Washington State offers some of the most diverse and lush landscapes for its residents to enjoy. From beaches to volcanic monuments and old-growth forests to pristine lakes, there is an abundance of choice when it comes to where to take a day trip from Seattle in our state. While the list of different places to visit is long, there are five that should be at the top of anyone’s list. All five of these places do not disappoint, especially for the outdoor nature lover.
Mt. Rainier National Park
39000 State Route 706 E.
Ashford, WA 98304
(360) 569-2211

Mt. Rainier is a wonderful place to spend the day, especially for those that love to spend time in nature. Many people plan visits during the wildflower blooming season, which tends to occur in mid-summer around July and August. However, visiting the park at any time of year will yield fulfillment for those looking to immerse themselves in nature. The park includes several campgrounds, picnic areas, museums, and wilderness and climbing information centers. There are actually several different entrances to Mt. Rainier National Park with the Nisqually Entrance being the main route; however, other entrances can be found here and it’s important for visitors to check the road closure and alerts on the park’s website before planning a trip.

Ocean City State Park 
148 SR 115
Hoquiam, WA 98550
(360) 289-3553

For those that absolutely love the beach, visiting the area of Ocean Shores is a must. Ocean City State Park is just one of many locales where visitors can enjoy beautiful beach views and wildlife. There are also other activities like clamming, beach combing, freshwater fishing, picnicking, camping, and diving. This 170-acre park is open year round and although a Discover Pass is usually required to enter, June 4 and Jun 11 have been deemed Discover Pass Free Days.

Related:  Best Bodies Of Water To Visit Near Seattle

Photo Credit: Megan B. March

Johnston Ridge Observatory
24000 Spirit Lake Highway
Toutle, WA 98649
(360) 274-2140

If you’re into volcanoes, consider taking the day to visit the Johnston Ridge Observatory on Mt. St. Helens. The observatory is open mid-May through November 1 from 10a.m. to 6p.m. and costs $8 a person per day unless you have a local or recreational pass. Visitors have a unique opportunity to learn about the history of the mountain through interpretive displays, films, and ranger talks. There is also a short trail offering an amazing view of the caldera and is a great vantage point for pictures of the mountain; you may even catch some steam billowing up as this volcano is very active.

Lake Chelan State Park
7544 S. Lakeshore Rd.
Chelan, WA 98816
(509) 687-3710

Lake Chelan is a popular summer destination for Seattleites. Open during the summer from 6:30 a.m. to 10 p.m., this park boasts 127 acres of forest and shore access to the lake. Lake Chelan is a wonderful place to enjoy hiking, picnicking, camping, exploring the beach, boating activities, fishing, water skiing, paddle boarding, and swimming. Because this venue is so popular and day-use facilities are on a first-come, first serve basis, visitors should plan to arrive early and carpooling is a must since the parking area is small and quickly fills up on weekends. A Discover Pass is required; however, June 4 and June 11 are listed as Discover Pass Free Days.

Crystal Mountain 
33914 Crystal Mountain Blvd.
Crystal Mountain, WA 98022
(360) 663-2265

Most of us think of winter sports like skiing and snowboarding when we think of Crystal Mountain, however, there is just as much, if not more, to do during the summer season at Crystal. Hiking, riding horses on trails, playing disc golf, or enjoying mountain yoga are just a few of the summer activities the mountain offers. Crystal Mountain also boasts a gondola, which travels over 2,000 feet to the summit where you’ll find gorgeous views of the Cascade Mountain Range and Mt. Rainier. Be sure to bring your camera as well as your appetite because after you take some memorable pictures and before you ride the gondola back down to the base of the mountain, you’ll want to stop in at the Summit House for a great meal.

Related:  Best Summer Vacation Destinations

Megan B. March lives in Tacoma, Washington with her husband and daughter and is a published author of adult fiction. She also writes articles about career management in Tacoma for Examiner.com. Prior to changing careers