I’ve lived in the Pacific Northwest nearly my entire life, yet I still feel as if I’ve merely gotten a glimpse of its beauty. After I found my love for photography in high school, I started traveling all over Washington, camera in hand — slowly checking off more places on the endless and ever-growing adventure list.
The diversity of Washington’s landscapes is shocking. You can start your day in the Hoh Rainforest, drive six hours, and be in the sand dunes of Moses Lake by afternoon. But with so many choices, how do you decide where to go next?
Here’s a guide to my favorite places for exploring nature in Washington State:
2.5 hrs (114 miles) from Seattle
2.5hrs (109 miles) from Seattle
2hrs 20min (68 miles) from Seattle Located within Mt. Rainier National Park.
3hrs 10min (70 miles) from Seattle
Located within Mt. Rainier National Park. Road closed during winter. Typically opens back up in the late spring/early summer. That’s when conditions are best anyway!
Little Mashel Falls
1hr 45min (60 miles) from Seattle Park in the dirt pull-off on the shoulder of Alder Cutoff Rd.
3hrs 15min (103 miles) from Seattle
This trip includes a ferry ride from Seattle to Orcas island. Ferry info and rates can be found here.
2hrs 55min (109 miles) from Seattle
There is a hike involved to get to the lake. The hike is 7.2 miles round trip. More info on the hike can be found here.
Moses Lake Sand Dunes
2hrs 50min (178 miles) from Seattle
You’ll need a safety flag for your vehicle, motorcycle, or buggy, when on the dunes. This website has more info on rules and the status of the dunes here.
1hr 45min (82 miles) from Seattle
High Rock Lookout
3hrs (94 miles) from Seattle
50min (36 miles) from Seattle
This is an extremely easy and quick hike. If you’ve never been here before, you definitely should check it out. It offers some of the best views and is one of the closest hikes to Seattle.
3.5hrs (147 miles) from Seattle
4hrs (185 miles) from Seattle
This beach stretch is probably the most well known and iconic on the Olympic Peninsula. If you only have time to hit one beach, better be sure it’s this one.
3hrs (131 miles) from Seattle One of my favorite beach spots in the warmer months. It’s one of the few beaches in WA that you can drive on.
Sol Duc Falls
3hrs 45min (124 miles) from Seattle This trip does include a short ferry ride from Seattle to Bainbridge Island.
3hrs 10min (104 miles) from Seattle This trip includes a ferry ride from the Seattle terminal over to Bainbridge Island.