So, you’re itching to explore the Pacific Northwest, huh? Look no further because we’ve got the ultimate Washington State road trips you won’t want to miss out on!
Having spent more time exploring Washington than we’d like to admit (trust us, we have the coffee stains and flannel shirt collection to prove it), we’ve got a few ideas for you.
From the misty, dramatic coastlines and lush rainforests to rugged mountain terrains – granny’s road trips this ain’t!
As frequent U.S. travelers, it’s safe to say we’ve developed a soft spot for the Pacific Northwest.
So for all you adventure-seekers who are sitting there with a packed suitcase but no idea where to go, we’ve got your back.
Trust us; these road trip routes are the real deal – Washington State will not disappoint!
13 Best Washington State Road Trips
Without further ado, brace yourselves for the ultimate Washington State road trip itinerary.
From sipping world-class wines in Walla Walla to chasing waterfalls in Olympic National Park, we’ve chalked out the most epic routes to satisfy your wanderlust needs.
1. Olympic Peninsula Loop
Loop: Start and end in Seattle
Mileage: 412 miles
Time: 7 hours 40 minutes
The Olympic Peninsula Loop, fondly dubbed as ‘Nature’s Disneyland,’ is going to be your 412-mile-long roller coaster ride, without the actual roller coaster, of course.
This route combines the city’s thrill with nature’s serenity so seamlessly that even Bob Ross would be impressed!
Starting in Seattle (a.k.a., the city where it rains more than it shines), you’ll venture into the wild yonder of the Olympic Peninsula.
Along the way, prepare to lose your breath (and I’m not talking about the heart-stopping coffee prices) as you immerse yourself in Sequim’s lavender fields.
Then have your mind blown with a green overdose at Olympic National Park.
You’ll witness the majestic Hoh Rainforest, where trees grow moss instead of leaves (talk about fashion sense!). And let’s not even get started on Ruby Beach. It’s so stunning you’ll start questioning your own existence.
At the end of the loop, you’ll pass through Olympia (no, not the one in Greece) and Tacoma, where you can marvel at the city’s bustling waterfront and thriving arts scene.
The Olympic Peninsula Loop isn’t just a drive. It’s a journey. It’s a tour. It’s an emotion. It’s…well, you get the point.
Don’t forget to wave goodbye to Bigfoot on your way out!
2. Cascade Loop
Loop: Start and end in Everett
Mileage: 448 miles
Time: 11 hours plus stops
Get ready for the Cascade Loop; it’s a journey so captivating it could make a sloth get up and dance!
Kicking off from Everett (no, not that weird cousin of yours), this 448-mile joyride will have your jaw dropping with incredible landscapes you can’t even fathom unless they are right in front of you.
It all starts in Leavenworth, where you’ll feel like you’ve been teleported to a picturesque German village in the heart of the Cascades. Here, you can feast on pretzels the size of your head and prost with beers bigger than your ego!
Next, glide into Lake Chelan, where the water is so clear you can see your future in it (or at least the bottom of the lake).
Fancy a dip? Or perhaps, a wine-tasting tour? They’ve got it all.
From there, you’ll swing by the cowboy town of Winthrop. Feel free to yee-haw your heart out and experience the Wild West in all its glory.
And finally, brace yourself for North Cascades National Park. Now, this place is so wild it makes the Amazon look like a well-manicured garden.
Expect an overload of glacial peaks, cascading waterfalls, and wildlife encounters that’ll have you questioning if you’ve stepped into a National Geographic episode.
3. Mount Rainier Loop
Loop: Start and end in Seattle
Mileage: 300 miles
Time: 7 hours 30 minutes plus stops
The Mount Rainier Loop isn’t just a drive – it’s an expedition. A 300-mile odyssey that’ll make your GPS question your sanity.
First stop: Paradise. And, no, we are not being metaphorical. There’s a place called Paradise on the south slope of Mount Rainier itself.
Next, head up to Sunrise, the highest point on Mount Rainier that is accessible by vehicle.
You’ll find the name isn’t only a time-of-day indication but also a life philosophy. The view is so dreamy unicorns might as well be frolicking in the meadows.
Now, let us warn you – there’s a real danger of getting drunk on nature during this drive.
So, sober up in the rustic town of Enumclaw. Enjoy a hearty meal; if you don’t try the local cheese, you’re denying yourself a slice of heaven.
Ready for the Mount Rainier Loop? It’s a journey that’ll make you forget about flat tires, traffic tickets, and that cup of coffee you left on the roof of your car last week.
4. San Juan Islands
Loop: Start and end in Anacortes
Mileage: 127 miles plus ferry rides
Time: 7 hours plus stops and ferry rides
Venturing off from Anacortes, a charming maritime town known for its vibrant murals, you’ll embark on a 127-mile journey that encapsulates the tranquil beauty of the San Juan Islands.
Enjoy scenic ferry rides that will whisk you away to three islands – Orcas, San Juan, and Lopez.
On Orcas Island, the enchantment begins with Moran State Park.
Here, between the rustle of the leaves and the distant call of the island’s wildlife, you can take a leisurely hike and marvel at the breathtaking views. A vision of lush forests and pristine waters will greet you at every turn.
As your ferry docks at San Juan Island, you’ll be transported into history at the San Juan Island National Historical Park. Tales of yesteryears echo between the park’s preserved buildings, peering into the island’s storied past.
As you roam around, don’t forget to soak in the island’s natural charm – it’s a sight for sore eyes!
The final leg of your journey takes you to Lopez Island, a haven of calm and beauty. This place has a certain tranquil rhythm that invites you to relax, unwind, and simply be.
The San Juan Islands drive is undoubtedly one of the best drives in Washington. It’s the kind of enchanting expedition that leaves you with a heart full of memories and a camera roll full of pictures.
5. Seattle To Spokane
One Way: Seattle to Spokane
Mileage: 365 miles
Time: 5 hours 50 minutes plus stops
Buckle up and get ready to leave behind the bustling hubbub of Seattle, plunging into landscapes that seem to have been painted by Mother Nature herself.
Your first pitstop? Snoqualmie Pass.
This isn’t just any old mountain pass, no sirree! This is a place where waterfalls cascade with fervor as if auditioning for a shampoo commercial.
The Snoqualmie Falls is a sight to behold, a spectacle that’ll have your camera clicking and your heart racing.
But don’t get too comfy! You’re not done yet.
There’s a detour to Lake Coeur d’Alene, a destination that probably took you three attempts to pronounce correctly. And was it worth it? Oh, you betcha!
The shimmering waters and pine-fringed shores are a sight for sore city eyes. It’s a slice of lakeside heaven that’ll have you considering a career as a full-time hermit.
Finally, you reach Spokane. It’s not just the end of your road trip; it’s the beginning of your love affair with this city.
With its Riverfront Park and the mesmerizing Spokane Falls, it’s a city that doesn’t just welcome you; it seduces you.
6. Palouse Scenic Byway
One Way: Palouse Falls State Park to Rosalia
Mileage: 196 miles
Time: 4 hours 15 minutes plus stops
Welcome to the Palouse Scenic Byway!
This 196-mile-long trail starts from the exquisite Palouse Falls State Park, where the falling water seems to sing harmonies with the wind.
Remember, if you didn’t get a selfie at the falls, did you even start the drive?
You’ll then journey through the rolling hills of Palouse, which is as close as you’ll get to driving on a cloud. It’s like the Earth put on a green velvet dress just for you.
On your way, make sure to stop by Pullman, where the restaurants serve food so good you’ll want to write poetry about it.
The drive continues to Colfax. You’ll love this small town’s charm and single traffic light. It’s like stepping back in time but without the terrible fashion sense of the 70s.
The culmination of your trip is at Steptoe Butte State Park. Prepare to be blown away. The view is so breathtaking even your camera will gasp!
And finally, Rosalia. A quaint end to an epic journey.
At this point, if you’re not in love with Washington, check your pulse. You might be a robot.
7. Coulee Corridor
One Way: Ephrata to Grand Coulee
Mileage: 122 miles
Time: 2 hours 45 minutes plus stops
The Coulee Corridor, a 122-mile stretch, is as spellbinding as it is spine-tingling.
Starting in Ephrata, you’ll soon find yourself in the realm of Dry Falls, a geological wonder that’s anything but dry.
Picture Niagara Falls, multiply it by five – and subtract the water. That’s right; Dry Falls is a plunge pool party where the water forgot to show up.
But don’t worry; the awe-inspiring sight of what was once the world’s largest waterfall is sure to leave you drenched in amazement.
As you journey on, the landscape morphs into a scene straight out of a Martian postcard – welcome to the Grand Coulee, a large glaciated valley.
Your drive culminates in the small town of the same name, Grand Coulee, home to the Grand Coulee Dam.
Once the largest concrete structure in the world, this colossal dam is now the backbone of the region’s power supply. At dusk, stick around for the laser light show, where the dam’s enormous walls transform into a canvas for a history lesson projected in lights.
There you have it – the Coulee Corridor, where the sights are grand, the history is rich, and the only traffic jams are caused by you stopping to snap photos.
8. Pacific Coast Scenic Byway
One Way: Olympia to Westport
Mileage: 317 miles
Time: 6 hours plus stops
Fasten your seatbelts for the ultimate Washington Coast road trip, as your next adventure is the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway.
This one is similar to the Olympic Peninsula loop discussed in number one above, but a slightly shorter route with different beginning and endpoints. So if you want to cut out about 100 miles of the drive, this one is your go-to.
You’ll kick things off in Olympia, where it’s all fancy government buildings and green parks for days.
Trust us; the truly exciting part of this journey is yet to come.
You’ll hit the road and cruise towards the Olympic Peninsula coast. But this isn’t your grandma’s Sunday drive.
With the salty sea air in your lungs and the rugged coastline in your sights, you’ll feel like a bonafide explorer charting new lands.
Head west towards Port Angeles, a town that clearly got the memo about the whole ‘breathtaking views’ thing.
Savor the vistas of the Strait of Juan de Fuca and, if you’re lucky, catch a glimpse of the mystical Olympic Mountains.
The route continues southwards, down along the coast of Olympic National Park, until you reach Aberdeen. Hey, it’s not just a Kurt Cobain song, alright? This place has a certain charm that’s hard to put a finger on.
And finally, you’ll land in Westport. It’s a town that delights in simplicity, with a lighthouse, a marina, and enough seafood joints to send any seafood lover into a blissful food coma after the long drive.
So, there you have it, 317 miles of pure coastal amazement. You’ve just done the Pacific Coast Scenic Byway – go ahead, brag a little.
9. Wineries Of Washington
One Way: Yakima to Walla Walla
Mileage: 131 miles
Time: 2 hours plus stops
Embark on a vinous voyage from Yakima to Walla Walla, wandering through Washington’s famed wine country. This 131-mile route is like a wine lover’s yellow brick road, a veritable Napa of the North.
Departing from Yakima, a fertile land of hops and wine grapes, you’ll soon find yourself cruising through Prosser, a town small in size but big on varietals.
Here, you can pop into a boutique winery or two and maybe even catch a wine festival if you time it right.
Don’t forget to swing by the Red Mountain AVA, Washington’s smallest, warmest wine-grape growing area.
The finale of your oenophile odyssey is Kennewick, the heart of the Tri-Cities wine country.
It’s a place where old-world charm meets new-world wine techniques. Here, the cellar doors are always open, and the winemakers are just as enticing as the wines they craft.
Your journey ends in Walla Walla, a name so nice they named it twice. With over 120 wineries and vibrant downtown, Walla Walla is the cherry on top of your wine country sundae.
10. Lewis and Clark Trail
One Way: Longview to Clarkston
Mileage: 404 miles
Time: 7 hours plus stops
For those who crave a taste of history sprinkled with some spectacular natural views, look no further than the Lewis and Clark Trail, one of the best scenic drives in Washington State.
Stretching over 400 miles, this route is the epitome of a road trip with a historical twist.
Beginning in Longview, you’ll get to trace the path of the legendary explorers Lewis and Clark. Don’t be surprised if you’re tempted to trade in your car for a canoe, as you’ll be following the Columbia River much of the way.
Vancouver is your second stop, where Fort Vancouver awaits.
This National Historic Site takes you back to the 19th-century fur trade era. The reconstructed fort is so realistic you may have to pinch yourself to remember you’re still in the 21st century.
Pressing onwards, you’ll find yourself in Captain William Clark Park. Here, you can stroll along the beach, picnic under the shade of towering trees, or gaze out over the waters Lewis and Clark navigated over 200 years ago.
Sacagawea State Park is next in line. Named after the famed Shoshone woman who greatly assisted the explorers, the park offers a wealth of history and a dash of stunning views.
Your historic journey concludes in Clarkston at the confluence of the Snake and Clearwater rivers, a site that bodes well for reflection on this memorable road trip.
11. North Cascades Highway
One Way: Sedro-Woolley to Winthrop via Hwy 20
Mileage: 127 miles
Time: 2 hours 30 minutes plus stops
The North Cascades Highway is 127 miles of pure, unadulterated, panoramic eye candy. Strap in because it’s a 2.5-hour drive, not counting stops, and trust me, you’ll want to stop.
From the moment you hit Highway 20, Washington’s most northern route, you’re thrust into the heart of the Cascades.
The highway carves through the mountains, treating you to views that make it clear why they call this the ‘American Alps.’ Towering peaks, craggy cliffs, and valleys filled with lush forests provide a visual buffet that puts 4K Ultra HD to shame.
If that’s not enough, prepare yourself for the emerald beauty of Diablo Lake, a body of water so stunningly turquoise you’ll swear it’s photoshopped.
The twisty, turny route makes a beeline through the Ross Lake National Recreation Area into the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, finally spitting you out in the charming Old West town of Winthrop.
And believe us, all these names are more than just complicated tongue twisters – they’re your ticket to a scenic smorgasbord.
12. Highway 2
One Way: Everett to Leavenworth
Mileage: 100 miles
Time: 2 hours plus stops
You’re about to embark on a journey along Highway 2, a road trip that promises a brilliant blend of natural beauty and cultural intrigue.
It’s a mere 100 miles from Everett to Leavenworth, but don’t let that fool you. This is a road trip packed with more sights, history, and adventure than you can shake a stick at.
Starting in Everett, you’ll exchange the hustle-bustle of the city for the tranquil rhythm of the Cascade mountains.
As you navigate the curves of Stevens Pass, you’ll be surrounded by lush greenery and, if you’re lucky, a sprinkling of snow that adds a magical touch to the already gorgeous scenery.
Just wait for the moment when you crest the pass. Breathtaking doesn’t even begin to cover it.
You’ll find yourself surrounded by an alpine wilderness straight out of a postcard, with snow-capped peaks, sparkling water bodies, and the occasional deer darting across the landscape.
Then it’s off to Leavenworth. It’s like a little piece of Bavaria decided to vacation in the Pacific Northwest, with its charming Bavarian-themed buildings and traditional festivals.
Enjoy a hearty German meal, stroll around the quaint downtown, or just kick back with a local brew.
Two hours on the road, and you’ll have traversed landscapes, climbed mountains, and visited a slice of Europe, all without leaving Washington.
Highway 2, it’s the real MVP of road trips.
13. Puget Sound
One Way: Seattle to Port Townsend
Mileage: 142 miles
Time: 3 hours plus stops
Our final option for the best scenic drives in Washington is a road trip from Seattle to Port Townsend that explores the tranquil beauty that is Puget Sound.
This 142 mile-route is an absolute treat for your senses, offering stunning water views, picturesque islands, and a healthy dose of maritime vibes.
Setting off from Seattle, you’ll skirt along the edges of the serene Puget Sound. Keep your eyes peeled for the playful orcas that often frolic in these waters.
While the view of the Sound is enough to occupy your senses, this drive also takes you through a string of charming towns like Tacoma, Gig Harbor, and onto Bainbridge Island – each with its unique flavor and attractions.
As you progress, you’ll be rewarded with a panorama of the majestic Olympic Mountains.
And at the end of the drive, Port Townsend offers you a quaint Victorian seaport brimming with history, culture, and a dash of quirkiness. Awash in historic buildings, it also offers a vibrant arts scene and a plethora of eateries for food enthusiasts.
Bonus: Skagit Valley Tulips
One Way: Seattle to Skagit Valley
Mileage: 70 miles
Time: 1 hour 30 minutes plus stops
As you can’t do this any time of year, this is a bonus…but one you absolutely should do if you time it right!
Trust us when we say the Skagit Valley Tulip Drive isn’t just a drive – it’s like stepping into a Claude Monet painting, but with fewer haystacks and more tulips.
Imagine a 70-mile stretch of road, flanked on either side with endless fields of vibrant tulips, all swaying in unison as if welcoming you to their candy-colored paradise.
Starting from Seattle, it’s a breezy 1.5-hour road trip to the heart of Skagit Valley.
The drive itself is pretty straightforward, but don’t you dare rush through it! This isn’t a trip to your dentist. Feel the excitement slowly build up as the urban landscapes give way to the iconic rural charm of Skagit Valley.
As you reach it, the sheer explosion of colors hits you.
No, this isn’t a psychedelic dream; this is Skagit Valley in April. You’ve got tulips of every imaginable color, from canary yellows to pinks that would make Barbie jealous and reds that could start a fire.
Each year, the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival draws flower aficionados from all over the world to bask in the breathtaking beauty of these floral fields.
In Skagit Valley, ‘stopping to smell the roses’ gets an upgrade. Here, you stop to gawk at the tulips instead!
So, prepare your picnic baskets and your best floral print outfits (for those selfies, of course) and enjoy the riot of colors that is the Skagit Valley Tulip Drive.
Conclusion – Best Washington State Road Trips
And so, my dear road trip enthusiasts, we’ve reached the end of our journey – at least for now.
These road trips will have you driving through the heart of Washington State, traversing peaks and valleys, and marveling at the multicolored spectacle of tulips that would shame even the most extravagant rainbow.
Whether you’re a nature lover, a history buff, or just a passionate wanderer, something in the state of Washington will call to you like a siren’s song.
So, pack your bags, fuel your car, and set your GPS for adventure.
Trust us, the best Washington State road trips are out there, waiting for you to explore just beyond the horizon.
Jenny is an adventurous globetrotter with an insatiable curiosity for exploring the world. From her first international trip at the age of 13 to Australia and New Zealand, she has since traveled to over 30 countries across six continents. With degrees in both accounting and photography, Jenny combines her love for organized travel planning and her passion for photography to capture stunning moments and inspire others to embark on their own extraordinary adventures.