5 Family-friendly Seattle daytrips

Aug 1, 2011 at 3:04 a.m. ET

Seattle families, take notes! When you're itching to get out of the city for the day, these five day trips will be perfect for your family! We've included a variety of day trips from Seattle, including trips to the beach, cool playgrounds and children's museums, trips that are a few hours away, trips that are less than an hour away, and day trips that are only accessible via ferry.

Whidbey Island

Whidbey Island

It will take you about an hour to get to Whidbey Island, but it will only take seconds for your city-stress to melt away when you step off the ferry boat! To get to Whidbey Island, head north on I-5 from Seattle to the Mukilteo exit and follow the signs to the Mukilteo/Clinton Ferry — the ferry ride will take about 15 minutes and will take you to the bottom end of Whidbey.

Once you're on Whidbey Island, your options for exploring are endless! Here are our top suggestions for family fun on Whidbey Island.

  1. Explore Useless Bay, a fantastic beach for children of all ages where the tide goes out as far as the eye can see.
  2. Spend the day checking out the old barracks at Fort Casey.
  3. Browse around the quaint, family-friendly island towns of Langley and Coupeville.
  4. Go to the very north end of the island to Deception Pass.
  5. Stop by one of Whidbey's gorgeous lavender farms and bring home a bunch or two!

Mount Vernon

If you live in Western Washington, you probably know of Mount Vernon for its tulip festival every year, but there is more to this gorgeous valley town than just flowers! Getting to Mount Vernon is quick and easy — head northbound from Seattle on I-5 for about sixty-miles.

Don't miss these five fun activities for families when you're visiting Mount Vernon!

  1. For little ones, make a trip to the Children's Museum of Skagit County.
  2. Cool off at Kiwanis Spray Park — a local summertime favorite!
  3. Drive up to get a view of the city, do some hiking and watch the hang-gliders at Little Mountain.
  4. Visit the Padilla Bay National Estuarine Research Reserve, which is home to miles of mud flats and cool animals when the tide goes out.
  5. Walk around the waterfront town of La Conner, just 10 minutes east of Mount Vernon.

Suncadia Resort

Heading east of the mountains to Suncadia Resort is a family-favorite day trip any time of year — even in the coldest months! If your family is up for a day trip centered around outdoor adventures, then Suncadia is the place for you. From Seattle, drive east on I-90 to Cle Elum, just on the other side of the pass. Take exit 80 and follow the signs — it will take you about 90 minutes from Seattle, pending road conditions.

For family-friendly fun at Suncadia Resort, check out some of our favorite activities!

  1. Bring bikes, scooters or strollers for riding the miles of nicely-paved paths. Bikes can also be rented.
  2. If you're visiting during the winter, go on a dogsled ride over the golf course!
  3. Stop by the quaint little town of Roslyn for shopping and lunch.
  4. Rent a canoe, kayak or paddle boat to explore the lake.
  5. Stay for their Summer Concert Series to listen to some music under the stars before heading back to Seattle.

Bainbridge Island

Looking to get out of the city for the day, but don't want to spend a lot of time on the road? Head to the downtown Seattle waterfront and jump on the ferry to Bainbridge Island! In fact, you don't even have to bring your car — leave it behind on the Seattle side and just walk on the ferry — you can explore Bainbridge completely by foot (or by stroller, if you're a little one). Visit the Seattle Ferry Terminal website for detailed information about when ferries are leaving Seattle for Bainbridge.

Once you're on Bainbridge Island, make these five family-friendly activities a priority!

  1. Visit the Kids Discovery Museum or KiDiMu, as it's known to locals!
  2. Explore the fun shops in downtown Winslow, the name of the little town where you step off the ferry.
  3. Rent bicycles from Bike Barn Rentals, right next to the ferry terminal, and discover Bainbridge by bike.
  4. Check out the huge fort-like playground at Battle Point Park.
  5. Leave your mark on Bainbridge at Frog Rock (don't forget some paint!).

Redondo Beach

It's likely that you've heard about the city of Des Moines, south of Seattle, but have you heard about the gem of an area in Des Moines named Redondo Beach? This little piece of Washington beachfront is perfect for a day trip from Seattle, especially if you have little ones who need to get back home for an afternoon nap! It will only take you about 30 minutes from Seattle to get to Redondo Beach — take I-5 southbound to exit 147 and head west. Follow the road for few miles, which will wind you down to the beach.

Here are five things we suggest you squeeze in to a day-trip to Redondo Beach:

  1. If you're at Redondo on a Saturday, visit the Marine Science and Technology Center, which is a fun aquarium with cool touch tanks!
  2. Have lunch on the deck at Salty's or pick up lunch to eat outside at their walk-up fish bar.
  3. Watch the scuba divers head in and out of the water.
  4. Rent or bring your own fishing pole and try to catch the big one off the end of the Redondo fishing pier.
  5. Run around at the playground and grassy area across the street.

Other ways to explore the Seattle area

Families love the Magnolia Neighborhood
Spend the day in Bellingham
CityGuide: Family Activities in Seattle, Washington