Just because you’re between vacations doesn’t mean you have to stay home. These nine fun excursions get the family out of the house for the day. Whether you have one or two hours or an entire 12 hours to drive, play and explore, you’ll find a great escape below.
Seattle to Whidbey Island Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Whidbey Island?
The Mukilteo ferry dock is about 35 miles north of Seattle, then there’s a half-hour sailing time to Clinton. Ferries run every half-hour on weekends and cost $24.85/RT for a family of four. Driving from Clinton to Fort Casey takes about 40 minutes.
Things to do with kids on Whidbey Island on a day trip?
- Hike the 30 miles of trails that weave through Deception Pass State Park.
- Play flashlight tag in the abandoned batteries at Fort Casey State Park.
- Watch for birds at Ebey’s Landing State Preserve.
- Learn colors among the rhodies at Meerkerk Rhodedendron Gardens.
- Enjoy a piece of pie at Greenbank Farm.
- Pick out the perfect puppet-and-book set at the super-cool Act II Books and Puppets.
- Watch a second-run movie at The Clyde.
- Eat at Prima Bistro, a French-inspired Northwest restaurant with a kids menu and crayons.
Seattle to Vashon Day Trip:
How long does it take to get to Vashon?
Take a ferry from West Seattle, then drive a few miles of two-lane country roads. Ferries leave about once an hour, and costs about $26/RT for a family of four in a car. Ferries run mostly once an hour, sometimes twice during peak hours, and sailing time is about 20 minutes.
Things to do with kids on Vashon Island on a day trip?
- Sip lattes and hot chocolates at Cafe Luna.
- Visit the wall of candy and pick out a new toy (for the kids or yourself) at The Little House.
- Pack your galoshes and tromp around a Vashon Island beach park.
- Pay your respects to the hard-working lighthouse at Point Robinson Park.
Seattle to Bainbridge Island Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Bainbridge Island?
A few miles to the downtown Seattle ferry dock. Ferries leave about once an hour, and a round-trip trip costs about $40 for a family of four in a car (with kids over age 6). Passenger-only (walk on) saves about $10 on that total, and most attractions are in the downtown Bainbridge core, which is more like a small town.
Things to do on a Bainbridge day trip with kids?
- Play in the tree house and drive the smart car at Kids Discovery Museum.
- Shop the stuffed animals at Calico Cat Toy Shoppe.
- Watch a movie at the Bainbridge Cinemas.
- Eat a burger in an authentic East Coast-style diner at The Madison Diner.
- Walk along the waterside and ID native plants along the Waterfront Trail.
- Eat challah french toast for brunch at Cafe Nola.
- If you have a car, admire and run through the gardens at the Bloedel Reserve.
Seattle to Bremerton and Poulsbo Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Bremerton and Poulsbo?
Ferry from downtown Seattle to Bremerton takes about an hour for the crossing time, then you’ll need to drive another 17 miles to Poulsbo. Ferries leave once an hour – every 90 mins, and costs about $40/RT for a family of four in a car. You can return via Bremerton or push on to Bainbridge Island and sail back to Seattle from Bainbridge.
Things to do on a Bremerton and Poulsbo day trip with kids?
- Tour the U.S.S. Turner Joy Warship’s sleeping quarters, mess halls and artillery.
- Learn to skate at Bremerton Ice Center.
- Touch a starfish at the Poulsbo Marine Science Center.
- Rent a dinghy from Northwest Boat Rentals.
- Go licorice shopping at Marina Grocery Store.
- Bite the head off of a maple-doughnut gingerbread boy bought at Sluys Bakery.
- Shop the tiny bookstore with a generous children’s area — Liberty Bay Bookstore.
Seattle to Bellingham Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Bellingham?
Bellingham is about 90 miles via I-5, or around 1 h 30 m.
Things to do with kids in Bellingham on a day trip?
- Watch a Tesla coil light up at the Spark Museum of Electrical Invention.
- Learn about the beauty of nature and science at Mindport.
- Sehome Hill Arboretum.
- Take your teen to a movie at the Pickford Center.
- Hike a trail at Larrabee State Park.
Seattle to LaConner Day Trip:
How long does it take to get to LaConner?
Laconner is about 70 miles along I-5, so around 1 h 20 m.
Things to do with kids in LaConner on a day trip?
- Have breakfast at Calico Cafe.
- Take pictures at the Skagit Tulip Festival .
- Buy a new furry friend at Bears ‘N Friends.
- Enjoy a new read-aloud book and a cup of hot chocolate at The Next Chapter.
- Take older kids to the low-key Museum of Northwest Art.
- Work your way through this list of 101+ things to do in La Conner.
Pierce County Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Pierce County?
About an hour south along I-5, then along Hwy 167.
Things to do on a Pierce County day trip with kids?
- View Northwest creatures up-close on the tram tour at Northwest Trek Wildlife Park.
- Step back in time and visit an 1887 homestead, store, school and jail (interestingly, the school and jail are the same building…) at Pioneer Farm Museum and Ohop Indian Village.
- Take little ones (toddlers and preschoolers) to Discovery Village, where you can sip a glass of wine as the kids dig through rocks, play on the giant tree or run a pizzeria.
Seattle to Tacoma Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Tacoma?
Tacoma is about 40 minutes south, along I-5.
Things to do with kids on a Tacoma day trip?
- Take your toddler to see the fantastic flying machine at the Children’s Museum of Tacoma.
- Dress up like pioneer at the Washington State History Museum.
- Watch glass blowers create art (and draw your own — it may be selected to be crafted into a real glass-art piece) at the Hot Shop in the Museum of Glass.
- Tumble through the giant playground at Point Defiance Zoo and count critters.
- Guard a 19th-century fort at Fort Nisqually’s Living History Museum.
Seattle to Olympia Day Trip
How long does it take to get to Olympia?
About an hour south, along I-5.