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Washington Cascade Mountains and Valleys Travel Guide

Traveling from Seattle

Traveling from Seattle

Tacoma, Bremerton, and Everett are good choices for day trips. Tacoma is only 30–40 minutes by car or train from Seattle; Bremerton and Everett are also easy to reach in under an hour, plus their major attractions (exhibits on naval and flight history, respectively) are of the type that don't require overnights. Just don't get stuck driving the I–5 corridor during weekday rush hours or on Sunday night in summer—the chaotic and heavy traffic will sour any outing.

Snoqualmie is also easily visited in a day, as it's close to Seattle, but because it's a popular base for outdoor recreation, many visitors overnight here.

Olympia is far enough from Seattle—technically it's only about 60 miles, but you almost always hit traffic, so expect a solid 1½ hours in the car—that it's often better for an overnight visit or as a stop on the way to the southern part of the Olympic Peninsula (Ocean Shores or Moclips, for example). You can pick up U.S. 101 on the outskirts of the city. Olympia is also a good leg-stretch between Seattle and Portland and can be part of an itinerary to Mount Rainier National Park or Mount St. Helens National Monument—it's a good idea to spend the night near these parks if planning a visit, as they're a good drive from Seattle, and you'll want to get an early start if planning a hike or driving along these winding, narrow forest roads.

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