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Adventure Guide: Seattle, Washington


For those who love both city life and outdoor adventure, Seattle is a great place to visit. For one, you have the majestic Mount Rainier taking over the skyline. Secondly, several outdoor experiences are a short drive away. From hiking in rainforests to climbing massive mountaintops, the nearby adventure is truly one-of-a-kind.

As Seattle is one of the most fun-filled outdoor destinations in the country, it’s the perfect place for an epic campervan road trip! Whether you camp in the middle of the woods or at a luxurious campground, there are several opportunities for a van camping experience like no other!

In this post, we’ll talk about the various outdoor attractions and activities in the Seattle area, including why late summer/early fall is the ideal time to visit!

About Seattle, WA

Seattle is a major city located in northwestern Washington. With lush vegetation, unbelievable scenery, and close proximity to forests and national parks, several adventure-lovers call this place home. Seattle is close to three breathtaking national parks; Olympic, Mount Rainier, and North Cascades!

As you’re planning a road trip to the area, consider making a few stops on the ride over. No matter where you’re coming from, adventure is out there!

Where to Stop Along the Way

Check out our favorite stops on your drive into Seattle:

Driving North

A northern drive to the area offers a bit of everything. If you’re coming from California, we recommend stopping at a few places along the coast, including Big Sur, Monterey, and Point Reyes National Seashore. We also suggest a trip to the Sierra Nevada Mountains, especially Lake Tahoe, Yosemite, and Mammoth Lakes!

As you cruise through Oregon, you can’t go wrong with the adventure-packed town of Bend. Other top places of interest include Mount Hood, Crater Lake National Park, and Columbia River Gorge National Scenic Area.

Heading West

Driving west into Seattle is also a stunning ride. The Central Cascade Range is a breathtaking area just east of the city, featuring jagged peaks and a number of great hiking trails. Several impressive mountains in that region provide strenuous hikes and insane views.

If your trip takes you through northern Idaho, you’re in for a treat. Coeur d’Alene is a fun town located on the shores of Lake Coeur d’Alene, and you can’t miss the hiking trails in Canfield Mountain Natural Area and Coeur d’Alene National Forest. If Montana is on the agenda, Glacier National Park is a must! Here you can see stunning glacier-carved mountain peaks, an abundance of wildlife, and extraordinary glaciers that still exist today.

Driving South

Headed to Seattle from northern Washington or parts of Canada? If so, you’re fortunate to be driving through an adventure paradise! First things first, you can’t pass up nearby North Cascades National Park. Even if you don’t have time to hike, you should still drive along the magical North Cascades Highway.

If your travels bring you through parts of Canada, be sure to check out the magnificent fall colors in the mountains, including the following top-notch hiking trails:

  • Garibaldi Lake
  • Black Tusk
  • Panorama Ridge
  • Joffre Lakes
  • Tunnel Bluffs

Luckily, these adventures are all in the Vancouver area, which is just a three-hour drive from Seattle!

Heading East

While there isn’t much room between Seattle and the Pacific Ocean, there is one of the most astonishing national parks in the country—Olympic National Park! This area is just a two-hour drive from Seattle. Here you’ll find a gorgeous rainforest, snow-covered peaks, and breathtaking adventures around every corner.

Adventure Activities Around Seattle

Once you arrive in Seattle, you probably can’t wait to explore! However, with so much nearby adventure, it’ll be hard to fit everything into your schedule.

Make sure to add the following activities and attractions to your list:


If you drove to Seattle in a campervan, chances are you’re going to hit the hiking trails! Luckily, you’ll have plenty to choose from in the area. Whether you want to stay close to the city or drive deep into the wilderness, you’ll find trails pretty much everywhere.

Take a look at some top-rated hiking routes in the Seattle area:

  • Rattlesnake Ledge
  • Discovery Park Loop, Discovery Park
  • Poo-Poo Point
  • Mailbox Peak
  • Washington Park Arboretum
  • Mount Si
  • Wallace Falls

With the abundance of trails in the region, you’ll also find routes for all ability levels!


Seattle mountain bikers and road bikers have countless trails in their backyard. Furthermore, many are even within city limits! If you prefer hitting the asphalt on two wheels, check out Green Lake Trail, Seattle Waterfront Pathway, or Lincoln Park Trail. If mountain biking is more of your thing, you can’t go wrong with Woodland Park Trail, Offramp, or Limestone Loop!

Water Recreation

If you’re traveling during the late summer/early fall, there should still be some warmer days to enjoy on the water. And there is plenty of water to enjoy! From boating and kayaking to fishing and swimming, there are several activities you can experience. If you’re paddling, some top spots include Lake Union, Alki Beach, and Magnuson Park. But if you want to spot a whale or some cute seal pups, head over to San Juan Islands!

Rock Climbing

Whether you like indoor or outdoor rock climbing, Seattle is the place for you. As this area sees its fair share of rain, opting for indoor climbing will happen on many occasions. But if the weather’s right, outdoor climbing in the surrounding area can’t be beat! If you’re planning an indoor climb, head over to Uplift Climbing, Edgeworks Climbing Seattle, or Vertical World Seattle. For outdoor climbs, these are considered some of the best climbing areas:

  • Index
  • Exit 38
  • Little Si

As you’re planning a day out climbing, be sure to pack a rain jacket, bug spray, and a helmet!

Leaf Peeping

If you’re in Seattle during the fall months, you’re just in time for the dazzling fall colors! Once you see the changing leaves with Mount Rainier as the backdrop, you won’t ever want to leave. And even if you don’t travel to the forest, many parts of Seattle are covered in stunning autumn foliage!

Take a look at some of our favorite leaf peeping spots in Seattle and the surrounding area:

  • Chuckanut Drive
  • Leavenworth
  • Monte Cristo
  • Rockwood Farm
  • Kubota Garden

If you’re looking to camp in Seattle, fall is the perfect time to do so! Nothing beats relaxing at a campground with the leaves changing color around you.

Travel Tips

  • Make sure to pack your rain jacket.
  • Check the weather before planning your outdoor adventures.
  • As local traffic can be crazy, try walking to some areas instead of driving.
  • Plan to drive during off-peak times.
  • Temperatures cool down quickly after the sun sets, so plan accordingly.
  • The Space Needle and Pike Place Market are some must-see attractions!
  • Coffee is cherished in Seattle, so stop by some local shops.


Here are some details of the area’s top attractions for van campers:

Hiking Trails

Hidden Gems

Looking for a secluded hike or less popular attraction in Seattle? Check out these options below:

  • Secret Beach
  • Jose Rizal Park
  • Marmot Pass
  • Smith Tower
  • Boulder River Trail

If you ever get tired of the crowds, these places offer the peace and quiet you need!

Explore the Seattle Area Today!

Millions of adventurers flock to Seattle every year to take advantage of the local outdoor attractions. If you’re ready to plan a once-in-a-lifetime trip to the area, contact Rec Van today! We’re happy to sell a wide variety of new and used campervans for any type of adventure.

Browse through our van inventory today, or give us a call for more information!