When we visited Seattle with kids a few summer ago, we couldn’t plan our trip without adding a day trip to Mount Rainier nation park to our itinerary. As a national park passport holder, we always looks for national park wherever we go to add to our stamp collection. Not that Mount Rainier is something we can skip on our visit to Seattle.
On a clear day, we can see Mount Rainier enticing visitors to Seattle to visit. A lot of locals plan their weekend trip to the park. But we only had so much time in Seattle that we decided to just rent a car and drove to Mount Rainier for a day trip. If we go back to Seattle again, we would probably plan a longer trip to truly enjoy the many outdoor activities we can do there.
Easy Day Trip from Seattle
Mount Rainier national park is about three hours drive from downtown Seattle so we started our day bright and early after picking up our rental car. We chose to visit Paradise visitor center for year round opening as well as easily accessible from Seattle. After a couple pit stops along the way, you know, kids needed to go to the bathroom, Mr. Rojo needed to refill on his coffee, we entered the Mount Rainier national park and all our attention was directed to the beauty of nature along the way.
View Points and Photo Ops
If you plan to go to Mount Rainier, one advice I can give you is to take it easy and stop to take in the majestic view. There are several stops along the way that you can enjoy different views of Mount Rainier before arriving at Paradise visitor center. Take advantage of that. It will help kids to stretch their legs and spend some energy after riding in the car for almost three hours.
Paradise Visitor Center
We are by no mean the expert in national park but we have been to plenty of national parks in the past and I have to say the Paradise Visitor Center is high on the top of our list on both size and design.
The two-story lobby surrounded by wooded columns and wooden beams really make you feel closer to nature just like you are in a fancy hotel on the mountain. The big windows all around the building allows nature light and mountains to be part of the inside. And not to mention, Mr. Rojo’s favorite, Starbucks coffee is available on site.
Coming from Atlanta, we didn’t think we will be able to still see snow in summer. So it was a nice surprise to be able to just walk outside the visitor center and played in snow for a while.
We enjoyed our lunch at the visitor center food court. Then it’s time to explore the park. There are literally so many things to do in the park. Many trails you can choose from. So take time to check out and see which one is best fit for your family.
Grove of the Patriarchs Trail
As we headed back to town, we opted for a stop at Grove of the Patriarchs trail for a quick hike. The hike is relatively easy for kids but might be a bit tougher for younger kids in stroller. Check out at the visitor center to get the advice on what trail is suitable for your family as well as along the path of your trip.
There is section where we cross the river on the suspension bridge. The kids loved it! It was the introduction for them to the suspension bridge before our visit to Capilano suspension bridge in Vancouver.
Along the trail, we learned about the ancient forest. The trees are huge! The pictures don’t do its justice for capturing how majestic those trees are.
All in all, we had a great day trip to Mount Rainier and I highly recommended adding to your itinerary.