Scenic Drives

The Best Scenic Drives Near Seattle for First Time Visitors

Seattle Southside is the perfect home base to explore the Pacific Northwest.
Eat, play, stay, and venture forth from Seattle Southside.

Choose your adventure.

Seattle is a beautiful city with stunning views of Puget Sound and the Cascade Mountains. While there are many great places you can go to get a feel for how unique Seattle is, a scenic drive is best way to take it all in. Here are some of the best routes to explore:


  • Puget Sound Scenic Drive ...
  • Mt. Rainier Scenic Byway offers stunning views of the mountain and the surrounding wilderness. The national park has more than 250 miles of trails to explore, as well as incomparable, dramatic mountain scenery.
  • One of the most popular routes for a scenic drive near Seattle is State Route 2, also known as Cascade Loop. This 460-mile route takes you on a journey around the mountains, with plenty of scenic viewpoints along the way.  (more details)
  • If you're looking for something shorter, try the Snoqualmie Valley Scenic Drive. This 30-mile route winds through the Snoqualmie River Valley, with pastoral farmland and forested hills providing a picturesque backdrop. This is a good choice if you're looking for a more relaxed experience. Take a leisurely drive through rural Carnation, Fall City, Snoqualmie, and on to North Bend where you can explore the Middle Fork Snoqualmie River or Rattlesnake Lake.  You can expect to see green pastures, herds of wild Elk, farmland, winding rivers, waterfalls, beautiful lakes, and the rugged mountains of the Cascades.
  • Seattle Ferry to Bainbridge Island
  • Other great drives include the Olympic Peninsula Loop and the North Cascades Highway. 


Whatever route you choose, be sure to take your time and enjoy the views.  Road trips through Washington state are a great way to see some of the most beautiful scenery in the country.

(might be best to search for specific pre-mapped itineraries and scenic drive directions)

Start from Seattle Southside which neighbors Seattle-Tacoma International Airport (SEA), head north on I-5 to exit 164-A for Dearborn St. and turn Left to head West towards T-Mobile Stadium and Lumen Field, veer right on Seattle Avenue to 4th Ave. South, turn Left on S. Jackson St. and turn Right on Alaskan Way > Pike Place Market >  Follow Alaskan Way for X miles to the end, veer right onto Broad Street, turn left on Elliott Avenue, turn Left on to Magnolia Bridge, Discovery Park > Commodore Way > Ballard Locks, > W. Nickerson St. > Westlake Ave. > Center for Wooden Boats on South Lake Union > Space Needle > The Spheres > I-5 South,   back to Seattle Southside.


The greater Seattle area has everything from nationally recognized museums and lush, green parks to culturally diverse neighborhoods and popular tourist attractions.

Be sure to sign up for our Travel Update Newsletter for the latest monthly updates on the best things to see and do in and around Seattle. 


Trailing 6-month 'search terms' from Google Ads include:

  • seattle scenic drives
  • scenic drives near seattle
  • road trips from seattle
  • waterfalls near seattle
  • driving around seattle  ( you probably don't want to get caught in downtown Seattle's rush hour traffic, which is one of the reasons we recommend staying in Seattle Southside)
  • scenic drives from seattle
  • seattle to spokane drive
  • short drives from seattle
  • washington scenic byways
  • best drives near seattle
  • seattle landscape photography


RTA Website Notes:


List of Existing Blog Posts:


List of 'You May Also Be Interested In':

  • Tours
  • Seattle Day Trips
  • The 6 Best Burgers in Seattle Southside
  • Seattle Southside History: Des Moines Beach Park
  • Des Moines Beach Park on a Sunny Day


SEM Keywords List

  • Seattle Scenic Drives : 5.5
  • Scenic drives in Seattle : 2
  • Scenic Seattle drives : 1
  • Seattle to Snoqualmie Falls : .5

Top Moz unique SEO Keywords List

  • Snoqualmie Pass
  • Skyline Drive
  • Scenic drives near me
  • Chuckanut Drive
  • Scenic highway
  • Cool places to drive near me
  • Cascade Loop Scenic Highway
  • Scenic Washington
  • Scenic Roads Near Me is top of the export .csv list, followed by
  • best view of Seattle  ( this could be done from 4 compass points )

Choose Your Adventure from these Popular Seattle Scenic Drives

The 2022 list of the best scenic drives near Seattle for first-time visitors


Snoqualmie Falls

Snoqualmie Falls

Come see for yourself why this breathtaking 270-ft high cascading waterfall is visited by over 1.5 million each year.


Visit Mount Rainier in the Spring on things to do in Seattle list

Mount Rainier

This majestic 14,410-ft. dormant volcano is the icon of Washington and is surrounded by meadows, lakes, and rainforests.


des monies beach park for things to do in seattle

Des Moines Beach Park

Enjoy this beautiful coastal park on the blue waters of Puget Sound with stunning views of the snow-capped Olympic mountains.


Seattle Day Trips - Seattle Ferry to Bainbridge Island

Seattle Day Trips

Consider one of these popular day trips from the greater Seattle area for both visitors and locals.


Dash Point State Park on Puget Sound

Puget Sound Scenic Drive

Take Route 509 south from Des Moines to Dash Point State Park, to Tacoma and back.


Mt. Rainier Scenic Drive

Mt. Rainier Scenic Drive

Tour the captivating Puget Sound area, through thick forests, into historic towns, over a mountain pass, and through farmland and sagebrush hills of the Palouse in eastern Washington.


Rattlesnake Lake Scenic Drive Destination in North Bend Washington

Cascade Valley Corridor

SR-202 from Woodinville along the fertile Snoqualmie River Valley to Snoqualmie Falls and North Bend. Pictured is Rattlesnake Lake in North Bend.


Seattle Day Trips - Seattle Ferry to Bainbridge Island

Mountains to Sound Greenway

Tour the captivating Puget Sound area, through thick forests, into historic towns, over a mountain pass, and through farmland and sagebrush hills of the Palouse in eastern Washington.


des monies beach park for things to do in seattle

Cascade Loop

This 440-mile byway is so grand it contains three of our other road trips, Stevens Pass, Whidbey Island and the North Cascades Highway.


Seattle Day Trips - Seattle Ferry to Bainbridge Island

Mountains to Sound Greenway

Tour the captivating Puget Sound area, through thick forests, into historic towns, over a mountain pass, and through farmland and sagebrush hills of the Palouse in eastern Washington.


Seattle Southside is Perfectly Placed

The cities of Tukwila, SeaTac and Des Moines together make up Seattle Southside.

Just 15 minutes south of downtown Seattle with quick easy access to Sea-Tac Airport (SEA), freeways and light rail stations.

Explore the Pacific Northwest from Seattle Southside

Map of Seattle Southside in reference to Seattle and Washington State

compass point explore seattle north

Venture North

To the north of Seattle Southside you'll find that most of these popular tourist spots are only 15 to 20 minutes away by Light Link Rail or car.

compass point explore seattle south

Venture South

And only 20 minutes to the south of Seattle Southside you'll find these popular attractions in the city of Tacoma:

compass point explore seattle east

Venture East

And to the east of Seattle Southside towards the Cascade Mountain Range you'll find these immensely popular attractions:

compass point explore seattle west

Venture West

And to the west of Seattle Southside explore these idyllic day trip destinations accessible by one of the Seattle Ferries:


Travel Itineraries

Des Moines Beach Park View from Pier

Which ever direction you choose to head first, our suggested itineraries can help you to kick-start planning your trip to Seattle.

Generate new ideas and customize one or more to make it your own.

seattle travel itinerary map icon


Travel Planner

Seattle Activities Travel Planner

Start your Seattle Southside journey off right by looking at the Seattle Southside Travel Planner. It includes everything you need to know:

  • Area information
  • Things to do: spas, gardens, shopping, museums, sports, outdoor activities, events and festivals
  • Dining: from family friendly to fine dining
  • Accommodations: a place to stay for any budget
  • Cruise information
  • Transportation options: tips and tricks
  • Itinerary suggestions
  •  Area maps

Choose from Over 60 Hotels, 100 Restaurants, and Countless Fun Activities Near Seattle Airport (SEA)

FAQs about the Best Scenic Drives in Seattle


What's worth seeing in Seattle?

The 4 most popular attractions with Seattle's visitors are The Space Needle, Pike Place Market, Snoqualmie Falls, and Mount Rainier.


What's Seattle best known for?

Seattle is best known for Starbucks, its coffee culture, being ground zero for grunge music, the Seattle Seahawks football team, the Seattle Mariners baseball team, the Seattle Kraken Hockey team, the Space Needle, Pike Place Market, its tech industry (including both Amazon and Microsoft), aviation (home of Boeing), hiking, kayaking, and general outdoors lifestyle (as in REI).


Is 3 days enough time to see Seattle?

You couldn't possibly see EVERYTHING that Seattle has to offer in 3 days, but if that's what you're working with, then its just enough time to get acquainted. Our Travel Planner and Suggested Seattle Itineraries may be just what you're looking for to map out your adventure.


Visit Seattle Southside

Share your best shot on Instagram & Tag Us at #SeattleSouthside