Looking for a few awesome Pacific Northwest weekend getaways for winter? Keep scrolling to find out some really beautiful winter weekend getaways from Seattle!
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Winter is coming and I think we’re all feeling a bit restless.
I know going for a scenic drive or a weekend trip can be such a great investment in mental health, especially in the Pacific Northwest where it tends to be a bit gloomy.
If you are one of those people who just needs to escape for a bit and enjoy a change of scenery, I’ve got some pretty cool Pacific Northwest weekend getaways for Winter.
I asked some travel blogger friends to talk about their favorite PNW weekend getaways in Washington State, Oregon, and British Columbia. Plus, I added in a couple of our family favorites, too!
A lot of these can actually be day trips if you are uncomfortable spending the night in a hotel. Or you can find a lovely vacation rental near these areas.
I also included a bunch of Pacific Northwest weekend trips in British Columbia on this list for families specifically who live in Canada or for U.S. families who want to think ahead for next year.
Okay, let’s start planning!
Winter Weekend Getaways from Seattle that are Worth the Drive
Washington State Weekend Getaways
MOUNT RAINIER NATIONAL PARK
An excellent winter Pacific Northwest getaway is Mount Rainier National Park.
In this beautiful US National Park, you can enjoy magnificent winter views and engage in fun winter activities.
Mount Rainier is located in Washington State, about 2.5 hours driving from Seattle.
The Paradise Inn is a great place to stay in Mount Rainier NP. However, unfortunately, this cozy mountain hotel is not open during the 2020 Season.
However, good year-round hotels are found in Ashford, such as the lovely Nisqually Lodge.
During the winter months, there are only two access points to Mount Rainier National Park: the Carbon River Entrance and the Nisqually Entrance.
Due to the heavy snowfall, the other entrances into the park are closed in winter.
Snow tires are mandatory from November and May, so be sure to bring these on your Mount Rainier winter trip.
Be prepared to self-cater and bring enough food, snacks, and water as there aren’t any restaurants open in winter within the park.
The lack of facilities during winter (other than the basic ones such as toilets) is more than compensated for by the absence of crowds and the stunning landscapes.
There are also many fun winter activities that you can engage in, such as a ranger-led snowshoeing hike and snowmobiling (only along Westside Road).
The Paradise Snow Play Area is great for families with kids, here the little ones can go sledding, make snow angels and have a snowball fight.
It’s one of the best overnight or day trips in Washington State this winter! And be sure to check out the fun things to do at Mount Rainier with kids!
Lotte of Beste voor Kids
OLYMPIC NATIONAL PARK
Olympic National Park is a fantastic winter destination! While some areas of the park are closed, others remain open year round.
You’ll find deep snow at Hurricane Ridge, and if you want to avoid snow, head to the rainforests and beaches.
There are tons of cool things to do in Olympic National Park in Winter. Here are my favorites:
- Snowshoe at Hurricane Ridge: Ranger guided snowshoe outings for all ages are offered for a small fee. Snowshoe rental and instruction included!
- Learn to Ski or Snowboard at Hurricane Ridge: Hurricane Ridge is home to one of only two ski areas operating inside National Parks!
- Make it a Beach Day: Rialto Beach, Kalaloch Beach and Ruby Beach are particularly good beaches to visit in winter since they are close to parking without requiring a longer hike to get to the beach. You might even catch a gorgeous late afternoon winter sunset if it’s a sunny day.
- Walk the Rainforest: The Hoh Rainforest is open all year as is the Quinalt Rainforest. Perfect for a rainy day! Make sure to check the road conditions as winter storms occasionally close roads due to downed trees.
There are also several great places to stay at Olympic National Park.
Located on the coast, the Kalaloch Lodge is open all year, with pet friendly cabins as well as lodge rooms. Kalaloch Beach is the only dog friendly beach in the park, making this a good destination if you’re traveling with a dog.
The Lake Quinalt Lodge is also open all year and is a beautiful historic property with quick access to the Quinalt Rainforest. Hotels and Airbnbs are located around Forks and Port Angeles.
Food options in Olympic National Park are limited. Make sure to bring food, drinks and snacks so you don’t have to plan your trip around the limited food options.
If the weather isn’t ideal for picnics, you can enjoy your food indoors at the Hurricane Ridge visitor center.
There are a few restaurants available at Kalaloch Lodge and Lake Quinalt Lodge (check for current winter hours). In Port Angeles, try Thai Food at Jasmine Bistro or Pizza at Westside Pizza or Gordy’s.
The Olympic National Park is soon to be your favorite winter getaway in Washington State!
Jennie Flaming of Ordinary Adventures
If you’re looking for a European escape, but aren’t able to hop across the pond, Leavenworth, Washington is the perfect destination for a Pacific Northwest getaway.
Just 2.5 hours from Seattle and about 4 hours and 45 minutes from Portland, Leavenworth is a Bavarian town full of charm, good food and a plethora of winter activities from wine tasting to live entertainment to sleigh rides.
If you’re looking for unique accommodations look no further than the Leavenworth Tiny Home Village, about 30 minutes outside of the downtown area, which features 5 Bavarian style tiny homes with modern interiors.
For a more traditional accommodation experience, that also happens to be centrally located, check out the Bavarian Lodge directly across from Front Street Park.
It’s so centrally located that if you’re in town for the annual Christmas Lighting Ceremony you can watch it from your room.
The great thing about Leavenworth is there is something for everyone. It’s even one of the best Pacific Northwest romantic getaways!
In November the Christkindlmarkt makes its appearance, and in January is the Bavarian Ice Festival.
There is a reindeer farm just outside of town (on the way to the tiny home village), and in November and December they offer complimentary cocoa, cider and cookies with your – starting the second week of November Santa makes an appearance.
The region also thrives in local wine making so adding in a couple of tasting rooms is a must. Some of the best in Leavenworth include Milbrandt, Ryan Patrick and The Wine Cellar (which features 6 different tasting rooms).
There is also no shortage of winter specific activities: skiing, sledding, hopping on a snowmobile, dog sled tours and even sleigh rides.
When in Leavenworth, you can’t not stop and have a pint and a pretzel!
Rhein Haus has one of the best views (and pretzels) in town, and also features pop-up igloos on the deck in the winter, making it a must when you’re visiting.
Andreas Keller provides German food in a more traditional restaurant setting.
Icicle Brewing is one of the tried and trues in Leavenworth, featuring outdoor seating with fireplaces built in the table, complimentary games and puzzles to play inside, and a solid live music schedule.
And for the perfectly delicious souvenir on your way out of town stop at the Gingerbread Factory.
Ask any local where to go for a Washington State weekend getaway this winter and they will always say Leavenworth is one of the best Christmas getaways in Washington State!
Lindsey Messenger of Seven Day Weekender
SEMIAHMOO RESORT & SPA
Sometimes we just need a beach vacation, even in the winter.
Here in the Pacific Northwest, beaches are less about suntanning and swimming and more about looking for cool rocks or walking on the beach.
Semiahmoo Resort & Spa is located in Blaine and you can actually see the Peace Arch border crossing into Canada from the resort. It’s the closest you can get to Canada without a passport
We’ve stayed at Semiahmoo Resort & Spa a few times and we always recommend it to people because it’s just so peaceful and lovely. It’s easy to see why it’s one of the top Washington State resorts for families as well as couples.
And there are lots of places to avoid people and maintain privacy.
There are fire pits, which are great for roasting marshmallows and making s’mores. And they have really tasty restaurants with in-room dining.
I recommend getting a room on the ground floor that faces the water. That way, you can go in and out easily. The beach is perfect for getting fresh air and skipping rocks in the water.
If you love relaxing weekend trips in Washington, Semiahmoo is the place to be! And it’s one of the bet romantic getaways in Washington State!
Check rates and availability for Semiahmoo Resort & Spa this winter.
Lake Chelan is a popular wine country destination about 3.5 hours east of Seattle, but what most people don’t know is it’s also an excellent winter trip destination.
It’s one of the deepest lakes in the US, and in the winter the hills sloping toward the water are covered with snow-dusted vineyards.
When people say they’re going to “Chelan,” there are two towns surrounding the southeast tip of the lake where they might visit: Chelan on the south shore or Manson on the north.
Chelan has the bigger downtown area with more shops and restaurants, but both sides have wineries.
Stay in Manson if you prefer less crowds.
One unique option is Chelan Valley Farms, which has a beautiful lake view from where you’ll stay.
There are so many things to do in Lake Chelan in winter. Of course you can go wine tasting.
If you plan your trip around Winterfest in January, you can try a bunch of wineries at once, including ones that close in the winter. This event also has things to entertain kids, such as ice sculptures, a cocoa crawl, and train rides.
Beyond wine there are a lot of outdoor winter activities. Echo Ridge Recreation Area has a network of cross-country skiing and snowshoe trails. There is also a small downhill skiing and tubing area perfect for beginners and kids.
Or you can make the about 1.5 hours drive northeast to the Methow Valley, which has the largest groomed cross-country skiing trail network in North America.
When you’re ready to eat, make sure to visit Blueberry Hills in Mason. It’s a local’s-only spot with excellent breakfast and homemade blueberry products made on their farm. Make sure to get the blueberry cinnamon rolls!
Another great option is Mi Paloma in downtown Manson. It’s making some excellent South American food perfect for lunch between popping into tasting rooms or shops.
Whatever you choose, Chelan is soon to be one of your favorite Washington getaways this winter.
Adria Saracino of The Emerald Palate
The evening chill and restart of dormant furnaces remind us that winter is coming, and with it, a changed landscape for our beloved Pacific Northwest.
Hood Canal offers cozy settings, and gorgeous natural landscapes for winter escapes.
Hood Canal is a long, spectacularly beautiful waterway about a 1.5 hour drive from Seattle. It is 68 miles long, and only two miles across at its widest point. Breathe in that fresh briny sea air! Just don’t forget your parka.
There are numerous hikes that provide mountain and water views in the areas around the canal.
Some are easy going, such as the hike at Twanoh State Park, Staircase Rapids Loop at Hoodsport, or Theler Wetlands Nature Preserve Trail.
Other hikes are very difficult, like Wagonwheel Lake Trail near the Staircase Ranger Station.
Numerous cute and cool towns dot both sides of the canal.
A scenic drive can include a stop at Union, a tiny town but a visitor favorite. Buy the clam or crab dip from the Union Store. Another great stop is the charming old mill town of Port Gamble.
Hoodsport, Brinnon and Seabeck also have shops to explore and dining options.
And there are lots of places to stay in Hood Canal for all budgets.
Alderbrook Hotel and Resort is a fantastic Washington State resort and they have a special Christmas Tree lighting event. This makes it one of the best Washington State getaways during the holidays.
There’s also Belfair State Park, with year-round campsites and cabins, Point No Point Lighthouse vacation rentals, and the Quality Inn in Bremerton.
Plus, there are tasty places to eat like Saboteur Bakery in Bremerton, Hama Hama Oyster Saloon on Highway 101 near Lilliwaup, Seabeck Pizza and Casper’s Pizza and Barbecue in Belfair.
Sandy of Sleeps 5
The Best Winter Weekend Getaways from Seattle: Oregon
Yachats, Oregon is one of the best winter vacation destinations in the Pacific Northwest, and even more so if you love moody mysterious landscapes.
Even in the summer, Yachats is never really all that sunny, but in the winter the raindrops grow heavier, the wind howls louder, and the ocean waves crash harder against the rocky coastline.
To fully immerse yourself in the elements, stay in one of the many cozy cottages dotting the shore, or in a tiny cabin in the nearby woods.
Although Yahats doesn’t have Instagram-worthy pop-up cafes opening every weekend, but what Yachats does have is a community of restaurants that pride themselves on local and sustainable sourcing.
For coffee, head to Bread & Roses to start your day off right, then head to Yachats Brewing for microbrews and great burgers!
Dinner could either be on the fancy side at Ona restaurant, or more casual at Luna Fish House for fresh Oregon seafood.
In between meals, entertain yourself at the nation’s largest sea lion caves, or check out the scenery at Cape Perpetua.
Thor’s Well and the Spouting Horn are a must-see!
For more hikes, check out Ya’Xaik Trail for a moderate trail through the ancestral land of the Hanis Coos, Miluk Coos, Lower Umpqua Tribe, Alsea Tribe, and Siuslaw Tribe that Yachats was built on.
Plus, if you’re a fan of lighthouses, you can spot Haceta Head Lighthouse, one of the most photographed on the West Coast, and even get a tour of the inside.
Yachats is a great weekend destination, but if you are spending more time in the area, there is plenty to see just outside of the city.
Kay of The Awkward Traveller
Nick of Wandering Wheatleys
Angeline’s Bakery Cafe is always a great spot for lunch or to pick up pastries on the go. The Open Door, R Spot, and Boone Dog Pizza are other local restaurant favorites.
Whether window shopping or purchasing gifts for Christmas, you’ll be sure to find plenty of treasures–from antiques, jewelry, and art to chocolate fudge and fun tchotchkes.
If you enjoy small town charm and love a crisp, white winter, definitely check out Sisters in Central Oregon for your winter trip.
ARCH CAPE, OREGON
Winter in Western Oregon is typically cold and wet. In Tillamook, Oregon, a small city between the Oregon Coast Range and the Pacific Ocean, the damp Winter season is a great time to visit.
Tillamook is known primarily for its eponymous dairy. Cheese and ice cream from the large dairy producer finds its way all across the United States.
The production facility, Tillamook Creamery, is an interesting place to visit and a hugely popular attraction.
The fancy, new visitor center has a wealth of information on the cheesemaking process and plenty of samples. This fascinating dairy factory is a must-visit for foodies or curious travelers.
There is even an on-site restaurant and an ice cream shop with some of the freshest dairy in the Pacific Northwest.
Tillamook is also home to beautiful scenery and dramatic seascapes for which the Pacific Northwest is famous.
A short drive leads to beaches in Netarts, Oceanside or Bayocean. These beaches are great for hiking, photography and searching for sea life.
The wet Pacific Northwest Winter weather scares away most tourists, so these beaches are often sparsely populated for visitors.
Tillamook is small, but there are a few inns/motels on US-101 near Tillamook Creamery. Aside from these, there are local motels in seaside towns.
Local dining in Tillamook ranges from seafood to breweries. Most notable seafood restaurants are technically in Bay City or Garibaldi, adjacent villages on Tillamook Bay.
Downtown Tillamook has several restaurants and bars.
The famous Pelican Brewing has a brewpub on the edge of downtown. This is a great place to warm up and enjoy a local brew on a (likely) wet Pacific Northwest Winter day.
Tillamook is known for dairy, but there is more to this town. Natural beauty, Oregon beer and fresh seafood are a great place to start.
John Paul of The Hangry Backpacker
The Best Winter Weekend Getaways from Seattle: BC
One of our favorite winter getaways from Seattle is heading up North to Vancouver, BC. It’s simply stunning!
We always head to Capilano Suspension Bridge Park around the holidays. They have thousands of light all over the park, holiday festivities, and breathtaking views.
And at the Vancouver Waterfront, we love exploring the Vancouver Christmas Market. They have tons of yummy food, pretty Christmas decorations, and a fun carousel.
Stanley Park is another fun place to go in winter in Vancouver BC. During the holidays, they have a little train that drives past all sorts of holiday decorations. It’s perfect for visiting Vancouver with kids.
There’s also Grouse Mountain that is right in Vancouver. It’s great for winter activities like skiing and snowboarding, but you can also just take the gondola and sightsee.
Our family typically stays at Sutton Place hotel because it’s super close to Robson Street, which is home to many great restaurants and shopping.
Be sure to head to Roots to stock up on warm winter sweaters, cozy socks, and fun winter accessories. They have two stores on Robson Street and they have an awesome factory outlet just outside Vancouver.
We highly recommend Vancouver BC in winter.
Last winter, I took the boys to Victoria BC in winter and it was absolutely magical!
And if you’re looking for things to do around Christmas in Victoria BC, there are tons of Christmas events and attractions.
One of the top things to do in Victoria BC in Winter is The Butchart Gardens. During the holidays, they have an incredible holiday light event highlighting the 12 Days of Christmas, plus an outdoor ice skating rink, and tons of festivities.
There’s also horse-drawn carriage rides where you can see buildings decorated for the holidays. Snuggle up in a cozy blanket and see the sights!
And the Royal BC Museum is a fun place to warm up and explore. Plus, they have some great IMAX movie options.
We stayed at the Inn at Laurel Point and it was so cute to see the kids wearing their little bathrobes and enjoying room service at the hotel.
It’s also home to an adorable Santa breakfast with incredible food and photos with Santa.
Another popular option of where to stay in Victoria BC is the Fairmont Empress. It’s all decorated for the holidays and they even have a Christmas Tea.
The winter winds make for much better surfing or if you’d rather stay warm you can cozy up in a beachfront hotel and do a spot of storm watching while remaining dry!
The Pacific Ocean comes alive in the winter with waves crashing against the rugged Pacific coast with its lush forest and rocky coves.
Whistler is easily one of Canada’s top winter destinations.
Located only a 1.5-hour drive from Vancouver, Whistler gets a ton of snow in comparison and becomes a winter paradise just waiting to be explored.
In fact, it isn’t just locals from Vancouver who visit Whistler in the winter, but the vast number of things to do in Whistler attracts people from all over the world.
The most popular winter activity in Whistler is, of course, hitting the slopes!
Skiers and snowboarders love Whistler for the fact that Blackcomb Mountain offers a ton of great runs. And the lift operates right from downtown Whistler.
That’s right, you can go straight from your hotel to the ski field to a restaurant or bar all without getting into your car.
Other than that, there is some winter hiking in the area along with a couple of other unique attractions such as visiting the Train Graveyard.
You can also enjoy local stores and restaurants in Whistler trying Canadian classics such as poutine and maple syrup flavored chocolates and candies.
For a cheap eat in Whistler town, be sure to stop at the infamous El Furniture Warehouse restaurant and bar. They offer a huge selection of tasty meals for only $5.95 CAD!
But if you want a great beer then you’ll have to drive a couple of minutes to Whistler Brewing Co. These guys serve amazing craft beer on tap in their pub, as well as have takeaway options.
If you’re looking for somewhere to stay in Whistler the options are literally endless.
The HI Whistler is an ideal budget option for backpackers or those who want to save a few bucks staying in a comfortable place without the bells and whistles.
For something a little more luxurious, check out the Whistler Village Inn & Suites. This hotel has an onsite pool, hot tub, restaurant and bar, and also offers apartment-style rooms with full kitchens.
Bailey of Destinationless Travel
If you are looking for a peaceful and serene yet adventurous winter vacation in Pacific Northwest, there’s no better place than Squamish.
The lack of crowds in Squamish in winter makes it even more beautiful and enjoyable.
The town offers a range of activities for a perfect winter vacation. Skiing and snowboarding make it to the top of the list for winter activities to enjoy in Squamish.
As a traveler, you can also participate in snowmobiling, snowshoeing, snow tubing, boating, kayaking, fishing, mountain biking, hiking, dirt biking, dog sledding, ziplining and eagle viewing.
Many of these activities are kid-friendly which ensures that you have an incredible family vacation.
You could take your kids for tobogganing, indoor rock climbing, horseback riding. Or go for a gondola ride from Sea to Sky.
Squamish’s imaginative chefs are experts in mixing food styles and creating mouth-watering delicacies. Do not miss out on savoring delicious dishes at Green Moustache cafe, Salted Vine kitchen + bar and Mag’s 99.
As winter in Squamish is milder compared to surrounding Whistler, it makes up for a great winter vacation.
Pooja Shah of Feels Like Life
There’s magic in the air in the Okanagan in winter, which is milder than other parts of Canada.
There’s a crisp quality to the air and on a clear day, the snow-capped mountains reflected on Okanagan Lake is spectacular to see. While the water isn’t warm enough to swim, it doesn’t freeze over either.
Away from the mountains, Osoyoos is one of the hottest spots in the country and has pleasant weather in winter.
If you love winter sports, the Monashee Mountains delivers plenty of dry powder snow and is a fantastic place to go skiing in Canada.
Big White Ski Resort and SilverStar Mountain Resort are fabulous winter resorts with a range of accommodation to suit most budgets. Other activities in winter include cross-country skiing, snowshoeing and dog sledding.
The Okanagan Valley is a fabulous destination for food and wine.
Some wineries are usually closed in winter, but there are tasting events throughout the season, and the Okanagan has excellent restaurants that serve local wine.
Kelowna is the place to go for top restaurants and bars. Larger wineries like Summerhill Pyramid Winery and Mission Hill remain open for wine tasting in winter.
Christina of Travel2Next