Landscape reflection Mount Shuksan and Picture lake, North Cascades National Park, Washington, USA

14 Best Road Trips in Washington State

Updated by Pat Dorri on July 7 2023

Washington state is known for its stunning landscapes, including rugged mountains, lush forests, and awe-inspiring national parks, along with famous landmarks such as Mount Rainier and Mount St. Helens. So it isn't surprising that there is a great variety of road trips you can make in this state that are postcard-perfect.

In this list of 14 best road trips in Washington, you can choose from perfect day trips to charming small towns, inspiring adventures to snow-capped mountains, drives to national parks dotted with emerald-green scenery and visits to vineyards.

So what are you waiting for? The panoramic scenery of the stunning landscapes of Washington state awaits you! Read on to find out about the best road trips, how to get to these amazing places, our top travel tips and the best time to set off on each of these unforgettable adventures.

Road tripRating
1. San Juan Island Loop
1 hour 30 minutes, 50 miles
2. Seattle to Bellingham
3 hours 10minutes, 115 miles
3. Snoqualmie Pass road trip
2 hours 10 minutes, 120 miles
4. Tacoma to Mount Rainier National Park
3 hours 40 minutes, 140 miles
5. Vancouver to Plymouth
3 hours 30 minutes, 200 miles
6. Seattle to Spokane
5 hours 30 minutes, 300 miles
7. Olympic Peninsula Loop
7 hours 30 minutes, 370 miles
8. Yakima to Walla Walla
2 hours, 130 miles
9. Othello to Omak
2 hours 30 minutes, 140 miles
10. Mount Rainier National Park to North Cascades National Park
10 hours 15 minutes, 425 miles
11. Bellingham to Mount Baker and Artist Point
1 hours 40 minutes, 60 miles
12. Burling to Twisp
2 hours 50 minutes, 140 miles
13. Chelan to Winthrop
6 hours 40 minutes, 335 miles
14. Cascade Loop
8 hours, 440 miles

Western Washington road trips

1. San Juan Island Loop

1 hour 30 minutes (50 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: Combining stunning landscapes, rich cultural history, and abundant wildlife encounters, this adventure on San Juan Island showcases the quintessential tranquility of the Pacific Northwest.

From the lively seaside town of Friday Harbor to the historic gems and breathtaking scenic spots dotted across the island, this road trip will make you fall in love with Washington all over again.

An orca surfacing off the shoreline of San Juan Island with Washington's Mt. Baker in the background.
If you are lucky, you might spot an orca or two at Lime Kiln Point State Park, which is aptly known as "Whale Watch Park".
Monika Wieland Shields/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Friday Harbor, Lime Kiln Point State Park, San Juan Island National Historical Park and Cattle Point Lighthouse.

How to get there: From the mainland, take the ferry from Anacortes to Friday Harbor on San Juan Island. To travel around the island, follow Roche Harbor Road north and drive around the loop via W Valley Road, West Side Road and False Bay Drive counter-clockwise.

Our highlights: Your island adventure will begin in the charming seaside town of Friday Harbor, the central commercial hub of the San Juan Islands, bustling with vibrant shops, art galleries, and local restaurants.

While on the island, venture towards Lime Kiln Point State Park, often referred to as "Whale Watch Park," where you get a chance to view orcas from land and marvel at a picturesque 19th-century lighthouse.

Any history buff should pay a visit to the San Juan Island National Historical Park and delve into the island's past, where the British and US troops coexisted during the Pig War crisis.

Don't miss Cattle Point Lighthouse, positioned at the southernmost tip of the island, offering panoramic views of the surrounding sea and distant mountains, and doubling as a great spot for bird-watching.

On this road trip, you will drive on the San Juan Islands Scenic Byway and take in unforgettable views of the Pacific Northwest's coastal beauty, historic sites, and stunning state parks.

Our travel tips: The ferry to the island can get busy in the summer months, so reservations are recommended.

While most attractions are open year-round, the best time to visit the island is typically from May to September, when you can fully enjoy the shops, restaurants, and art galleries of Friday Harbor, the history and nature at San Juan Island National Historical Park, and the best chance to spot whales at Lime Kiln Point State Park.

2. Seattle to Bellingham

via Whidbey Island

3 hours 10 minutes (115 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: Along the way, explore the tranquil oasis of Whidbey Island and its charming towns, and venture into Deception Pass State Park, known for its iconic bridge and breathtaking views.

Deception Pass State Park, Whidbey Island, Washington
One of the stars of this scenic road trip is Deception Pass State Park in Whidbey Island.

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Whidbey Island, Deception Pass State Park, Coupeville, Fort Casey and Port Townsend.

How to get there: Follow WA-525 north through Whidbey Island and keep heading north to reach Bellingham. If you'd like to learn more about how to reach Whidbey Island, here is our detailed guide.

Our highlights: The journey's highlights kick off with the captivating Deception Pass State Park, known for its serene forest trails, excellent spots for boating, fishing, and wildlife viewing, and the remarkable views from Deception Pass Bridge.

Continue exploring Whidbey Island, an oasis in Puget Sound, with its charming towns like Coupeville and Langley, beautiful state parks, and important historic sites like Fort Casey.

If you have extra time, you can take a ferry ride across Port Townsend. The ferry from Coupeville to Port Townsend will let you take in scenic maritime views of Puget Sound, the Strait of Juan de Fuca, and the Olympic Mountains.

Once in Bellingham, immerse yourself in the city's vibrant arts scene, visit the Whatcom Museum and the historic Fairhaven district.

You will get to admire the beautiful sights of the Pacific Northwest coastline along the Whidbey Scenic Isle Way during this road trip.

Did you know that you can take a ferry from Bellingham to Alaska? If you are looking to extend your road trip, check out our detailed guide on the ferry ride from Washington to Alaska.

Bonus: The 1999 film "Double Jeopardy," starring Ashley Judd and Tommy Lee Jones, takes place in Whidbey Island, where the main characters are wealthy residents at the beginning of the film.

Our travel tips: Deception Pass State Park and Whidbey Island can be enjoyed throughout the year, but activities such as camping and ferry rides might be more enjoyable in warmer months, with some services impacted by extreme weather.

Bellingham, a year-round destination, offers attractions and activities that are weather-dependent, with winter presenting an excellent opportunity for skiing or snowboarding at nearby Mount Baker.

3. Snoqualmie Pass road trip

2 hours 10 minutes (120 miles)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should visit: Another road trip that starts off in Seattle, this journey will take you through the stunning Tiger Mountain State Forest, renowned for its lush green scenery and ample hiking trails, and the awe-inspiring Snoqualmie Falls and mountainous Snoqualmie Pass.

Whether you're a hiking enthusiast, a sightseeing buff, a photography lover, or a cultural explorer, this road trip will put your wanderlust at ease!

Snoqualmie Falls, Washington State, USA with the morning sun peeking through the trees and a stunning waterfall surrounded by dense trees.
Snoqualmie Falls is one of the most beloved attractions in the state, and it is especially stunning during sunset.
Ronnie Chua/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Tiger Mountain State Forest, Snoqualmie Falls, Snoqualmie Pass and Iron Horse State Park.

How to get there: This is a pretty straightforward road trip as Interstate 90 (I-90) will take you directly from Seattle to Ellensburg (with a slight detour off the interstate to visit Tiger Mountain State Forest.

Our highlights: Start your scenic adventure in Tiger Mountain State Forest, a haven for nature lovers, offering a wealth of trails through verdant forests for hikers, horse riders, and mountain bikers.

Your next stop, Snoqualmie Falls, one of Washington's most popular natural attractions, promises magnificent views from both upper and lower observation decks.

Continue to Snoqualmie Pass, a mountain pass that's a winter sports hotspot offering opportunities for skiing, snowboarding, and snowshoeing during winter and hiking and mountain biking in summer.

A lesser-known gem on this route is Iron Horse State Park, a vast park nestled in the Cascade Mountains, hosting part of the Palouse to Cascades State Park Trail that traces a former railway route, offering a distinctive journey.

Bonus: Snoqualmie Falls is not only celebrated for its natural beauty but also known for being featured in the cult TV series "Twin Peaks".

Our travel tips: Tiger Mountain State Forest, open year-round, is best visited from spring through fall when the trails are most accessible.

Snoqualmie Falls offers varying experiences with changing seasons, with winter and early spring often enhancing the falls' majesty with higher water volumes.

Snoqualmie Pass features seasonal activities in its vicinity, from winter sports in colder months to hiking and mountain biking in summer.

Ellensburg hosts the famous Ellensburg Rodeo on Labor Day weekend for those keen on attending.

4. Tacoma to Mount Rainier National Park

3 hours 40 minutes (140 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: Setting off on a road trip from Tacoma to Mount Rainier National Park, you'll witness the tranquil transformation from urban cityscape to serene countryside.

Upon reaching Paradise, the park's highest drivable point, expect breathtaking vistas of Mount Rainier and wildflower meadows in spring and summer or snow-laden landscapes in winter.

Paradise area at Mount Rainier National Park, Washington
You can enter Mount Rainier National Park from Sunrise in the northeast, but we recommend traveling further down this route to Paradise to admire its stunning scenery.
Dene' Miles/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Silver Springs Campground, Sunrise, Paradise, Longmire and Mount Rainier National Park.

How to get there: Take I-5 out of Tacoma and follow WA-164 and WA-410 to reach Mt Rainier National Park. To extend your trip, WA-123 will take you towards Paradise and Longmire.

Our highlights: If you are looking to spend some time outdoors, don't miss the Silver Springs Campground, open between May and September. This campground is located along the White River, surrounded by stunning old-growth forest just outside the North Arch entrance to the Mt Rainier National Park.

Ascend to Paradise, renowned for its astounding views of Mount Rainier, wildflower meadows in summer, and snow activities in winter.

The journey will take you to Longmire, nestled within Mount Rainier National Park and housing the park's museum and visitor center with exhibits showcasing the park's rich history.

Your ultimate destination, Mount Rainier National Park, admired for its breathtaking scenery worldwide, presents awe-inspiring views of Mount Rainier, lush forests, impressive glaciers, and a plethora of outdoor activities.

Another highlight is Sunrise, a less frequented spot that provides stunning panoramas of Mount Rainier and surrounding areas, along with excellent hiking opportunities leading to alpine lakes and meadows.

Bonus: The impressive silhouette of Mount Rainier frequently graces the backdrop of various films and TV series set in the Pacific Northwest. Fans of the popular TV series "Grey's Anatomy," set in Seattle, will undoubtedly recognize the mountain from outdoor scenes.

Our travel tips: The Paradise area, famous for its vibrant wildflower meadows in summer, also offers snowshoeing and cross-country skiing in winter. However, road closures due to snow can occur during winter months, so it's advisable to check ahead.

The historic Longmire district is open year-round, with limited museum hours in winter, so check their website before traveling to avoid disappointment.

5. Vancouver to Plymouth

3 hours 30 minutes (200 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: On this road trip from Vancouver to Plymouth, you will get to marvel at the awe-inspiring vistas of Mt Hood and Mt Adams, and follow in the historic footsteps of pioneers on a portion of the Oregon Trail.

Experience the perfect blend of small-town charm and natural attractions, with Plymouth serving as a gateway to the wine country and bird-watching hotspots. This trip offers an exquisite snapshot of Washington's diverse and striking beauty.

Vineyard landscape in the Columbia River Gorge Washington state with the river in the background
You can find many fantastic vineyards as you travel through the Columbia River Gorge in Washington.

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Columbia River Gorge, Maryhill Museum of Art in Goldendale, Mt Hood, Mt Adam, and the vineries that surround Plymouth.

How to get there: You will be following Lewis & Clark Highway (State Route 14) all the way from Vancouver to Plymouth.

Our highlights: The Columbia River, your guide through most of the trip, is well-known for its array of water-based activities including boating, fishing, and kayaking.

Next, marvel at the Columbia River Gorge, a national scenic area showcasing a series of dramatic waterfalls, unique ecosystems, and remarkable geological formations.

In Goldendale, don't miss the Maryhill Museum of Art, home to a diverse art collection in an unexpectedly remote location.

Equally enticing are the multiple hiking trails flanking Mt Hood and Mt Adams (slight detours off the route) offering thrilling opportunities for hiking, mountain biking, and wildlife viewing.

If you're a wine enthusiast, you'll appreciate Plymouth's surrounding area, teeming with wineries and tasting rooms serving some of Washington state's finest wines.

This route will take you on a scenic drive on the Lewis & Clark Highway, running parallel to the Columbia River. If you have more time, consider a detour to Mount St Helens, an active stratovolcano known for its devastating 1980 eruption, now offering recreational and educational opportunities.

Bonus: The Columbia River Gorge and Mt Hood National Forest have frequently featured in movies and TV shows. Notably, the Gorge was showcased in the first "Twilight" movie and "Twin Peaks" series, and Mt Hood appeared in "The Shining," representing the exterior of the fictional Overlook Hotel.

Our travel tips: The Columbia River Gorge and Mt. Hood National Forest are accessible year-round, but the ideal times to visit are spring or fall due to potential winter ice and snow.

While the Lewis & Clark Highway is open year-round, winter travel can be hazardous due to snow and ice. Always check local conditions before setting off on your journey.

6. Seattle to Spokane

Via Leavenworth

5 hours 30 minutes (300 miles)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should visit: On this west-to-east road trip, you will get a taste of Bavaria in charming Leavenworth and admire the awe-inspiring breadth of the Columbia Plateau and follow parts of the majestic Columbia River.

You're never far from the tranquility of nature on this trip, particularly when passing through the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. Known for its mountainous terrain, rivers, and a myriad of outdoor recreational activities, this National Forest is an explorer's dream.

Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, Washington with a road surrounded by tall trees and the forest and mountains in the distance on a sunny day.
Washington is dotted with stunning forests and Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest is among our favorites.
Velimir Zeland/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Leavenworth, Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest and Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park.

How to get there: Follow I-405 to leave Seattle and hop on US-2, which will take you all the way from the west to the eastern border of Washington, where you will reach your destination in Spokane.

Our highlights: The first gem on your route is Leavenworth, Washington's Bavarian Village. Here, Bavarian-themed buildings, eateries, and festivals present a unique cultural immersion amid the stunning Cascade Mountains.

Next, traverse the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest, a vast realm of natural beauty spanning over 4 million acres and teeming with outdoor activities.

End your trip in Spokane, Eastern Washington's largest city, where attractions such as the Riverfront Park and the Spokane River Centennial Trail await.

Also consider a detour to Ginkgo Petrified Forest State Park on this road trip. This state park is home to one of the world's most unique fossil forests and hiking trails overlooking the Columbia River.

Bonus: Spokane has had its moments of fame. The city was showcased in the 1993 film "Benny & Joon," starring Johnny Depp, and is the birthplace of renowned author Sherman Alexie. Many of his works, including "The Absolutely True Diary of a Part-Time Indian," are set in the Spokane area.

Our travel tips: Seasonal changes can significantly affect this road trip, particularly during winter in the mountainous regions around Leavenworth and the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest.

Snowfall is frequent and can sometimes lead to road closures or dangerous driving conditions.

7. Olympic Peninsula Loop

7 hours 30 minutes (370 miles)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should visit: Set your sight on a voyage that showcases some of Washington's most breathtaking sights, ranging from the dramatic Pacific coastline to the densely wooded, moss-laden trees of the Hoh Rain Forest, culminating in the majestic Olympic Mountains.

A myriad of outdoor activities awaits you, including hiking, wildlife viewing, beachcombing, and historical site exploration, lending this trip its unique allure. Above all, the spectacular panoramic vistas along the route promise to etch a lasting impression of Washington's grandeur in your memory.

Sunset over the Pacific coast at Rialto beach near La Push in Olympic National Park, Washington, USA
You will be rewarded by one stunning view after another on this epic road trip on the Olympic Peninsula.
Zhukova Valentyna/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Port Angeles, Lake Quinault, Hoh Rain Forest and Dungeness Spit.

How to get there: Starting and ending your loop in Port Angeles will make your journey quite straightforward. Just follow WA-112 and US-101 counter-clockwise through Olympic National Park, Quinault, Ocean Shores and Olympia.

Our highlights: Your journey begins in Seattle before taking you to Olympic National Park, home to diverse ecosystems spanning the Pacific coastline, alpine areas, and temperate rainforests - a trove of outdoor activities awaits.

Next is the Hoh Rain Forest, one of the US's most magnificent rainforests, with its dense, moss-laden trees, ferns, and lichens offering a haven for nature enthusiasts and photographers.

Enjoy the tranquillity of Lake Quinault in the Olympic National Park's southwestern region, a serene retreat for kayaking, fishing, or a scenic lakeside drive.

Lastly, visit Dungeness Spit, the longest natural sand spit in the US, which stretches into the Strait of Juan de Fuca. It is home to the Dungeness National Wildlife Refuge and offers panoramic views of the strait.

If you are traveling to the Olympic Peninsula from Seattle, here's our detailed guide on this epic road trip.

Our travel tips: Spring and summer are ideal times to visit, when milder weather, clear trails, and blooming flora enhance the park's beauty. Fall ushers in a palette of red, orange, and yellow foliage, and the start of the Hoh Rain Forest's rainy season, which offers a unique experience.

Winter also holds its charms with opportunities for snowshoeing, skiing, and other winter activities. However, the season's high snowfall might limit accessibility and cause road closures, so always check the latest conditions before setting off.

Mid-Washington road trips

8. Yakima to Walla Walla

2 hours (130 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: The road trip from Yakima to Walla Walla is a wine aficionado's dream, immersing you in the heart of Washington's celebrated wine country with mesmerizing views of vineyards and rolling hills en route.

Yakima Valley, Washington's oldest wine region, is known for its variety of wineries and tasting rooms and a buzzing culinary scene. Walla Walla is also distinguished for its exquisite wines and vibrant arts scene.

Walla Walla, USA with vineyards in the foreground taken on a sunny day with trees and rolling hills in the background.
Walla Walla is another fantastic wine region in Washington, the perfect place to visit for wine connoisseurs and foodies alike.
Danita Delimont/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit the Yakima Valley wineries, Walla Walla Wine Region, Fort Walla Walla Museum and Prosser.

How to get there: Following I-82 and US-12 on this short road trip will take you from Yakima directly to Walla Walla.

Our highlights: Yakima Valley wineries are a must-visit while in Washington, recognized as the birthplace of Washington state's wine industry and home to over 60 wineries offering a broad range of varietals and styles.

Walla Walla Wine Region is renowned for its refined wineries and tasting rooms, particularly celebrated for its high-quality Syrah and Cabernet Sauvignon wines.

Take a historical journey at the Fort Walla Walla Museum, with exhibits spanning from pioneer days through the early 20th century.

Prosser, nestled between Yakima and Walla Walla, is a lesser-known wine region acclaimed for its inventive wineries and vineyards, and hosts numerous food and wine events throughout the year.

Bonus: The Yakima Valley's wine industry is often compared to the Burgundy region of France due to their similar latitudes.

Our travel tips: The Yakima Valley and Walla Walla typically boast warm, dry summers—perfect for outdoor activities and wine tasting. However, winter can be quite chilly, and some outdoor activities may not be available.

Wineries tend to operate year-round, although off-season hours may be more limited. Fall is a particularly good time to visit as many wineries will be harvesting grapes, providing a chance to witness the wine-making process.

9. Othello to Omak

2 hours 30 minutes (140 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: Setting off on a road trip from Othello to Omak via the Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway offers an awe-inspiring look into the Ice Age floods that shaped much of Eastern Washington.

Wildlife enthusiasts will be thrilled by the drive through the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, known for its variety of bird species and small mammals.

The Grand Coulee Dam, a concrete gravity dam on the Columbia River , on a bright day
The Grand Coulee Dam is an impressive feat of engineering that you will drive past on this road trip, and it generated more energy than the Hoover Dam!
Regine Poirier/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit the Columbia National Wildlife Refuge, the Grand Coulee Dam, Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park and Summer Falls State Park.

How to get there: Follow WA-17 (Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway) north from Othello to Omak.

Our highlights: The Coulee Corridor National Scenic Byway is an enchanting stretch of road in Washington, known for its diverse, dramatic landscapes and geological significance. Deep canyons and towering cliffs, etched out by Ice Age floods, are home to a plethora of wildlife.

The Columbia National Wildlife Refuge is also teeming with migratory birds, waterfowl, and small mammals, which makes this road trip the perfect adventure for any lover of nature.

The Grand Coulee Dam, one of the world's largest concrete structures, offers insight into the marvels of human engineering.

The Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park features the Dry Falls, a 3.5-mile-wide cliff that was once the site of the world's largest waterfall. The park offers activities like fishing, hiking, and golfing.

The less-traveled Summer Falls State Park reveals a stunning waterfall plunging down a 60-foot drop during high-water season, usually in spring and early summer.

Bonus: The Grand Coulee Dam was famously featured in a song titled "Grand Coulee Dam," penned by folk singer Woody Guthrie in the 1940s. The song was commissioned by the Bonneville Power Administration to promote the benefits of affordable hydroelectric power, irrigation, and public ownership.

Our travel tips: Sun Lakes-Dry Falls State Park is open for camping year-round, but the interpretive center typically operates from April to October. Advance campsite booking is advisable during summer.

For the Grand Coulee Dam, tours and laser light shows usually run from late spring to early fall. It's recommended to check the dam's official website for the most accurate information.

10. Mount Rainier National Park to North Cascades National Park

10 hours 15 minutes (425 miles)

Difficulty level: Ambitious

Why you should visit: This remarkable road trip from Mount Rainier National Park to North Cascades National Park leads you from the majestic peaks and glacier-carved valleys of Mount Rainier to the dramatic wilderness of the North Cascades, referred to as the "American Alps."

En route, you'll pass through the Columbia River Gorge, one of the Pacific Northwest's most breathtaking river canyons, recognized for its wind-swept landscapes and magnificent waterfalls.

Diablo Lake in North Cascades National Park at sunrise surrounded by mountains and forest.
Be prepared to fall in love with the scenery of Nort Cascades National Park, and make sure to bring your camera with you!

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Mount Rainier National Park, Methow Valley and North Cascades National Park.

How to get there: Follow US-12 east to Hanford Reach National Monument, and head north through Mattawa and past Lake Chalan to reach North Cascades National Park.

Our highlights: Mount Rainier National Park is a paradise for hikers, photographers, and nature lovers, boasting sweeping views of meadows, waterfalls, wildlife, and glacier-covered peaks.

Methow Valley, near North Cascades National Park, is a sanctuary for outdoor activities like cross-country skiing, hiking, biking, and horseback riding, and is known for its local arts scene.

North Cascades National Park, an awe-inspiring landscape of jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 300 glaciers, offers a diverse range of wildlife, extensive hiking trails, and boating experiences.

Bonus: Did you know North Cascades National Park has more glaciers than any other US park outside Alaska? That's why it's often referred to as the "American Alps."

Our travel tips: While Mount Rainier National Park is open year-round, some areas like Sunrise, are only accessible during the summer due to heavy snowfall in other seasons.

Lake Chelan is a popular summer destination for boating and swimming, while winter offers skiing and snowmobiling in nearby areas. S

For North Cascades National Park, many facilities and roads close in winter due to snow, making late spring through early fall the best time to visit.

Northern Washington road trips

11. Bellingham to Mount Baker and Artist Point

1 hour 40 minutes (60 miles)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should visit: This journey is a visual feast from start to finish, taking you along Mount Baker Highway, a scenic byway weaving through dense forests and picturesque farmlands before ascending dramatically to the Mount Baker area.

As you climb towards Mt Baker, a stunning volcano, the landscape morphs into an awe-inspiring alpine tableau. Your trip concludes at Artist Point, boasting panoramic views of Mt Baker and Mt Shuksan, arguably the state's most photogenic mountains.

Snowshoeing at Mt Baker, snow-covered slopes on a sunny day
Get ready to hit the slopes on Mt Baker if you are traveling in winter.
Danny Xu/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Bellingham Bay, Whatcom Falls Park, Mt Baker Ski Area and Artist Point.

How to get there: You will be following WA-542 (Mount Baker Highway) all the way from Bellingham to Mount Baker.

Our highlights: Kickstart your journey at Bellingham Bay, where walking trails, parks, local shops, and stunning views of the bay and San Juan Islands await.

Stop by Whatcom Falls Park, boasting four sets of waterfalls and numerous walking trails – the stone bridge across Whatcom Creek is a must-see. North Fork Brewery, a popular stop en route to Mt. Baker, offers local beers and delectable pizzas.

Mt Baker Ski Area is famous for its record-breaking snowfall and offers excellent skiing and snowboarding opportunities in winter and various outdoor activities in summer.

Finally, Artist Point, the culmination of the Mount Baker Highway, provides breathtaking panoramic views of Mount Baker and Mount Shuksan and access to several hiking trails in the summer months.

Bonus: The Mt Baker route, including Artist Point, has been featured in various films. Most notably, several scenes from the acclaimed movie "The Deer Hunter" (1978) were filmed in the Mount Baker area.

Our travel tips: The drive is accessible and beautiful all year round, but the attractions vary with the seasons. Mt Baker Ski Area is a popular winter destination, while Artist Point, accessible from July to early October, offers stunning views and hiking opportunities in the summer.

12. Burlington to Twisp

2 hours 50 minutes (140 miles)

Difficulty level: Easy

Why you should visit: On this stunningly scenic road trip, you'll navigate through the North Cascades National Park and the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, adding a touch of magic to the journey.

The beautiful turquoise Diablo Lake in Washington state's North Cascade mountains
Take in the views of Diablo Lake on this short but incredibly scenic road trip from Burlington to Twisp.
Roman Khomlyak/

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Ross Lake National Recreation Area, Washington Pass Overlook, Diablo Lake and Methow Valley.

How to get there: You will be driving on WA-20 (North Cascades Highway) all the way from Burlington to Twisp.

Our highlights: Begin your journey at the Ross Lake National Recreation Area, offering dramatic vistas, a vast azure lake perfect for fishing and boating, and stunning mountain views. It also serves as the gateway to the remote backcountry of North Cascades National Park.

The Washington Pass Overlook, the highest point on the North Cascades Highway, offers panoramic views of Liberty Bell Mountain and Early Winters Spires.

Diablo Lake, recognized for its bright turquoise color due to glacial silt, is an excellent spot for hiking, fishing, and camping.

Conclude your trip at the Methow Valley Ciderhouse, where you can sample delicious, locally-made hard ciders, enjoy live music, and take in the fantastic mountain views from the outdoor patio.

Our travel tips: The highway typically closes during winter months due to heavy snowfall and avalanche risk, usually between November and April, but the dates can fluctuate based on weather conditions.

13. Chelan to Winthrop

6 hours 40 minutes (335 miles)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should visit: On this charming road trip from Chelan to Winthrop, you'll journey through small, beloved towns representing a unique facet of Washington.

Chelan, known for its stunning lake and flourishing wine scene, Leavenworth, offering a distinct Bavarian village experience in the heart of the Cascades, La Conner, a quaint town celebrated for its tulip fields and arts scene, and finally, Winthrop, transporting you back to the Wild West.

Christmas lights decorate the Bavarian village of Leavenworth in Washington State
Leavenworth is famous for its Bavarian Christmas celebrations and if you can time your trip during the holidays, you can admire the beautiful town adorned in twinkling lights.

Main stops on this road trip: You will get to visit Lake Chalan, Leavenworth, La Conner and Skagit Valley tulip fields.

How to get there: Follow US-2 out of Chelan and travel west towards the shore, passing through Leavenworth. Briefly drive on I-5 to reach La Conner and head inland once again, traveling on WA-20 to Winthrop.

Our highlights: This road trip provides a myriad of experiences against the backdrop of breathtaking drives through mountains, valleys, and along riversides, making for an unforgettable adventure through Northern Washington's diverse landscape.

Your journey commences at Lake Chelan, nestled in the heart of the Cascade Mountain Range, it's a scenic paradise known for its outdoor activities like hiking, boating, and fishing, in addition to numerous vineyards and wineries.

Next, visit Leavenworth, a Bavarian-style village offering unique architecture, German restaurants, numerous festivals, and stunning alpine scenery.

Skagit Valley Tulip Fields, near La Conner, offer an unforgettable spectacle in spring as the valley explodes into color with world-renowned tulip blooms.

Winthrop provides a charming throwback to the Old West with wooden boardwalks, cowboy-themed stores, and old-time saloons, all set amidst stunning natural surroundings.

Just outside of Winthrop, the Methow Trails offer a network for cross-country skiing in winter and mountain biking or hiking in summer, boasting breathtaking views of the surrounding landscape.

Bonus: Leavenworth's trivia is particularly interesting. In the 1960s, the town transformed from a declining logging town into a vibrant Bavarian-themed tourist destination, a concept inspired by two businessmen who had visited the Danish-style town of Solvang in California.

Our travel tips: Leavenworth is renowned for its seasonal festivals, including the very popular Christmas Lights, which can attract significant crowds.

Chelan is best visited in the summer months to fully enjoy lake activities and the wineries and you can enjoy the colorful the Skagit Valley Tulip Festival near La Conner in April.

14. Cascade Loop

8 hours (440 miles)

Difficulty level: Moderate

Why you should visit: The Cascade Loop, an iconic Washington State road trip, presents an array of the state's most diverse and striking landscapes.

You will get to enjoy the coastal scenery of Whidbey Island, the green farmlands of Skagit Valley, and the rugged alpine panorama of North Cascades National Park.

Along the way, you'll encounter charming small towns, abundant wildlife, and historical sites, enriching the cultural experience. This trip is a journey through the heart of the Pacific Northwest, offering a taste of all the region's best features wrapped up in one epic adventure.

Winter day at Lake Chelan in Washington State, with pine trees surrounding the lake and mountains in the background
Cascade Loop is arguably one of the most scenic drives you can set off on in Washington, and it will take you to stunning landmarks such as Lake Chelan.
Fen Kuntz/

Main stops on this road trip: This is truly a “best of what Washington state has to offer” kind of road trip. You will get to visit Whidbey Island, Deception Pass State Park, Wenatchee National Forest, North Cascades National Park, Cascade Pass, and Newhalem, among many other amazing places.

If you'd like to learn more about the places you can visit, here is our definitive guide on the ultimate Cascade Loop road trip itinerary.

How to get there: Starting your journey in Seattle, one of the easiest ways to drive on the Cascade Loop is to follow it clockwise, heading north through Whidbey Island on WA-525. Then head inland through Burlington, Rockport and Newhalem.

After reaching Winthrop, start heading south through Twisp and Chelan. The Cascade Loop will then take you back towards Seattle, traveling west.

Our highlights: On Cascade Loop, you'll explore the stunning landscape of jagged peaks, deep valleys, cascading waterfalls, and over 300 glaciers in North Cascades National Park.

Visit the famous Deception Pass State Park, with its forest, coves, and high bridge vistas over a unique combination of seawater and freshwater shoreline.

Venture into the Wenatchee National Forest, covering a large portion of the Cascade Range, and offering countless recreational activities such as hiking, mountain biking, horse riding, and water sports amidst its beautiful wilderness.

Cascade Pass offers a spectacular mountain pass with breathtaking views of the surrounding peaks and glaciers, accessible via a scenic hiking trail suited for beginners.

Stop by Newhalem, a small company town known for its unique history and the "Trail of the Cedars", a picturesque nature walk that winds through an old-growth forest and alongside the Skagit River.

Bonus: Given its beauty and popularity, it's no surprise that the Cascade Loop has served as a filming location for several movies, including Practical Magic, Butterfly Effect, The Call of the Wild, The Deer Hunter, Captain Fantastic, and This Boy's Life.

Our travel tips: During the winter, parts of the route, like the North Cascades Highway, often close due to heavy snowfall.

Spring and summer bring beautiful weather and blooming wildflowers, making it an excellent time to explore the many hiking trails. Fall is equally spectacular with vibrant colors throughout the route, especially in the orchard and vineyard areas.