The list of Seattle attractions is seemingly endless. The city itself is packed with fabulous restaurants, great art, markets, shopping and natural beauty -- but the surrounding mountains and farmland mean there's also spectacular hiking, skiing, wine tasting and more beyond the city limits. The next time you're ready to enjoy a long weekend, venture out beyond Seattle proper and try one of these spots:
- Bainbridge Island: Seattleites are lucky to have so many nearby islands easily accessible by ferry. The 35-minute trip to Bainbridge Island makes it one of the quickest day trips in the Seattle area. From the ferry depot, you can walk to the island's quaint Main Street, where you can stop for lunch and browse the boutiques. Down by the docks, take some time to walk along wooden foot bridges and spy massive orange and purple starfish and sea anemones in the water below. Grab a map from the tourism office and choose from a number of beaches and lookout points to visit. On Saturdays, the island's farmers market is full of beautiful, locally-grown produce, artisan foods and crafts, flowers and live music.
- Rattlesnake Mountain: A 40-minute drive east from the city and toward the Cascade Mountains lands you at Rattlesnake Mountain, where you can opt for a great four-mile (round-trip) hike up to the 1000-foot ridge for views of the forested valley. Afterwards, cool off in mountain-fed Rattlesnake Lake and bring along a picnic lunch to enjoy by the water.
- Leavenworth: It's no wonder that someone thought to create a mock Bavarian village in Leavenworth -- the beautiful greenery in the heart of the Cascade Mountains looks like it could be in the Alps. On the 2.25-hour drive to Leavenworth from Seattle along U.S Highway 2, you'll wind your way through picturesque woods, and when you arrive you'll enter a replica of a German town complete with bier halls and restaurants serving bratwursts and other German fare. Don't miss the amazing collection of nutcrackers at the Nutcracker Museum. The area also offers plenty of activities for the outdoorsmen too: hiking, river rafting, paddle boarding and golf.
For tips on how to get your family and car ready before you head out on the road, read our road trip safety checklist.
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