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Day Trip from Seattle -- Olympic Peninsula, Rainier, Bainbridge, Cascades?

Day Trip from Seattle -- Olympic Peninsula, Rainier, Bainbridge, Cascades?

Old Jul 11th, 2012, 06:52 PM
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Day Trip from Seattle -- Olympic Peninsula, Rainier, Bainbridge, Cascades?

We are planning a Seattle visit and have time to take one full day trip outside the city. (We have hotel reservations in the city so can't stay anywhere overnight.). We have a young child who loves wildlife and we enjoying hikes -- of relatively short duration. Don't mind traveling 2 hours or so. Is the Olympic Peninsula doable for a day....or would we not get far enough? Trying to figure out if a trip out there.....or to Rainier.....is too ambitious. Please share any thoughts that might help. Thanks.
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Old Jul 11th, 2012, 07:24 PM
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When?
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Old Jul 11th, 2012, 08:58 PM
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Mt Rainier is the most popular day trip from Seattle. It is beautiful, and it offers many opportunities for hiking, exploring waterfalls, etc.

If you want to do the Olympic Peninsula in one day, I suggest you do a loop. Take the ferry from Edmonds to Kingston. Your drive will take you through Port Gamble (one of our most charming little towns). From Port Angeles, drive to Hurricane Ridge for great views and a hike. Then drive at least as far as the Storm King Ranger Station on the south shore of Lake Crescent. From here, take the 1.5 mile hike to Marymere Falls through forests dripping in moss from 120-150 inches of annual rainfall. Return to Seattle on the Bainbridge ferry, which will give you great views of the mountains and the Seattle skyline. It would be a long day, but a memorable one.

HTTY

PS We have an excellent zoo, five miles north of downtown: http://www.zoo.org
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 09:39 AM
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I'd pick Mt Rainier. The Olympic Peninsula is a little far for a day trip although certainly you could drive out to just one of the towns. The Cascades is my favorite direction (m ost dramatic) heading out of Seattle but it takes about 4 hrs to get over to the Winthrop/Mazama/Methow River area so not really a day trip. Bainbridge is a fun ferry ride, but I don't consider it all that special on the other side.

Another 'within 2 hours' suggestion you haven't mentioned is Whidbey Island.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 12:22 PM
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From actual Seattle to the Olympic Peninsula, with a child, for a day trip? My recommendation: don't do it.

If you have more time in the future, I would say go for it, but with the drive from Seattle (or even if you take a ferry), you'll likely spend most of your day in the car, and I can imagine you won't feel very satisfied with that, especially when you see how beautiful it is out there, and how many things there are to see and enjoy.

Daytrip from Seattle to a nice nature spot? There's lots of "outdoorsy" places nearby that aren't too far out there: Snoqualmie Falls (to the east on I-90), San Juan Islands (take a ferry or plane), Alki Beach (a quick drive), Point Defiance (with Zoo, Aquarium, and very extensive wooded trails, beach access, etc), or perhaps Mount Rainier (though this wouldn't be my choice for the type of trip you are looking for).

Hope this helps!
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 12:29 PM
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Another close, but cute spot to visit might be Fall City. You could go there, and Snoqualmie, same trip.
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 12:32 PM
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Oops, one more suggestion, very close, yet feels away from everything, Discovery Park.

Hope this helps!
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 07:03 PM
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If you have more time in the future, I would say go for it, but with the drive from Seattle (or even if you take a ferry), you'll likely spend most of your day in the car, and I can imagine you won't feel very satisfied with that, especially when you see how beautiful it is out there, and how many things there are to see and enjoy.

Born in Seattle, I have visited Mt Rainier and the Olympic Peninsula many times, including within the past month. Both trips require about the same amount of driving, but Mt Rainier doesn't include the two beautiful ferry rides I mentioned above. Usually I don't visit either place as a day trip, but if day-tripping is your only option and you are eager to see both places, please don't skip one because it requires more driving--it doesn't (unless you use a route other than one that has been suggested).

HTTY

PS While at Mt Rainier, take the one-way road out of the Paradise parking lot and drive at least as far as Box Canyon. It's a beautiful drive with great views of the Cascade Mountains
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Old Jul 12th, 2012, 07:44 PM
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Thehe choice is driving plus ferry time ( and expense) to the Olympic Peninsula, or just driving, to Mt. Rainier. I have reached there ( Mt. rainier) in 90 minutes from my house, but on occasion when the traffic is bad it has taken twice that. Mt. rainier offers fantastic hiking of any length, and also the possibility of seeing wildlife ( not guaranteed). On recent hikes there we have seen deer, marmots, fox. And people on the shuttle saw a mama bear with cubs but we did not.

Bainbridge is an easy and fun day trip; there are some pleasant walks but no wildlife apart from the locals ( I lived there for many years so I can say that). Getting to anyplace with hiking from Bainbridge would involve another dive of 90minutes or more. Mt. Walker is nice, but there are other options. I have never seen any wildlife there.

Another possibility for a nice day trip is Port Townsend. This is a little over an hour from the Bainbridge ferry. A nice little Victorian town with a large waterfront park for walking ( Fort Worden) and bunkers to explore. My kids loved this place when they were little. There is also a sea life museum with a touch pool, and a decent sandy beach for building sand castles and wading in the water.

You " could" go as far as Hurricane Ridge but that would make for a very long day.
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