Flanked by two mountain ranges on the shore of island-specked Puget Sound, the city of Seattle is situated within easy driving distance of numerous beautiful towns and communities. Destinations near many Seattle vacation rentals are in proximity to magnificent scenery, fun attractions, fine dining, and vibrant and eclectic bar scenes. Here are the top weekend getaway spots near Seattle.

1. Bainbridge Island

marina bainbridge island
Source: Flickr/Canadian Pacific

Lovely evergreen-covered Bainbridge Island lies directly west of Seattle in the midst of Puget Sound. A beautiful and refreshing ride by car ferry from the downtown Seattle waterfront takes you to the town of Bainbridge Island, whose downtown area, the village of Winslow, is the shopping and dining hub of the island. Enjoy fresh northwest salmon at a site overlooking the harbor at Doc’s Marina Grill or dig into some fresh sushi at the SuBI Japanese Restaurant and Sushi Bar. Local attractions include the fascinating Bainbridge Island Historical Museum, which focuses on local history, and the Bainbridge Island Museum of Art, which features the works of area artists. Children love the Kids Discovery Museum with its variety of interactive displays and activities. Explore the quiet and lovely island roads on bicycles from Bike Barn Rentals, or view the pristine coastline on a kayak tour with Exotic Aquatics Scuba and Kayaking.

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2. Port Townsend

point wilson lighthouse
Source: Flickr/Tom Collins

The historic town of Port Townsend is on the northeast tip of the Olympic Peninsula on the opposite side of Puget Sound from Seattle. You can reach it from Seattle within a few hours via the Washington State Ferry System or a combination of a ferry ride and a beautiful drive. From Port Townsend vacation rentals, explore the waterfront district and residential bluff area, which are both designated National Historic Districts. The Port Townsend Marine Science Center provides insight into local ecology through an aquarium, interactive exhibits, beach walking tours, and wildlife cruises. Take an amazing four-hour whale watching tour with the Puget Sound Express, and view humpback whales, gray whales, orcas, and sea lions on the waters of the Strait of Juan de Fuca. Rent a bike from PT Cyclery and check out the breathtaking scenery in the area.

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3. Vashon Island

vashon island
Source: Flickr/The West End

Pristine Vashon Island lies southwest of Seattle and northwest of Tacoma in south Puget Sound. No bridges connect the island with the mainland, but it is accessible by ferry from Fauntleroy Terminal in West Seattle. The island’s rural ambiance provides a welcome break from big city life. Attractions include the Point Robison Lighthouse, which sits within a lovely 10-acre park that features a sandy beach, saltwater marsh, woodlands, and walking trails. Rent a cycle from Vashon Island Bicycles, and explore the quiet roads, or rent a kayak from Vashon Island Kayak, and tour the waterways. Play a round of golf in an emerald green setting at the Vashon Golf and Country Club. For a unique and eclectic shopping experience at an old-fashioned general store, check out the Vashon Country Store and Farm. Find some oven-fresh breakfast at the Snapdragon Bakery and Cafe, and feast on incomparable Mexican cuisine at the La Playa Family Mexican Restaurant. Several superb wineries are based on Vashon Island, so take a wine tour of Andrew Will Winery, Palouse Winery, and Vashon Winery.

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4. Ocean Shores

ruby beach olympic national park

The beautiful town of Ocean Shores is on the Pacific Coast about two and a half hours’ driving time from Seattle. The long stretches of sandy beach are perfect for a range of activities. Grab a kite at Ocean Shore Kites, and watch it fly aloft in the sea breeze. At Honey Pearl Horse Rental, select a steed, and take a ride along the beach. Rent a boat at Ocean Shores Electric Boat Company, and explore the local waterways. If you enjoy fishing, Ocean Charters at nearby Westport takes you out to angle for salmon, tuna, and halibut. Take the kids to Pacific Paradise Family Fun Center and enjoy mini-golf, bumper boats, and arcade games. When you’re hungry, Ocean Crest Cliff Top Restaurant offers fine dining along with a spectacular view. For dessert, have a sundae at Murphy’s Candy and Ice Cream.

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5. Snoqualmie

snoqualmie falls

The town of Snoqualmie lies east of Seattle in the spectacular North Cascade Mountains. Vacation rentals in Snoqualmie are surrounded by gorgeous scenery and an abundance of recreational opportunities. One of the area’s biggest attractions is 270-foot Snoqualmie Falls, a magnificent waterfall with an adjoining park, observation deck, and gift shop. At the Snoqualmie Depot of the Northwest Railway Museum, take a train ride through evergreen forests and incomparable mountain scenery. Play 18 holes at the Mount Si Golf Course in the midst of Snoqualmie Valley at the base of gorgeous Mount Si. For a great steak, try the Woodsman Lodge Steakhouse and Saloon. If you prefer a sandwich and a beer, head for the Snoqualmie Brewery and Taproom.

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6. Ellensburg

river paddling

Historic Ellensburg is about 110 miles from Seattle on the eastern side of the North Cascade Mountains. Nearby cultural attractions include the Kittitas County Historical Museum and the Museum of Culture and Environment at Central Washington University. Kids always love the interactive Children’s Activity Museum of Ellensburg. The area is also renowned for its outdoor recreational opportunities. For instance, Flying Horseshoe Ranch offers horseback riding through the scenic countryside. Rill Adventures takes you rafting and fishing on the beautiful Yakima River. Ellensburg is also home to a number of first-rate golf courses, including the 18 hole course at the Ellensburg Golf Club. Shop for the rare Ellensburg blue, a gorgeous type of agate that forms only in the area, at Ellensburg Agate and Bead Shop or Ginkgo Gem Shop.

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7. Langley

langley wa
Source: Flickr/Jasperdo

The rustic town of Langley lies at the southeastern edge of Whidbey Island in Puget Sound. To get there, drive north to Mukilteo and take a ferry, or drive further north, cross over to the island on the Deception Pass Bridge, and enjoy the breathtaking scenery as you traverse the length of the island to Langley. The town is renowned as a haven of culture, and you can join in the experience by browsing the numerous art galleries, enjoy a Sip and Paint event at Art Now, or joining a photography tour with Hidden Wonders Photo Adventures. Island Style Bike Rides provides an opportunity for a group excursion to explore the island’s magnificent landscape. Whidbey Island Kayaking Company leads you on tours of the awesome coastline. Langley is home to a number of wineries and breweries, including Blooms Winery, Dancing Fish Vineyards, and Double Bluff Brewing Company.

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