Road trips can be a great way to take a family vacation and see many places. Often times, it’s more affordable as well. Here I’ll guide you through tons of family-friendly activities on the drive from Seattle to Olympic National Park so you can have a super fun family vacation in Washington, while keeping you budget in tact.
Let’s Jet, Kids! uses affiliate links. As an Amazon (and other networks) Associate, I earn from qualifying purchases. It is no extra cost to you.
If you’re wondering how to take a kid-friendly road trip in Washington without a long drive, you’ve come to the right place!
This is part of a 4-part series Road-Trip Guide for the Family through the Northwest.
Part One (this post) will show you fun things to do in Washington.
One of the things I don’t love about road trips is the LONNNG drives in the car.
With this Ultimate Road Trip from Seattle to Olympic National Park, I’ve created an itinerary that doesn’t require more than 4-1/2 hours between any stop. This is ideal for so many reasons.
- You can get out and stretch
- It’s nice to be able to actually get somewhere without having to stop for the bathroom multiple times
- There’s only so many ways to entertain a young one in the car before getting fussy
- There’s only so many ways to entertain an adult in the car before getting fussy (or is that just me? 😳)
- You can cover multiple destinations! Without trekking through multiple airports!
Need extra tips for keeping kids happy in the car? Check out my Fun Car Games post
This road trip itinerary is ideal for families or just adults. There are many, diverse, fun things to do on this trip. It will take you to Seattle, Tacoma, Olympia and Olympic National Park.
Ready for fun stops from Seattle to Olympic National Park? Here it is:
Stops on the Drive from Seattle to Olympic National Park
Stop 1: Seattle
Things to do in Seattle with kids
The Great Wheel
Get a great view of the Seattle area from atop the Great wheel. Go in the evening on the weekend to see a half-million LED lights light up the wheel!
- $10-15 per person (free 2 and under)
- $50 if you’d like a VIP glass bottom cabin
Image by Olya Lolé
This iconic structure will also give you a majestic view of Seattle. You can also step onto the glass bottom floor, or view from an outside deck.
- $26-35 general admission, discounted for Washington residents.
Pike Place Market
This iconic Seattle stop features a farmer’s market, crafts specialty food, shopping, and of course seafood. Walk around and pick up some local flavor, or just enjoy being in the middle of famous market!
- Walk over, or drive and park in the nearby garage for $4 / hour.
Photo by Mitch Walker
Chihuluy Garden and Glass
A beautiful and unique stop to see the works of Dale Chihuly, a native to Washington who has glass projects all over the world. His long-running exhibition has been in Seattle since 2012.
- $19-32 admission. Or combine with the Space Needle admission for a discounted package rate
Photo by Taylor Simpson
Save on Top Attractions in Seattle with the CityPass
Alki Beach State Park
Escape city buildings for a bit to see Alki Beach. Alki beach is where Chief Seattle met the first white settlers and assisted in building shelter for them. With volleyball, a pier, a wide path and a great beach, you could spend a while relaxing or playing at Alki Beach.
Alki Beach makes a beautiful, relaxing spot to stop on this Seattle to Olympic National Park road trip.
Alki Beach, Photo by Benjamin Massello
Discover and learn about animals of the Puget Sound and all of the ocean. The Seattle Aquarium is the 9th most visited aquarium in the United States.
- $23-33, discounts for WA residents
Many great attractions in Seattle can be discounted when you purchase the Seattle City Pass! You get access to the Space Needle, Aquarium, Chihuly Garden and Glass, and MORE!
Stop 2: Tacoma
Maybe Tacoma isn’t on the top of your mind as you drive from Seattle to Olympic National Park. But don’t brush over it! Take the time to get out and experience the fun things to do in Tacoma!
Here are the best things to see:
Chihuly Bridge of Glass
Even if you stopped at the Chihuly Glass and Garden in Seattle, be sure to see this amazing display over Interstate 5 in Tacoma. Free to walk over, the bridge lights up at night, making a beautiful display of color.
- located next to the courthouse, over I-5
Image by PublicDomainPictures
Point Defiance Park
This is a beautiful natural playground not to be missed. Stop at Owen’s Beach, where you’ll find picnic shelters, restrooms, and plenty of parking (free!). Stay and play at the beach, or walk along the promenade.
Make sure to also visit the gardens at Point Defiance park. From Dahlias and herbs, to a rose garden or Japanese garden, there’s plenty to see here!
This is another great, relaxing, yet fun stop from Seattle to Olympic National Park.
Click HERE for more info on Point Defiance Park
Chinese Reconciliation Park
Take a stroll through the beautiful gardens, all while learning about the history of the treatment of the Chinese in the area, as well as some viewing some beautiful architecture.
This is one of those learning opportunities to teach kids empathy and compassion all while they learn history.
- Free admission
Chambers Creek Regional Park
On your way out of Tacoma and onto Olympia, make sure to stop at Chambers Creek Regional Park. With 2 miles of shoreline, you and the kids can walk along 5 miles of public trails or enjoy the public beach.
Enjoy views of the Puget Sound while you enjoy all this park has to offer. Nearby is a nice golf course with dining options.
- about 20 minutes off I-5
Stop 3: Olympia
A great town and not a far drive from the famous and beautiful Olympic National Park, make sure to make this stop on your Seattle to Olympic National Park drive.
Nisqually National Wildlife Refuge
Located within the south part of the Puget Sound, this is a great place for observing migratory birds. The refuge is thousands or acres of both salt and freshwater marshes and forests. Take the 1 mile boardwalk or some of the other trails (7 miles in total) for a relaxing viewing experience. https://www.stateparks.com/nisqually_national_wildlife_refuge_in_washington.html
Open on the weekends, this farmers marker boasts fresh produce, foods, and crafts from locals. Pick up some goods and then take a short walk to the water to enjoy them!
Hands On Children’s Museum
As the largest and most-visited Children’s museum in the Pacific North West, you don’t want to miss the opportunity to stop here while you’re in town! With over 150 exhibits, you can play all day with the kids here. See all there is inside (art, science, and nature) and then head outside to the Outdoor Discovery Center for some climbing, playing, ship-driving of fun!
- $15 admission 18 months+
Photos courtesy of The Hands On Children’s Museum (pre-covid photos):
This is its own stop while visiting Olympia. About an hour out of Olympia, this national park has so much to see. It may be worth staying a night near the entrance of the park. Here are a few highlights:
Sol Duc Falls
- Ruby Beach– beautiful shoreline with views of large rocks jetting out of the water. Kids can play in the pooled up water on shore or discover crabs, sea stars, and other ocean life near the seastacks.
- Hurricane Ridge– this 17-mile stretch of road will wind you through both forests and snow-capped mountain peaks. Beautiful views included!
- Crescent Lake– with a stunning, scenic backdrop, spend some time enjoying the views, taking a chilly swim, or renting some kayaks to explore this gorgeous lake. Crystal clear water is a bonus!
- Sol Duc Falls– we can’t forget a waterfall! This hike is less than a mile (one-way) and is easy enough for the kids! Enjoy the lush forest on your way!
You could spend a while in Olympic National Park, or just hit some highlights. This is the most beautiful part of this Seattle to Olympic National Park Road Trip.
>>For a more detailed list of recommendations, check out my full guide to Olympic National Park with Kids <<
Also Check out:
Seattle to Olympic National Park
Those are the destinations for this Seattle to Olympic National Park road trip.
That’s it for Part 1! If you’d like to extend your road trip, make sure to check out Part 2 for kid-friendly activities that the whole family will enjoy through Oregon!
Save to Pinterest!