas with a visit to a foreign country ( Canada ). There are two distinct day trips on the island and, of course, staying in the Victoria area is another option. Driving toward the left side of the island is spectacular. Port Alberni is noted for a huge salmon fishing derby where we were royally skunked. At the end of the road on this side of Vancouver Island the little town of Tofino is set ubruptly on the edge of the coast. The traveler truly feels like he has arrived at the edge of civilization. Then, on the other side of the island the road winds up towards beautiful Campbell River and Port McNeil where I’ve also fished for salmon and crabbed. For a fisherman, Vancouver Island provides a glimpse during a day trip of a possible destination in the future.
Staying in Victoria itself is a wonderful day trip. There are walking tours and the renowned Butchart Gardens are nearby. I am including a link for the garden tour rates as they vary according to season and visitor age. My personal favorites in the city of Victoria are a sushi bar right where the ferries dock and the Maritime Museum which is the most wonderful museum for adults and children alike. Somehow the exhibits are coordinated so that sights, sounds, and smells are all woven together to make the displays nearly come alive.
Fares on the passenger ferries vary greatly depending on whether you are driving your own car, traveling without a car, your age and what season it is. Children under twelve ride for free and there are discounts for seniors. I have included a link to the 2011 schedule. For the information just click on the word ferry. A passport is required for the ferry ride into Canada and back.
Two more spots close to Seattle are LaConnor and the Peace Gardens. LaConnor is a quaint historic maritime town famous for growing flowers. Tulips, daffodils, irises and dozens of other varieties of flowers can be seen growing in massive fields everywhere. It is only an hour from Seattle and is spectacular to visit, especially during the spring bloom months.
The International Peace Gardens located at Blaine which is near the city of Vancouver are well worth visiting. They are under two hours outside of Seattle . The gardens and a short trip to Vancouver would make a fine day trip, or travelers could catch the ferry at Blaine to Vancouver island .
Bellingham is another day trip option for art lovers. This beautiful city is noted for all types of artwork especially scrimshaw. Many other short trips out of Seattle are easy to find. The difficulty is deciding which one to do.