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day trips from seattle

c p
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
day trips from seattle

We are a family of 6 (youngest is 14) and are going to be in seattle for 4 days in mid october. We would love to use two of those days to see some of the area via water. We're thinking alki beach (picnic and shopping) and then possibly vashon island one day, then maybe bainbridge? the next. We love to explore little towns, small shops offering locally made items, beautiful gardens, nature walks, antique stores, flea markets, beaches- anything (experience or product) that is unique to the area and not mass produced or super touristy (space needle). Does anyone have any suggestions where else we might go to see the area without having to transfer to a second ferry/train etc? We want to keep it simple and not spend a lot of our day enroute to destination unless the route just happens to be pretty, inexpensive and uncomplicated -like a bus route for instance. We're open to water taxis, buses, ferries and ubers but not really wanting to do a 'tour' of any kind. It seems several of the islands you need to have a car and we don't want to rent or drive. Just want to explore the area on foot as much as possible. Any input is much appreciated. Thanks!

11 replies to this topic
Seattle, Washington
Destination Expert
for Seattle
Level Contributor
7 714 posts
1. Re: day trips from seattle

>> we don't want to rent or drive... <<

This limits your options hugely, and eliminates Vashon, Whidbey, and most eastern destinations.

With no car, I'd suggest the West Seattle/Alki loop you've already mentioned, and the Bainbridge day. Check out the opening hours for the Bloedel Reserve on Bainbridge Island; it's a wonderful set of gardens. (Bus or Uber from the ferry terminal.)

There's weekend-only service on the Victoria Clipper to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island, but this service ends on Oct. 14, so might be before your visit.

I'd seriously reconsider the option to rent a car for a day or two. With six it would also be a cheaper option in some cases.

Seattle
Level Contributor
52 086 posts
22 reviews
2. Re: day trips from seattle

Without a car, I think you have listed your best options already... Alki, Bainbridge, Vashon.

If you don't want a tour or shared shuttle type thing and you don't want a rental car, options are fairly limited in how you are going to get out of the city.

I know you said no to tours, but would you consider an Argosy Cruise?

Renton, Washington
Level Contributor
5 255 posts
3. Re: day trips from seattle

What do you do on Vashon after you walk off of the ferry? There is nothing to see or do in the immediate vicinity. It is a commuter community.

c p
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
4. Re: day trips from seattle

Are there no buses or ubers avail on Vashon? I've read several comments that there are lots of shopping/dining options and beautiful walks which would be great. Also, we only have two days to explore the islands and two things come to mind- 1. It seems the farther out islands are a few hours away via ferry and so would increase our travel to/from time- limiting our exploring/sightseeing time, and 2. The thought of renting/ferrying/picking up and then having to return a car seems like we would be spending a lot of what little time we have to sight see on transportation. Again please let me know if I'm off. It's not that we don't like to rent but more a matter of if it would be worth it for the short time that we have. -And we are still open for any suggestions on unique places (shops, cafes, beaches. parks etc) to see. Thank you for your valuable input!

c p
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
5. Re: day trips from seattle

We did look at Argosy cruises but felt like if we could get somewhere close that we could explore on foot, that we might get more out of it. We would love a cruise but maybe when we had more time to see and enjoy it more. Thank you for the suggestion though.

c p
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
6. Re: day trips from seattle

I guess I should have said that we already have non-cancelable hotels rooms in the city, so we would need to return to Seattle each night- didn't think that one through I guess. Otherwise we could stay on one of the islands and would have a lot more options. Bloedell is on the schedule- it looks beautiful! :) Thanks!

Seattle
Level Contributor
52 086 posts
22 reviews
7. Re: day trips from seattle

If you are returning to Seattle each night (and that's fine) just do the Bainbridge Island ferry you originally asked about. You don't need to worry about transportation you can walk to the cute "main street" area from the ferry dock. But you would need transportation for get to Bloedel Reserve.

There are Argosy Cruises as short as a 1-hour Harbor Tour. So I wouldn't dismiss that outright.

Edited: 28 September 2018, 01:21
c p
Salt Lake City, Utah
Level Contributor
11 posts
4 reviews
8. Re: day trips from seattle

Ok, I guess I'm going to check on the cruises.I really would like to see the area from the water and didn't want a 'cruise' so to speak but it sounds like that may be my only real viable option. Thanks for the info everyone.

Oregon/Washington
Destination Expert
for Portland, Sunriver
Level Contributor
11 936 posts
102 reviews
9. Re: day trips from seattle

The Argosy cruises are very good. The locks cruise is much better than the harbour cruise, IME, and if the Tillicum excursion is still going on when you are here, that is excellent and well worth the time and money.

Seattle, Washington
Level Contributor
1 012 posts
20 reviews
10. Re: day trips from seattle

Another day trip option is a float plane ride. This could either be a relatively short trip - a scenic hour tour of the area - or a long day trip consisting of an early flight to Victoria or Orcas or ?? and then a late flight home after touring the location. Victoria is a great choice for the latter option, as the planes land in the Inner Harbor and dock right on the edge of the old town and near the parliament building.

The planes depart Seattle from Lake Union - at the Kenmore terminal near Westlake and 9th Ave N.

It's not inexpensive, but (in addition to a ferry ride) is a GREAT way to get another perspective on how the sea and mountains integrate into life in the PNW. *passport required to go to Victoria*

You don't even have to get off the plane. If you want more than the one hour tour thing (take off and land back on Lake Union), you can do a "ride along" on a trip to ANY of their destinations around the Sound. Make sure to ask if one of your party can sit in the co-pilot seat (helps to ask when you make your reservation).

Just one more option ... no rental car required.

Edited: 02 October 2018, 20:07
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