Beautiful Day-Trip Destinations Near Tacoma
Let’s look at some day-trip destinations within an hour or two’s ride from Tacoma.
Castle Rock is just over eighty miles on I5, taking an hour and twenty minutes. Or, you can take WA-7S and US-12W, which is a trip of 113 miles and takes two hours and fifteen minutes. Mt. Rainier and Mt. St. Helens both have visitors’ centers, hiking trails, and gorgeous scenery. Once you get there, you can visit the Johnston Visitor Center where exhibits, a movie, and talks by Rangers give you an idea of the Mt. St. Helen’s eruption and its aftermath. The Johnston Ridge Observatory has a glorious panoramic view, displays, and a movie. Weyerhauser Corporation has another center, the Forest Learning Center where you can see the difference between Weyerhauser’s reforestation and the pace of natural regrowth at the monument. You can also see elks. The Castle rock Exhibit Hall and Visitor’s Center includes information about the eruption and also about the logging industry, including a working replica of a sawmill and a steam tractor.
If you ride the Spirit Lake Memorial Highway, you’ll have scenic views in every direction. Be sure to watch the road and stay clear of drivers who might be gawking, especially on bridges and switchbacks.
For a short hike, try the Hummocks Trail, a two-and-a-half mile look. It’s not too steep and about an hour’s walk takes you through a variety of habitats: deciduous forest, grassland, and marsh. Loowit Trail #216 crosses the barren pumice plain—like a moonscape. You’ll have views of the logs in Spirit Lake and the crater with a lava dome.
When you’re tired of hiking take a moment to stop and smell the perfume at Castle Rock Lavender or meditate in one of the garden rooms in the Gardens at Stillmeadow.
Leavenworth offers a plethora of things to do. It takes between two-and-a-half and three hours to get there, and there are many roads you can take, including I-90, WA-97, and WA-2. Waterfront Park borders the Wenatchee River. You can sit under the trees and unwind or take a quick dip at one of many beaches. Then see what’s going on at Front Street Park—an art show, a concert at the gazebo, or just people-watching.
The Leavenworth Nutcracker Museum houses over six-thousand tools meant for cracking nuts going all the way back to Roman times. George and Arlene Wagner gathered the collection and donated it, and the building, to the city.
Leavenworth hosts the Leavenworth Summer Theater with venues such as Ski Hill Amphitheater in the surrounding hills and Festhalle Theater downtown.
For something more active, you might hike the Icicle Gorge Trail in the Okanogan-Wenatchee National Forest. It follows the turbulent Icicle Creek on both banks. Or try one of eight ziplines run by Leavenworth Ziplines over the Cascades’ forests. Soar over the canyon and the treetops, perfect for families.
The Icicle Brewing Company in downtown gives you the best possible means of understanding the brewing process. In the tasting room, you can watch the process and enjoy one of the brews.
Port Angeles is just over a hundred miles away on highway 101. While you’re there, enjoy a walking tour of Art on the Town Outdoor Sculptures—pick up a brochure from a merchant. And don’t miss the “museum in the open air” that is Webster’s Woods that features over 125 sculptures and site works in a woodland setting. It’s open year-round, during daylight hours, and it’s free.
When you’re in town for just a day, a tour can be a good bet. Like Seattle, Port Angeles has an underground and Heritage Tours will show you buildings from the past—and even a brothel. Or take an Experience Olympic eco-tour to Olympic National Park and its surroundings. Take a self-driving tour through 84 acres of wildlife, including the famous Waving Bears, at the Olympic Game Farm. Whale watching is a must. The Port Angeles Whale Watch Company guarantees sightings from May through November, and you might also see harbor seals, porpoise, sea lions, and a variety of sea birds. Perhaps equally spectacular is a balloon ride. The Morning Star Balloon Company takes you soaring over the Olympic Mountains, the Cascades, the islands of the Salish Sea, and more.
Wherever you decide to ride this summer, make sure you stop by Eagle Leather! We have all the gear and accessories you need for making memories on your motorcycle this summer.