The Best Five Seattle Day Trips According to a Local

The Emerald City is an exciting place but the rest of the region deserves attention too.

This may sound like somebody speaking about the Wizard of Oz but the Emerald City is the nickname for Seattle. When visiting the Seattle area it’s important to get out of the city and see what the rest of Washington State has to offer. Here are some of the favorite places of somebody who grew up in the area.

Mt. Rainer National Park

She proudly stands at 14,410 feet and can be seen from your hotel room in Seattle. With such a beautiful location so close, Mt. Rainer National Park is a logical place to visit during your stay in Seattle. As a child my family went to Mt. Rainer at least once a month to get away from the hustle and bustle of city life. At 235,625 acres there was always a new road for us to explore. If you want to see why Washington is called the Evergreen State then Mt. Rainer is a must. For those who get hungry food is available at all visitor centers.

Directions: See here.
Hours: 365 days a year. Visitor Center hours are based on season. See here for more details.
Cost: $15 per carload. $5 per motorcycle, horse, hiker (on foot)-Passes are valid for one week. $30 annual pass is also available.


Welcome to Bavaria….wait…something doesn’t seem right here. You’ve just entered Leavenworth, a town that decided to create a Bavarian theme in the 1960s to keep the city alive. Although it’s a self proclaimed tourist trap I’ve found Leavenworth to be surprisingly charming as a Washingtonian. There are hundreds of shops and restaurants that serve German food. My personal favorite dish was the turkey schnitzel at Baren Haus. Additionally there is a very strong arts movement in Leavenworth that throws various festivals and classes year round.

Directions: See here.
Hours: Year-round. Varies on business.
Cost: Varies on business.

Peace Arch International Park

Recognizing the relationship between the United States and Canada is Peace Arch International Park. This park was established in 1921 and is unique in that it is currently the only park that is jointly controlled by two sovereign nations in the name of peaceful relationships. As a child I went to the park at least once a year for an event called Hands Across the Border which had American Scouts meet with Canadian Scouts in an effort to meet with each other and share our badges. Visitors are not required to hold visas to visit the park and may visit the Canadian half of the park as long as they don’t go past the boundary lines of the park without proper documentation.

Directions: See here.
Hours: 8 AM to Dusk
Cost: Free.

Aplets and Cotlets Factory

Washington has always had an affinity with apples. Somebody came up with the amazing idea to mix apples with apricots to make a delicious snack known as Aplets and Cotlets. Located in Cashmere; the factory is only a couple of hours away from Seattle. My family loves Aplets and Cotlets and makes a pilgrimage to the factory at least once a year. At the factory you can watch the workers make the candies and try some samples. It’s a very sweet deal for anyone who decides to go there.

Directions: See here.
Hours: April through December: Mon-Fri: 8am-5:30pm. Sat-Sun: 10am-4pm.
January through March: Mon-Fri: 8:30am to 4:30pm. Sat-Sun: Closed.
Cost: Free (samples included)

Puyallup Fair

My all time favorite place to visit. The Puyallup Fair is the 3rd large fair in the United States. It also takes place in my hometown every Septenver. Venders from all over the state come to the Fair to show their ware. There are performers abound. The barns are full of animals waiting for people to say hello. And don’t forget all the rides. We have a saying in my town: “You aren’t from here if you don’t know the lyrics to the theme song.”

Hours: Sun – Thurs: 10 am – 10 pm
Fri & Sat: 10 am – 11 pm
Costs: Adults: $11
Students (6-18): $9
Seniors (62+): $9
Five & under: Always FREE