Speedy Sightseeing

How to Take a Road Trip on a Time Crunch

Destinations a mere two hours (or less!) from Seattle.

By Allison Williams September 11, 2018 Published in the October 2018 issue of Seattle Met

Lodges on Vashon.

Treehouse Point ► 30 minutes

The journey: Barely east of Issaquah, only a few miles up a Fall City road? This is road tripping for people who hate driving. 

The destination: It’s hard to beat the appeal of log cabins wedged into towering Douglas fir trees, but the established hoteliers endear themselves further by only opening reservations 60 days out—meaning a serene retreat is, at most, two months away. 

Salish Lodge ► 35 minutes

The journey: Even when commuter traffic jams I-90, the ride to the Snoqualmie Falls hotel is never difficult.

The destination: Long an austere hotel with a whiff of country club solemnity, the Salish has held to old traditions—like the “honey from heaven” drizzled over breakfast biscuits—while adding features like a waterfall-side spa.

Thornewood Castle ► 45 minutes

The journey: Not gonna lie, this I-5 journey wouldn’t grace a postcard, but the fancy B&B is minutes from the south-of-Tacoma off-ramp.

The destination: The giant Tudor Gothic–style mansion is a century old, but the stained glass artworks inside are even older. Though there’s no sprawling estate around Thornewood to match—other than a small sunken garden and some lakefront—it’s the ideal spot to hole up in a four-poster bed.

Lodges on Vashon ► 1 hour

The journey: Once you hit the Fauntleroy ferry, it’s all smooth sailing across the sound, then a relatively quick drive through the suburban streets of Vashon Island.

The destination: The ultra-modern cottages resemble shipping containers at a distance, but inside they’re all understated style and showers that open to the outdoors.

La Conner Channel Lodge ► 1.25 hours

The journey: Once past Everett, drivers can relax as the freeway congestion loosens into the Skagit Valley, then enjoy the scenery when the route bends onto empty rural roads into wee La Conner.

The destination: Like the art galleries and antique dealers that define the town, the Channel Lodge is soothing and classic. If the cedar-shake siding and channel-front balconies are somehow not charming enough, nearby La Conner Country Inn from the same owners is even cozier. 

Swantown Inn ► 1.25 hours

The journey: Brave I-5 south from Seattle, knowing you can park at the Olympia B&B and take long, leisurely walks to downtown or the state capital campus.

The destination: The B&B has all the wallpaper and wrought iron that its Victorian mansion setting would suggest, but neither the outdoor gardens nor the attic spa is at all fussy. 

Inn at Pleasant Beach ► 1.25 hours

The journey: When you need a road trip but can’t handle actual roads, take the Bainbridge Island ferry west and drive a few short miles through the island’s woodsy residential district.

The destination: The 12-room hotel in a quiet corner of Bainbridge soothes away city stress with gas fireplaces and private decks, with a pool, wading area, and hot tub just outside.

Show Comments