It’s hard not to fall in love with Washington, with its stunning mix of mountains, alpine lakes, world-class wines, big-city culture, and quaint agricultural towns. Whether you’re visiting for the first time or you’re a local, you’re spoiled for choice if you’re looking for romantic day trip getaways in Washington State.
Do note that my recommendations are tailored for day trips. This means I’m assuming that you already have a place to stay, so I didn’t include overnight escapades or activities that would strictly require you to book lodging.
Here’s my curated array of romantic getaways, from oceanfront escapes to city adventures and cultural excursions.
Long Beach Peninsula
Long Beach Peninsula is situated in the southwestern corner of Washington State. It’s a scenic coastal gem that offers the perfect setting for a romantic day trip, and the good news is it’s a smidge over a 3 hour drive from Seattle. If you’re up for a long day trip from Seattle, I always recommend this tranquil peninsula, as it provides a peaceful escape.
For the ultimate romantic experience, start your day early by strolling along the pristine beaches before the crowds arrive. Enjoy the serenity of the coast and take the most beautiful sunrise photos if you arrive early enough. Don’t forget to pack a picnic basket filled with your favorite treats and savor a seaside meal! The two of you can enjoy the stunning ocean views.
Afterward, make your way to the iconic Cape Disappointment Lighthouse, a picturesque backdrop for romantic photos. It’s one of the most romantic spots in Long Beach, so it’s not uncommon for couples to plan proposals here.
For a unique adventure, consider a horseback ride along the shoreline. Long Beach Family Horses offers both one-hour and two-hour rides, allowing you to experience the coastline in a memorable way.
As the day comes to a close, head to the Long Beach Boardwalk, a local favorite that provides the perfect vantage point to watch the sunset over the Pacific Ocean.
Kalaloch Beach, located on Washington State’s stunning Olympic Peninsula, is a natural wonder that beckons couples to explore its rugged beauty and coastal charm. The journey from Seattle to Kalaloch takes approximately 3.5 hours, making it a popular choice for a weekend getaway. However, if you’re staying in a nearby place like Forks, the travel time is shorter, allowing you to enjoy it as a rewarding day trip.
Begin your day at Kalaloch with an early morning walk along the shoreline. There, you can spend the morning combing the beach for unique seashells and treasures carried in by the tides. One of the beach’s remarkable attractions is the Tree of Life, also known as the Tree Root Cave, with its gravity-defying roots forming a captivating natural sculpture. It’s a must-see for photographers and a memorable experience for couples.
While Kalaloch makes for an excellent day trip, you might consider extending your visit with an overnight stay at the Kalaloch Lodge. One of the best things about this lodge is that every room features a private patio or balcony, providing breathtaking views of the Pacific Ocean. Whether for a day or a longer escape, Kalaloch Beach promises a romantic and awe-inspiring coastal adventure.
Nestled just 1.5 to 2 hours away from Seattle, Bellingham beckons as the perfect destination for your day excursion. This Washington gem is celebrated for its bountiful outdoor offerings, creating an ideal playground for adventurous couples.
Boulevard Park is the perfect first stop when you arrive at Bellingham. It’s an enchanting waterfront oasis that unveils the captivating vistas of Bellingham Bay. Then, you can savor brunch at the Birch Door Cafe while soaking in the tranquil scenes.
Craving the fresh catch of the day? Seafood enthusiasts won’t want to miss Taylor Shellfish Farms, a short drive from Boulevard Park. Share a delectable platter of fresh oysters, clams, or mussels paired with a bottle of local Washington wine.
In the afternoon, retreat to the Fairhaven Historic District, where charming boutiques, art galleries, and inviting cafes await your exploration. Share an ice cream cone or savor a cup of artisanal coffee, whichever you prefer.
If you’re keen to extend your stay, I recommend the luxurious waterfront homes in downtown Bellingham, available for booking on Airbnb. These accommodations offer the perfect blend of comfort and proximity to the city’s vibrant waterfront.
San Juan Island
San Juan Island, a hidden gem in the Pacific Northwest, is one of my absolute favorite destinations for a romantic day trip. Located just a scenic ferry ride away from Seattle, this island paradise is the perfect place for couples seeking a perfect getaway.
The journey to San Juan Island from Seattle is an adventure in itself, with the ferry ride providing mesmerizing views of the surrounding islands and crystal-clear waters.
The boat will dock in Friday Harbor, the island’s major commercial center. Once there, take time to soak in the inviting atmosphere. Stroll hand in hand along the picturesque waterfront, relishing the sight of boats gently bobbing in the harbor. You can even pause for a delightful lunch at one of the waterfront eateries.
If you have extra time, a visit to the Pelindaba Lavender Farm is a must. Wander through fields of fragrant lavender, where the vibrant colors create a perfect backdrop for a romantic photoshoot. Lavender blooms in early summer, so time your trip for June or July for the best blooms.
As the day winds down, make your way to Lime Kiln Point State Park, known as the “Whale Watch Park.” Here, you’ll witness a breathtaking sunset over the Pacific Northwest waters, with the chance to spot passing orcas—a truly magical experience. If you have the time, Friday Harbor is the perfect departure point for a whale watching tour – the San Juans are one of the best places for whale watching in Washington.
A day trip to Orcas Island is ideal for those who want to escape the city and experience a romantic day. It’s a pristine haven just a ferry ride away from Seattle. The journey begins with a scenic ferry ride from Anacortes, taking around 1.5 to 2 hours. As you approach Orcas Island, its breathtaking natural beauty welcomes you. And if you’re lucky, you’ll spot a pod of killer whales swimming alongside your boat.
The island is famous for its exceptional whale watching opportunities. Whether you book a whale-watching tour or keep an eye out from the shore, Orcas Island is one of the prime locations for observing magnificent killer whales and playful sea lions. Witnessing these marine marvels together creates unforgettable memories.
After your wildlife adventure, head to the Madrona Bar & Grill for lunch. This waterfront restaurant features decks overlooking the harbor, providing a picturesque backdrop for your meal. Enjoy grilled sandwiches and delectable BBQ ribs while taking in the tranquil waterfront setting.
If you have more time, visit Orcas Island Golf Course for some friendly competition and outdoor fun. Challenge each other to a game amid lush fairways, surrounded by nature’s beauty.
Mountain Hiking and Nature Retreats
Visit Snoqualmie and Snoqualmie Falls
Snoqualmie Falls, a natural wonder nestled in Washington State, offers the perfect escape for couples seeking an easy romantic retreat from Seattle.
Begin your visit with a leisurely stroll to the falls. The upper falls are more crowded than the lower viewpoints, but with more amenities. The hike that connects the two is worth doing and is a great way to get your heart rate up and get ready for a tasty lunch. Whether you stay at the upper falls or take in the lower falls as well, you’ll be treated to a 268-foot cascade of pristine water, towering pines, and water tumbling over enormous boulders.
If you’d like, pack a picnic lunch and enjoy at either the upper or lower picnic areas, but I recommend saving your appetite for the next part of your day.
Next up, your day trip takes you on a visit to downtown Snoqualmie, just a few minutes from the falls. Its quaint old-town downtown has adorable shops like Carousel and Snoqualmie Trading Company and good restaurants like Caadxi Mexican restaurant, the historical Snoqualmie Ice Cream parlor, or Snoqualmie Falls Brewery, which comes with a side of tranquil Snoqualmie River views.
After strolling through downtown, end your day at Snoqualmie Casino, where the steakhouse Vista Prime punches above its weight and provides an upscale, romantic date atmosphere with lovely views on a clear day. Then, try your hand at some slots or table games or take in one of the many live entertainment shows that visit the casino (mostly in summer).
If you wish to extend your romantic getaway, stay overnight at the Salish Lodge & Spa right on the edge of Snoqualmie Falls and don’t miss the renowned spa. This luxurious retreat offers contemporary amenities and a mesmerizing river view. It’s the perfect setting for couples seeking a tranquil and romantic escape amid the allure of Snoqualmie Falls.
Mount Rainier National Park
If you’re seeking a romantic day trip amidst natural beauty, Mount Rainier National Park is the perfect destination, just a 2-hour drive from Seattle. Begin your journey by taking the scenic route along Paradise Road, which offers breathtaking vistas of wildflower meadows, old-growth forests, and the majestic Mount Rainier. Opt for short, easy hikes like the Skyline Trail at Paradise or the Grove of the Patriarchs, allowing you to connect with nature without exhausting yourselves or requiring you to camp overnight.
Pack a picnic basket (or more practical backpack) filled with your favorite treats and find a peaceful spot to revive yourselves and reconnect with a romantic backdrop. Don’t miss out on viewpoints like Sunrise or Reflection Lakes for some of the most spectacular views. Watching the sun dip below the horizon here can be a truly memorable experience.
Keep things interesting with conversation starters, which are easy to carry with you and will keep the conversation flowing whether you’re still getting to know each other or have been together forever.
Remember – whatever you bring with you needs to be packed out. If you’re not a frequent hiker, read through the Leave No Trace principles to help keep Rainier as pristine as you found it. Similarly, follow all posted signs and stay on designated trails – the meadows and alpine landscapes are particularly fragile and
If your day trip extends into the evening, consider stargazing at the park. The lack of light pollution makes it an ideal place for admiring the night sky.
If you’re planning to visit Rainier, remember that summer starts much later at these elevations than they do at sea level, and conditions are going to be best in July and August. Some entrances and roads through the park close for the season starting in late September and may not open until June. Check the park’s website for up-to-date information on park conditions.
Olympic National Park
Escape Seattle’s hustle and bustle for a day of natural beauty in Olympic National Park, situated on the Olympic Peninsula. A 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Seattle leads you to this serene wilderness, though the park is huge and some of the best locations are really better done as a weekend trip.
This day trip is ideal for couples keen on mountain hiking and embracing nature. Begin with the Hurricane Ridge Trail, a moderately challenging 3-mile hike that treats you to panoramic Olympic Mountain views, lush forests, and alpine meadows.
After your hike, enjoy a romantic picnic lunch at Heart O’ the Hills Picnic Area. It’s surrounded by towering trees and nature’s sounds, adding to the relaxing atmosphere.
Don’t leave Olympic National Park without a romantic photo for the books. Capture the essence of your day with photos at Hurricane Ridge or the enchanting Marymere Falls.
Wrap up your visit with a captivating sunset at Hurricane Ridge or the iconic Sol Duc Falls, where you can enjoy the twilight over the Olympic Mountains.
If romance to you means ethereal vampires, don’t miss Forks, Washington and some of the sights central to Twilight. Swing by La Push and the moody Rialto Beach, where you are more likely than not to need a raincoat and boots rather than bikinis and sunglasses. Amenities deep within the park are limited, so plan ahead for mealtimes. If you want to stay overnight in the park, look to Lake Crescent Lodge or Quileute Oceanside Resort.
North Cascades National Park
Escape the urban rush with a day trip from Seattle to North Cascades National Park, which is approximately a 2.5-hour drive away. Known for its rugged terrain and pristine wilderness, the park offers a unique experience in the Pacific Northwest.
North Cascades is famous for its incredible biodiversity and is home to various species, including the elusive mountain goat, spotted in its natural habitat. Always keep your cameras ready for this extraordinary sight.
One of the best ways to explore the park’s beauty is by boat. Rent a boat and cruise on the sparkling waters of Lake Chelan, Diablo Lake, and Ross Lake. If you’re into fishing, don’t forget your Washington Fishing license.
As day hikers, consider conquering Desolation Peak. This challenging hike rewards you with breathtaking panoramic views of the rugged North Cascades, including the serene Ross Lake. It’s an idyllic spot for a romantic picnic, with the dramatic mountain landscapes as your backdrop.
Like Mt. Rainier, roads into the North Cascades are closed for the winter and often do not open for the summer until May. Be sure to check out the NPS North Cascades website or WSDOT for current road conditions and closures. Additionally, the North Cascades have been choked by wildfires in recent years, so watch fire conditions closely before setting out.
Scenic Road Trips
Cascade Mountain Scenic Drive
The Cascade Mountain Scenic Drive is a captivating journey through the stunning landscapes of Washington State.
Stretching across 440 miles, the Cascade Loop offers a diverse range of landscapes and experiences, from the towering peaks of the Cascade Mountains to lush forests, serene lakes, and charming small towns. Along the route, keep your eyes peeled for wildlife sightings, as the region is home to deer, elk, bald eagles, and more.
What makes this drive truly special is the opportunity to explore picturesque small towns like Leavenworth, known for its Bavarian-style architecture, and Winthrop, with its Old West charm. These charming communities provide ample opportunities for unique shopping, dining, and cultural exploration.
You could also stop by iconic spots like Diablo Lake and Deception Pass. They both offer remarkable views that leave a lasting impression. It’s not possible to complete the Cascade Loop in a single day, so just plan to drive the route nearest you and map out the stopovers you want to explore.
Road Trip to Columbia River Gorge
A road trip to the Columbia River Gorge is an ideal escape from the bustling city. What makes this trip truly unique is its stunning scenic beauty, which you can experience in a day or extend for two days if you prefer a more leisurely pace. For those already in Portland, it’s a fantastic day trip that’s just a couple of hours away.
As you embark on this breathtaking drive, you’ll find yourself stopping frequently to soak in the majestic views. Iconic spots like the Vista House perched atop Crown Point, offer panoramic vistas of the Columbia River Gorge. Nowadays, this historic structure is managed by the Friends of Vista House. It looks like an observatory, complete with a climbable dome for an even higher vantage point.
Further along the route, you’ll encounter Latourell Falls, the closest waterfall to Portland, and Bridal Veil Falls, both easily accessible by short hikes. However, if you’re keen on a focused scenic drive, you can minimize your hiking time to maximize your stopovers.
To cap off your day, consider a visit to the Stonehenge Memorial, where you can indulge in some stargazing before heading back. Whether you opt for a day or two, this road trip promises a memorable journey through the awe-inspiring landscapes of the Columbia River Gorge.
City and Cultural Excursions
Seattle Waterfront and Pike Place Market
When I first moved to Seattle, I spent many weekends playing tourist in my own city. Whether you’re based in Seattle or you’re visiting from elsewhere, a day trip to the Seattle Waterfront and Pike Place Market offers couples a delightful blend of cultural exploration, waterfront charm, and culinary delights. I recommend starting the day by strolling along the scenic Seattle Waterfront, where you can take in the stunning views and map out places you want to visit for the day, like seafood restaurants and souvenir shops. It’s also home to the Great Seattle Wheel. It is gorgeous any time of day and gives you a peaceful, birds-eye view of Puget Sound and the city skyline.
Don’t miss a visit to Pike Place Market. Take time to explore the bustling stalls filled with fresh produce, local crafts, and artisanal goods. The best photo spots in Pike Place Market include the market sign and the gum wall. I have a list of the Best Seattle Photography Spots, which makes for a fun date too.
For lunch, indulge in seafood delights at the renowned Athenian Seafood Restaurant. Located in Pike Place Market, it offers not only delectable dishes but also captivating views of the bay.
After lunch, take a leisurely walk to the Seattle Art Museum (SAM) for a dose of culture. SAM often hosts intriguing exhibitions that provide insight into the city’s artistic heritage. If you prefer to stay outside, hit up with Olympic Sculpture Park, where you can find tiny sandy beaches, towering art, walking paths, and benches to take it all in.
Wrap up with a romantic dinner on the water at Aqua, where you get stunning views and fine dining. This is a “live pianist” kind of place, so dress sharp and make a reservation ahead of time. If you want to really impress your date, check out our list of the best rooftop bars and restaurants in Seattle to help plan your day.
Gondolas in Spokane
Ok, I fully admit that Spokane is not a day trip from Seattle, but it is worth a visit in its own right and makes for one of the best weekend getaways from Seattle. If you are in Eastern Washington, don’t miss it. In Spokane, one of the gems that offer both beautiful views and a short walk to enchantment is the SkyRide Gondolas. Nestled in the heart of the Pacific Northwest, Spokane is renowned for its stunning natural beauty and outdoor recreational opportunities.
The SkyRide Gondolas provides an exhilarating journey above Spokane Falls, granting you captivating vistas of the rushing waterfalls and the vibrant cityscape below. The ride is approximately 15 minutes long, giving you ample time to soak in the mesmerizing scenery.
After your gondola adventure, take a leisurely stroll to the nearby Steam Plant Grill, a must-visit for indulging in luxury dining. This historic restaurant boasts a unique ambiance within a beautifully restored steam plant, offering exquisite cuisine and a perfect setting for a romantic meal.
In addition to the gondola ride, Spokane offers a range of attractions, from exploring the Riverfront Park to visiting the Northwest Museum of Arts and Culture. It’s a city where natural beauty and cultural experiences seamlessly blend, providing you with a memorable day trip full of enriching experiences.
Leavenworth, nestled amidst the picturesque Cascade Mountains, is approximately a 2.5 to 3-hour drive from Seattle. This charming Bavarian-inspired village transforms into an ideal romantic day trip due to its unique blend of mountain biking adventures, cozy hot tub retreats, and inviting shops and restaurants. It really shines in the fall, when Oktoberfest overtakes the village, and in winter, when Christmas markets transform the area into a winter wonderland.
Leavenworth is a city and cultural excursion rolled into one, offering a taste of Germany in the heart of Washington. You can stroll hand in hand through the charming streets, adorned with Bavarian architecture and quaint shops, creating a romantic and immersive experience.
For couples seeking an overnight stay, there’s nowhere more luxurious than the Post Hotel. You may never want to change out of your robe in these luxurious accommodations, where relaxation and the spa are the star of the show.
Beyond the enchanting village, Leavenworth offers activities like wine tasting at local wineries, exploring nearby hiking trails, or taking a scenic drive along the Cascade Loop.
Visit Historic Sites
Bainbridge Island Cultural Escape
Bainbridge Island is a short and scenic ferry ride away from Seattle. It’s an ideal destination for couples seeking a historic venture with a touch of culture with easy access from downtown Seattle. This charming island is situated in the heart of Puget Sound and offers a diverse range of activities that make it an ideal cultural escape.
The journey from Seattle to Bainbridge Island is a mere 35-minute ferry ride, providing a seamless and picturesque start to your day trip. As you approach the island, you’ll be greeted by breathtaking views of Puget Sound, setting the tone for a memorable adventure. The ferry ride is part of the trip in itself, with stunning views of the Seattle skyline as you depart.
You can explore the island’s historic sites, including the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, the Japanese American Exclusion Memorial, and the Bloedel Reserve (if you drove your car onto the ferry). These sites not only offer insight into the island’s heritage but also provide stunning backdrops for romantic photos.
If you walked on to the Bainbridge Island ferry, don’t fret – there’s enough to do in the walkable downtown core that you can easily fill a romantic day trip on Bainbridge Island without ever getting in a car. Support your local independent bookstore, Eagle Harbor Book Co where you’re sure to find your next good book, and don’t miss my favorite, Salt House Mercantile, for a curated selection of home goods, kitchen essentials, and gifts. Other can’t-miss stores are Madrone Goods and Blackbird Bakery, where you can refuel with coffee and pastries – even gluten free ones!
The presence of Puget Sound adds an extra layer of allure to Bainbridge Island. Its serene waters surround the island, creating a tranquil atmosphere that’s perfect for a romantic day trip. Whether you’re strolling along the waterfront or savoring a waterfront meal, the beauty of Puget Sound is an ever-present companion on your cultural escape to Bainbridge Island.
When you’re ready to escape the bustle of downtown, head a few blocks toward the water and stroll along the marina, where you’ll see few people and lots of nature. Swing back onto the ferry to end your trip, and be sure to plan ahead for boarding times and reservations.
Port Townsend Victorian Charm
If you’re a history enthusiast and crave a touch of romance, embark on a day trip to Port Townsend, a town that beautifully preserves its Victorian charm. Located in the northeastern corner of the Olympic Peninsula, this town is a haven for history lovers and an ideal destination for a romantic getaway.
The scenic drive from Seattle to Port Townsend takes approximately 2 hours. As you arrive, you’ll find yourself transported back in time amid the town’s Victorian elegance. You can easily spend a day wandering the streets, sitting by the waterfront, and keeping your eyes peeled for orcas. Or, use Port Townsend as a jumping off point for a whale watching tour – the seafaring culture is strong in this port town!
Port Townsend proudly boasts a plethora of historic buildings and historic properties. Begin with a leisurely stroll through the historic district, where you’ll marvel at the ornate Victorian architecture. Key sites include the Jefferson County Courthouse, the Rothschild House Museum, and the commanding Fort Worden State Park. Immerse yourselves in the captivating history of these landmarks, and don’t forget to capture your romantic moments against these historic backdrops.
For an exceptional dining experience, I recommend Lanza’s Ristorante. This Italian restaurant not only offers delicious cuisine but also a cozy atmosphere that’s perfect for couples.
Before leaving Port Townsend, make a stop at the Port Townsend Antique Mall. Here, you can shop for a unique memento to remember your romantic trip. Don’t miss Imprint Bookstore, an independent bookstore with a 50-year history. My family had to drag me out of this one 🙂
Wine and Spirits Enthusiasts
For a truly enchanting day trip, set your sights on Walla Walla, a charming college town known for its world-class wineries and romantic ambiance. Located in southeastern Washington, this destination promises an unforgettable experience for wine lovers and couples seeking a memorable day together.
Your journey from Seattle to Walla Walla is a scenic drive that takes around 4 hours. As you arrive, you’ll be welcomed by the town’s warm and inviting atmosphere.
Walla Walla is renowned for its exceptional wine scene, specializing in producing a variety of wines, including Cabernet Sauvignon, Merlot, and Syrah. It’s a wine lover’s paradise, and a visit here is a must for couples seeking a romantic vacation.
When it comes to wine tasting, you can’t miss a visit to the exquisite Walla Walla Vintners. This winery offers an intimate and romantic setting, making it the perfect place to savor the region’s finest wines with your loved one. Or, take a shot at being your own winemaker at the wine blending class at Northstar Winery – mine turned out way better than I expected! Northstar has beautiful grounds and is a great spot for a light lunch, which you can pair with local wines.
Walla Walla is also a great place for antique shopping and boutiques – on my weekend trip, I picked up a hand-painted farm scene from a local artist and passed up many more home decor treasures I didn’t have suitcase space for.
Should your day trip transform into a romantic getaway, consider staying at the luxurious The Barn B&B Walla Walla. Nestled in the heart of wine country, this charming bed and breakfast provides a serene and cozy escape for couples looking to indulge in the ultimate romantic experience.
If Walla Walla feels too ambitious for a day trip, try Yakima instead. At 2 hours 15 minutes from Seattle, it’s a faster romantic getaway, with many of the same charms as Walla Walla. Yakima is smaller and more rustic, but offering great wines, shops, and restaurants. Several of my favorite wineries have tasting rooms in Red Mountain, where some of the best Washington grapes are grown. Check out Col Solare and Fidelitas in the Red Mountain area, or see the full list of Yakima wineries here.
Woodinville Wine Country Tour
The picturesque vineyards of Woodinville make for a perfect destination for wine lovers who want to escape the hustle and bustle of Seattle. This charming wine country destination is just a short drive away. It’s known for its lush wineries and enchanting ambiance and is the perfect setting for couples seeking quality time and special occasions.
The journey from Seattle to Woodinville is a mere 30-minute drive, making it an accessible escape for couples looking for a quick getaway. Unlike Walla Walla, which specializes in red wines, Woodinville is known for producing a diverse array of wines, including Chardonnay, Merlot, and Cabernet Sauvignon.
While wine tasting is a highlight of the day, there’s more to explore in Woodinville. Take a romantic stroll through the beautifully landscaped gardens at Chateau Ste. Michelle, a winery renowned for its elegant wines. Afterward, head to the nearby Novelty Hill-Januik Winery, which offers a charming picnic area where you can savor a romantic lunch.
For couples looking to extend their romantic escapade into the evening, Willows Lodge provides a luxurious retreat. Nestled in the heart of wine country, this rustic-chic lodge offers plush accommodations, cozy fireplaces, and a serene ambiance, making it an ideal choice for romantic getaways.
We’ve got a round up of the best wineries in Woodinville to help you plan your day.
Where Will You Go Next in Washington State?
In Washington state, the possibilities for romantic day trips are endless. Feel free to mix and match my day trip ideas above, whether you’re looking to craft a weekend getaway or incorporate them into a broader vacation plan. With a wealth of romantic experiences to discover, Washington state ensures that you and your partner will never exhaust its boundless opportunities for cherished moments together.