Whether you’re just visiting the Evergreen State, you’re a Washington resident, or you’re a born and bred Seattleite, taking a road trip around this beautiful, Pacific Northwest state should be top of your bucket list. But with everything from rainforests and islands to fjords and glaciers, you may need to settle on just one road trip itinerary for now. This list of the most scenic road trips in Washington State will give you plenty of inspiration.
For coastlines and islands: Seattle to the San Juan Islands
Sure, you can hop on a ferry from Seattle to the San Juan Islands archipelago, but why not turn it into a road trip? Seattle natives who don’t drive much and perhaps have pay-per-mile car insurance won’t be too put out by this 100-mile road trip. And the coastal scenery is well worth it!
Start off in the lively city of Seattle, with tourist spots including the Space Needle and the Museum of Pop Culture. Then you’re heading north. Great road trip stops along the way include Chateau Ste. Michelle Winery, Mukilteo and Whidbey Island, Coupeville, Deception Pass State Park, and the coastal town of Anacortes.
Once you reach Anacortes, you’ll be hopping on the ferry to the San Juan Islands. Here you can enjoy kayaking, great seafood, marinas, and stunning sunsets.
For scenic mountains and lakes: The Cascade Loop
This iconic road trip also starts in Seattle – and it ends there too. This 440-mile road trip could be done in two or three days, but give yourself five to seven days so you can fully appreciate the scenery and activities found around the Cascade Loop.
From Seattle, head to Leavenworth – an adorable town known for its festivals, beautiful streets, and Oktoberfest celebrations. Next, drive into Washington wine country by heading to Lake Chelan. Next, take the Methow Valley through the Cascades and enjoy the scenery. From there you can loop back around through Skagit Valley and stop at Whidbey Island on your way back to Seattle.
For hiking and camping: Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway
West Washington and the Cascades get all the love, but the Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway is the jewel of East Washington – though we’d recommend going in spring or fall to avoid the heat.
Starting in Othello and driving up to Omak, this road trip is dotted with national parks, lakes, and mountains that are perfect for hikers and campers. These include the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, Potholes State Park, Steamboat Rock State Park, the Okanogan National Forest, and Northrup Canyon.
On your way to Omak, be sure to stop at Dry Falls, Banks Lake, Grand Coulee Dam, and the Coleville Confederated Tribes Museum. Omak has plenty of fun attractions to end your trip with too. Go check out the famous balancing Omak Rock, attend a rodeo show, play some ski bowl, and enjoy a drink at Rockwall Cellars or Shorthorn Tavern.
Washington State offers plenty of scenic road trips for everyone. Whether you’re a Washingtonian looking forward to a summer in your home state or you’re planning a trip to this beautiful state, these road trips are great for friends and families alike.