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Experience Washington’s Wine Country and Mount Rainier From the Road
Day 1: Seattle to Puyallup
On day one, get ready for road trip excitement, although you don’t have far to go. It’s just a short forty-five-minute drive from Seattle to Puyallup. Take I-5 to WA-167 past Kent to arrive at your Best Western destination. You can use the extra time to beef up your road trip play list or you can venture 12-miles to the east to Tacoma.
Tacoma is home to many word-famous museums including the Museum of Glass and the LeMay Museum- America’s Car Museum. You can also explore forts and lighthouses to learn about Tacoma’s early roots. When it comes to dining, you won’t be hard pressed to find a selection for everyone. Tacoma’s dining scene ranges from greasy burger joints to relaxing on the waterfront with fresh oysters and a home brewed IPA.
Day 2: Puyallup to Prosser
To experience the south side of Mount Rainier National Park, choose the route that takes you to Prosser via WA-12 after heading south toward Eatonville. Emerald covered ridges will surround you as you wind your way past towns like New Reliance and drive along the banks of the Nisqually River.
When directly southeast of the park, you’ll experience fantastic views of Unicorn Peak, and if it’s a clear day you may see the glacier capped peak of Mount Rainier. You’ll notice when you leave the park behind because the landscape quickly changes from densely covered hills to an arid basin climate. In Yakima Valley there are plenty of places including distinct breweries and orchards.
Once in Prosser, you can stretch your legs at the Sunnyside Wildlife Recreation Area and visit the nearby 14 Hands Winery.
Day 3: Prosser to Washougal
As you drive south from Prosser, the road rises quickly through Horse Heaven Hills. Gaze at beautiful pastures, meadows filled with wildflowers and vineyards in this central Washington Valley. Head west on WA-14 along the Columbia River to Maryhill where you may want to stop at the replica of Stonehenge that was constructed as a WWI Memorial.
Further west along the Columbia River, the Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area is just past the town of Hood. Enjoy marvelous views of the 80-mile long canyon that towers over the river with vistas of Washington and Oregon on either side.
Continue on the Lewis and Clark Hwy to Washougal, one of the southernmost cities in Washington. If you’re looking for an urban adventure, both Vancouver and Portland are less than 25-miles away.
Day 4: Washougal to Chehalis
A morning stop in Vancouver can put you at one of its wonderful historic attractions like Fort Vancouver or the George C. Marshall House. Main Street is wrought with fine and contemporary art galleries capturing the cities native hipster vibe.
Heading north on I-5 you’ll begin to catch glimpses of Mount St. Helens to the east. In Woodland, WA the Hulda Klager Lilac Gardens are a must-see in April. If you’re making good time, it’s worth a detour to the Mount St. Helens National Volcanic Monument off WA-504.
Enjoy a good night’s rest at the Best Western in Chehalis and get ready for another road tripping day.
Day 5: Chehalis to Ocean Shores
If you continue north on I-5 you’ll land in Olympia before cutting west on WA-12. Here the state capitol building beams over the city with its 287-foot-high dome. Enjoy dining dockside at a deli or café.
The city of Aberdeen brings to mind the grunge music legend Kurt Cobain. Here he and bass guitarist Krist Novoselic founded the band Nirvana. Interested fans can stop at the Kurt Cobain Memorial Park to pay tribute.
Once in Ocean Shores, you can take it easy. You are, after all on the beach.
Day 6: Ocean Shores to Bainbridge Island
If you are an early riser I would take a few hours for a hike and exploration of the Olympic National Forest. Home to multiple rain forests, waterfalls and hot springs the forest offers vegetation unlike any other found in the Pacific Northwest.
WA-12 to Hwy 3 will take you east to Bainbridge Island where you can explore the shoreline at Battle Point Park. At dinner time, take a stroll along Eagle Harbor where you’ll find a variety of casual American cuisine restaurants.
Day 7: Bainbridge Island to Seattle
The Bainbridge to Seattle ferry takes 1 hour and 10 minutes to make the 10-mile crossing over Elliott Bay. Which means that you have plenty of time for site seeing both before and after you leave the island. The Bainbridge Island Museum of Art can introduce you to contemporary culture while the Bainbridge Island Historical Museum can acquaint you with the island’s past.
Once back in Seattle, wind down the road trip with some unique souvenirs. Ye Old Curiosity Shop is a 100-year-old purveyor of odd gifts like shrunken heads and other unusual artifacts. The Greenwood Space Travel Supply Co. offers whimsical space-themed items and even Seattle’s Pike Place Fish Market has some one-of-a-kind items available in the gift shop.