With its spectacular Pacific Ocean coastline and towering Cascade Mountains, Washington has no shortage of beautiful landscapes. This lovely state offers a vacation destination perfect for every traveler. Enjoy a seaside escape in the San Juan Islands, or spend a few days in the snow near Leavenworth. Look forward to partaking in plenty of family-friendly activities, as well as relaxing in a cozy Washington vacation rental. Start planning your weekend getaway in one of these cities and towns in Washington.

1. Friday Harbor

Friday Harbor
Source: Flickr/Kimberly Vardeman

Get out into the peaceful San Juan Islands with a weekend in Friday Harbor. From Seattle, the trip to this tiny town takes about three and a half hours, including ferry travel time. During the day, wander through the shops and galleries on Spring Street, see the masterpieces at the SJIMA, or kick back with a massage at The Spa at Earthbox. Make the most of the spectacular waterfront location with a stroll down the docks in the Port of Friday Harbor, hike up Mt. Young, or rent a kayak from Springtide Paddlesports to see the city from the water. Most restaurants are clustered downtown; try freshly caught seafood at Cask and Schooner, or indulge in a cheese plate and a beer flight at San Juan Island Cheese.

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2. Leavenworth

Leavenworth
Source: Facebook/Leavenworth WA

Escape into the stunning mountains in Leavenworth, a Bavarian-inspired town situated just over two hours from Seattle. Two or three days is the perfect amount of time to explore this charming village. Look for vacation rentals downtown, and start your trip with a pint at the Munchen Haus. Local restaurants tend toward elegant German fare; don’t miss the schnitzel at Andreas Keller German Restaurant. During the day, head to Front Street to check out the alpine architecture, visit the Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum, and stop for a wine tasting at Baroness Cellars. In the winter, enjoy sledding and Christmas lights in Front Street Park.

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3. Bainbridge Island

Bainbridge Island
Source: Flickr/satanoid

When you’re looking for a quick overnight trip, it’s hard to beat beautiful Bainbridge Island, which is just an hour away from Seattle by ferry. Stroll through friendly shops and photo galleries in the village of Winslow, or check out the seven different artisan wineries on the island. Spend a rainy afternoon at the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum or the Kids Discovery Museum. A slew of great cross-cultural restaurants line Winslow Way, including The Harbour Public House, a pub-style eatery, and the laid-back Streamliner Diner. The island offers exceptional waterfront cycling opportunities; rental bikes are available at B.I. Cycle.

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4. Westport

Westport
Source: Flickr/LDELD

Spend a couple of days by the sea in Westport, which sits about two and a half hours from Seattle by car. Pack your fishing pole and head out to the rock wall to cast for salmon and halibut. From March through May, watch majestic gray whales on a tour with Westport Whale Watch. Local restaurants such as Bennett’s Fish Shack specialize in seafood, but you can also get fantastic pizza and beer at Blackbeard’s Brewing. Spend a pleasant afternoon popping into the mom-and-pop stores on the boardwalk, and head to Westport Light State Park for an awe-inspiring sunset.

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5. Bellingham

Bellingham
Source: Facebook/Bellingham Experience

Enjoy a small-town vibe and convenient amenities in Bellingham, a port city situated less than two hours from Seattle. Head straight for the historic Fairhaven district to browse a huge variety of galleries, watch the ferries depart for Alaska, and enjoy a beer break at local breweries such as the Fairhaven Stones Throw Brewery or Archer Ale House. If you’re bringing little ones, check out the SPARK Museum of Electrical Invention, or try a kayaking tour with Moondance Sea Kayaking Adventures. Downtown, the restaurant scene focuses mainly on American fare and seafood; try local favorites Brotha Dudes and Hundred North.

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6. Sequim

Sequim
Source: Flickr/JOHN LLOYD

Lovely farmland sits under snow-capped peaks beside the ocean in Sequim, a breathtaking spot that lies just over two hours from Seattle. Washington Street is one of the most popular shopping areas in the region; check out the art at the Blue Whole Gallery, or purchase locally grown gifts at Cedarbrook Lavender Gift Shop. For the full Sequim experience, go fishing at the John Wayne Marina, bike the Olympic Discovery Trail, or pick fresh lavender at Olympic Lavender Heritage Farm. This small town offers surprisingly diverse cuisine, so you can enjoy tapas at Blondie’s Plate or decadent American breakfasts at The Oak Table Cafe.

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7. Ellensburg

Ellensburg
Source: Facebook/Ellensburg Downtown Association

Spread across a huge valley about two hours from Seattle, Ellensburg offers wide-open spaces and plenty of outdoor adventure. Try fly-fishing or boating on the Yakima River, or hike the scenic Manastash Ridge. If you prefer a more low-key weekend, immerse yourself in the city’s rapidly growing beer culture at Iron Horse Brewery or Whipsaw Brewing. A variety of museums, including the Clymer Museum of Art and the excellent Kittitas County Historical Museum, provide a healthy dose of history and culture. Ellensburg’s restaurant scene caters to the university population and outdoor-enthusiast crowd with American eateries including Curbside on 5th and the Yellow Church Cafe.

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8. Langley

Langley
Source: Facebook/I LOVE LANGLEY

For art lovers, Langley makes the perfect weekend escape. This adorable island town is packed with independently owned galleries and shops that include the venerated Brackenwood Gallery and the irresistible Kalakala Co. Mercantile. Grab a cup of coffee from South Whidbey Commons Coffeehouse Bookstore, a pint from Double Bluff Brewing Company, or a gourmet chocolate from Sweet Mona’s. Be sure to work up an appetite for Langley’s world-class seafood eateries. The lobster roll at Saltwater Fish House and Oyster Bar is a must, and the truffled wild prawns at Prima Bistro are likely to have you coming back for more. To get to Langley, drive an hour from Seattle to Mukilteo and take a 20-minute ferry ride to Whidbey Island.

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