A much-traveled road trip between two of the most popular cities in the NorthWest of the USA, this is a route that will take through some of the most stunning natural scenery in America. It’s approximately around 180 miles in length and will take around three hours to get there. If you want to make the most of the popular and beautiful journey, here are the best stops on the Portland to Seattle drive…
1. Olympia, Washington – the capital of Washington state makes a stunning stop off
Olympia is the capital of Washington located about 60 miles from Seattle. The city boasts a broad array of tourist attractions, including Washington State Capitol Building, Capitol Lake, Capitol Theater, and Billy Frank Jr. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge. Most of these attractions are in downtown Olympia.
If you want a quick stopover, you can visit state parks in the suburbs of Olympia. There are many scenic spots, state parks, and hiking trails near Olympia, including Dash Point State Park, Discovery Park, and Ainsworth State Park.
- Capital of Washington
2. Point Defiance State Park, Washington – one of the most scenic stopovers between Portland and Seattle
Located about 34 miles from Seattle, Point Defiance State Park is a large city park covering an area of 760 acres. It also features a boardwalk, boathouse, beaches, trails, an off-leash dog park, and an old-growth forest.
Point Defiance State Park is one of the most scenic stopovers between Portland and Seattle. If you want to make your road trip truly magnificent, you must spend a few hours here before continuing your journey to Seattle. The park is open to the public daily from 7 a.m. to 8:30 p.m.
- Address: 5400 N Pearl St, Tacoma, WA 98407, United States
3. Mount Rainier National Park, Washington – this beautiful protected area makes a great stopover destination
Mount Rainier National Park is a national park located about 60 miles from Seattle. The park spans 236,381 acres of natural land, including all of Mount Rainier, an active stratovolcano in the Cascade Range of the Pacific Northwest.
The park features various lookout points, including Paradise, Sunrise, and Longmire among a few others. Paradise is a lookout that lies at the height of 5,400 feet and offers mesmerizing views of nearby mountains and meadows. The lookout also gives access to many hiking trails. Sunrise also features miles of trails amidst Mount Fremont, Burroughs Mountain, and Sourdough Ridge.
- 39000 State Route 706 E, Ashford, WA 98304
4. Lan Su Chinese Garden – makes a unique and photogenic stop on the journey
Lan Su Chinese Garden is a Chinese botanical garden in Northwest Portland. While you are driving from Portland to Seattle, you must have a stopover at this unique garden built by Chinese artisans from Suzhou.
Lan Su Chinese Garden is one of the most authentic Chinese gardens outside of China, featuring rare plants indigenous to China and classical Chinese decorative stonework. The garden also has a tea shop where light snacks are available for purchase. Lan Su Chinese Garden is open to the public daily between 10 a.m. and 4 p.m.
- Address: 239 NW Everett St, Portland, OR 97209, United States
5. Tillamook, Oregon – full of beautiful views and places to explore
Located on the southeast end of Tillamook Bay, Tillamook is a beautiful city featuring a broad array of state parks, museums, water bodies, and lighthouses.
Some of the most prominent attractions of Tillamook include Cape Lookout State Park, Cape Meares Light, Munson Creek Falls State Natural Site, Tillamook Forest Center, and Tillamook Air Museum. As most of these sites are located in the suburbs of Tillamook, you won’t have to spend an hour reaching downtown to explore the major landmarks of the city.
- 4165 N Hwy 101, Tillamook, OR 97141
6. Cannon Beach, Oregon – a beautiful and relaxing family friendly spot
Cannon Beach is a coastal city located about 80 miles from Portland. If you want to enjoy the sweeping views of the Pacific Ocean, you must spend some time exploring the sandy shores of this beautiful coastal town.
The coastal city is widely famous for Haystack Rock, a heavenly sea stack standing tall in the ocean. A few miles south of Cannon Beach lies Arcadia Beach State Recreation Site, a beach and state park with a massive picnic area. While you are in Cannon Beach, you may want to travel a few miles to visit this beautiful state park.
- OR 97110
7. Bachelor Island, Columbia River – for lovers of nature and adventure
Bachelor Island is an island located 30 miles from Portland in the Columbia River near Ridgefield. The island lies just between the Lewis River and the Willamette River. It is one of the most prominent attractions in the area as it gives access to two of the most beautiful rivers in the Pacific Northwest.
You should make your first stop at Bachelor Island while traveling from Portland to Seattle via road. As you stroll across the island, you get to indulge in the striking views of the Columbia River, Sauvie Island, Lake River, and the Willamette River.
- Washington 98642
8. Lake Sacajawea, Longview – this pretty man-made lake makes a welcome journey stop from Portland to Seattle
Lake Sacajawea is an artificial lake located less than 50 miles from Portland. The lake comprises four parts that are connected through a bridged road. Lake Sacajawea is located inside Lake Sacajawea Park, a state park covering 67 acres of the city area.
The lake features aquamarine water that is pumped from the Cowlitz River and passes to the south end into the Columbia River. Around the lakes, there is a 3.6 miles long loop trail that can be used for running, hiking, and strolling. You can make a quick stop at Lake Sacajawea while driving from Portland to Seattle.
- WA 98632
9. Silver Lake, Seaquest State Park – a beautiful hidden gem on the way to Seattle from Portland
Silver Lake is an exquisite lake that lies in Seaquest State Park in the northwest of Silverlake, an unincorporated community in Washington. Seaquest State Park is an urban park covering 475 acres of a natural island along a mile of the lakeshore. The lake, however, spans 3,000 acres in area.
There are a wide range of activities you can indulge in at Silver Lake, including camping and boating. You’ll also find a lot of luxurious resorts near the lake, including Silver Cove RV Resort, Streeters Resort, Silverlake Resort, and Mt. St. Helens RV Resort.
- 3030 Spirit Lake Hwy, Castle Rock, WA 98611
10. Marina Beach Park – a shorefront park offering a refreshing stop with beach access, a playground and picnicking
Located a mile southwest of downtown Edmonds, Marina Beach Park is a beachfront park featuring a playground and picnicking area. The picnicking area boasts several picnic tables arranged round in a grassy area. Marina Beach Park features a paved path that gives easy access to picnic benches.
You can sit in the beautiful picnicking area of the park, enjoy your picnic, and watch ferries come and go. It’s also a great place to play volleyball, although you’ll have to bring the volleyball net yourself.
Address: 470 Admiral Way, Edmonds, WA 98020, United States
Phone: +1 425-771-0230
11. Mount St Helens – a stunning natural beauty spot
Mount St Helens is an active stratovolcano located 52 miles northeast of Portland in Skamania County, Washington. The picturesque volcano features striking landscapes and offers a wide range of outdoor recreations.
From camping to hiking Mount St Helens offers all types of outdoor adventures. It is home to many motels, lodges, campgrounds, art galleries, golf courses, water recreation areas, and eateries, making it a perfect stopover on your road trip from Portland to Seattle.
- Washington 98616
12. Astoria, Oregon – this quaint town makes a perfect spot
Astoria is a city on the Columbia River featuring a variety of historical landmarks, including the Astoria Column, Columbia River Maritime Museum, and Captain George Flavel House Museum. The Astoria Column is a towering monument with murals representing the rich history and culture of the city.
Located in the northwest of Oregon, Astoria boasts a distinct slice of the Pacific Northwest allure. The city is a great stopover for history buffs while traveling from Portland to Seattle. Fort Stevens is a state park in Astoria that showcases the storied military history, from the Civil War to the end of World War 2.
13. T-Mobile Park – the home field of Major League Baseball’s Seattle Mariners and a must spot for sports fans
T-Mobile Park is a baseball park located 2 miles from downtown Seattle. If you are a baseball fan, you must make a stop at T-Mobile Park even before heading to the city center. It is the home stadium of Seattle Mariners, a professional American baseball team based in Seattle.
T-Mobile Park has a seating capacity of 47,929. The stadium has a retractable roof which makes it perfect for both indoor and outdoor events. You can also attend music concerts at the park. The park also features dozens of food trucks, serving great stadium eats and fine beer.
Address: 1250 1st Ave S, Seattle, WA 98134, United States
Phone: +1 206-346-4000
14. Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge – a stop for nature and wildlife fans
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a protected estuary spanning 762 acres of natural land. It is a haven for wildlife lovers, featuring 24 species of fish located in three habitats i.e. riverine, estuarine, or the Nisqually Reach nearshore. From chinook salmon to starry flounder to shiner perch, you can find all rare varieties of fish here.
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is also home to over 20,000 birds belonging to 275 different migrating species. These birds breed, rest, and winter in freshwater marshes and grassland.
Located in Northeast Olympia, Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge is a wildlife sanctuary housing birds, lathe animals, amphibians, mammals, and reptiles. If you are a wildlife lover, you must make a stop at this wildlife refuge center while traveling from Portland to Seattle.
Address: 100 Brown Farm Rd NE, Olympia, WA 98516, United States
Phone: +1 360-753-9467
15. Seaside, Oregon – a perfect stop for all the family
Seaside is a beautiful resort city located less than 80 miles from Portland. If you want to make a stop midway through your journey, Seaside may be the perfect place.
The best place to visit in the city is the Seaside Promenade, a boardwalk that runs along the Pacific Ocean. The city also boasts other attractions, including the Tillamook Rock Lighthouse, and Ecola State Park.
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My first true adventure began as a six month voyage around South East Asia as a fresh faced backpacker and ever since I’ve lived a semi nomadic existence, clocking up visits to over 40 countries. I’m a lover of US Road Trips, deserted beaches bathed in warm glow of a sunset, Cuban mojitos, travel destinations far away from the tourist crowds and all things Scandinavian – from cloudberry liquors to Nordic noirs. When not wandering the world and running Global Grasshopper, you’ll find me walking my rescued Greek street dog in leafy South West London, strolling around the Brighton Lanes on random day trips, hunting for photogenic landscapes or daydreaming about my favourite places; Havana, Copenhagen, Italy, Laos, California and the surreally beautiful landscapes of a wintry Iceland.