The Best PNW Fall Road Trips

Explore hidden gems this season from the Cascades to the Oregon Coast

By Danielle Centoni, Jenny Cunningham, Chelsea Lin, Hilary Meyerson, Chris Robinson and Virginia Smyth

_1_Lead_iStock-1091907908

October 15, 2019

This article originally appeared in the October 2019 issue of Seattle Magazine.

This article appears in print in the October 2019 issue, as part of the Fall Road Trips cover story. Click here to subscribe.

Arguably, one of the best parts of living in Seattle is escaping it—for short spells, of course. While we love urban life, knowing that a wealth of water, mountains and charming small towns are just a relatively short drive away makes dealing with the general chaos that comes with a busy life in a dense urban setting more bearable. This year’s fall road trips tap into all of that nearby abundance.

You can take any of these nine trips in a weekend or over a few hours yet still achieve the sense of rejuvenation that usually comes with much longer vacations. Keep this list in your back pocket for an unexpectedly free weekend or a mental health day. After all, what could be better for your sanity than a day spent wandering, playing, eating well and recharging? Whether you take to the road in pursuit of a good restaurant or a good trailhead, we’ve got you covered.

Washington State’s Red Mountain and Richland Are a Wine Lover’s Paradise 
A Road Trip to the Oregon Coast Is the Perfect Weekend Getaway 
Hit the Road to Centralia and Chehalis for a Charming Old-school Getaway 
Central Oregon Wilderness Offers Ancient Forests and Mountain Views 
Whidbey Island’s Langley Is the Perfect Out-of-town Dining Destination 
The Best Day Trip Outside of Seattle 
Find Great Puget Sound Beaches and Outdoor Recreation on Camano Island 
A Weekend Trip to Bellingham Promises Excellent Brews and Outdoor Excursions 
Venetian Gondola Tours Are the Best Way to Explore Gig Harbor

1_lead_Beacon-Hill-Park-bridge-winter

The Walkable, Culture-rich City of Victoria Makes a Perfect Winter Escape

Spend your next weekend getaway in the Great White North

Beacon Hill Park

iStock-1006289348

Plan the Perfect Day Trip to Bainbridge Island

Art, good food and cozy adventures are just a ferry ride away

This article appears in print in the November 2019 issue. Click here to subscribe. It only takes a 30-minute ferry ride and short walk to get to the heart of Bainbridge Island, the downtown area of Winslow, whose streets are lined with shops and eateries. Though you can easily spend a day wandering this quirky hamlet’s thriving arts…

20160910_Fidelitas_660

Washington State’s Red Mountain and Richland Are a Wine Lover’s Paradise

You won’t find hotels, restaurants or shops on Red Mountain. But the state’s most petite wine-growing region does have a generous community of makers and growers, with a recreational playland a stone’s throw away

Guests enjoy a meal and wine in a vineyard at Fidelitas Wines

iStock-1161917767

A Road Trip to the Oregon Coast Is the Perfect Weekend Getaway

A drive to the southern Oregon coast offers plenty of diversions, from wine to charming towns to elk watching

This article appears in print in the October 2019 issue, as part of the Fall Road Trips cover story. Click here to subscribe. We didn’t know what to expect when we rolled into Oakland, Oregon, a tiny town just a short hop off I-5 south of Cottage Grove. But we sure didn’t expect a gleaming lineup of vintage cars along…

OLY_Club-6503

Hit the Road to Centralia and Chehalis for a Charming Old-school Getaway

Located between Seattle and Portland, these two cities offer history, shopping and outdoor attractions

This article appears in print in the October 2019 issue, as part of the Fall Road Trips cover story. Click here to subscribe. From Interstate 5, it’s easy to take exit 82 to visit Centralia’s outlet stores and conclude that’s all there is to this southwest Washington town. But travel a few blocks farther and you’ll hit the stroll-worthy downtown. Streets…

silver_falls_DSC03764

Central Oregon Wilderness Offers Ancient Forests and Mountain Views

A dream drive through an under-the-radar Oregon wonderland, from lowland forest to Mount Jefferson

Take time to fully appreciate the splendor of Silver Falls State Park