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The 5 best weekend road trips in Washington state

SPONSORED — If packing up the car and hitting the open road sounds like your kind of vacation, there’s no need to cross state lines; some of the country’s best road trips are right here in Washington’s lush backyard. Whether you’re looking for scenic ocean views, breathtaking mountain ranges or roadside stands overflowing with ripe, seasonal fruit, Washington has your road-trip itinerary in the bag.

The Olympic Peninsula

There’s a reason why Forbes included the Olympic Peninsula in its list of the nation’s “Top 10 American Road Trips;” this 330-mile loop encompasses more than a few of Washington state’s iconic landscapes, including waterfalls, Olympic mountain peaks and even rainforests.

Along the trip, which begins on Highway 101, you can stop to see snow-capped mountains at Hurricane Ridge, beautiful Victorian homes in Port Townsend, the Kurt Cobain memorial in Aberdeen and lush greenery in the Hoh Rain Forest. You also might want to pack that passport; Victoria, British Columbia, is just a ferry ride away from Port Angeles.


Got a hankering for a brat? You’ll find more than sausage and beer in scenic Leavenworth, a charming Bavarian village located near Wenatchee — just a couple hours’ drive from Seattle. While this little town is known for its picturesque holiday cheer, summer is just as dandy — and much warmer! If you’re looking to get out of the car, Leavenworth has you covered: scenic hiking and biking trails, world-class fishing, and horse-drawn carriage rides await you.

Friday Harbor

Imagine a weekend in the islands … without ever leaving the state. The San Juan Islands, just a hop, skip and a ferry ride away from Seattle, offers the feel of an exotic vacation without requiring you to stand in line at TSA. According to the San Juan Islands Official Travel Guide, Friday Harbor offers activities for the entire family, including kayaking, whale watching, hiking, bicycling, fishing, boating and more. Getting there is a cinch; just take the ferry from Anacortes. Keep in mind that you’ll need a reservation if you’ll be bringing the car along. Visit the Washington Department of Transportation to book your ferry trip.

Chinook Pass

Just a few minutes driving along the Chinook Scenic Byway and you’ll realize why the road is hailed as “the premier driving tour in Washington state.” You won’t find better scenery in the Pacific Northwest than when you travel through Mt. Baker-Snoqualmie National Forest and Mount Rainier National Park. Once over the Chinook Pass, you’ll find yourself in the beautiful valley of Naches, which boasts beautiful scenery and a wealth of outdoor activities.

Panorama Land

If you’ve got a passion for fresh produce, it’s time to explore Washington’s eastern side. From Spokane, a 200-mile road trip along I-395, Highway 2 and State Routes 20 and 25 takes you along the shores of the Columbia River and through hillsides speckled with fruit trees. Travel Channel recommends you take this trip hungry; the highways are dotted with fresh produce stands, offering the best and sweetest Washington state has to offer.

Getting there

If you’ll be hitting the road this summer, do it safely — and in style. Make sure your vehicle is serviced and ready for long hours on Washington’s most scenic roads. If you’ve got your eye on a new, road-trip-worthy vehicle, there’s no road-trip needed to visit Snoqualmie Casino, Seattle’s Closest Casino—just 30 minutes from Seattle, which is giving away six new Lexus vehicles. Hitting the streets solo this summer? Take your chances to win the casino’s Harley Davidson Fat Bob.

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