Quick getaways from Seattle to experience the natural beauty of the Pacific Northwest is as easy as going north to the San Juan Islands, south to Mount Rainier National Park, or east to Snoqualmie Falls. Each site offers its own uniqueness to the Seattle experience.
San Juan Islands
|Photo by Margret Maria Cordts|
One of my favorite activities is whale watching. My family went last summer on a whale watching tour from Orcas Island, and witnessed a "super pod" of whales, which is essentially a big block party of several residential pods of orca whales. It was the most exciting viewing of wildlife I have ever experienced. Not only did we see a lot of orca whales, but, we also saw seals and eagles. We went on a smaller boat on Outer Island Expedition, which allowed us to be nimble and get to the action faster.
Mount Rainier National Park
One of my favorite destinations is a two and a half hour drive from Seattle to Mt. Rainier. This permanent feature of Seattle is beautiful from downtown and its suburbs. But, up close, it is truly magnificent.
The ideal time to visit is during the summer months when the wild flowers are in bloom. One popular and fairly easy hike is Alta Vista Loop Trail where you can see a spectacular showcase of Nature's bouquet of flowers. If you prefer, a more challenging hike, I went on wonderful hike with family last summer on the Skyline Trail Loop Trail. We crossed creeks, played on the snow and saw beautiful waterfalls in shorts and t-shirts.
There is a trail that takes you to the base of the falls. I've been to the Falls at all seasons, and it is a lovely sight for vacationers who want to see the greenery and for the fresh air.
Washington State Ferries System
Paradise Area Hiking
Alta Vista Loop Trail
Skyline Trail Loop Trail