Even though the days of spontaneously hitting the road over Memorial Day Weekend with a cooler packed full of beverages, a couple of sleeping bags and a tent are long gone, with a little bit of planning, plenty of gear and if there’s any room left in the car—some adult beverages to enjoy once you’ve reached your destination—a family road trip over Memorial Day Weekend is totally doable. If you’re ready to spend a long weekend away from home, scroll down for eight weekend destinations that aren’t too far from Seattle.
A Peninsula Getaway
If you’re looking for a road trip with options (like ferries vs. bridges and hotels vs. campgrounds), Hood Canal is the place to go. Located between the Olympic and Kitsap Peninsulas, this fab family destination will take you less than two hours to get to (that is… if you don’t encounter road and ferry traffic). Consider skipping town a day early and returning on Tuesday (cough cough). Since you’ll be trading high-rise buildings and busy freeways for sea-creature filled tide flats and beautiful beaches, your kiddos will think they’re in a whole new world in Hood Canal. And since this road trip does have options, you and the fam can either pitch a tent under drippy trees (OK, maybe it won’t rain this year), book a cabin or reserve a room at the totally awesome and totally kid-friendly Alderbrook Resort & Spa.
A Getaway with Bavarian-Themed Charm
Surrounded by beautiful mountains, Leavenworth is a small Bavarian-styled town that doesn’t skimp on its theming. Most of the architecture here is meant to look as if the buildings were plucked from Bavaria and then placed in Eastern Washington. You can expect to hear Bavarian music playing throughout the town (often live!) and see many of the local shopkeepers dressed in traditional "Bavarian wear.” Traditional food can also be found around every corner...not to mention the many ice cream and candy shops that line the streets. If all this isn’t enough to impress your petite posse, Leavenworth also boasts a handful of parks, hiking trails, swimming pool, miniature golf course, arcade, movie theater and even a pump track to enjoy as well as plenty of outdoor activities (think: fishing, biking, golfing, hiking, horseback riding, birding, zip lining).
Stay at: Sleeping Lady Mountain Resort with an on-site Aspen Leaf Day Spa, organic farm-to-table restaurant, cozy accommodations and spectacular rock pool. You also can’t beat the Enzian Inn which has fantastic indoor facilities–pool, hot tub, basketball court, ping pong room–that are great for burning off that pre-bedtime energy. And at the expansive Icicle Village Resort, at the town’s western entry off Highway 2, you can choose from standard hotel rooms or three-bedroom condos, many of which have stunning views. Either way, you will be a skip and a hop away from all the fun at the Icicle Junction Activity Center.
Good to Know: The Baren Haus serves up some of the best burgers in town with homemade hamburger buns and Gustav’s is a family style pub that's been a Leavenworth favorite since 1982. Also, the Wood Shop and Hat Shop is a must-see along with the always popular Nutcracker Museum.
An Indoor Water Park with Bells and Whistles
Rain or shine, you can’t go wrong with a trip to Great Wolf Lodge. Located in Grand Mound, approximately 1.5 hours south of Seattle, this fab water park/hotel/spa, is the perfect place to make some serious Memorial Day memories. And since this massive water park is kept at a balmy 84 degrees, you won’t notice if the temps outside don’t get above 60. In addition to tubing, splashing and sliding, you and the kiddos can grab a wand and battle a dragon in MagiQuest, get an ice cream-themed manicure in the Scoops Kids Spa, try your hands at the Howlers Peak Ropes Course or enjoy a nightly fireside story time in the grand lobby. Don’t forget to pack the s’mores makings!
Great Wolf Lodge Grand Mound
20500 Old Hwy 99 S.W.
Centralia, Wa 98531
An Oasis in the Mountains
Super easy to get to (assuming Snoqualmie Pass is not bumper to bumper traffic) Suncadia, A Destination Hotel offers a posh experience, yet is casual, kid-friendly and a bit adventurous. Set on the sunny eastern slopes of the Cascades, 80 miles east of Seattle, families visiting Suncadia for the three-day weekend can enjoy golfing, biking, hiking trails and horseback riding as well as fab hotel amenities including a swim and fitness center (with two splash-tastic water slides and an indoor and outdoor pool), a new pool at Nelson Farm, fine and casual dining, nightly (complimentary) s'mores around the property's fire pits, an outdoor amphitheater and spa services. Check Suncadia’s website for special weekend packages.
A Popular Locale East of the Cascades
If you’re looking for drier weather and warmer temps, you’ll want to head east to Lake Chelan. Located 3.5 hours from Seattle, this family-friendly destination is surrounded by fabulous wineries, beautiful orchards and rolling hills. Not to mention, the crystal blue waters of Lake Chelan. Many local businesses, who take the winter off, open on Memorial Day weekend such as Slidewaters (one of the Northwest’s largest and most popular water parks), Ralley Alley Go-Karts and the Putting Course at Don Morse Park.
An Island Getaway With Small Town Charm
If a little island adventure is what you need this Memorial Day Weekend, you’ll love the variety that Whidbey has to offer, from scenic farms to quaint towns to the arts to endless beaches. The kids will have fun exploring forts, beach combing and hiking. And everyone will enjoy walking the pier at historic Coupeville, exploring Greenbank Farm or riding the Coupville/Keystone ferry to downtown Port Townsend.
An Ocean Getaway
Located just south of Pacific Beach on the Washington coast, Seabrook offers a variety of vacation rental homes (both oceanfront and ocean view) and an expansive Pacific Ocean shoreline to play all day. Beyond building sandcastles and splashing in the ocean surf, you’ll find plenty of wide-open spaces to fly a kite or watch others practice with their stunt kites and other wind-powered devices. Bring a ball to kick around or remote-controlled cars to race up and down the smooth beach sand. We’re pretty sure your kids will run out of batteries before they run out of shoreline. If seafood is your thing, you can also clam on the beach for razors, depending on the season or take advantage of the rentals at Buck’s Bikes in town. Stop in before you hit the beach for bikes of every shape and size, including trailers for the tykes in tow. You can rent them in two-hour windows or for a little more, claim it as yours for the day. Then, hit the beach for some fat tire sand time. Buck’s also rents skimboards and Seabrook is a primo spot to check out this sport if you and your crew haven’t already. The slick coastal sand means smooth sailing when you ride the shoreline on this cross between surfing and skateboarding.
Stay at: A beach cottage. It's the first step in planning your simple Seabrook vacay. And it couldn’t be easier than filling in filters to narrow the expansive rental options so what you end up with is exactly what you need. Seabrook’s got pet-friendly cottages, cottages with ocean views, cottages that sleep 12; and each one has different perks, like bicycles guests can use, hot tubs for soaking or gas grills for a summer BBQ, that make this an oh-so-easy place to stay with kids.
An Island Adventure with Options
With numerous places to stay, camp or glamp and several islands to hop, a three-day weekend getaway to the San Juan Islands is the perfect option for families itching to get out of town. Since island life is slower-paced, you’ll need to remember to pack your patience (and you can practice that in the ferry line when you reach Anacortes). No matter which island you choose, there’s something fun for everyone. The kids will have a blast kayaking and exploring historic parks. Everyone can enjoy boating, learning about Orca whales and looking for treasures on the beach.
Stay at: Rosario Resort & Spa, West Beach Resort or YMCA Camp Orkila on Orcas Island, the Lopez Islander Resort on Lopez or Roche Harbor, Lakedale Resort or the Earthbox Inn & Spa on San Juan Island. With so many choices to stay and so many possibilities for fun, Memorial Day Weekend 2019 might just be your family’s best one yet.
Good to Know: Anacortes ferry reservations are a must! Reserve online before you go.