Summer may be coming to a close but that doesn’t mean weekend road trips need to end. Fall is one of the best road trip seasons with fall foliage, pumpkin patches and apple picking opportunities. We've done the research and have put together a list of the best places to visit in this fall, all within 3 hours of Seattle!
Okay so, technically not within three hours of Seattle, Winthrop is a quick 3.5 hour drive away. The Method Valley is beautiful in the fall with epic fall foliage and fun events. This Old West town is packed full of hikes, adventures and scenic beauty. For in-town adventures, check out the Shafer Historical Museum. The museum has been in Winthrop since 1943 and details the town’s history. Stop into Sheri’s Sweet Shop for a treat. They have everything from ice cream to pastry delights. The Duck Brand Hotel and Cantina serves up excellent Mexican food or head to the oldest legal saloon in Washington, Three Fingered Jack’s Saloon for brews on tap and a family friendly meal. Sun Mountain Stables provide lots of outdoor horseback riding options for a short or long afternoon of fun! Get over to Winthrop soon though as the Cascade Highway usually closes in late November and doesn’t re-open until May.
Suncadia is a great fall road trip destination. The short 90 minute drive means you’ll have more time to explore and enjoy the amenities. With over 6,000 acres of forested mountain landscape the fall foliage is amazing. Snag a ride on one of the many guided bike tours or rent a bike to take in the leaves. Stop for lunch or dinner at Swiftwater Cellars Winery and make sure to enjoy a hike along with some time at the spa. Important dates to keep in mind are the Harvest Festival on October 7 - 8 and October 14 - 15 to celebrate the arrival of fall. The weekend will be packed with activities and events.
Located just 6 miles from the Kingston ferry, Port Gamble is a fun day road trip from Seattle. Take the ferry from Edmonds and head toward the historic waterfront town for adventures in ghost hunting, quaint shops and old world charm. Founded in 1853 by timber entrepreneurs, Port Gamble has retained its character and much of the original architecture. Rumors of paranormal activities inside the homes by ghosts of former residents keep paranormal investigators busy with lots of ghost walks and even a ghost conference. Spoooooky.
Also, remember to stop at the historical Port Gamble General Store in the center of town for slow-cooked, home style food. The retail side of the store is full of ice cream, fun candy and delightful pastries along with great items for sale. After fueling up, head to the Olympic Outdoor Center which can provide you with everything you need for kayak rental, mountain bike ride and other outdoor adventures.
Take Highway 2 and head toward Leavenworth to enjoy the abundant fall foliage along Tumwater Canyon. In about two hours, you’ll arrive in the small (faux) Bavarian village of Leavenworth filled with mountain splendor and Northwest recreation. This small town is jam packed with fun all year round, from festivals to great beer, food and plenty of other attractions. What really shines, however, is the fall foliage. *Swoon* Visitors will find plenty of hiking opportunities along with Oktoberfest and the Autumn Leaf Festival. Leavenworth is also packed full of great places to eat and shop.
Whidbey Island is a personal favorite. The drive is easy and full of options - either drive around along I-5 or head to Mukilteo and snag a ferry. Either way, you’ll be there in two or three hours. Deception Pass offers exceptional fall foliage viewpoints and amazing hiking opportunities. Stop by Fort Casey to learn more about the area and explore the many artist communities. Wine lovers will love the many tasting opportunities afforded by the multiple wineries in the area.