Three Washington Road Trips to Take This Fall


This weekend will mark the fourth in a row that I haven't left Seattle and it feels a little strange. Summer was full of clocking hours on the open road and in the mountains. Staying put does have it's advantages though. Keeping my feet in the city has allowed me to spend intentional time with friends and explore more of the Emerald City gems that I can't get to Monday-Friday.

Fall in the North Cascades, WA - hike Maple Pass

We've also spent a lot of time domesticating. Jared moved all his things into my (excuse me, our) house and we've had fun decorating our new shared space. While I've enjoyed the break from the living out of a bag and pack to unpack lifestyle, I am getting anxious to hit the road again. Here are a few Washington road trip suggestions to catch the Fall season it's in brilliance.

Port Townsend, WA

Jared and I packed up Buttercup in late July and made our way to Port Townsend to work with Stephanie of "With These Rings" to create our wedding bands. It was a long leisure weekend exploring this Victorian Seaport & artsy chic town.  The weather wasn't ideal for hiking in the Olympics (the National Park is only an hour away), so we were forced to really slow down. I would love to get back up there this Fall to witness the transition of season. While visiting Port Townsend.... 

road trip to Port Townsend, WA

Relax & Rest Up: Soak on the Sound. One of the best decisions of our trip was to spend a good portion of the day at the spa. Soak offers private and community soaking tubs as well as a sauna and massage therapy. We opted for the community tub ( $22/ person unlimited time) and were the only two in there for hours. We actually left and came back to soak more before our massages! Friendly staff, extremely clean space and we left feeling refreshed and nourished.

Coffee: Velocity In 2 days we became regulars, heading to the cafe for our morning cappuccino and back in the afternoon for espresso. It was refreshing to find such good coffee outside of the city and the community vibe was warm and inviting.

Espresso at Velocity Coffee in Port Townsend

Eat: Owl Spirit Cafe. My vegetarian appetite loved this boho cafe. Delicious sandwiches albeit a little expensive. They also have non- veggie options and juices.

Beer: Pourhouse, Craft Beer Tap Room & Bottle Shop. Order your beer inside and then take it outside to one of the many wooden tables facing the water.

*added bonus, deer roaming around EVERYWHERE.


Highway 20

The Methow Valley was the location of our "mini moon" just a few weeks ago. It was my first time taking the entire North Cascades Highway Loop (Highway 20) and in my opinion is the most beautiful highway in Washington. The towns you pass along the way are quaint but you won't need to spend much time in them.  Or more like, you can't spend much time in them with populations ranging from 200- 1000 people. The real magic is the mountains and trails anyways and they are as endless as the beauty. When driving Highway 20...

Roadtrip through Highway 20 Washington

Stay: Freestone Inn - The Inn is under new management and featuring Fall rates right now. Jared and I had originally planned to only go here for dinner, but ended up staying overnight... in a King Suite... for $99. With a cozy fireplace, view of the lake, a terrace and a big bathtub it was heavenly. We love Buttercup (and our original plan to was to camp in her) but who could pass up this deal?

Eat: Mazama Store. Their slogan is "a little bit of everything good" and they live up to it. We stopped to grab lunch for our hikes and they make possible the best sandwich I have ever tasted. Plus, it feels good about supporting a family owned company.

Beer: Old Schoolhouse Brewery in Winthrop. Grab a seat on their outside patio next to the river & enjoy your beer with a view!

Hike: Maple Pass Loop & Cutthroat. Our days revolved around hiking and we chose 2 insanely beautiful trails. Maple Pass moved into my top 5 hikes with it's unreal views from the top. A month later I am still looking at all my photos and hoping to return before the highway closes for the winter!

Hiking Maple Pass Trail on Highway 20, Washington


Most of our weekends were spent here over the summer. While the hours were dedicated to planning and planting, we still snuck away to get our minds off the wedding and keep our sanity.  Take Highway 2 to drive through the Cascades and watch as buildings turn to trees dripping bright red, orange and gold. When in Leavenworth...

Stay: There are a handful of hotels to choose from. A few friends of ours stayed at the "Bavarian Lodge" on our wedding weekend and gave great reviews. If you are looking for a spot outside of town, you can book a few nights at my in-laws VRBO! Perks include good coffee, incredible mountain views, and gracious welcoming hosts!

The Lookout VRBO in Leavenworth, WA

Eat: Skip the bratwurst and go to Sulla Vita for a Euro-inspired meal. Everything I've had there is delicious, especially the pistachio crusted halibut and the brussels with house pesto and figs. Order a bottle of wine for the table and slow dinner down to a 2 hour meal.

Beer: Right next door to Sulla Vita is Icicle Brewery- THE place to go for beer in Leavenworth. It's usually packed with locals and tourists alike but the good news is everyone is nice and you're likely to make a friend with someone at the next table.

Hike: Colchuck Lake - Another hike on my top 5 and my favorite lake in Washington (at least that I've seen so far!) 9 mile out and back trail and is an alpine gem. This hike is rated difficult but is doable to even a medium level hiker. Take it slow, it's worth it!

Do you have any road trips your taking this fall season? Or are you excited for an upcoming adventure? Share your details with me in the comments below. For more travel inspiration and to track my wanderings, follow my instagram (@lschipper). For more in depth travel logs click here.